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Do I need to replace old brake/derailleur cables?

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Do I need to replace old brake/derailleur cables?

Old 01-06-15, 10:21 AM
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El Gato27
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Do I need to replace old brake/derailleur cables?

In the process of resurrecting my ’88 Peugeot(see attached). Took it out for a spin this weekend after replacing the freewheel and chain. Rode pretty nice. Still have a few things to do on the bike—brake pads, new seat(or new butt), hoods, tubes, tires and pedals.

Which brings me to my question—cables. Bike rode pretty good, shifted well, stopped well. Since I haven’t ridden (rode?) it in ~15 years I feel I should replace the brake and gears cables because they are old. BUT…they are working fine. I understand brake pads, tires & tubes. Pads get hard, tire & tubes get dry rot. But cables? Are they prone to breaking with age? Has that happened to anyone? Will new cables work much better? Normally don’t like to replace parts that are working unless there is a reason. All info appreciated.

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Old 01-06-15, 10:39 AM
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Unlikely to break, but could be rusted or have contamination or dried lube in housing. Replacing the shift cables with modern lined housing and die drawn cables would make shifting smoother and more accurate. Might as well buy full set to replace brake cables as well.
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Old 01-06-15, 10:47 AM
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Agree the new cables and Housing has Improved..

I would re position the bars to be level on the tops rather than the drops, myself..
& then slide the levers down a Bit when Retaping the Bars.
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Old 01-06-15, 10:54 AM
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If the cables move freely (aren't gummed up in the housings from old lube) and don't show any signs of physical damage (corrosion, kinks, fraying, etc.) then there's no need to replace them. However, you have to pull the brake cables out of the housings to properly inspect them, so at that point one has to question the value of putting them back instead of replacing them with $10 of nice new cables that will ensure years of piece of mind and trouble-free operation.
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Old 01-06-15, 10:54 AM
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If the cables work and appear OK I say why not just keep using them. I would double check all the inner cables for fraying to be safe.
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Old 01-06-15, 11:24 AM
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I replaced all the cables on my 1978 Raleigh Competition GS. The old ones looked like they were in good shape but 36+ years, I thought it might be better to replace. I did have to special order Campagnolo gear shifter cables but the Weinmann brakes used standard cables. It didn't cost very much for a cable replacement. I kept the housings but I soaked them in some degreaser and cleaned them as best as I could. The gear shifters and brakes are very smooth now.
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Old 01-06-15, 12:10 PM
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You could take the cables out, smear a layer of grease on them and keep using them if they look good.
But if they're frayed at the end, they can be a pain to get back in.
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Old 01-06-15, 12:33 PM
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So the votes are replace(3), inspect(2) and don't replace(1). I consider inspect about the same as replace, since they are out already.
I guess I'm replacing cables. Thanks you'all.

fietsbob--I also noticed the drooping handlebar when I posted the picture, will try to level it out and see how it feels.
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Old 01-06-15, 02:06 PM
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If you're bored over the winter and need something to do, by all means replace them. But don't expect dramatic improvement if things are working well already.
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Old 01-06-15, 03:14 PM
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Well, I'll quibble a little with the totals. I gave an advantage to replacing rather than an opinion that you could. One note, though - you should NOT grease modern lined shift cable/housing. Use at most a medium weight oil. Tolerances are tight enough that grease can interfere with shifting accuracy and responsiveness.
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There's no such thing as a routine repair.

Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!
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