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Brass cable ends on vintage bikes

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Brass cable ends on vintage bikes

Old 08-29-21, 01:16 PM
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Lbxpdx
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Brass cable ends on vintage bikes

I bought a 1983/4 Trek 850 sometime last year and I noticed that it had brass cable end on it. I thought they were a nice touch.

I am dialing in my 1991 Trek 990 and decided to go with the brass cable ends. When I replaced my chrome cable ends that I installed less than a year ago with the brass ones, I noticed some of the chrome ones deformed under the pressure of the cables when at angles. The brass ones are not only slightly longer, but feel more substantial and fit the cable stops on the bike better.

I needed only a few more to finish the bike and ended up buying a bottle of them as no place has them in stock.

Were the brass ends ever stock on bikes and if so is there a reason for them or are they just an aesthetically pleasing small touch?
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Old 08-29-21, 01:26 PM
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SurferRosa
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Sounds like you're talking about ferrules as opposed to cable end crimps.
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Old 08-29-21, 01:38 PM
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When I worked in a bike shop years ago I'd see them on bikes that came in for repair from time to time. I always thought they were repurposed from some other application. I seem to remember the ones I saw having a a very thin flare at the open end.
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Old 08-29-21, 01:40 PM
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When I worked in a bike shop years ago I'd see them on bikes that came in for repair from time to time. I always thought they were repurposed from some other application. I seem to remember the ones I saw having a a very thin flare at the open end.
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Old 08-30-21, 03:37 PM
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I suspect that all ferrules are brass because they need to be deep drawn and brass is an ideal material for this process. I further suspect that most of these get plated with nickel (bright and shinny) or painted (usually black). It may be possible to remove the paint from the painted ones to get down to brass. Brass looks great when it is shinny. When exposed to the elements it turns a dull brown and therefore why they are painted or plated.

When someone tries this please report back here on the results.
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Old 08-30-21, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
I suspect that all ferrules are brass...
Well they can't be steel, otherwise you'd see lots of rusty ones.
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Old 08-30-21, 04:40 PM
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I just received my bottle of 50 today so I can finish my bike. They feel more substantial than the chrome ones. They are also .001” thicker.
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Old 08-31-21, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
Well they can't be steel, otherwise you'd see lots of rusty ones.
i've picked up plenty of second hand bikes with rusty ferrules. perhaps they're "old" and are not made of steel anymore? i certainly don't see any brass with new ones, though. i've had some fail recently (cheap ferrules) under pressure and it seems like if they were brass that would get exposed the way these failed
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