Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 157
  1. #1
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    11,892

    That cable-breaking-in-the-shifter thing...

    Anyone that's been on this forum for a while knows that I rarely start a thread, the vast majority of my posts are answering questions and being an opinionated jerk. But, seeing as how this subject has come up recently and people have widely varied thoughts on the matter, here's what I'm dealing with currently.

    This bike was new in May. The owner is a Cat 2 masters road racers, probably averages 6-8000mi a year. He brought his D/A 9000 bike in yesterday w/ a 'shifting problem'. I didn't take it in, one of my co-workers did and he figured it was a broken cable.

    I put the bike in my stand this morning and sure enough...rear derailleur cable was broken in the shifter. Not a big deal, it's pretty easy although somewhat time consuming to remove them from the new style levers. To be clear, there was no fraying on the brake cable, but the coating was toast and it had to come out anyway. The cables were the 'new' polymer coated fancy schmancy ones. See the attached photos and you'll see 2 things...the polymer is pretty shredded and the cable frayed badly then broke.

    Overview of cables w/ coating



    Close up of derailleur cable/coating



    Same of the brake cable



    2 shots of the cable end still in the shifter





    The head of the cable after removing it from the shifter



    Discuss...not there is anything to really talk about, it's pretty clear what happened and how little time/mileage it took for it to fray.
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  2. #2
    Idiot at large
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    5,464
    is that the "superior" Shimano coated cables?

    My Jagwire cables are coated with its teflon-whatever coating... some sort of dipped in coating... so at least I'm confidence I'm won't see that on my bike
    2010 Specialized Secteur Elite with the RBR not-approved Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er upgraded to SRAM X9 with 1x10 and Stan's Arch EX rims and tubeless.
    2013 Cannondale CAADX-6 Tiagra with 9-speed SLX RD to run 11-32T cassette and Stan's Alpha 400 rims and tubeless
    and
    Some Burton snowboard setups, one with stiff ol' Camber and one with Rocker-Camber-Rocker

  3. #3
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    10,240
    Ask him how long ago he noticed his shifting was getting crappy.
    I imagine that polymer "gunk" hand to have been causing drag and slow shifting.

    I've never used the polymer coated cables. Always thought something like that could/would happen.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,347
    Shimano's design with the pulley across the lever requires a small pulley. So the cable is going to break. I go through rear shifter cables roughly every 3k miles on my 7800 bikes. I shift a lot. On my Red equipped bike I have changed the cables yearly even though they don't look worn

    It looks like they improved access to the cable and mechanism on 9000. Handy if the cable fully breaks and drops bits into the shifter.

  5. #5
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    11,892
    It took a while for him to figure out it was something that couldn't be adjusted. In the mean time, snap. The new 11 speed shifters are MUCH easier to remove cable heads from, you remove 1 screw and then 2 covers come off allowing easy removal.

    The one thing that blows me away is how much these silly cables cost. MSRP for shift cables/housing set is $55.99?!? Are you freaking kidding me?
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  6. #6
    Matnlely Dregaend
    Reputation: DrSmile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,634
    Is this some sort of guerrilla marketing for DI2 with hydraulic brakes?
    “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” - Susan B. Anthony 1896
    "Cycling and ethical bankruptcy have always gone together." - Bike Snob NYC
    "White personifies this generation's obsession with superficiality, one in which a carefully curated social media post is more important than the actual ride" - Daimeon Shanks
    "I haven't %^&* like that since I was an altar boy" Hank Moody

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: ibericb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    4,578
    Q: Is a coating necessary to prevent the cables from being worn/fraying? If so, the whatever is being used for the coating wasn't up to the task, at least on this cable set.

    As a retired materials guy, I'd be wondering what polymer was used for the coating. It looks like it fails by fibrillating, which makes me suspect it might be an LCP (e.g. Vectra).
    "When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments."
    -Elizabeth Howard West

    Never use your face as a brake pad.”
    -Jake Watson

  8. #8
    Forever a Student
    Reputation: MMsRepBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    4,741
    No. The coating is only there to help the cable because of tight bends it has to encounter with today's setups. It's not there to protect the cable or anything, it's just for friction at bends.

    It being all frayed and such has zero impact on anything that I'm aware of. It's not failing in any sort of way, this is how it is. When scraped away, it frays off. Shimano says there's no worry about that happening.

    About the cable snapping in the shifter, well this an old issue. It's about the design of the shifters and like posted above it's about guaranteed to happen eventually. And also like posted Shimano knows this and has made it as easy as they can to replace the cable.

    I don't see anything at all out of the ordinary or that is cause for concern here.
    use a torque wrench

  9. #9
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    11,892
    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmile View Post
    Is this some sort of guerrilla marketing for DI2 with hydraulic brakes?
    We have a winner!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by ibericb View Post
    Q: Is a coating necessary to prevent the cables from being worn/fraying? If so, the whatever is being used for the coating wasn't up to the task, at least on this cable set.

    As a retired materials guy, I'd be wondering what polymer was used for the coating. It looks like it fails by fibrillating, which makes me suspect it might be an LCP (e.g. Vectra).
    No, it's just a friction reducing thing. You can't (at least I can't) expect a coating to keep the actual structure of the cable from fatiguing, right? No matter how smooth the outside of the cable is, the strands will still fatigue and break from exceeding their cycle limit, correct?
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: ibericb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    4,578
    So what is a reasonable expected lifetime for these cables?
    "When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments."
    -Elizabeth Howard West

    Never use your face as a brake pad.”
    -Jake Watson

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: ibericb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    4,578
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    No, it's just a friction reducing thing. You can't (at least I can't) expect a coating to keep the actual structure of the cable from fatiguing, right? No matter how smooth the outside of the cable is, the strands will still fatigue and break from exceeding their cycle limit, correct?
    Correct. My thinking was the new coating (vs. PTFE) was being used to reduce wear/tear on the cable as a solid lubricant. It would take a very unusual polymer to do that, enduring better than the underlying steel.
    "When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments."
    -Elizabeth Howard West

    Never use your face as a brake pad.”
    -Jake Watson

  12. #12
    Idiot at large
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    5,464
    Bike Test Reviews | CABLESETS ? Part 4: SHIMANO BC-9000

    So it says... the polymer wrap traps lube better
    2010 Specialized Secteur Elite with the RBR not-approved Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheelset
    2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29er upgraded to SRAM X9 with 1x10 and Stan's Arch EX rims and tubeless.
    2013 Cannondale CAADX-6 Tiagra with 9-speed SLX RD to run 11-32T cassette and Stan's Alpha 400 rims and tubeless
    and
    Some Burton snowboard setups, one with stiff ol' Camber and one with Rocker-Camber-Rocker

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,347
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    It took a while for him to figure out it was something that couldn't be adjusted.
    I've had enough start fraying on me to learn the symptoms: shifting gets erratic in the middle cogs. Not every time, just some times, it won't shift when I move the lever, then will double shift if I move the lever again. Usually starts on downshifts.

    I've only had one FD cable go and that just broke clean in half when I was shifting to the big ring. No warning.

  14. #14
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    11,892
    Quote Originally Posted by MMsRepBike View Post
    No. The coating is only there to help the cable because of tight bends it has to encounter with today's setups. It's not there to protect the cable or anything, it's just for friction at bends.

    It being all frayed and such has zero impact on anything that I'm aware of. It's not failing in any sort of way, this is how it is. When scraped away, it frays off. Shimano says there's no worry about that happening.

    About the cable snapping in the shifter, well this an old issue. It's about the design of the shifters and like posted above it's about guaranteed to happen eventually. And also like posted Shimano knows this and has made it as easy as they can to replace the cable.

    I don't see anything at all out of the ordinary or that is cause for concern here.
    I never meant this as a 'hey, look what I found' type of post, but more of a 'see, I told you this will happen' for the guys that say they have had cables/housing for 3 years and everything is 'just fine'. I can't imagine that having the polymer coating coming off like that in high friction areas has 'zero impact'. It has to clog up in the housing liner at least a little, I'd also consider that to be a failure of the polymer...it's supposed to be on the cable, not falling off and clogging up the housing. It's definitely not out of the ordinary, it happens all the time, nor is it cause for concern...it's just an advisory post for people on here that think it won't happen. I figured since I had such a perfect example to post about that I would.
    I do agree that Shimano has made progress in making it pretty easy to replace the cable on the newer shifters. MUCH better than the previous edition, nearly as easy as the 7700.
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,658
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Discuss...not there is anything to really talk about, it's pretty clear what happened and how little time/mileage it took for it to fray.
    1. Cables fail like that due to fatigue going around tight bends like the shifter drum

    2. More shifting means failures in fewer miles. I ride tight cassettes, shift like I have ADHD for metronomic cadence, and got 4000-5000 miles out of my right pointy-hood Campagnolo ergo lever shift cables.

    3. It's worse with newer shifters that have a 90-degree turn built into the lever body. I get 2500 miles out of OEM right Campagnolo Ultrashift shift cables.

    4. Shifting to smaller cogs gets noticeably sluggish and/or takes reduced cable tension before the cable breaks all the way. You just need to pay attention.

    5. Old-fashioned unlined housings seemed to last almost indefinitely with the rear loop gunking up first; new fangled plastic lined housings seem to make it about 5000 miles for me before the section under the bar tape goes high-friction with the same symptoms as a frayed cable.

    6. A bent hanger or derailleur cage which ultimately leads to a broken derailleur in your spokes is another problem which resolves with less cable tension, so you really want to see what's happening and fix it.

    7. It's super easy to check. Shift into your big cog, stop cranking, shift to the small cog to make slack, free the rear housing, and push the excess cable through the shifter. You can flex the cable to look for broken strands if it's not yet obvious and see how freely it moves in the housing.

    This is what 2637 miles of wear looks like for me - cable flexed to reveal all the broken strands, there was only one showing when I pushed it out of my shifter to check because I noticed sluggish shifts to the next smaller cog and needed to reduce tension.


    Attachment 303215
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 01-22-2015 at 06:16 PM.

  16. #16
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    11,892
    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    1. Cables fail like that due to fatigue going around tight bends like the shifter drum

    2. More shifting means failures in fewer miles. I got 4000-5000 miles out of my right pointy-hood Campagnolo ergo lever shift cable.

    3. It's worse with newer shifters that have a 90-degree turn built into the lever body. I get 2500 miles out of OEM right Campagnolo Ultrashift shift cables.

    4. Shifting to smaller cogs gets noticeably sluggish and/or takes reduced cable tension before the cable breaks all the way. You just need to pay attention

    This is what 2637 miles of wear looks like:


    Attachment 303215
    ^ Yep, all of this ^
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    3,153
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Anyone that's been on this forum for a while knows that I rarely start a thread, the vast majority of my posts are answering questions and being an opinionated jerk. But, seeing as how this subject has come up recently and people have widely varied thoughts on the matter, here's what I'm dealing with currently.

    This bike was new in May. The owner is a Cat 2 masters road racers, probably averages 6-8000mi a year. He brought his D/A 9000 bike in yesterday w/ a 'shifting problem'. I didn't take it in, one of my co-workers did and he figured it was a broken cable.

    I put the bike in my stand this morning and sure enough...rear derailleur cable was broken in the shifter. Not a big deal, it's pretty easy although somewhat time consuming to remove them from the new style levers. To be clear, there was no fraying on the brake cable, but the coating was toast and it had to come out anyway. The cables were the 'new' polymer coated fancy schmancy ones. See the attached photos and you'll see 2 things...the polymer is pretty shredded and the cable frayed badly then broke.

    Overview of cables w/ coating



    Close up of derailleur cable/coating



    Same of the brake cable



    2 shots of the cable end still in the shifter





    The head of the cable after removing it from the shifter



    Discuss...not there is anything to really talk about, it's pretty clear what happened and how little time/mileage it took for it to fray.
    Happened to me on my 6800 after about 4,000 miles, which is very similar in design to the 9000. I've ridden my 6500 for over a decade and the closest I came to something like this was stretched cables which I finally replaced a few months ago. Big fan of the 6800 but this is a troubling item, and I have not heard Shimano address the issue. If they don't address it and it recurs I may entertain switching to Campy. Nine months of the year I frequently go out on weekly century rides and I not want to worry about cables snapping.

  18. #18
    Höchstgeschwindigkeit
    Reputation: mimason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,378
    I had the 9000 cable fray and break inside the rear shifter too. After consulting Shimano they warrantied a replacement entire right lever. They would not warranty the left side since it did not break but Im certain the same issue exists but I just shift so much less on the FD. This was back in May '14.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails That cable-breaking-in-the-shifter thing...-img_1465.jpg  
    Last edited by mimason; 01-22-2015 at 06:11 PM.

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,658
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    It took a while for him to figure out it was something that couldn't be adjusted. In the mean time, snap. The new 11 speed shifters are MUCH easier to remove cable heads from, you remove 1 screw and then 2 covers come off allowing easy removal.

    The one thing that blows me away is how much these silly cables cost. MSRP for shift cables/housing set is $55.99?!? Are you freaking kidding me?
    It's consistent with $100 cassettes.

    Of course, the right shift cable wears fastest so you don't need to replace a whole set, and inner fails before the outer so you can replace it separately. If you're taking the trouble to drive to a shop and paying for labor you might as well replace cable and housing at the same time; although as a DIY person it's super convenient to just replace the cable without even unwrapping the bar tape and only deal with the housing on alternate replacements.

    Shimano brand PTFE SIL-TEC cables can be found for $8 each in the UK.

    Shimano Road-MTB PTFE SIL-TEC Inner Gear Cable | Chain Reaction Cycles

    A 10M roll of SIS-SP41 housing is $24 which is $0.72 a foot (domestic this time).

    Shimano SIS SP41 Gear Housing 4mm x 10M For 1.2mm Cable Black

    and other brands have less expensive PTFE coated cables

    Sunlite Shift Cables - 1.1 x 2000 (79), Stainless, PTFE, for Shimano/Campagnolo

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    3,153
    Quote Originally Posted by mimason View Post
    I had the 9000 cable fray and break inside the rear shifter too. After consulting Shimano they warrantied a replacement entire right lever. They would not warranty the left side since it did not break but Im certain the same issue exists but I just shift so much less on the FD. This was a little over a year ago.
    My issue was on the right as well. I assume it's due to the increase use of the RD.

  21. #21
    Pathlete and Pedalphile
    Reputation: redondoaveb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,915
    Weird, I've never had this happen to my shifter cable. Mine shifts perfect all the time. Oh, that's right, I run Sram.
    If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2,471
    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmile View Post
    Is this some sort of guerrilla marketing for DI2 with hydraulic brakes?
    My first thought as well, but what do I know

  23. #23
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    11,892
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek_5200 View Post
    Happened to me on my 6800 after about 4,000 miles, which is very similar in design to the 9000. I've ridden my 6500 for over a decade and the closest I came to something like this was stretched cables which I finally replaced a few months ago. Big fan of the 6800 but this is a troubling item, and I have not heard Shimano address the issue. If they don't address it and it recurs I may entertain switching to Campy. Nine months of the year I frequently go out on weekly century rides and I not want to worry about cables snapping.
    Replace them every 6 mos and you shouldn't have anything to worry about. Welcome to 2015.


    And 11 speed.



    Newer is always better, hey?
    I work for some bike racers
    I've got some bikes, some guns,
    and a bunch of skateboards

  24. #24
    tlg
    tlg is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: tlg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    10,240
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    The new 11 speed shifters are MUCH easier to remove cable heads from, you remove 1 screw and then 2 covers come off allowing easy removal.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek_5200 View Post
    Big fan of the 6800 but this is a troubling item, and I have not heard Shimano address the issue. If they don't address it and it recurs I may entertain switching to Campy.
    They did address it. See cx's post above. They made it easier to repair the failure... rather than do something to prevent the failure.
    Custom Di2 & Garmin/GoPro mounts 2013 SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Team * 2004 Klein Aura V

  25. #25
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: upstateSC-rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,494
    I've gone about 6k miles (about 2 years at the time) before replacing cables on my 6700 bike.
    Started hearing these horror stories of cables breaking in the shifter and now change them annually, about 3.5k miles.
    I consider it a small price to pay for not having to deal with sram.
    In reference to the Assault on Mt Mitchell...
    Quote Originally Posted by merckx56
    The easier solution is to find a biker bar in Spartanburg the night before, go in and pick a fight. The ass-whipping you'll get will be far less painful than the one Mitchell will give you the next day!

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Having a problem threading shifter cable on a rear 6700 Ultegra shifter?
    By Haystack Calhoun in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-08-2015, 11:44 AM
  2. Help! shifter cable end stuck in cable stop.
    By norman.j.singh in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-11-2013, 12:20 PM
  3. Cable breaking
    By orthobiker in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11-25-2009, 05:23 PM
  4. Shifter Cable Head Stuck in Shifter
    By bent_spoke in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-02-2009, 12:41 PM
  5. Shifter Cable Broke - No sign of the cable end
    By VinPaysDoc in forum Components, Wrenching
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-27-2008, 06:28 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •