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When Do You Replace Shifter Cables?

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When Do You Replace Shifter Cables?

Old 05-01-22, 02:30 PM
  #51  
WhyFi
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Do I detect a note, a hint, a whiff... of sarcasm?
From me? Nooooo.
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Old 05-01-22, 02:58 PM
  #52  
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I replace them when the shifting starts feeling funky
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Old 05-01-22, 03:39 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
Interesting. I'm definitely a novice compared with you. I've been riding less than five years. But with two cable breaks in less than three years on this bike, I was thinking that this must be fairly common. Maybe I've just had some bad luck and cable breaks are less common than I was thinking.
2 times in 3 yrs - is the break on the same shifter and in the same location? You need to check on anything which might cause a kink or rubbing...
as for length of service life - dependz...
how much cable exposed, the type of conditions/weather in which you ride, quality of the shifter cable housing, quality of the cable.
I've found a couple areas, where shifters cable will result in quicker wear and possible earlier break - two are at or near the Derailleurs and the other is where the cables run under the BB and then are routed either up to the FD or back to the RD. At the RD, I've seen where the final cable housing loops from the chainstay to the RD - much too short of a cable housing, causing kink and excess wear at the junction of the housing to the RD body. At the FD, the cable is often exposed to the worst of environmental conditions - will wear faster, same at the BB and where the cable is routed back or up.
Check reasonably frequently and you won't be surprised by a cable break.
I live in Central/So Cal, so cables in frequently used bikes get replaced yearly, in the late spring, after what we call 'winter'. Cable housing gets replaced on every 2 yrs, but possibly sooner if the shifting shows marked deterioration. I always buy the best cables (cheap cables are cheap and don;t work as well, last as long) always buy branded Cable Shifter Housing - you can buy the cheap stuff, but I've only ever seen problems where cheap housing is often implicated in shifting problems and failures.
A good quality cable shifting system is as good as anything electronic, if it's put together properly, with good quality parts and maintained reasonably..
All my bikes, except for the recent 2 acquisitions (one mtb and one gravel) have/use exposed cables/and cable housing, except for a few where the run at the bars is under the tape.
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 05-01-22, 03:50 PM
  #54  
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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.
No, Campy cables have always been 1.2mm just like Shimano. Ideally cables wouldn't fray/break but they do and there's not much we can do about other than replace them before it happens. And no, the cable never touches the metal inside shift housing.

Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
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.
Please, show me where I "insisted that modern shifters are a good design". Please, quote it if you can find it. Using the same cables on 3 bikes, especially ones ridden that much is not only dumb, you're being unbelievably cheap.
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
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.
^This^.
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Old 05-01-22, 04:54 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
400,000 career miles. Never broke a shifter cable.
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
When I was doing 12,000 miles a year work did take a bit of a back seat. But was still working forty hours.
Now I'm curious: how long have you been riding?
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Old 05-01-22, 05:11 PM
  #56  
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Like 63Rickert, I have never broken a shift or brake cable either although my highest mileage years were well North of 12,000. I also don't skimp on the quality of them.

They are PM items pure and simple.
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Old 05-01-22, 07:37 PM
  #57  
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Sram eTap, so no shifter cables.

Brake cables have over 32,000 miles on them and work like new.
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Old 05-01-22, 07:51 PM
  #58  
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Frayed cables!
This is a common problem with the modern shifters that route shift cables under the bar tape. There's a 90 degree curve inside the shifter body. (And some Sram rear derailleurs have a curved cable guide too, and this frayed on a local rider's bike.) The bending that happens while the cable moves when shifting gears eventually starts breaking strands.

My older 10 speed Campagnolo and 10,11 speed Shimano all do this. I broke official Campagnolo cables twice. I didn't learn my lesson the first time, I guess. I do my own cables, and carefully grind the ends of the housing flat -- there's no sharp edges. And the frayed part is always at the bend in the shifter.

It's the second most common "mechanical" after a flat tire!

Symptoms
For just a ride or two, the partly frayed cable starts getting noisy shifts, or missed shifts to a larger cog, or hesitant smaller cog shifts. Turn the adjuster barrel -- it's better for a brief time, then needs more adjustment. Now, usually in the same ride, the last couple of strands break. The derailleur goes to the smallest cog since there's no cable tension.

It's possible to inspect the bend on at least some shifter designs, but you have to pull back the hood to see. Checking weekly would be a way to extend the cable life quite a bit. Replace at the first broken strand?

Replacement:
For riders that shift quite often: Maybe 2500-3000 miles? The cables might last a whole year, it's somewhat unpredictable.
I usually just replaced the shifter wire, then replaced housing+wire every other time. Shift wires are cheap and it's easy to thread them through without needing to remove bar tape, etc. I rarely change the front cable, it's shifted once for every 500 or 1000 rear shifts, I think.

BUT!! if your cables run inside the frame, it's way more complicated. Essentially, you need to thread a thin guide tube onto the existing cable, then that tube sticks out at both ends of the frame to guide the new wire. Don't just pull it out without this, there's no guides installed inside the frame, and the fix will be annoying.

Last edited by rm -rf; 05-01-22 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 05-02-22, 09:42 AM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Now I'm curious: how long have you been riding?
First bicycle for me was a 1959 Schwinn with 20 inch wheels received for my seventh birthday. At least a dozen kids grew up on that bicycle. Some of them were neighbors kids, I donít have all the names or an accurate count. It was already old when my brother was racing, he used to demonstrate thirty mph on native gearing and the kid size cranks. That bike is still operational though it mostly lives in front of the fireplace. Many original and still functional parts.

This a.m. I rode a bike fitted with a 1930s FB track hub. Axle is a 1970s Tipo. QR is 1960s Campy. I donít ride this stuff because Iím cheap. Ride it because it works. And because it can be serviced. How else would I have a QR track hub?

Shimano has had decades to fix the cable routing problem. They let you solve it with constant cable replacement because they do not care about their customers. Now that Wayne is retired has anyone had any service at all from Shimano? Any time I ever had reason to contact Campagnolo service was immediate, personal, and they gave me more than Iíd have asked. The bicycle division at Campy is a residual legacy line. Not their main business. They still talk to you.
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Old 05-02-22, 09:52 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Now I'm curious: how long have you been riding?
Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
First bicycle for me was a 1959 Schwinn with 20 inch wheels received for my seventh birthday. At least a dozen kids grew up on that bicycle. Some of them were neighbors kids, I donít have all the names or an accurate count. It was already old when my brother was racing, he used to demonstrate thirty mph on native gearing and the kid size cranks. That bike is still operational though it mostly lives in front of the fireplace. Many original and still functional parts.

This a.m. I rode a bike fitted with a 1930s FB track hub. Axle is a 1970s Tipo. QR is 1960s Campy. I donít ride this stuff because Iím cheap. Ride it because it works. And because it can be serviced. How else would I have a QR track hub?

Shimano has had decades to fix the cable routing problem. They let you solve it with constant cable replacement because they do not care about their customers. Now that Wayne is retired has anyone had any service at all from Shimano? Any time I ever had reason to contact Campagnolo service was immediate, personal, and they gave me more than Iíd have asked. The bicycle division at Campy is a residual legacy line. Not their main business. They still talk to you.
It took you a whole lot of words to not answer the question.
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Old 05-02-22, 10:36 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Shimano has had decades to fix the cable routing problem. They let you solve it with constant cable replacement because they do not care about their customers.
You got that all from the service life of a $3 part? I know what's going on the shortlist for your bday present.

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Old 05-02-22, 01:36 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
It took you a whole lot of words to not answer the question.
Your query was answered in the first line of my post.

I thought it was an honest question from an honest person. My mistake.

Disrespecting your elders displays what sort of person you are.
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Old 05-02-22, 02:17 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Your query was answered in the first line of my post.

I thought it was an honest question from an honest person. My mistake.

Disrespecting your elders displays what sort of person you are.
It would've been much simpler and clearer to just answer with "63 years."

And by the way: I don't automatically give respect to anyone -- least of all for mere age. (Speaking of which, what makes you so sure that you are my "elder"?)
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Old 05-02-22, 02:24 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Your query was answered in the first line of my post.

I thought it was an honest question from an honest person. My mistake.

Disrespecting your elders displays what sort of person you are.

No you told us what year your first bike was built, not when you got it.
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Old 05-02-22, 02:36 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
First bicycle for me was a 1959 Schwinn with 20 inch wheels received for my seventh birthday. At least a dozen kids grew up on that bicycle. Some of them were neighbors kids, I donít have all the names or an accurate count. It was already old when my brother was racing, he used to demonstrate thirty mph on native gearing and the kid size cranks. That bike is still operational though it mostly lives in front of the fireplace. Many original and still functional parts.

This a.m. I rode a bike fitted with a 1930s FB track hub. Axle is a 1970s Tipo. QR is 1960s Campy. I donít ride this stuff because Iím cheap. Ride it because it works. And because it can be serviced. How else would I have a QR track hub?

Shimano has had decades to fix the cable routing problem. They let you solve it with constant cable replacement because they do not care about their customers. Now that Wayne is retired has anyone had any service at all from Shimano? Any time I ever had reason to contact Campagnolo service was immediate, personal, and they gave me more than Iíd have asked. The bicycle division at Campy is a residual legacy line. Not their main business. They still talk to you.
First bike in 1959 on your seventh birthday. So, you are 70 years old and have been riding 63 years. Rocket surgery
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Old 05-02-22, 02:49 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
First bike in 1959 on your seventh birthday. So, you are 70 years old and have been riding 63 years. Rocket surgery

Were we supposed to know he was the first of the dozen or so kids to have that bike? Nowhere in there does it say how old the 1959 Schwinn was on his 7th birthday.
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Old 05-02-22, 02:51 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Were we supposed to know he was the first of the dozen or so kids to have that bike? Nowhere in there does it say how old the 1959 Schwinn was on his 7th birthday.
Attorneys.

He should have just said, none of your damned business. The correct response from you and the wild dog would have been, "Wow dude, you've been riding for 63 years and have 400,000 miles......Total Respect" But no.
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Old 05-02-22, 02:57 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Attorneys.

He should have just said, none of your damned business

Or maybe not try to lord it over everybody on some crazy notion of taking down Shimano by telling us how many miles he's ridden.

Sorry, but I've had enough disrespect from that guy and seen him disrespect pretty much everyone on BF that I ain't tripping over myself to defer to him.
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Old 05-02-22, 03:09 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Or maybe not try to lord it over everybody on some crazy notion of taking down Shimano by telling us how many miles he's ridden.
Yes, it's an "appeal to authority" fallacy.

The "respect your elders" argument is even more fallacious, given the known common effects of age on cognitive functions.
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Old 05-02-22, 03:29 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
No you told us what year your first bike was built, not when you got it.
That is splitting hairs and you know it.

You are being plain nasty. Is that why you come here?

Other comments I will not honor by reading them. Expected slightly better from you. Again, my mistake.

Last edited by 63rickert; 05-02-22 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-02-22, 04:53 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Attorneys.

He should have just said, none of your damned business. The correct response from you and the wild dog would have been, "Wow dude, you've been riding for 63 years and have 400,000 miles......Total Respect" But no.
And it sounds like none of that is on the equipment that he's disparaging, so how much weight should we give that experience when it comes to the subject at hand? I'm going with somewhere between, "cool story, bro" and "I take it you want me to get off your lawn?"
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Old 05-02-22, 06:45 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
That's a solid idea...
Understatement of the day.
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Old 05-02-22, 07:11 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
That is splitting hairs and you know it.

You are being plain nasty. Is that why you come here?

Other comments I will not honor by reading them. Expected slightly better from you. Again, my mistake.
Not splitting hairs, it was a very confusing, indirect and rambling answer to a simple question. And I believe that's about the fifth time you've told me you're never going to respond to me again. I guess it's true that memory is the first thing to go.

You've been condescending to a bunch of pretty sharp people in this thread alone (and I'm not referring to myself there). It's your basic MO and I can't decide if it's primarily nasty or comical.
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Old 05-02-22, 07:13 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
It's your basic MO and I can't decide if it's primarily nasty or comical.
That's not necessarily an either/or.
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Old 05-02-22, 07:16 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Yes, it's an "appeal to authority" fallacy.

The "respect your elders" argument is even more fallacious, given the known common effects of age on cognitive functions.

You have to remember that in his day, all the cyclists were real men who rode in a synchronized cadence at 400 rpm on cranks the size of the Delta Queen paddlewheel.
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