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How To Replace & Fit Gear Cables On A Road Bike Like A Pro | Maintenance Monday


– Changing your gear cables
could quite possibly be the best thing that you can do to improve the performance of your shifting. Putting new, good quality
cable inners and outers on will improve the accuracy
of your shifting. It’s gonna make your
shifting action lighter. And particularly, it’s gonna help with troublesome downshifts, so going from the big
ring to the little ring or changing to harder
gears at the cassette. Now, doing it right, doing it by the book, could make even more of
a difference as well. So this is how to do it. As you can see, we are
changing the gear cables on a Shimano equipped bike, and Shimano recommends
you use their own cable inners and outers. So that is exactly what
we are going to do. In some cases, you may
find you can just replace the metal inner. So, perhaps it’s became
damaged in some way. But generally, you’ll find
that if your gear shifting is becoming heavy, you
need to replace both. To do the job, the only
specialist tool you need really is a good quality set of cable cutters. However, you may also find
that a pick comes in handy, as does a file. And then, if you’ve got
internal cable routing, you will also need one of
these, a thin plastic tube. The first step is to
remove your old cables. So to do that, we need to
loosen the Allen key cinch belt on the derailleur, and it’s the same for either the front
or the rear derailleur, and then snip off this cable end cap, so it’s that little bit of metal there, using your cable cutters. Now, before we yank our old cable out. We need to do one quick check, and that’s to see whether our
cables our routed internally. So, like this one, where
they’re hidden inside the frame. ‘Cause if they are, we then need to use a thin plastic tube. What we wanna do is actually thread it over the old cable, and
then into the frame. That way, when we start
pulling the old cable out, this plastic tube gets
dragged all the way through the frame, whereupon it
can then act as a guide for our new cable. So you literally then
just put the new cable into this tube, and then
reverse the process. It can literally save you hours
of poking around in the dark inside your frame, which
can happen on some bikes which have poor internal cable routing. Now, it will be a very good idea to put a piece of tape
over that plastic tube. Keep it in place,
because we really, really don’t wanna lose it. Frustratingly, when we’re
replacing our cable outers as well that does mean we have
to unwind our bar tape. However, if it’s in good
condition, like this, and it’s not stuck down, then I tend to reuse it. Slightly controversial, I know. But, I think I can get away with it. So, all you gotta do at that point is to pull back the lever hoods, and then unwind your bar
tape as far as this point. Saving time and money. Now, don’t just discard the cable outers that you’ve taken off your bike ’cause we’re gonna use these as templates. And we’ll just cut the
new ones to right length. In actual fact, now
would be the perfect time to do just that. Hold the new cable next to the old one. And then, where the old one finishes, you wanna make a really nice firm cut at 90 degrees. Now even with the best
cutter in the entire world, you’re quite likely to just
have to squeeze the end of the cable outer together
just to make it round again. And then, as you can
see if you look closely, the inner sheath there is
just a little bit compressed. And so at this point, we take our pick, although probably the end
of a biro will do the job, and then just make it, the
opening a little bit bigger so the cable can pass
as freely as possible. You can always take a file,
and then just file down the end of the cable out
there to make it super-flat. ‘Cause that will have a small bearing on the quality of your shifting. Basically, the flatter that is, the less chance there is
for the outer to compress or to flex against the cable ferrules. In our dedicated pack from
Shimano of inners and outers, there is one length of cable outer that’s designed to be used
between your rear derailleur and the frame. So it’s important to use
that bit in the right place. And it’s also important that you cut the right end to length. So not the bit that’s got a
silver ferrule on the end of it. That’s a ferrule, by the way. It’s that little bit that goes on the end. Now the general rule of thumb with cutting cable outers to the right length is that they need to be as
short as possible before they start affecting either
the quality of your shifting or the ability of your
bike to actually steer. So, bends that are too
tight in your cable outers will load up the friction on the cables, and so make your gears worse. And then, you also won’t be able to turn your handlebars freely, of course, without the cable outers
being pulled from their stop. Okay, let’s start some
re-cabling, shall we? Now that set of cable inners
and outers from Shimano have everything we need. So, two inners, enough
outers to re-cable the bike, and also all those crucial
little cable ferrules. Now before we thread the
cable into the shifter, we just need to make sure
that it is in the hardest gear at the back. So you click all the way
down using that lever. And then if you’re doing
your front derailleur cable, then you need to make
sure the shifter is in what would be the little chainring. Then, you simply thread it in. Now, different Shimano
shifters thread cables in different ways. So this one here goes through
from this side of the lever and through to the other side. Thread your first cable ferrule on. Now these ones actually have a groove in that fits inside the shifter better. So there is a dedicated ferrule
for this particular job. Now you notice that I’m
installing these cables without adding any kind of grease or lube, and that’s because these
Shimano ones have got a special polymer coating on the inner that makes them super duper slippery. And then, they’ve got
Shimano’s own choice of grease already inside these cable outers. So, I don’t need to do anything. Makes life a little bit easier. Now if I was installing
lesser cables on my bike, then I would choose to use a
little bit of light grease. Now, it does increase the
friction ever so slightly of your shifting, but where I ride, it actually makes the
whole system a little bit more weatherproof. So it just lasts that little bit longer. Install a ferrule on the
other end of the cable. These ones have got really
long nozzle on them, so it improves weatherproofing. And then, we can thread it back into our frame. Now once you have successfully
got your inner cables through your frame, you
can now give yourself a pat on the back. By this point, if you were
re-cabling your front derailleur, then the cable would already be there. Obviously, with the rear cable,
you have one extra length of housing to go. So, you have one cable ferrule on the end. Then you have your cable outer with the metal ferrule that
we talked about earlier coming last. Now with the inner cable
threaded all the way through, we now just need to loosely cinch in place by tightening down that cable
clamp bolt at the end there. And then, at this point, I’m gonna refer to two videos that are
already on the channel, ’cause what we need to do
next are index our gears. So we have how to index
your rear derailleur and how to index your front derailleur. But before you go to those videos, then we also have one last job. And that is we need to
re-tape our handlebars. And of course, securely
tape our outer cables under the handlebars before we do that. Now even before indexing,
we do need to, of course, get rid of that extra length of cable that’s now flapping around
outside our derailleur. So cut it about 2cm away
from the derailleur. And then to finish it, we
need to put this little bit of metal, which is a cable end cap, over the end of the cable, and then we cinch it in place
using the crimping section of our cable cutters. And then we are just
ready to index our gears and make them work perfectly. Like I said, we’ve got two great videos already on the channel. So if you wanna get through to them, how to index your rear
derailleur down here, and how to index your front
derailleur down there. And then of course,
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