When do you replace shifter cable housing?
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  1. #1
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    When do you replace shifter cable housing?

    So the r.o.t. I have always heard for replacing shifter housing that isn't physically damaged is when the plastic out cover has pulled away from inner cables a significant amount. What I don't know really, is how much "significant" is. Also if the cables are long enough can you just trim the ends off a small amount and reuse?

  2. #2
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    I replace mine every March, right before racing starts and, hopefully, after most of the spring training in the rain.
    “It is just a ‘Game Boy’ that has a gigolo attached at the end telling the racer when to take a piss,” Hinault

  3. #3
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    Do you check the cable ends? How far back has the plastic cover pulled back from the wires?

  4. #4
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    replace the housing when you replace the cables. the liner inside the housing is where the wear takes place. if you ride 'a lot' then twice a year is good. not so much, once a year.
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  5. #5
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    If your not racing then why twice a year? I ride about 5,000 miles a year, not a lot, but average, I haven't replaced a cable or it's housing in 3 years and they still work fine. Maybe it's because I don't shift or brake so I replace my shoes instead!

    Seriously, why so often? It's a waste of money. Their not all the expensive but twice a year along with other stuff will nickle and dime you to death. If you maintain the cable with a dab of grease at the entrance of the cable into the housing. Here's a video on how to maintain the cables, if you do this as often as you lube your chain there's no reason the cables can't last 10 years or more! see: How to Lubricate Brake and Shift Cables - Bicycle Tutor Video

    I have bikes that the cables are over 15 years old and work just fine and look just fine. If it's still smoothly working and are intact then don't waste your money, maintain them instead.
    Last edited by froze; 09-14-2011 at 01:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    If your not racing then why twice a year? I ride about 5,000 miles a year, not a lot, but average, I haven't replaced a cable or it's housing in 3 years and they still work fine. Maybe it's because I don't shift or brake so I replace my shoes instead!

    Seriously, why so often? It's a waste of money. They're not all the expensive but twice a year along with other stuff will nickle and dime you to death. If you maintain the cable with a dab of grease at the entrance of the cable into the housing. Here's a video on how to maintain the cables, if you do this as often as you lube your chain there's no reason the cables can't last 10 years or more! see: How to Lubricate Brake and Shift Cables - Bicycle Tutor Video

    I have bikes that the cables are over 15 years old and work just fine and look just fine. If it's still smoothly working and are intact then don't waste your money, maintain them instead.
    fixed that for you. and you don't need to tell me how to maintain cables and housing. i've got just a bit of experience w/ that. if you think cables can last 10 years, i'm not even going to waste my time setting you straight.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    fixed that for you. and you don't need to tell me how to maintain cables and housing. i've got just a bit of experience w/ that. if you think cables can last 10 years, i'm not even going to waste my time setting you straight.
    You missed the first "your," an "it's," and a few commas, n00bsauce.
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  8. #8
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138 View Post
    You missed the first "your," an "it's," and a few commas, n00bsauce.
    dammit dammit dammit...you ALWAYS get me!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    fixed that for you. and you don't need to tell me how to maintain cables and housing. i've got just a bit of experience w/ that. if you think cables can last 10 years, i'm not even going to waste my time setting you straight.
    Your right, they don't last that long, I have no clue about cables after 40+ years of riding, I'm just an idiot riding on time bombs waiting for one to break so I can die.

    Wait let me rephrase that; Yous writ, thes dant las tat long. I gots no klue abots kables afturd 4o yars of reddin, Is jus an idot reddin on time bombs waiten fer one to brak so Is can dye.

  10. #10
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    look, i know lots of people that 'ride' a ton. that doesn't mean they know jack about how things work or how they wear. i work on bikes for a living and have for a looong time. i've worked for more pro teams than you can count on both hands. if you run cables in modern shifters for more than a year or maybe 2 and you ride regularly, you're asking for them to break inside the shifter. if you can't afford to replace cables and housing once a year, ride a fixed gear. if you want to ride a lot, there is certain maintenance that needs to be done. you can think whatever you want based on your experience. i'm telling you the proper way to do things.
    I work for some bike racers
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  11. #11
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    that's fine, but I too know how to check my cables, that's why I've never had one break in over 40 years of riding. But your answer is typical of what I would expect from someone who works for an LBS. Pro riding is a bit different, but they get new bikes every year if not more, next I'll be hearing we should be doing the same thing and replace our bikes every year because I worked with pros and that's how they do it.

  12. #12
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    i figured this would go like this. your position is based on your experience. that's fine. mine is based on working on literally hundreds of bikes a year. yes, i get a unique perspective working on pro team bikes, but that has nothing to do w/ my service advice. i threw that in there because i didn't get where i am today by being a hack teenage lbs mechanic. i take pride in what i do, and i make sure the bikes i sell and service are maintained to the best of my ability because i don't want any of my customers to get stranded out on the road...and it does happen, trust me. "oh, i just had the cables done last year..." says the guy w/ the head of the cable stuck in the shifter and the rest of the cable in his pocket. and that happened today...

    here's the shifter
    Last edited by cxwrench; 09-14-2011 at 03:39 PM.
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  13. #13
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    I replace mine in the winter when I don't want to ride in the snow and crud. It gives me something to do with my bike since it isn't being ridden. I run from November to February, so replacing tubes, cables, and tearing the bike down is my extent of road biking.
    Cyclists really need to learn a little Rule #5.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    i figured this would go like this. your position is based on your experience. that's fine. mine is based on working on literally hundreds of bikes a year. yes, i get a unique perspective working on pro team bikes, but that has nothing to do w/ my service advice. i threw that in there because i didn't get where i am today by being a hack teenage lbs mechanic. i take pride in what i do, and i make sure the bikes i sell and service are maintained to the best of my ability because i don't want any of my customers to get stranded out on the road...and it does happen, trust me. "oh, i just had the cables done last year..." says the guy w/ the head of the cable stuck in the shifter and the rest of the cable in his pocket. and that happened today...

    here's the shifter
    Ok, so what does a picture prove? It proved the rider of the bike didn't maintain the bike. He should have replaced the cable. None of my cables ever get that bad. But somehow you think all my cables look like that and hence I'm riding a time bomb. Right! And was the lever system checked to make sure something wasn't causing the fraying besides just plain cable wear?

    But in the essence that you have a liability problem with customers then yes, it behooves you to bring into question issues. But to replace a cable that is in perfect shape is all about LBS profits. And you have a lot of customers who don't have a clue how to maintain their bikes that's why they bring them to you, and the excuse of: " I just had my cables replaced last year," is proof that there's a guy who never looked at them and wouldn't know what to look for if he did!!

    So again we're at odds.

    Please don't think I have something against you as a person, for some reason these type of posts always seem to deteriorate to that level of mentality. I don't know you at all and have nothing against you, I've never followed you around from to post to post to cause an argument with you; I'm taking issue with over preventative care that isn't necessary IF, I did capitalize that for emphasis, IF a person knows what their doing with their bikes and use quality cables, then cables should last a while longer then 1 or 2 years.

    When I use to MTB ride I had more problems with cables then on road bikes, and usually I did have to replace those once a year and sometimes sooner. But again, watchful maintenance prevented cable breakage or failure.

  15. #15
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Ok, so what does a picture prove? It proved the rider of the bike didn't maintain the bike. He should have replaced the cable. None of my cables ever get that bad. But somehow you think all my cables look like that and hence I'm riding a time bomb. Right!

    But in the essence that you have a liability problem with customers then yes, it behooves you to bring into question issues. But to replace a cable that is in perfect shape is all about LBS profits. And you have a lot of customers who don't have a clue how to maintain their bikes that's why they bring them to you, and the excuse of: " I just had my cables replaced last year," is proof that there's a guy who never looked at them and wouldn't know what to look for if he did!!

    So again we're at odds.

    Please don't think I have something against you as a person, for some reason these type of posts always seem to deteriorate to that level of mentality. I don't know you at all and have nothing against you, I've never followed you around from to post to post to cause an argument with you; I'm taking issue with over preventative care that isn't necessary IF, I did capitalize that for emphasis, IF a person knows what their doing with their bikes and use quality cables, then cables should last a while longer then 1 or 2 years.

    When I use to MTB ride I had more problems with cables then on road bikes, and usually I did have to replace those once a year and sometimes sooner. But again, watchful maintenance prevented cable breakage or failure.
    ok, this is sounding a little better. but in your first reply you said cables could last 10yrs. if the bike gets ridden w/ any regularity (and we're on a bike forum, so we expect that) there is no way a cable in a modern shifter will survive that long. that one in the photo is 11mos old, ridden a lot, but not daily as the owner is a mtb racer.
    i said nothing about replacing cables that are in perfect shape, you're saying that. we check them all before we recommend replacing them. i don't know what kind of lbs exeriences you've had, but they seem to have soured you a bit. of course we're in business to make money, but we don't make **** up about our customers bikes so that we can make more money. i just think you should take care when you recommend something to a stranger on the internet that has no idea about bike maintenance. you have obviously had your own personal experience w/ your equipment, and i have had mine. being that i don't just work on my own bike, i see more in a month than you might see in years of your own riding. nothing wrong w/ that, but you have to admit it does limit your view of things that can happen. maybe we should just leave it at this and not bother everyone w/ our differences.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    ok, this is sounding a little better. but in your first reply you said cables could last 10yrs. if the bike gets ridden w/ any regularity (and we're on a bike forum, so we expect that) there is no way a cable in a modern shifter will survive that long. that one in the photo is 11mos old, ridden a lot, but not daily as the owner is a mtb racer.
    i said nothing about replacing cables that are in perfect shape, you're saying that. we check them all before we recommend replacing them. i don't know what kind of lbs exeriences you've had, but they seem to have soured you a bit. of course we're in business to make money, but we don't make **** up about our customers bikes so that we can make more money. i just think you should take care when you recommend something to a stranger on the internet that has no idea about bike maintenance. you have obviously had your own personal experience w/ your equipment, and i have had mine. being that i don't just work on my own bike, i see more in a month than you might see in years of your own riding. nothing wrong w/ that, but you have to admit it does limit your view of things that can happen. maybe we should just leave it at this and not bother everyone w/ our differences.
    I'm good with this, I too assume you were saying that you automatically replace perfectly good customers cables every year. This I found to be extreme...especially for road bikes. But now your making more sense and before I wasn't making enough sense. So we have no ill differences, never did.

  17. #17
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    How come no one corrected nickel?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicyclerepairman View Post
    How come no one corrected nickel?
    Huh??

  19. #19
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    Just like all those unnecessary repair and maintenance in a car shop. It is all about make $$$.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by edle View Post
    Just like all those unnecessary repair and maintenance in a car shop. It is all about make $$$.
    Of course, but unlike a car most people can check visually if a cable is going bad, or teeth on gears are worn, etc; I never replace either brake or derailleur cables every year, in fact my cables last many year, on my newest bike I bought in 13 and have about 12,000 miles on it I have yet to change the cables and they look just fine, I have another bike that's never had it's cables replaced since 84...but that one hasn't been ridden much, so the example here is that age doesn't matter. I've done this way for years and never had a cable break on me; even when I use to race I didn't change the cables every season. Now there was a year or two of DA briftor that made the cable take an odd turn which frayed the cable in short order like 4 to 6 month short, but for all other systems there is no reason to swap out cables every year; if you're a pro racer then fine, but you get that done for free anyways.

    A person can simply Youtube videos on how to check bicycle cables, how to check bicycle chain wear, how to check bicycle gear wear, etc, etc.

  21. #21
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    When do you replace shifter cable housing?-threadnecro.jpg

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by edle View Post
    Just like all those unnecessary repair and maintenance in a car shop. It is all about make $$$.
    You may think it's unnecessary right now, until it happens to you. That's why it's called PREVENTATIVE maintenance.
    You can't fix stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frdfandc View Post
    You may think it's unnecessary right now, until it happens to you. That's why it's called PREVENTATIVE maintenance.
    Those are over preventative maintenance and which is not necessary.
    Only justify if u are a professional cyclist.

    Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by edle View Post
    Those are over preventative maintenance and which is not necessary.
    Only justify if u are a professional cyclist.

    Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk

    How is it over preventative maintenance? The cable goes through cycles of bending, ingestion of dirt and grime, and with the advent of cables having a coating, the coating wears off and clogs up the housing, causing shifting to deteriorate. I'm not advocating changing cables every year unless you are riding a ton of miles, but every couple of years does wonders.

    I've seen it personally with my own bikes and on customer bikes. On my mountain bike, I change the cables every year. My road bike is every 2 years. There is a difference in the shifting quality. With customer bikes, I've always received the "Wow, it shifts so much better" claims after cables are replaced.

    I guess repacking hubs with fresh grease every year or two (loose bearing style) is over preventative as well, considering the minimal amount of grease that is placed in the hubs from the factory. Or replacing handle bar tape with fresh after a year or two because it's worn down in spots and it gives you a chance to inspect the handle bar for corrosion from sweat. Or changing a chain when it reaches .75 on a chain measuring tool or 12 1/18 inch on a ruler to prolong cassette and chain ring life.
    You can't fix stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeDaddio

    I kind of wish it were legal to staple people in the face.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by edle View Post
    Those are over preventative maintenance and which is not necessary.
    Only justify if u are a professional cyclist.

    Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk
    You are wrong, don't know what else to say.
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