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

Related Tools

Categories

Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum

Here's my repair situation: I have a what seems like a relatively nice road bike which I found for free on the side of the road years ago. Around three years ago, while cycling, there was a stuck link in the chain that caused it to jam. As I was pedaling uphill, the force caused the metal near the mount screw on the rear derailleur to shear. I have recently wanted to repair this bike. Unfortunatel...

Read more

I am building a Mongoose MTB for my wife and the front cable pull is on the opposite side of the chain and I am having a hard time finding the right Derailleur for the bike. Any suggestions?...

Read more

Hey Everyone, New here and I'm currently taking on a small project on converting an old-school Fuji to a SS/Fixed flipflop. Firstly I want to thank you for your time and I'm looking forward to being in this forum as a regular 😁 So im currently having trouble figuring out how to remove the DT Shimano shifters seeing as I don't want to ruin the frame, but do want a nice clean frame look. is the...

Read more

I'm fairly new to bike repair aside from regular maintenance. Lately I've noticed by rear wheel has not been spinning properly--it's a Shimano 105 hub and axle. When I spin it freely on the bike, or when I spin it when the wheel is off, if feels clunky, like the axle is spinning into 'grooves' or 'notches'. I have two videos to show: On bike: https://imgur.com/a/SQX0I3P Off bike: https://imgur.c...

Read more

Ok, so I am not real fluent with bikes, however I am attempting to repair my girlfriends Next PowerClimber 24". The cog that holds the rest of the sprockets on the rear tire is threaded to lock them in place. The cog is cracked and the threads are not holding allowing the rest of the sprockets to fall off. I have attempted to find a place to buy this broken threaded cog with no luck. I am get...

Read more

Bike Chain Falling Off

Lastest post 1 week ago

My chain keeps falling off especially when I transition from 1st to 2nd chain ring. I also feel like I have to use a lot more pressure to shift from 1st to 2nd compared to going from 2nd to 3rd, which just might be me but I thought it was relevant to include. I am not super mechanically inclined so I can't diagnose an issue on my bike like this. Can you please tell me whats the issue and maybe how...

Read more

Cassette compatibility question

Lastest post 1 week ago

A short questions for those knowledgeable. I currently have on my bike a Shimano HG50-11-36t 10 speed cassette. Would the HG81-11-36t 10 speed be a direct replacement or will I encounter problems?...

Read more

Podcasts with bike mechanics

Lastest post 1 week ago

Hello everyone. Are there any podcasts about cycling and more specifically bike mechanics? I have been learning more about bike repairs recently and would love to hear tricks from guys with know-how; need something to listen to during the work....

Read more

Tire and Rim sizes

Lastest post 2 weeks ago

I was looking into wheels, just for the heck of it, and something is confusing me. I have a cruiser. The tires are 26" x 2.125" (57 x 559) The rim is 1.25". Cruiser wheels, online, are 1.75" The difference between a 1.75" cruiser rim, and the 1.25" rims I have, is approximately half-inch. I bought the bike, new, from a bike shop, and bought white wall cruiser tires for it. It had wide tires o...

Read more

Hi folks! I was directed here by the folks over at r/bikewrench as I hear you are a helpful lot! I have a beautiful old Sekine which I think after a little research is a SHC 271 from the mid seventies. Unfortunately I was in a pretty nasty accident last year and it was out of commission for a while. I was using it indoors on my trainer and slowly going about repairs, getting it road ready again wh...

Read more

Is that possible without switching out the hub, and is that possible at all? I have a base shimano groupset and I'm in the process of upgrading everything (I'm switching out the crappy tourney der for altus 9-speed, cables etc), and I would really rather switch out my freewheel for a 9-speeder also. Do you think it's achievable?...

Read more

  20200613_221949.jpg (Size: 64.32 KB / Downloads: 62) Hey everyone. I'm new to working on bikes and have been cleaning mine from using it at college. I replaced the chain since it was very stretched. The new chain was slipping a lot. After searching for why that was happening I concluded that I needed to replace my sprockets. The tool fitting rotates with the sprockets, so I think th...

Read more

Hey everyone! I was led here from reddit and told to try my luck with the fine folks here on bikeride. Let me preface by saying I know I’ve seen a lot of criticism when it comes to converting a MTN bike to a road bike due to a variety of reasons. But that’s not what I’m here to discuss. I am in need of direction. My father passed away a little over 5 years ago and a little over a year ago...

Read more

hello from Estonia, I try to help a friend in replacing bottom bracket. we don’t have the old one anymore, so we have to find out the right bottom bracket just from measurements on the frame. the frame is supposed to be an old Dutch one. Detailed pictures of left and right side of the bottom bracket are here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-D-RO479uMl7NKhsrdkNF2oPW2IdTd1U wide = 65.8...

Read more

As I pedal on the highest gears (the 2 smallest rings on my casette) I can hear a pretty loud clunking/clicking noise that I can't locate the source of. The chain also drags against the front derailleur. You can hear both sounds in this video: [https://gofile.io/d/2MY8gS] Unfortunately I couldn’t upload the clip here for some reason. I just recently replaced the crank arms, gave the bottom br...

Read more