Cable maintenance on a bicycle

The cable on a bicycle is a key component to multiple components. It’s used to transfer component commands such as a gear shifter, brakes, etc…

Thickness of cable
Thickness of cable

To increase the life span I recommend to grease it with axle grease. Thus at the start of every season (or once a year) pour the oil in a tube around the cable so that it get’s completely lubricated. Usually what happens is that a part of the cable breaks off. Sometimes the cable can completely brake from this.

The usual life span of a cable on a bicycle is 5 to 10 years. This is of course dependent on maintenance, rain and humidity.

Changing the bicycle cable

Here I will describe how to change the brake cable, but the principle is the same for other cables as well.

Taking out the cable

To take out the cable, we must first free the end that is screwed in. The most common tool for this is a 8 mm wrench. The next step is to take the cable out from the tightness regulator all the way until the tube. Therefore on the second end of the tube we pull the cable 2 to 4 cm, freeing the second end. When both ends are free, pull the end which has a limiter. Use a pair of pliers or something else so you don’t cut yourself.

Placing the cable

Before placing the cable we need to the tube for any damages. After that lubricate the cable with axle grease. The tip of the cable we are pushing in usually isn’t shaped ideally, so it needs to be twisted in by hand. Carefully twist the cable into the tube. When we find and obstacle, retract the cable a bit and try again.

Making the tip of the cable

If you have the original cable, chances are it already has the tip made. The tip of the cable is best made out of melted lead. I will describe the second, more primitive method. For this you will need a small cramp. I am using a light bulb’s neck. Place the cramp at the end of the cable and solder it on so it holds better. After placing the cramp cut off the excess end.

Placing the tip of the cable

First place in the end at the handle. Thus the handle opens and the cable is inserted with it’s thickened end. The cable is held tightened while getting the handle in the normal position. All the elements around the handle should be in their place. The cable is pulled from the other side of the tube. Then the last part of the cable is placed in, being careful it goes through all of it’s elements it should (springs, tighteners, etc…).

Tighten the cable and screw the end in. Therefore the brakes shouldn’t be pressed in, the shifter should be in first gear. When the cable is pressed in, next is tuning. In addition, tuning can be done on both, or just one end of the cable. Tuning is done on the screw with hand, but if you can’t feel free to use pliers.

Read other posts about bicycles on my blog.

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