How to Replace Cable Housings
Measure, cut, lubricate and replace your old seized or damaged cable housings.
If your cable housing is old and stiff, or damaged, it’s a good idea to replace them to improve your braking and shifting. So how do you know how much length you will need? It’s easy if your old cables are still attached as you can simply measure them, but sometimes you’ll need to measure them manually.
It’s quite difficult to evenly cut cable housings with regular pliers, so I’d recommend picking up a proper cable cutter before you begin. However, you will need some regular cutters on hand to cut off any sheared spiral housings, and a scribe or some kind of sharp poking device is handy to poke out the inner lining clear. You’ll also need to install ferrules on each end of your housing, so you’ll need two for each section of housing.
Types of Housing
It’s also very important to know that there is a big difference between brake and shift housings. Brake cable housings have a coiled metal spiral embedded in them, while compressionless shift cables have a series of tiny round wires running parallel along the length of housing. If you were to use brake cable housings on shift cables the result would be very poor shifting.
As I mentioned before, if your old housings are intact you can simply take them off and measure them for the exact replacement length. However, if there are no existing housings, you’ll have to buy more than you think you’ll need and then trim it down. For example, if I needed to replace the rear derailleur housing, I would take a ruler and move it along the estimated path and then add another few inches just to be safe.
Housings should make a smooth curve, with no sharp bends. For example, the length shown here is ideal. This would be too short, and this would be too long. The sections that run from your handlebar to your frame shouldn’t be too long, but there should be enough room to turn the handlebar all the way in both directions.
Once you’ve measured twice, cut the housing clean across using the cable cutter. The inner spiral on brake housings will sometimes shear leaving some metal poking out. Trim this with your wire cutters until the end is flush. Then clear a hole in the plastic lining with your poker. Shift cables usually cut clean and just need the lining poked through.
Once all of your housing sections are cut and trimmed, slide a ferrule on the end of each. I like to also squirt a drop of Tri-Flow into the housings to keep them operating smoothly. Now you’re ready to install the housings and reinstall the inner cables. I’ll demonstrate how to replace your inner cables in an upcoming tutorial.
- Shimano TL-CT10 Cable Cutter
- Tri-Flow Superior Lube
- Park Tool HBH-2 Handlebar Holder
- Park Tool SA-3 Heavy Duty Shop Apron
- Park Tool SK-3 Starter Mechanic Tool Kit
- Park Tool PK-3 Professional Tool Kit
Discuss this topic in the Bicycle Repairs and Mechanics Forum
Hi all, I'm new to the forums here, so sorry for any etiquette mistakes. I recently bought a new belt drive bike and after getting it built, I noticed that the frame split was quite rusty. I was told it was just surface rust and to just sand it and paint it with the provided touch up paint. I decided to get inside there and take a look and found the entire surface to be quite rusty. I sent pho...Read more
I have bought Brooks B17 Imperial for my Fuji touring bike and would like to break in before taking it on a trip. Have read recommendations to reach 1000 km to make it fully fit. Right now it is winter in Norway, so I do cycle home using my road bike on Tacx trainer. Would it make sense for me to put B17 on my road bike and try to break in inside? Or is it bad idea since touring bike has likely di...Read more
I am changing a 7 speed Schwinn to a single speed. It has a Falcon freewheel. I have the freewheel off of the bike and have removed the core by turning the Falcon ring clockwise. I want to also remove the cogs. There is a locking ring on the outside of the freewheel that needs to be removed. But I don't know if the locking ring turns counterclockwise or clockwise and what tools I need to rem...Read more
Hey guys, I just wanted to point out the variance in the Stone Oval chainrings. They have two versions and they are particular to certain cranks. The BCD 96X is particular to Shimano M6000, M7000, M8000, M9000 M9020. The original BCD 96 is XTC820, M782, M612, M622, M672, M4000, M4050. Additionally, I have an FSA SL-K MODULAR 2X 392EVO MTB CRANKSET. The BCD 96X is not compatible with the spid...Read more
My friend in Romania sent me some pictures of MAVIC Cosmic carbon rims/wheelset he is selling; only $160!!! s-l1600 (20).jpg (Size: 99.78 KB / Downloads: 119) Best deal I've ever seen! Let's take a closer look: s-l1600 (21).jpg (Size: 63.54 KB / Downloads: 115) s-l1600 (22).jpg (Size: 67.72 KB / Downloads: 115) I might be a hack, but I'm not...Read more
I need to replace the tires on my Specialized commuter bike- currently using 700x32; am I locked into tires of only this size? If not, what is the range of sizes I can choose from and still have them fit my rims?...Read more
Hi I want to replace the fork on my dads schwinn meridian. I’m looking for one with suspension. What size is the fork I should buy? I been looking on internet for the fork size but couldn’t find anything. Thanks in advance...Read more
I know someone who has a Schwinn Meridian adult tricycle. He said he has been unable to find much in the way of repair manuals or guidance for this model or trikes in general. I know some things are exactly the same as bicycles, but other things are different. He said all he could find was some assembly instructions. Just looking around on the forum I saw some info an pressing in new bearings and...Read more
I'm going to replace the bearings in my Zipp 182 hub (rear wheel). Both the SRAM website and this article (https://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/Hub_How-To_-_Zipp_182_3300.html) recommend against replacing the freehub body bearings, and that instead the whole freehub should just be replaced. I can only find one supplier and a replacement freehub costs more than I paid for the wheelset. The freehub bear...Read more
Weird clicking sound. I dont think it affects performance but its really anoying. It doesnt only happen in the beginning of the stroke but also once it settles into sag and i compress it further i can still hear it. My question is what could be the cause of this and also, will it be an expensive repair ? Thanks Here is a video of the clicking sound: https://imgur.com/a/GWxkq04...Read more
Hey guys, Recently bought a carbon bike that's quite old, noticed when I got it home this corrosion at the front deralliuer hanger. The frame itself is otherwise in great condition, including carbon forks which I have inspected. Is this a serious structural concern and should I be keeping this bike only on the indoor trainer? Thoughts? IMG20211114131221.jpg (Size: 62.01 KB / Dow...Read more
I'm looking for brifters that will be compatable with shimano grx 600 rear derailleur running shimano rd-rx812 11-42t 11 speed cassette that can operate mechanical disc brakes. I think the standard grx 600 brifters can only do hydraulic and I'm not keen to change the brakes. Perhaps 105 ST-5800 would do the job?...Read more
I have an old aluminum frame specialized hardrock with disk brakes and 26" wheels. The shocks are rusty and crap now. Anybody know a replacement fork that can fit, keeping the geometry same? *I mean to trash the shocks and use a normal fork instead. Thanks...Read more
I bought a broken-up mtb as a little rebuild project. Its a Vitus Nucleus VRS. The derailleur on it is broken and I am looking for a replacement. the bike has a 1x10 with an 11-46T cassette. According to the bike manufacturer website, it comes with a Shimano RD-M6000-GS. but on Shimanos website it says that only goes to 42T. so just confirming that it should be fine since the bike manufacturer ...Read more
Im looking to replace my headset on my 2021 trek fuel ex 8 but I’m struggling to find which ones I need to buy has anyone done this before and what bearings did you try? More info: The bearing itself did have a code but I’m not sure what it really means: (THMR040 1-1/836 DEGREES X 45 DEGREES BO and THMR019 1.5 36 DEGREES X 45 DEGREES C 0) trek also has a few bearings on their website but it w...Read more