1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    newb question --> Cables

    okay i have a full sus bike, and i have a 29er hard tail i tried taking the handlebars, mechanical cables, brakes and shifters off it and putting them on my full sus bike i got the fork brakes to work but the shifters and rear brakes dont fit (if i hold the rear brake and push down on the suspension the brake let go) ((its hard to explain)) do i need hydrolic brakes, new cables, can hydrolic brakes replace the mechanical cables with the same brakes and shifters? Please help

  2. #2
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    For everything to run smoothly you should replace the cables & housing. One thing that's critical is to make sure you make perfect/near perfect cuts on the housing and also get the lengths right for your frame. If you make the runs too long or short you'll cause binding and will constantly have issues with shifting and braking (more so with shifting since many brake runs are full length now).

    Here's some info from the Park Tooks website: Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Cutting Cable Housing


    Hydraulic brake lines only work with hydraulic brakes. They normally ship as a complete set (lever, brake line, caliper & rotor). If you're using combo shifter/brake levers you'd have to upgrade your shifters to standalone units if you upgraded to hydrualic brakes since the levers will be seperate.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry_K View Post
    For everything to run smoothly you should replace the cables & housing. One thing that's critical is to make sure you make perfect/near perfect cuts on the housing and also get the lengths right for your frame. If you make the runs too long or short you'll cause binding and will constantly have issues with shifting and braking (more so with shifting since many brake runs are full length now).

    Here's some info from the Park Tooks website: Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Cutting Cable Housing


    Hydraulic brake lines only work with hydraulic brakes. They normally ship as a complete set (lever, brake line, caliper & rotor). If you're using combo shifter/brake levers you'd have to upgrade your shifters to standalone units if you upgraded to hydrualic brakes since the levers will be seperate.
    okay so i don't need hydraulic brakes for a full suspension bike i just need to get the cables "fitted" with the proper housing

  4. #4
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    yup, good cables/housing works wonders! I prefer Jagwire ripcord.

    not the lightest, but the strongest! especially for cable actuated disc brakes!

  5. #5
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    Be sure to take into account the suspension sag; the shifter cable and housing will also have to be cut longer.
    Last edited by Wishful Tomcat; 01-17-2013 at 02:23 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThrillSeeker2 View Post
    (if i hold the rear brake and push down on the suspension the brake let go) ((its hard to explain))
    That almost sounds like you did something wonky with the cable routing so the cable tension is affected by the suspension travel. Got any photos of your progress?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by robselina View Post
    That almost sounds like you did something wonky with the cable routing so the cable tension is affected by the suspension travel. Got any photos of your progress?
    yea i think i just need much longer cables, but ill post some pictures before the day is over

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThrillSeeker2 View Post
    OK. A few comments:

    1) The rear brake housing should go between the frame and the fork stanchion instead of around it, since as you can tell it will either need to be way longer or bind the way it's installed.

    2) Looks like the section of cable housing that goes to the rear brake caliper is too short and you have it jerry-rigged at the moment.

    No offense intended if I'm misreading the situation from the photos, but do you understand the theory of operation for the brake cables? The general idea is that the housing acts as a rigid tube that won't compress. It sits with one side against the brake lever and on the other against the caliper housing. This way, when you pull on the cable with the lever, this tension is transferred to the caliper, actuating the brake. The housing is compressed when tension is applied to the cable, giving you brake actuation.

    The simplest way to implement this is if the housing is single piece from the brake lever to the caliper. (Your front brake is done this way). However, your frame (and many others) allow the housing for the rear brake to be fixed to the frame and the cable to have free spans in between. In this case, the frame is providing the rigidity that would otherwise be supplied by the cable housing alone.

    Your photos give me the impression that you're using tension between the last cable routing hole on the frame and the caliper to get it to to actuate. That's why it releases pressure when you compress the suspension.

    The rear section of brake cable housing should sit against the caliper on one side and in a frame fitting on the other, probably on the top tube. It has to be the right length.

    Any of this making sense or am I barking up the wrong tree?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by robselina View Post
    OK. A few comments:

    1) The rear brake housing should go between the frame and the fork stanchion instead of around it, since as you can tell it will either need to be way longer or bind the way it's installed.

    2) Looks like the section of cable housing that goes to the rear brake caliper is too short and you have it jerry-rigged at the moment.

    No offense intended if I'm misreading the situation from the photos, but do you understand the theory of operation for the brake cables? The general idea is that the housing acts as a rigid tube that won't compress. It sits with one side against the brake lever and on the other against the caliper housing. This way, when you pull on the cable with the lever, this tension is transferred to the caliper, actuating the brake. The housing is compressed when tension is applied to the cable, giving you brake actuation.

    The simplest way to implement this is if the housing is single piece from the brake lever to the caliper. (Your front brake is done this way). However, your frame (and many others) allow the housing for the rear brake to be fixed to the frame and the cable to have free spans in between. In this case, the frame is providing the rigidity that would otherwise be supplied by the cable housing alone.

    Your photos give me the impression that you're using tension between the last cable routing hole on the frame and the caliper to get it to to actuate. That's why it releases pressure when you compress the suspension.

    The rear section of brake cable housing should sit against the caliper on one side and in a frame fitting on the other, probably on the top tube. It has to be the right length.

    Any of this making sense or am I barking up the wrong tree?
    Haha i have a good understanding of what you mean im fairly new at this whole thing and im trying to ghetto rig the **** out of this thing, so basically i should take it to a shop and have the cables "extended?" or would i be better off just telling them to do everything. I mean im eager to learn how this stuff works, but im not sure i can put together a safe bike.

  11. #11
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    The reason your brakes don't work is exactly what Robselina said - the cable needs a rigid housing to push against when it's pulling the caliper against the rotor.

    You're going to need a longer brake cable housing for that rear length. In fact, it won't cost a whole lot to go down to your local bike shop and ask them for a length of brake cable and brake housing. They usually have coils of "standard", "no-brand", "non-fancy" (or whatever you call it) cables and housings in their service dept. Some people like the Jagwire stuff. I invested in a full set once for one of my bikes, and it didn't perform 5x better compared to it's cost. I couldn't justify its price. It's up to you.

    Get some cables and come back and follow along with this video. You should be up and running in no time.
    Replacing Brake Cables - YouTube

  12. #12
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    Zuarte has good advice if you want to try to finish the job.

    I would suggest taking the bike with you to the shop to buy the cables and housing. You can chat with them about it in person - most mechanics I know will give you advice on how to do the repair yourself if you're so inclined.

    You can decide then if it's something you're comfortable doing yourself or not.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThrillSeeker2 View Post
    okay i have a full sus bike, and i have a 29er hard tail i tried taking the handlebars, mechanical cables, brakes and shifters off it and putting them on my full sus bike i got the fork brakes to work but the shifters and rear brakes dont fit (if i hold the rear brake and push down on the suspension the brake let go) ((its hard to explain)) do i need hydrolic brakes, new cables, can hydrolic brakes replace the mechanical cables with the same brakes and shifters? Please help
    Good advice given so far in terms of what you did wrong, here.

    I second the recommendation for running Jagwire Ripcord cables/housing. Makes a HUGE difference with mech disc brakes. It will run you about $15 more, but totally worth it. Run full length housing.

    My last piece of advice is to put some effort into punctuating your sentences. Your post was painful and difficult to read. I know capitals are hard for the younger generation, but how about a period here and there?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjduct View Post
    yup, good cables/housing works wonders! I prefer Jagwire ripcord.

    not the lightest, but the strongest! especially for cable actuated disc brakes!
    Ditto. Jagwire ripcord is awesome stuff. (tons of colors too)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThrillSeeker2 View Post
    or would i be better off just telling them to do everything. I mean im eager to learn how this stuff works, but im not sure i can put together a safe bike.
    If you're not sure you can put together a safe bike, don't do it. Seriously. Brakes are nothing to screw around with.

    Either take it to a shop or find a friend that knows what they are doing. And as Kapusta said, feel free to utilize punctuation in your posts.

  16. #16
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    Yea im sorry, I'm an english major and I just rush everything I do. I will be taking it to my local bike shop and hopefully will be purchasing Jag Wires. They carry an orange colored cord that will match my bike.

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    seriously, I dont understand how some people even ride a bike with the lack of knowledge. I don't say this to mean. You've got a beefy ass downhill bike of some sort judging by the fork on the front and the person operating it doesn't even know how to hook up brakes? did you even look at how your brakes were setup before you took them off?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    did you even look at how your brakes were setup before you took them off?
    This is a very good question.

    *snip*

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    If you're not sure you can put together a safe bike, don't do it. Seriously. Brakes are nothing to screw around with.

    Either take it to a shop or find a friend that knows what they are doing. And as Kapusta said, feel free to utilize punctuation in your posts.
    I'm with jtmartino on this one. Brakes, especially when you're actually carrying speed on the trail and need to stop, are one of the most important parts of your bike and not setting them up correctly is asking for disaster. Take a trip down to your LBS and have them do the job for you and ask if you can observe them as they do it. Chances are they'll let you hang around out of the way so you can at least get an idea of what to do. Yes, it'll cost money. But at least you'll have properly routed cables and pick up some useful (hopefully) knowledge along the way.

    If you don't have an understanding of the proper way to do something, don't.
    Last edited by WishfulThinking; 01-18-2013 at 04:07 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    seriously, I dont understand how some people even ride a bike with the lack of knowledge. I don't say this to mean. You've got a beefy ass downhill bike of some sort judging by the fork on the front and the person operating it doesn't even know how to hook up brakes? did you even look at how your brakes were setup before you took them off?
    I've come to learn that some people don't even know what they don't know. And you're right - it's a dangerous state to be in, but many people don't realize the gravity of what they're messing with. When I got my first longboard, I didn't know speed wobbles was a "thing" until I was tumbling down a hill.

    OP, what bike is that? It's hard to tell from the angles. You're installing mechanical disk brakes onto it as an upgrade? Was it an older dh bike that used rim brakes?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by WishfulThinking View Post
    ThrillSeeker - You say you're an english major and just "rush" everything but that's a terrible excuse.
    [/B]
    I think he was just talking about typing.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I think he was just talking about typing.
    Ah, yeah I see that now. My bad lol, I'll go ahead and edit that.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    seriously, I dont understand how some people even ride a bike with the lack of knowledge. I don't say this to mean. You've got a beefy ass downhill bike of some sort judging by the fork on the front and the person operating it doesn't even know how to hook up brakes? did you even look at how your brakes were setup before you took them off?
    I'm sorry if I come off stupid and immature. My father bought me a downhill frame forks and wheels. Also since I try hard to relate to father and his biking so I thought I would try building this myself. I never said I was good at this biking thing. I don't know how all of this works. I thought I could rig cables from a 29er hardtail to this kona stinky(04) and the cables didn't fit so I thought I should ask some more expirenced bikers.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThrillSeeker2 View Post
    I'm sorry if I come off stupid and immature. My father bought me a downhill frame forks and wheels. Also since I try hard to relate to father and his biking so I thought I would try building this myself. I never said I was good at this biking thing. I don't know how all of this works. I thought I could rig cables from a 29er hardtail to this kona stinky(04) and the cables didn't fit so I thought I should ask some more expirenced bikers.
    Dad nearby? Can he help you build it up? Could be a good bonding experience and you'd have a safer bike as a result of doing the work with someone with more bicycle maintenance experience.

  24. #24
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    Ahhh that explains a lot? Why not ask dad to help you build it?

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

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    Because my father believes I'm not good at anythin. Therefore if I can show ow just a little bit of knowlegde towards bikes. It would.... ahh just forget it.

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