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

How to Replace an Inner Shift Cable

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

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

Tools

For this job, you’ll need a replacement shift cable inner wire. Shift cable ends have a cylinder barrel shape as shown here. 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 derailleur’s cable pinch bolt. You’ll also need to know how to adjust your front or rear derailleur, as explained in previous tutorials.

Shift Cable Removal

The first step is to relieve cable tension by shifting your derailleur so the chain is on the smallest sprocket on either your front or rear derailleur.

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

Now disconnect the cable at the derailleur’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”.

Shift Cable Installation

Once you have nothing but the shift lever and the cable left, push the cable gently until you see the head poke out of the lever. Now you can pull it the rest of the way until it is completely removed. Depending on what type of shifters you have, reinserting the new cable can be tricky. I like to give the end of the cable a slight bend to help guide it through. If it meets resistance, try rotating the cable a little bit and gently pushing until it slides all the way through.

If your shifter has a barrel adjuster, turn it clockwise all the way and then back it off one full turn. 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. If your derailleur has a barrel adjuster, tighten it all the way clockwise and then back it off one full turn. Then route your cable the same way it was before and thread the inner cable under the derailleur’s pinch bolt washer. Often there is a groove on the derailleur where the cable is meant to sit. 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 derailleur as needed. See the related tutorials for tips on adjusting derailleurs.

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.

Related Links

Related Tools

Categories

Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum

Bicycle renovation suggestions.

Lastest post 15 hours ago

Hi, I'm Steve. I have this bicycle(non-geared) that I haven't used for a decade. The frame seems intact so I'm thinking of renovating it, I have disassembled it. I don't know anything about these things. Tyres, pedals and saddle I understand(not entirely), but other than that, the handle, brakes, crank bars I don't. I'm hoping someone will help me out to put it together. Thanks. I've attached two...

Read more

  3CC596A4-6393-4508-85E7-500A2A685C06.jpeg (Size: 69.61 KB / Downloads: 14)   F04F1DF7-EF56-4B0E-94EA-1D7D3F48BA4C.jpeg (Size: 64.84 KB / Downloads: 16) Can someone identify this type of bottom bracket and a reference to what tools that I will need to remove it? Thank you....

Read more

brakes

Lastest post 5 days ago

Fairly dumb question, what are the early signs that disc brakes are wearing out? Are there any obvious visual cues? I don't want to wait until it's metal on metal.....

Read more

Road bike brakes upgrades

Lastest post 5 days ago

Hello everyone im looking to upgrade my brakes on a project bike that I'm doing, it currently has traditional lock bolt brake calipers can you upgrade to new style and how to do so? Kris....

Read more

I bought a Schwinn Signature Sport Hybrid 21 Speed by mail (first mistake) and it came with the rear wheel off and derailleur off with the chain twisted with 2 loops. The derailleur is inside out and I have tried everything to untwist this thing with no luck. I can't find a "master link" in the chain anywhere. Any ideas or help would be appreciated. Supposed to be a Christmas present.  &n...

Read more

Hello ) I was wondering if any of you also fill up your bathtub or a large bucket with water in order to look for a leak in a flat inner tube? That's how I do it ... other methods our there? Holiday greetings...

Read more

Brake pads and metallic pieces

Lastest post 2 months ago

Ciao. Is it normal to have small metallic pieces stuck within brake pads? How do they appear there? Is it from the rims and braking or did I get them from "the street"?...

Read more

As the title states, what feels like my pedal is creaking when Im on the downstroke on my left side. I say my pedal but based on what I have diagnosed so far I’m not sure if that’s it? I can feel the creak happening in my pedal though. I’ve looked into this and done a few preliminary things to see what could possibly be the problem. So far what I have done is: Removed the pedal, regreas...

Read more

Deep paint scratch or frame crack?

Lastest post 2 months ago

Hi, everyone! I'd like to ask you about your opinion on whether or not this is just a deep scratch (scuff?) on the paint or a crack on the frame of my aluminium road bike (please see photos below). For context, the area shown on the photos would be the seat tube, right about where it is joined by the seat stays. I already did the "coin soundcheck" test to help me diagnose the problem but I'm still...

Read more

Gears slipping

Lastest post 2 months ago

I recently changed the cassette on my MTB and ever since doing so the gears seem to be slipping when I put the power down how do any of you suggest adjusting it it changes perfectly and peddles fine until I really try to lay it down on the trials thanks in advance Alan 👍...

Read more

Gravity Bike Crank

Lastest post 2 months ago

Hello Everyone, I have a Gravity road bike and I don't know what type of crank remover will work on my bike? There is an Allen type of bolt that I can take off fairly easily, but inside there looks to be a spline type nut. Lately every revolution of the pedals I can hear a clicking sound and it seems to be coming from inside the crank and I wanted to see if there is any lubricant in there? I ap...

Read more

Disk Brake Spacers

Lastest post 2 months ago

Good morning! I purchased a new mountain bike a few weeks ago and picked up a frame adapter so I could put it on my trunk rack. The problem is that the front wheel is really low. A hitch mount is in the future but for now I figured I would just remove the wheel. My question is whether I should pick up a disk spacer or could I just use a chunk of cardboard? Not traveling all that far but don't wan...

Read more

I've tried searching for YouTube assistance but to no avail. Cycled to the shops this morning and the gears weren't functioning, had a look and something has gone horribly wrong. It's as though the chain is suddenly inches longer than it should be and it isn't holding any tension unless the derailleur sits all the way back (image attached) almost so the chain is touching itself as it travels throu...

Read more

Shimano tourney

Lastest post 2 months ago

My Apollo feud rear gear set was trashed when the bike was loaned ,the click on lock on was damaged how can I fix it please so I can be mobile again.thank you...

Read more

Removing Front Derailleur on a 3x?

Lastest post 2 months ago

I'm a newbie but I'm planning to remove the front derailleur off of my 3x8 GT Agressor Pro. Could I get some pros and cons of doing this and what I should next if I remove it? Thanks ...

Read more