Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

When Do You Replace Shifter Cables?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

When Do You Replace Shifter Cables?

Old 04-30-22, 10:32 PM
  #26  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,085

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 391 Post(s)
Liked 286 Times in 209 Posts
I find w/o sharp bends or weird ferrule angles my older groupsets get a couple years easy 7 -8,000 miles, in the newer internal shift under bar tape placement not as long, maybe half. For housing I usually get sign of drag in the shifting or braking and swap it out.
easyupbug is offline  
Likes For easyupbug:
Old 05-01-22, 05:56 AM
  #27  
veloz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 291
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 47 Times in 36 Posts
Shimano 105 & Ult, 10&11 speed sometimes fray at the bend inside the brifter. Mainly the rear but thatís probably because itís used the most. Takes 10 minutes to swap a cable if itís not frayed. Can take nearly an hour if youíre tweezering out tiny shreds from inside the brifter. I replace yearly on my main bike. Youíll feel it when one starts to shred. Replace immediately to keep the job easy.
veloz is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 06:09 AM
  #28  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 38,229

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 352 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19684 Post(s)
Liked 8,198 Times in 4,133 Posts
As others have alluded, this is most problematic with the Shimano groups that route under the bar tape. The very first generation, about a dozen years ago, seemed to be the worst, but it still happens.

Higher resistance when shifting or a reluctance to shift to a smaller cog are red flags.
WhyFi is offline  
Likes For WhyFi:
Old 05-01-22, 06:17 AM
  #29  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 7,821

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4205 Post(s)
Liked 1,190 Times in 783 Posts
Just get what most shops will call the "Deluxe Tune Up" package, once/year from your trusted LBS
Sy Reene is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 06:34 AM
  #30  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,448
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1455 Post(s)
Liked 1,211 Times in 753 Posts
Shimano: every 3,000 miles

SRAM: at the yearly teardown or before an important event like Paris Brest Paris.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 06:35 AM
  #31  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,085

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 391 Post(s)
Liked 286 Times in 209 Posts
Far to many bikes for that Sy Reene, and I find paying very close attention to the drivetrain has many benefits.
easyupbug is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 06:39 AM
  #32  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 5,161
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4975 Post(s)
Liked 7,211 Times in 3,126 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
As others have alluded, this is most problematic with the Shimano groups that route under the bar tape. The very first generation, about a dozen years ago, seemed to be the worst, but it still happens.

Higher resistance when shifting or a reluctance to shift to a smaller cog are red flags.
This. When you notice it on a ride, just put the bike in a convenient gear and ride it home as a single-speed. Continuing to shift will further shred the cable and make the repair more challenging.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 05-01-22, 06:39 AM
  #33  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,448
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1455 Post(s)
Liked 1,211 Times in 753 Posts
Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Just get what most shops will call the "Deluxe Tune Up" package, once/year from your trusted LBS
The $325 one? Where they install mediocre bearings and basic cables and shine it up for you? No thanks. I can put top of the line crap in for 1/3 of that and be done in less time than the driving to/from the shop twice.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 06:57 AM
  #34  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 7,821

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4205 Post(s)
Liked 1,190 Times in 783 Posts
Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
The $325 one? Where they install mediocre bearings and basic cables and shine it up for you? No thanks. I can put top of the line crap in for 1/3 of that and be done in less time than the driving to/from the shop twice.
no, that would be the pro version usually. The 'deluxe' is typically somewhere between $150-200. Parts are usually extra, so should feel free to specify which brand of whatnot you want.
Regardless, are you offering to go to the OP's house to do this work for him pro bono?
Sy Reene is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 07:00 AM
  #35  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,448
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1455 Post(s)
Liked 1,211 Times in 753 Posts
Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
no, that would be the pro version usually. The 'deluxe' is typically somewhere between $150-200. Parts are usually extra, so should feel free to specify which brand of whatnot you want.
Regardless, are you offering to go to the OP's house to do this work for him pro bono?
If it it was not implicit, learn to do really basic maintenance yourself. It will be faster, cheaper, and much better than having a HS kid monkey around with your machine.

I have never found a shop to stock NTN LLB bearings or similar. They only stock garbage bearings.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 07:42 AM
  #36  
63rickert
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,949
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1011 Post(s)
Liked 294 Times in 221 Posts
If shifter cables need to be replaced frequently/continuously the shifter design is defective. Everyone knows who is making the defective shifters. Why is that manufacturer still in business? Why would anyone buy their products? Instead the chief offender has massive loyalty.

400,000 career miles. Never broke a shifter cable. A few replaced here and there for various reasons, never because they were wearing out. One set of cables on the Cinelli did last the 100,000 mile life of that bike. The wife’s primary bike has had two repaints while using same cables. Just no reason to be changing them.
63rickert is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 08:46 AM
  #37  
Desert Ryder
Henderson, NV
 
Desert Ryder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Henderson/Las Vegas NV
Posts: 116

Bikes: Trek Alpha 3700, GT STS DH, Raleigh Grand Prix

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 147 Times in 63 Posts
In all my years I've ridden, with different style bikes, I have never broken a shifter cable.
I do maintain adjustments and have used friction style shifters except for one mountain bike,
This is the only cable that will need to be replaced on a used bike I picked up.
Desert Ryder is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 09:17 AM
  #38  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 3,031

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1499 Post(s)
Liked 2,143 Times in 1,117 Posts
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
If shifter cables need to be replaced frequently/continuously the shifter design is defective. Everyone knows who is making the defective shifters. Why is that manufacturer still in business? Why would anyone buy their products? Instead the chief offender has massive loyalty.

400,000 career miles. Never broke a shifter cable. A few replaced here and there for various reasons, never because they were wearing out. One set of cables on the Cinelli did last the 100,000 mile life of that bike. The wifeís primary bike has had two repaints while using same cables. Just no reason to be changing them.
Because they're called 'Shimano'. 400,000 miles, yeah? You've never had a job? It sounds like you don't use integrated shifters and you're just ranting about your own experience. If you'd seen the huge number of broken/frayed cables I've seen and replaced your opinion might be a little different. Cables also frayed and broke in Campy Ergo shifters for years and years, thousands of riders have been poked in the thumb by a frayed cable next to the thumb button. Unfortunately it's the price we pay for cool integrated levers. Because this happens with such regularity there is definitely reason to change cables as preventative maintenance.
cxwrench is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 09:18 AM
  #39  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 38,229

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 352 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19684 Post(s)
Liked 8,198 Times in 4,133 Posts
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
If shifter cables need to be replaced frequently/continuously the shifter design is defective. Everyone knows who is making the defective shifters. Why is that manufacturer still in business? Why would anyone buy their products? Instead the chief offender has massive loyalty.
You're right - an annual $3 shifter cable, for a groupset that otherwise performs exceptionally well, is just a bridge too far. I'll start researching alternatives. Thank you for the insight and perspective.
WhyFi is offline  
Likes For WhyFi:
Old 05-01-22, 09:37 AM
  #40  
biker222
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 173
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 9 Posts
You can open the grey access plate on shifter side after peeling back the hood from bar and usually see signs of fraying.
If I see no fraying or feel any smooth shifting issue I'll keep using cable. I been getting close to 3yrs (10-12k).
Rear shifter goes first.
biker222 is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 09:49 AM
  #41  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 5,161
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4975 Post(s)
Liked 7,211 Times in 3,126 Posts
Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
I once thought that one advantage of mechanical shifters is that you don't have to be concerned about your battery dying.
Just thought I'd come back to add this: with electronic shifting systems (any brand), a battery (or battery charge) lasts a looong time, is easily checked/verified, and the two systems with which I am familiar (SRAM and Shimano) have backup/failsafe systems. A mid-ride dead battery would require negligence to the point of abject stupidity.
Koyote is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 11:36 AM
  #42  
sweeks
Senior Member
 
sweeks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chicago area
Posts: 2,045

Bikes: Airborne "Carpe Diem", Motobecane "Mirage", Trek 6000, Strida 2, Dahon "Helios XL", Dahon "Mu XL", Tern "Verge S11i"

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 786 Post(s)
Liked 338 Times in 246 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
You're right - an annual $3 shifter cable, for a groupset that otherwise performs exceptionally well, is just a bridge too far. I'll start researching alternatives. Thank you for the insight and perspective.
Do I detect a note, a hint, a whiff... of sarcasm?
sweeks is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 11:54 AM
  #43  
Chuck M 
Butted Hi-Tensile
 
Chuck M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 970

Bikes: Hi-Ten bike boomers, a Trek Domane and some projects

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 318 Post(s)
Liked 776 Times in 398 Posts
According to my logs, I've got about 2500 miles on my 105 STIs. I decided it best to take the advice in this thread and I ordered new cables and housings this morning. Seems like a small price to pay to avoid riding home in a gear I don't want to be in.
__________________
"It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels." -- Heinz StŁcke

Chuck M is online now  
Likes For Chuck M:
Old 05-01-22, 12:16 PM
  #44  
63rickert
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,949
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1011 Post(s)
Liked 294 Times in 221 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Because they're called 'Shimano'. 400,000 miles, yeah? You've never had a job? It sounds like you don't use integrated shifters and you're just ranting about your own experience. If you'd seen the huge number of broken/frayed cables I've seen and replaced your opinion might be a little different. Cables also frayed and broke in Campy Ergo shifters for years and years, thousands of riders have been poked in the thumb by a frayed cable next to the thumb button. Unfortunately it's the price we pay for cool integrated levers. Because this happens with such regularity there is definitely reason to change cables as preventative maintenance.
When I was doing 12,000 miles a year work did take a bit of a back seat. But was still working forty hours. Why the ad hominem? Some of us like to ride bikes even when not paid for it. Some of us were riding decades before ďcoolĒ integrated shifters existed.

You are replacing cables weekly and you want to insist this is a good design.

When I used Ergo for twelve years never had to replace a cable. Used same shifters and cables on three different bikes. Gave those shifters and cables away and so far as I know they are in use another ten years later. Current owner does have a lot of bikes and rides them rather gently.

Both bikes ridden so far today have no shifters and donít even coast. Is that cool? I have no idea what would qualify as cool. It works or it doesnít. Parts that canít be trusted past one week basically donít work.
63rickert is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 12:35 PM
  #45  
MoAlpha
ē ó
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 9,847

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8204 Post(s)
Liked 4,250 Times in 2,284 Posts
Once a season on my 6800 and 5800 shifters. Never-ish on my old 7800 ones.
MoAlpha is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 12:52 PM
  #46  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 5,161
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4975 Post(s)
Liked 7,211 Times in 3,126 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Once a season on my 6800 and 5800 shifters. Never-ish on my old 7800 ones.
I wish all of the folks offering data points would also list their shifters, as you have. I don't think I ever broke a cable on downtube shifters, but integrated brake/shifter levers - especially with cables under the bar tape - are a different beast.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 05-01-22, 01:03 PM
  #47  
Calsun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 469
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 190 Post(s)
Liked 103 Times in 82 Posts
Shifter cables should never break but there are the cheap type and the "expensive" type ($5 more per cable) with the latter being thicker and having more metal strands. Standard Campagnolo cables were thicker than average and rarely broke. It is important to be sure that the cable housing does not have any sharp edges and to file them down if present. The housing has a metal core and when cut to length there can be sharp edges that can quickly abrade the wire cable.
Calsun is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 01:29 PM
  #48  
MoAlpha
ē ó
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 9,847

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8204 Post(s)
Liked 4,250 Times in 2,284 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I wish all of the folks offering data points would also list their shifters, as you have. I don't think I ever broke a cable on downtube shifters, but integrated brake/shifter levers - especially with cables under the bar tape - are a different beast.
So long ago, but I’m pretty sure I’ve broken cables on downtube shifters after years of gross neglect. I certainly remember replacing them. Wire hates tight radii.
MoAlpha is offline  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 05-01-22, 02:22 PM
  #49  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 38,229

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 352 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19684 Post(s)
Liked 8,198 Times in 4,133 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I wish all of the folks offering data points would also list their shifters, as you have.
My most recent episode was a couple of weeks ago, when it stopped shifting to the smallest cog. Being lunkheaded, my first thought was to adjust the limit screw, which allowed it to shift normally. About 20 miles in to the next ride, it stopped shifting to the three smallest cogs and I realized what was happening. This was at ~10k miles on 8000 series levers. 5700 and 6800 was worse.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 05-01-22, 02:26 PM
  #50  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: TC, MN
Posts: 38,229

Bikes: R3 Disc, Haanjo

Mentioned: 352 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19684 Post(s)
Liked 8,198 Times in 4,133 Posts
Originally Posted by Calsun View Post
Shifter cables should never break but there are the cheap type and the "expensive" type ($5 more per cable) with the latter being thicker and having more metal strands. Standard Campagnolo cables were thicker than average and rarely broke. It is important to be sure that the cable housing does not have any sharp edges and to file them down if present. The housing has a metal core and when cut to length there can be sharp edges that can quickly abrade the wire cable.
Recent Shimano, with under-the-tape routing, typically start to fray at the first bend of the cable, within the lever body and well before it reaches any housing.
WhyFi is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.