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Unhook brakes for winter storage to release tension?

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Unhook brakes for winter storage to release tension?

Old 12-05-14, 12:04 PM
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plgcp
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Unhook brakes for winter storage to release tension?

I just got a new cross bike with canti's and I'll be storing it for the winter. I can't find any info on this so I assume there may be no benefit, but would it be a good idea to unhook the quick releases on the straddle cables in order to take the tension off the brake cables? Would this reduce cable stretching, which I assume is undesirable?
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Old 12-05-14, 12:08 PM
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You want the cables to stretch.

Oh,.. for all the scientific engineers ....

You want the cables to elongate

Last edited by trailangel; 12-05-14 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Something not right on the internet
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Old 12-05-14, 12:10 PM
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I assume there may be no benefit
Correct.
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Old 12-05-14, 12:11 PM
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Don't bother. Cables don't "stretch" and good quality springs under tension within their design parameters don't weaken. New cables do elongate slightly for the first few uses after installation but that because the individual strand bed into each other. Once this initial elongation has occurred nothing more happens.
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Old 12-05-14, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Don't bother. Cables don't "stretch" and good quality springs under tension within their design parameters don't weaken. New cables do elongate slightly for the first few uses after installation but that because the individual strand bed into each other. Once this initial elongation has occurred nothing more happens.
+1, unhooking cables will make absolutely zero difference, except that you'll need to reconnect later on.

Metal under load doesn't move or "stretch" over time. If it did, bridges would sag and have to be tuned up to original height on a regular basis.

So, if you ever notice technicians retensioning the cables on your local suspension bridge, you might take a hint and check your brakes, but until then, the only reason to unhook cables is to field strip and lubricate them, or for replacement of either the inner or housing or both.
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Old 12-05-14, 01:06 PM
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Old 12-05-14, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Don't bother. Cables don't "stretch" and good quality springs under tension within their design parameters don't weaken. New cables do elongate slightly for the first few uses after installation but that because the individual strand bed into each other. Once this initial elongation has occurred nothing more happens.
[h=2][SUP]1[/SUP]stretch[/h] verb \ˈstrech\: to make (something) wider or longer by pulling it
: to become longer or wider when pulled


[h=2][SUP]1[/SUP]elon·gate[/h] verb \i-ˈlŋ-ˌgāt, (ˌ)ē-, ˈē-ˌ\: to make (something) longer or to grow longer
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Old 12-05-14, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
[SUP]1[/SUP]stretch

verb \ˈstrech\: to make (something) wider or longer by pulling it
: to become longer or wider when pulled


[SUP]1[/SUP]elon·gate

verb \i-ˈlŋ-ˌgāt, (ˌ)ē-, ˈē-ˌ\: to make (something) longer or to grow longer
the point is more that the storage of the cable under normal 'rest' tension doesn't cause them to elongate.

the initial stressing of the cables does cause them to elongate (structural stretching), but full elongation is normally achieved in the first few hundred miles. this is because the cables aren't prestretched and is the result of the individual strands bedding into eachother (if you measured, the diameter would be ever so slightly reduced while the length would be increased around 1%)

after that, the cables would undergo elastic stretching when you apply the brakes which is the actual deformation of the individual strands.

bike cables being so small, and the overall load being so low, you're well below the threshold for plastic deformation of the cable, meaning it's still in an elastic state where once the load is removed it'll return to it's previous length

easiest way to confirm: check your brake cable next time you're not applying the brakes. I think you'll find it's not under a lot of tension at all.
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Old 12-05-14, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
[h=2][SUP]1[/SUP]stretch[/h] verb \ˈstrech\: to make (something) wider or longer by pulling it
: to become longer or wider when pulled


[h=2][SUP]1[/SUP]elon·gate[/h] verb \i-ˈlŋ-ˌgāt, (ˌ)ē-, ˈē-ˌ\: to make (something) longer or to grow longer
Thank you for the semantics lesson. In practical bicycle mechanics usage, "stretch" implies that the individual strands get longer by deforming plastically, which they don't, they just get closer together. The term "chain stretch" is also considered a misnomer as the metal doesn't get longer by deformation, the chain elongates by wear on the pins and rollers which increases the spacing between links.

So while the dictionary considers them as synonyms and nearly identical in meaning, their use here is differentiated.
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Old 12-05-14, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Metal under load doesn't move or "stretch" over time. If it did, bridges would sag and have to be tuned up to original height on a regular basis.
Haven't you seen those bridges that open in the middle ? They do that to let the metal rest and give it a break form the traffic.
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Old 12-05-14, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Haven't you seen those bridges that open in the middle ? They do that to let the metal rest and give it a break form the traffic.
Silly me. I thought they were saluting the captains of the boats passing below.
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Old 12-05-14, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post

Metal under load doesn't move or "stretch" over time.
Incorrect.

In materials science, creep (sometimes called cold flow) is the tendency of a solid material to move slowly or deform permanently under the influence of mechanical stresses. It can occur as a result of long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still below the yield strength of the material. Creep is more severe in materials that are subjected to heat for long periods, and generally increases as they near their melting point.
Just being pedantic, not relevant to disconnecting brake cables.
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Old 12-06-14, 07:33 AM
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I suspect much of the cable "stretch" on a new bike is actually the cable housing bedding into the cable stops.
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Old 12-06-14, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
In materials science, creep (sometimes called cold flow) is the tendency of a solid material to move slowly or deform permanently under the influence of mechanical stresses. It can occur as a result of long-term exposure to high levels of stress that are still below the yield strength of the material. Creep is more severe in materials that are subjected to heat for long periods, and generally increases as they near their melting point.


Just being pedantic, not relevant to disconnecting brake cables.
I assumed someone would bring up "creep" but, as you said, it's strictly a pedantic point. At livable temperatures and the stress levels bike components are subject to, the amount of creep that cables exhibit is immeasurable over several lifetimes.
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Old 12-06-14, 08:46 AM
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If metal doesnt stretch or deform under load, why do you see old cars that have sagged down on their springs?
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Old 12-06-14, 08:54 AM
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It's not the tension on a spring that causes damage, but the cycling from one state to the other. Just leave 'em be.
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Old 12-06-14, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
If metal doesnt stretch or deform under load, why do you see old cars that have sagged down on their springs?
It's not from the static load but from fatigue due to repetative cycling loads.
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Old 12-06-14, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
I suspect much of the cable "stretch" on a new bike is actually the cable housing bedding into the cable stops.
People bring this up as an explanation for a new cable stretching all the time. It is incorrect. Housing isn't always replaced when an new inner cable is installed and, yet, new inner cable will always need some adjustment within a certain time frame following installation. The need for adjustment after than initial bedding of the cable deceases over time. cderalow has described what is happening quite well.
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Old 12-07-14, 07:53 AM
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Old 12-07-14, 08:42 AM
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Springs will be just fine, too. In fact, I would guess that to be of mention here as well.
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Old 12-07-14, 10:16 AM
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My take is disconnecting brakes is a bad idea when storing. It becomes another thing that needs to be done to make the bike ready to ride again. Although it seems obvious, most would not notice a disconnected brake until they needed to stop for the first time. Also, you may not be the one taking it out of storage.

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Old 12-07-14, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Sandiegodan View Post
Although it seems obvious, most would not notice a disconnected brake until they needed to stop for the first time. Also, you may not be the one taking it out of storage.
This oversight isn't unknown. I recall reading a posting by a rider who disconnected the straddle cable on her front cantilever brake to allow removal of the front wheel to put the bike on a roof rack. She got to the trail, unloaded the bike, replaced the wheel and rode away only to find her front brake was inoperative. Fortunately the rear brake still worked so she was able to stop and reconnect the front.
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