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Brake Cable Snapped -- big surprise

Old 09-10-17, 09:52 AM
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FrenchFit 
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Brake Cable Snapped -- big surprise

Spouse made a hard stop, both front and rear brakes. The cable on the rear failed, it snapped at the balltip, bike is a couple of years old, garaged.

No big deal, we just ended our ride a little earlier than planned. But, totally unexpected.

I've always wondered if brake cables were fail-proof, especially during a gnarly descents. Well, apparently they're not. This cable failed at the junction connecting to the balltip, and it looked like a stress pull, not a pinch.

Don't know the brand, it was an OEM cable.

Quite a reality check.
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Old 09-10-17, 10:21 AM
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ANYTHING mechanical can and will eventually break. NOTHING is break-proof. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.
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Old 09-10-17, 11:04 AM
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Preemptive Replacement of worn parts is encouraged for safety, as is having a thorough pre-ride check before starting a ride,

on the bike..
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Old 09-10-17, 11:10 AM
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Preemptive Replacement of worn parts is encouraged for safety, as is having a thorough pre-ride check before starting a ride, on the bike..
I always fear replacing something good with something bad that QC didn't catch, and I don;t place a lot of faith in QC for low-priced things ... but i did install new brake cables earlier this year.
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Old 09-10-17, 02:49 PM
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I've been commuting for 25 years and have a brake cable snap every 3-5 years.
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Old 09-10-17, 03:29 PM
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I replace my brake and shifter cables about every 2 years.
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Old 09-10-17, 03:32 PM
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Snapped or pulled out?
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Old 09-11-17, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Preemptive Replacement of worn parts is encouraged for safety, as is having a thorough pre-ride check before starting a ride, on the bike..
Ha, funny advice- to think its realistic to inspect the head of a brake cable before riding where its seated inside the brake lever and mostly hidden from view. Completely unrealistic.
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Old 09-11-17, 10:01 AM
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There is a part that you can carry in case of such incident,,, they're called Knarps this little device can save the day or ride , provided you also carry the tools necessary for installation ,,check em out,,,,
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Old 09-11-17, 11:25 AM
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#1, bad idea to use the top mount 'interruptor' brake lever at the end , rather than as designed in the middle of the cable..

General Aviation pilots don't just jump in their airplanes and take off..
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Old 09-11-17, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Ha, funny advice- to think its realistic to inspect the head of a brake cable before riding where its seated inside the brake lever and mostly hidden from view. Completely unrealistic.


then wait until it breaks.. its your skin on the line.. not mine..
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Old 09-11-17, 11:34 AM
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Cables have long been engineered to prevent failure, but stuff happens.

Modern cables are far more reliable than cables were 50 or more years ago. These days the vast majority are made so the pull apart strength is higher than the cables overall tensile strength.

But everything has to have a weakest place, and for cables it's where the wire leaves the head. This is where the steel is heat affected to a degree, and where corrosion is most likely. Also, even though levers are designed to prevent it, some bending may occur eventually causing fatigue.

Nothing lasts forever, so it pays to inspect cables for signs of corrosion or fraying that indicate they're nearing the end.
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Old 09-11-17, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
then wait until it breaks.. its your skin on the line.. not mine..
Please.

It would mean a 60 point detailed inspection before every ride. You have said you ride everywhere in your town- do you look over your bike in detail for 10 minutes or more before every time you ride it?
Of course not as it isnt realistic, or necessary.

I say 10 minutes because to inspect a bike to the extent of releasing brake cables before each ride to check the cable head inside the brake lever then resetting it would mean easily 10 minutes of combined detailed checking. Probably more, actually.

It isnt a matter of extensive checks before any ride or a trainwreck- life typically isnt that dramatic.

Periodic inspection of a bike is plenty on its own.
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Old 09-11-17, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I'm thinking the new V-brake lever has more leverage...which result in more stress on the cables...which result in more snappage...which result in more people in the hospital.
My understanding (and failing memory) is that you have this backard (unless I do).

V-brakes have higher leverage built into the brake and less in the lever. The lever generates more cable movement at lower tension, which the brake then uses greater mechanical advantage to convert to the right movement and force at the rim.

So, the lower operating loads of V-brakes favor cables, rather than being harder on them
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Old 09-11-17, 12:50 PM
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A couple of points - cable very rarely break without having one or more strands break first long before that failure happens. So there is almost always broken strands to be seen long before failure. (Most levers can be squeezed hard to bring that ball into the open. Also look deep into the brake assembly at where the cable leaves. A small flashlight is very useful here.) While doing this inspection, check every place the cable goes into or out of the housing and fittings.

This inspection doesn't need to happen every ride. But it does need to happen. A front brake cable failure can lead to a fatal crash. (Think having the linkage fail to the front brakes of your car when an accident happens in front of you.)

Ben
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Old 09-11-17, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I'm thinking the new V-brake lever has more leverage...which result in more stress on the cables...which result in more snappage.

Just in case, you should practice breaking with the sole of your shoes. It could save your life one day.
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
My understanding (and failing memory) is that you have this backard (unless I do).

V-brakes have higher leverage built into the brake and less in the lever. The lever generates more cable movement at lower tension, which the brake then uses greater mechanical advantage to convert to the right movement and force at the rim.

So, the lower operating loads of V-brakes favor cables, rather than being harder on them
Agreed with FBinNY. V-brake levers pull more cable at less leverage. The leverage is built into the brake arms.

As for braking with your shoe... or... you know... the front brake. Highly... highly unlikely that both will break simultaneously.
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Old 09-11-17, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Snapped or pulled out?
Snapped just below the tip. Road brakes, and there was no fraying, it was a fairly clean break. Remarkable, (which is why I posted).

Replacing cables with no signs of wear every two years? I'd simply stop riding if that was a necessity.

That's some OCD thinking right there....
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Old 09-11-17, 06:03 PM
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Shimano Brifters?
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Old 09-11-17, 10:24 PM
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I always enjoy the perfect riders: "If you properly maintain and inspect your bike, you will never have equipment failure". Right
Once I ran into a curb because a cat jumped out in front of me and some wanker said cats don't just dart out, you must have seen him before hand so it's my fault
Geesh
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Old 09-13-17, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Preemptive Replacement of worn parts is encouraged for safety, as is having a thorough pre-ride check before starting a ride, on the bike..
Brake cable snapping at ball-tip is not likely a consequence of wear, but rather likely a consequence of manufacturing defect. There's unavoidable variability in manufacturing quality one has to always be ready for. Ball-tips snap from time to time.

Needless to say, "pre-ride checks" of such hidden parts are out of question (not even mentioning that such defects are for the most part undetectable). For the very same reasons "preemptive replacement" is as likely to replace a good part with a defective one.

Bicycles have redundant brakes for a reason. One has to always be ready for one of them failing without a warning.
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Old 09-13-17, 09:17 AM
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Suit your self, I am saying what is safest. in my decades of actual experience.
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Old 09-13-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I'm thinking the new V-brake lever has more leverage...which result in more stress on the cables...which result in more snappage.

Just in case, you should practice breaking with the sole of your shoes. It could save your life one day.
Useful...thanks
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Old 09-13-17, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Preemptive Replacement of worn parts is encouraged for safety, as is having a thorough pre-ride check before starting a ride,

on the bike..
Yes, cable inners are cheap as chips and easy to replace. It's good opportunity to adjust the brakes at the same time.
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Old 09-13-17, 03:10 PM
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I do a lot of charity rides, maybe 10 or so a year, and have seen cables break several times, although I have never had one break on me. I have never seen one snap at the cable barrel. I carry electrical butt ends, used to splice two wires together, and a Leathermen's Tool in my saddle bag for such an occasion. On my older Ace, the cables are exposed and the repair is simple and easy but on my CRS, the cables are internal and I'm pretty much screwed.

Cables are a vital part of the bike and your safety, they are not that expensive and they are easy to install. For those reasons, I replace my cables every 10,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first.
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Old 09-13-17, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
This reminds me that my old Dutch bike uses steel rod as linkage (no cable), which looks bomb prove.
Back in the day those English bike had that feature, I like it,,,,
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