Greasing/lubing XTR brake cables- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Greasing/lubing XTR brake cables

    Anyone who's used these for their cable brakes know that they run smooth, and probably know that they are so because of the grease used in the housing. Anyways, i had to replace my inner cable and when i did, the cables were dry and lever feel was terrible. I tried to re-grease with Finish Line grease, that worsened the feel, probably too thick. I tried TriFlow, just as bad, maybe too thin? I decided to just ditch the re-greasing so i cleaned out the cables with isopropanol but now it's still crapper than when i didn't apply any grease, doh! ...should have done nothing. Anyone know how to restore these cables to 'factory smoothness'?

  2. #2
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    Reputation: SteveUK's Avatar
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    The XTR cables contain Shimano's SP51 silicone grease (hence the addition to the SIS tag). I know it's available to buy (somewhere!!) or you could substitute it with this. The problem would be getting it evenly into the cable.

    What may have happened, though, is that the plastic liner in the outer cable has worn through, leaving the inner cable rubbing against the wires of the outer. If this is the case, replacement is your only option. There is, of course, no way to check the integrity of the liner.

    Now that your cables are clean, you could try something like Finish Line Dry. It'll be heavy enough to support the cable, but light enough to run into the cable. It won't dry out completely, but it will, like any lubrication, start to feel gummy after a while. I rather think that you're now working with making the best of a bad job.

    Personally, I think that unless you're replacing cables regularly, internal lubrication is unnecessary and even potentially problematic (as you're discovering). Same goes for Teflon coated inners. Once the 'lube' wears away or thickens - as it will at/around every point where there is friction with the outer - the performance will deteriorate.

    If you don't have any tight turns in your routing, you could try the Gore RideOn cable sets. The combination of the inner sleeve and the Gore coating of the inner cable gives very, very smooth operation. The compression of the outers is also very good. Far and away the best brake cable set I've ever used. My first set was around seven years-old when I broke it through my own carelessness.

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
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  3. #3
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    Enduroseal sells a pure teflon lube for stanchions it will work with the XTR cables...

    Really though when you replace the cables do the housings too...

    Nothing better than the XTR shift.

  4. #4
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    Yeah i have a Gore RideOn set for my derailleurs, and i really like them. I like the idea of the coated inner and the continuous liner etc, does away with the grease.

    I've had the XTR brake cables for a while now, and because i have a full length housing setup with it, it'd stay smooth for a long time. Well the front still is, just with the rear... well, it didn't needed to be replace because of wear, i had to replace it because my brother damaged the inner cable, otherwise it was fine also. So i wanted to find out if using the right grease could be the key to a simple restoration of the cable.

    As for the Shimano grease, damn i just bought some stuff from CRC, i was looking at getting the Shimano grease, should have.

    Not sure where i can get the stanchion lube locally, wouldn't mind some, for my forks as well. Yeah i can't find anywhere to buy just the XTR outer housing. I'd have to buy the whole set.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=jeffscott]Really though when you replace the cables do the housings too...[QUOTE] +1

    Quote Originally Posted by peternguyen
    Yeah i can't find anywhere to buy just the XTR outer housing. I'd have to buy the whole set.
    The whole set isn't very expensive.
    In truth it is usually easier to buy the whole thing. Check PricePoint and Jenson.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer
    The whole set isn't very expensive.
    In truth it is usually easier to buy the whole thing. Check PricePoint and Jenson.
    Lol. Yeah that's the thing... I live in Australia, and it's expensive here. It's dirt cheap overseas, but plus shipping, ends up being just as expensive. But yeah, i might just get a new set anyway. After getting used to that level of smoothness, anything less it's just not right.

  7. #7
    I wonder why?
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    I use ProLink Gold to lube the housing when changing cables. I liberally squirt some in one end of the housing (held high) until it runs out the other end. I've had great success with XTR housing.

    i1dry?

  8. #8
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    Silicone or teflon spray worked best for me in my dusty conditions. I sprayed it in the empty housing and let it sit overnight so that the lube could fully dry.

    I can see how a more solid grease might do a better job of blocking contaminants in wet or muddy conditions though

  9. #9
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    Reputation: RustyIron's Avatar
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    Housing wears out, too. Also, many bikes come from the factory/shop with unnecessary bends. Route the housing and adjust the length to minimize sharp bends, which will increase drag and wear.

  10. #10
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    I'm going to see if this other type of grease will do anything for the cable and if it doesn't i'll get a new cable set.

    I'm thinking i might either get the XTR cables again, or maybe look into the Gore RideOn for my brakes as well. I know with the fully sealed RideOn cables, they have a continuous liner with grub seals, but is the low friction RideOn the same but with the continuous liner/grub seals? That is, it still uses the same PTFE coated inner cables and same liner material (just no a separate continuous part)? Because i will be running full length housing, in which case it would be just as smooth as the fully sealed one, no?

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