important: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.

How to Replace an Inner Brake Cable

Remove the old inner brake wire and install a new one.

Brake cable inner wires wear out over time. Other than obvious fraying, rust or visual wear, you can tell your cables are worn when your braking starts to feel sluggish. If lubricating the housings or brake levers doesn’t help, they’ll likely need replacing.

Tools

For this job, you’ll need a replacement brake cable inner wire. Most brake cables have a barrel end that looks like this, unless you have a road bike with drop handlebars, in which case it’ll have a cylindrical mushroom head like this. Often new brake cables will come with each type on both ends. I recommend stainless steel cables if you’re riding regularly in a wet climate, as they won’t rust. You’ll need a good set of wire cutters, some bicycle specific cable cutters if you’ll be replacing the outer cable housing, and some triflow or light lubricant. You’ll need either a 9 or 10mm metric open end wrench or a 5 or 6mm hex key for the brake’s cable pinch bolt. You’ll also need to know how to adjust your brakes and levers, as explained in previous tutorials depending on your type of brake system.

Brake Cable Removal

The first step is to carefully observe how your cable is presently routed from the lever to your brake. A misrouted cable can cause many problems. It may help to photograph each section of the cable from the lever to the brake so you can use it for reference. Your brake may not look like the one pictured here, but the concepts will be the same.

Now disconnect the cable by loosening the brake’s pinch bolt. Notice how the cable is flattened where it was pinched. I like to cut the cable just before this part so it is easier to remove by sliding through the outer cable housings. I recommend replacing the outer cable housings at the same time. See the tutorial titled “How to Replace Cable Housings”.

Brake Cable Installation

Once you have nothing but the brake lever and the cable left, line up the slots in the lever’s barrel adjuster and then pull the cable through and remove the head from the lever. Install the new cable into the lever the same way the old one came out.

Now turn your barrel adjuster clockwise almost all the way, so the barrel slots lock the new cable in place. Drop some light oil into your cable housings and make sure the outer housing’s cable ferrules are firmly in place before carefully sliding the new cable through the housing. Then route your cable the same way it was before and thread the inner cable under the pinch bolt’s washer. Pull the cable tight and tighten the pinch bolt. The cable will flatten when tightened. Always tighten bolts to the manufacturer’s torque specifications. Adjust the brake as needed. Search the other tutorials for your specific type of brakes.

Once installed and adjusted, cut the wire about 2 inches further along the cable. Your new cable should have come with a cable end that can be gently crimped on using wire cutters or pliers. This will prevent fraying. Then give the cable a slight bend and tuck it out of the way behind the brake arm.

Related Links

Recommended Tools

Categories

Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum

Does anyone know if the FSA comet 27/39t crankset with FSA external bearing bottom bracket can be converted to a 1x chain ring? I am unable to find any information anywhere....

Read more

WD40 on chain?

Lastest post 1 day ago

Hi, new here. Do not know much about maintenance, that is why I need an advice on chains. I have KMC chain on my hybrid and someone told me that I can use a bit of WD40 to keep it running, clean it from dust and whatsoever. He also is not very bright in terms of bike knowledge so I am doubting his claim. Probably WD40 is not good for lubing the chain or keeping it clean, right? There is need for s...

Read more

Gears changing by themselves

Lastest post 2 days ago

I have changed the handlebars on my son's bike for him and repositioned the gear change from the post to the bars. Now the gear shift lever, when in the lowest gears is changing all by itself into the higher gears. Whilst this automatic feature could be useful, it is not very practical for him! I have tried tightening the tightener but that didn't work. Any helpful suggestions very welcome, fr...

Read more

So I have a problem adjusting the V brakes on my bike. If I set them up so the pull on the lever feels normal, the wheel is won’t move because the pads are already on contact. If I set them up so the wheel will spin freely, then the they are so mushy that fully pulling the lever barely has any effect. I’ve tried a few things: checked the housing and cable, checked for points of flex / wobble i...

Read more

How often do you wash your bike?

Lastest post 1 week ago

Ciao. I know that some bike riders overexaggerate the 'cleaning part' and wash (or spray) their bikes at least once a week. I know, it's mandatory after a muddy trail ride. But I'm thinkging more about daily commuters. It gets dusty here and there, but how long is too long without a shower for a bike? For a bike that rides almost every day....

Read more

Air still trapped in the brakes

Lastest post 3 weeks ago

So, I bleed my Magura MT7 brakes easily 10 times in the last week but there's some air trapped inside that I just can't get rid off, no matter what I do, already tried everything I saw on the internet and that lever is still spongy and the rear wheel will turn with brakes fully applied if I push it hard enough. Any bike mechanics here with some input for this kind of situations? Thanks in advance...

Read more

Schwinn Boundary bottom bracket bearing let go. I would like to upgrade them to sealed bearings. Threaded frame bottom tube 35 mm nut thread od. x 73 mm wide....

Read more

Please watch the attached video. I gave a ride to person on my luggage carrier and her jeans got stuck in the chain. Ever since then, my back has been making this "ticking" sound or whatever you can call it, and it feels as if there's a bit of resistant to the pedals and a "locking" motion sometimes. Moreover, the wheel seems to be swinging a bit in the video and it's not turning in a straight cir...

Read more

I am upgrading an 8 year old Scott Solace from the Ultegra 6700 series, have acquired almost all the new components but wondering about the shifters. I have the Shimano Ultegra ST-6703 shifters for a triple. They work on my double crankset with a 10 speed drivetrain. What I am trying to find out is will the 10 speed shifters work with an 11 speed setup? Like I said, the shifters, even though they ...

Read more

Fixing up old bike

Lastest post 3 weeks ago

Hello, new here. Recently, I bought an old second hand bike and decided to fix it up. I wanted a cheap frame that I could work on and tweak from the ground up. Have learned a lot about bike repairs (lots of mistakes) and learned that there’s still a long way to go. Including pics and would like some ideas on how to work on fixing this up from here (please go easy on this newbie, haha). That bein...

Read more

Fox DPX2 Damper sound

Lastest post 3 weeks ago

Hello togehter I got my frist piggyback damper, en hear a „nock“ which definitly comes out of my dampet while i‘m squish the damper. Is this a normal noise? Video here: https://www.reddit.com/r/MTB/comments/pvygel/fox_dpx2_2021_is_this_noise_normal_i_hear_a_quiet/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf thanks✌🏻...

Read more

FRONT DERALIEUR NOT WORKING

Lastest post 1 month ago

Hi guys, I have restored a 90' Fisher mountain bike. It works perfectly apart from the front derailleur. Gears goes down no problem. They go up from the first to second cog no problem but it is very difficult to make it go to the biggest gear. This is an old SRAM groupset. It is not the cable tension, not the limit screws and not the position of the derailleur on the frame. These are the basic t...

Read more

Help with headset preload

Lastest post 1 month ago

First time adjusting a headset and I'd like to get it right. Brand new giant reign with a carbon frame, that I do not want to damage I finally have the preload set to where there is no play but I'm concerned that it is to tight... Stage 1- obvious play/clunk Stage 2- no clunk, but if I lock up the brake and push and pull hard, I can feel some very slight movement Stage 3 - no play or movemen...

Read more

Rear axle

Lastest post 1 month ago

  20210910_120907(1).jpg (Size: 82.12 KB / Downloads: 31) Hi, i am looking for a rear axle for my Devox felt rear wheel. i cannot find one anywhere, if not is there an alternative...

Read more

Help please! I have tried many things to fix the loud clunking sound in my Meridian trike with no success. We even took the gear hub apart and reassembled it per the suggestion from Schwinn that it probably needed replacing. Many others have suggested something in the rear axle tube is making the noise, but I don't understand the descriptions. Are there videos to watch on this matter? Or is there...

Read more