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  1. #1
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    Derailleur install with a used cable

    So I've just installed my second derailleur and it went really well, really smooth. Easy Peasy as they say.

    IF you don't count the 15 minutes I spent trying to feed the splayed out cable back through the little holes on the derailleur. I did better this time and only had ONE piece of wire not make it so I snipped it off as it started to unravel.

    There's GOTTA be an easy way to snip off the cap of the cable so you can remove the old derailleur and still make it easy to get the cable back into the derailleur holes.

    I tried some tape but there's not enough for the tape to stick to. So I just twisted and twisted and twisted and twisted until it seemed it was as tight as it's gonna get the tried to stuff it through. Failed twice so did more twisting and tried again.

    Without this step I'm golden. Is there a secret? Care to share?

    BtW... this is a SRAM X7.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    dwt
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    Derailleur install with a used cable

    Snip it and dab a bit of superglue on it immediately, to prevent fraying. Once it frays its garbage and time for a new cable
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  3. #3
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    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  4. #4
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    Why would you replace the derailleur without replacing the cable and housing? To me that's like doing half the job.

  5. #5
    thecentralscrutinizer
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    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Why would you replace the derailleur without replacing the cable and housing? To me that's like doing half the job.
    Exactly. Really for a few dollars more, why not.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by big0mike View Post
    IF you don't count the 15 minutes I spent trying to feed the splayed out cable back through the little holes on the derailleur. I did better this time and only had ONE piece of wire not make it so I snipped it off as it started to unravel.!
    You should go ahead and replace the cable. Eventually that loose strand is going to start binding and cause shifting issues.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Snip it and dab a bit of superglue on it immediately, to prevent fraying. Once it frays its garbage and time for a new cable
    Fair thought except as soon as I snipped the cap off it blew up. I may try to glue it BEFORE I snip it. Maybe some JB Weld or something? I'll give it a shot...

    Quote Originally Posted by MileHighMark View Post
    I'll check that out later tonight. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Why would you replace the derailleur without replacing the cable and housing? To me that's like doing half the job.
    First: 'Cause I don't know how to change a cable or housing... yet...

    Second: Because even though the trails I/we ride are very rough a banged up derailleur or hanger doesn't necessarily mean the cable or housing was even touched. I've destroyed a derailleur on it's first ride down a particularly treacherous trail we love. I've had several others with under 10 rides on them. This is my fourth derailleur this year.

    Yeah, I know. I need to learn how to ride. Tell me something I don't know. I don't enjoy easy, XC trails. If it ain't chunky it ain't fun. Unfortunately, that means I buy a lot of derailleurs...

    After I check out that video above does anyone have one for replacing the cable & housing? I'll need to learn to do that someday.

    Thanks.

  8. #8
    dwt
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    Derailleur install with a used cable

    Quote Originally Posted by customfab View Post
    Why would you replace the derailleur without replacing the cable and housing? To me that's like doing half the job.
    Personally, being a cheap SOB, I reuse housing all the time. Inject Progold lube inside using handy dandy luber pen, and cables move just fine.

    Also great after wet, muddy rides

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000VSY97G

    Another trick if you want to reuse cable is to cut off the frayed end, superglue the end, then trim he housing. The more unnecessary twists and bends you can cut out, the better. All of a sudden the cable is not too short anymore.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  9. #9
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    The key to not fraying a cable when cutting it is to use a really sharp cable cutter (not side cutter), if it does come unravelled a bit it's real easy to twist it right again as long as the cut was clean.

    I agree with customfab though that if you are replacing a derailleur it is sensible to replace the cable and housing, it can make a world of difference.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    The key to not fraying a cable when cutting it is to use a really sharp cable cutter (not side cutter), if it does come unravelled a bit it's real easy to twist it right again as long as the cut was clean.
    Yeah, I figured that was part of the problem 'cause all I have are a pair of wire snips which, by design, flatten the cable out...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    The key to not fraying a cable when cutting it is to use a really sharp cable cutter (not side cutter), if it does come unravelled a bit it's real easy to twist it right again as long as the cut was clean.

    I agree with customfab though that if you are replacing a derailleur it is sensible to replace the cable and housing, it can make a world of difference.
    Having a cable (wire rope) cutter is probably the most important thing. They cut easier and cleaner than even the biggest pair of side cutters. The downside is that there is no such thing as a cheap cable cutter (but plenty of bad ones). Park makes an okay one, Shimano's offerings are better (and more expensive), while the best would probably be a tie between Felco or Shimano's professional cutters. Knipex is another option to consider. Remember, you get exactly what you pay for.

    Whatever you buy, keeping the cutting heads properly adjusted will go a long way to getting a clean, precise cut, as well as keeping the edges sharp.

    There is no trick to cutting housing or cables. Buy a cable kit, and it'll include instructions. Read Sheldon Brown's instructions, or the Park Tool blog, and you'll learn all you need to know.

  12. #12
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    I used a Demel tool with a ceramic cutoff wheel. It did a perfect job on both the cable and housing.

    What about putting the superglue on the cable BEFORE you cut it?

  13. #13
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    Dremel sounds like a good idea. Maybe next time I'll have to tape it up, then cut it with the dremel, then a little Gorilla Super Glue before I remove the tape.

  14. #14
    dwt
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    Derailleur install with a used cable

    I've had a Park CN10 for at least 15 years. Just used it this week converting one if my bikes to 1X10. Still sharp, easy and fast to use, cuts cable and housing. In the $35 range most online retailers. IMO a must tool for any home mechanic who does any derailleur or cable brake work.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by big0mike View Post

    First: 'Cause I don't know how to change a cable or housing... yet...

    Second: Because even though the trails I/we ride are very rough a banged up derailleur or hanger doesn't necessarily mean the cable or housing was even touched. I've destroyed a derailleur on it's first ride down a particularly treacherous trail we love. I've had several others with under 10 rides on them. This is my fourth derailleur this year.

    Yeah, I know. I need to learn how to ride. Tell me something I don't know. I don't enjoy easy, XC trails. If it ain't chunky it ain't fun. Unfortunately, that means I buy a lot of derailleurs...

    After I check out that video above does anyone have one for replacing the cable & housing? I'll need to learn to do that someday.

    Thanks.
    If you're going through RD's that often I could see why you would want to re-use cables and housing. It's certainly going to last longer than your RD. Perhaps you should look for a setup that's more up to your abuse, maybe the shimano direct mount system and a Zee RD would take the abuse?

    Most people don't replace their cables/housing often enough IMPO, thus my comment. I also always replace them together. It's a royal waste of time to replace just the cable. It's infinitely harder than the liner of the housing, why replace just the more durable part of the system? DWT, if you're set on pinching pennies I'd recommend pulling your cable, blowing compressed air through the housing to clean it out, then re-lube with Shimano's SP-41 "Special Grease" then reinstall both parts. The grease isn't cheap but a single tub will last a consumer many years.

  16. #16
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    Is Brake Housing the same as Shifter Housing?

    https://www.pricepoint.com/Brand/All...25-ft-Roll.axd
    https://www.pricepoint.com/Brand/All...Meter-Roll.axd

    Same outer diameter...

  17. #17
    B.Ike
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    ^^no. shifter housing isn't supposed to compress.
    The dremel works good on cables, but (impo) outperforms cable/housing cutters on shifter housing.
    btw, plenty of youtube help available

  18. #18
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    Is Brake Housing the same as Shifter Housing?
    Brake housing is made out of a spiral-wound wire. Shifter housing is made out of a lot of wires running parallel to each other. Strip the plastic jacket off some old ones -- the difference is obvious.

  19. #19
    dwt
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    Derailleur install with a used cable

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    Brake housing is made out of a spiral-wound wire. Shifter housing is made out of a lot of wires running parallel to each other. Strip the plastic jacket off some old ones -- the difference is obvious.
    +1.
    Note: they are NOT interchangeable.

    Shifter cable housing not strong enough to withstand braking forces and could rupture.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/cables.html
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  20. #20
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    Ah...... the dreaded re-using cable and getting it back through the derailleur puzzle. Customfab knows what he is talking about so take his advice in regards to replacing cable/housing as often as possible. However! One of the tune-up services my shop offers involves removing the derailleurs and cleaning them in a parts washer. It's hard to call the customer and tell them they need new cables when our service menu clearly does not mention the above tune-up requiring them. Obviously if they need new cables that's a different story, but if their cable is good it sucks when you fray it into a million strands when trying to re-assemble. I deal with this daily and this method works for me 8 out of ten times. Do not cut the cable at all. Pull off the end cap with a pair of pliers. The end of that cable has been sitting smashed together under that end cap for who knows how long and is usually fused together pretty damn well. It goes right back through without any problems. Usually.

  21. #21
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    There is no good reason to reuse a cable. If money is so tight that an extra $2 is the issue, get the next cheaper derailleur (a new cable on a deore derailleur will shift better than an old cable on XTR). If you don't know how to do it, this is a good time to learn. The cable may look fine, but it isn't.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocop View Post
    Do not cut the cable at all. Pull off the end cap with a pair of pliers. The end of that cable has been sitting smashed together under that end cap for who knows how long and is usually fused together pretty damn well. It goes right back through without any problems. Usually.
    DUH! Why didn't I think of that? It's just crimped on... :facepalm:

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Note: they are NOT interchangeable.

    Shifter cable housing not strong enough to withstand braking forces and could rupture.
    Sounds to me like we can use the brake housing for BOTH brake and shifter but shifter housing ONLY for shifters? I'm looking at red housing just for the helluvit.

  24. #24
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    NO! Brake housing is strong in the sense that you can put a lot of pressure and it isn't going to break and leave you without brakes.

    But brake housing is more flexible than shifter housing when it comes to compression. Any time you use a cable, be it for your shifters, bike brakes, or emergency brakes on your car, there is pressure on the housing -- not stretching like the inner part, but the opposite -- compressing force.

    This compressing force makes the brake housing shorter. It is, after all, a coil of wire or basically a spring. This compression affects the positioning of the device it is controlling. This would cause shifting to not work well -- the derailleur must be positioned very precisely.

    For brakes, the compression of the cable housing doesn't matter so much -- the brakes still work fine because all you are doing is squeezing something. The exact position of everything doesn't matter. But who knows, cable compression may be the reason that hydraulic disk brakes feel so solid by comparison.

    (I have never tried brake housing on shifters. This info is just based on what I have read. If anyone has the time to try it, or has done it accidentally , I would be interested in hearing the results .)

  25. #25
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    Hmmm... well, I'll take your word for it but I don't really get it.

    The actual cable is metal wire and can't stretch too terribly much. If it did it would be worthless for shifting since precise alignment is necessary. But I don't see how the housing can do anything like stretch or compress. It simply surrounds the cable. If the cable moves freely within the housing then the housing obviously can't be affected by any stretch of the cable and the positioning of the derailleur, assuming it is functioning correctly, demonstrates that the cable is moving freely. Both ends of the housing are anchored independently of the cable itself so the cable can't be affecting the housing.

    Yeah, I don't get it but people smarter than me have figured it out so I guess I'll go with it...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by big0mike View Post
    Sounds to me like we can use the brake housing for BOTH brake and shifter but shifter housing ONLY for shifters? I'm looking at red housing just for the helluvit.
    Pretty sure they are different sizes as well.

    I buy shifter housing in a bulk 25' roll will last average person a season or two. Get a good set of cable cutters, side cutters do not work as you found out. I picked up a pedros one that works decent and wasn't too $$.

  27. #27
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    Brake (helical) housing works fine for older 5/6 speed shifters (and 3 speed SA stuff, to boot) but that's about it. The closer together the cogs, the harder it will be to get everything to line up with the play introduced by brake vs shift housing.

  28. #28
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    But I don't see how the housing can do anything like stretch or compress. It simply surrounds the cable.
    Ok, sorry I didn't explain it better. If the cable run was perfectly straight, then what you say would be true. But in real-life, where the cable makes turns, the center part of the cable places force on the walls of the housing, causing a compressing force on the housing.

    Imagine if you replaced all of your cable housing with soft rubber tubing. What would happen when you go to stop or shift? Nothing! The rubber tubing would just compress, and the brake or derailleur would not move.

    Of course the steel does not compress to a point of total collapse like our rubber tube does, but it compresses a little -- helical brake cable moreso than linear shifter cable.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisF View Post
    Ok, sorry I didn't explain it better. If the cable run was perfectly straight, then what you say would be true. But in real-life, where the cable makes turns, the center part of the cable places force on the walls of the housing, causing a compressing force on the housing.

    Imagine if you replaced all of your cable housing with soft rubber tubing. What would happen when you go to stop or shift? Nothing! The rubber tubing would just compress, and the brake or derailleur would not move.

    Of course the steel does not compress to a point of total collapse like our rubber tube does, but it compresses a little -- helical brake cable moreso than linear shifter cable.
    OK, took me a few moments of thought but I finally got it.

  30. #30
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    I have successfully soldered cable ends and have reused without any problems. Occasionally my flux doesn't work well and the solder will not soak into the strands. Will try the super glue option next time. I have often used old rear derailleur cables for front derailleurs with good results.

    urmb
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  31. #31
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    Dremel with cut off wheel is the best way I've found to cut cable and housing, but as has been said, you should have just pulled the cap off, not cut the cable at all.
    If it is frayed under the cap then dremel the end off. Glue dip works great too if you don't have a cap.

  32. #32
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    I use an ancient Suntour cable cutter, many are available new that are probably better. I have a Performance house brand cable housing cutter.
    Like stated above, once the cable end gets frayed too close to the rear derailleur cable clamp it gets replaced and saved for use with a front derailleur.
    You can buy a little jar of clamp on cable ends for just a couple of bucks on ebay, a lifetime supply for most people. I also bought the 25' roll of that XTR/DA quality Shimano cable housing on ebay, probably about a year ago. I think it will last me a long-long time. It's usually the rear piece of cable housing that goes bad long before any housing in the front, so it's nice to be able to replace the rear housing whenever I feel like my shifting is not quite as good as it should be.

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