Gear cables are relatively easily accessible components in the entire drive train of your road bike. To ensure smooth gear shifting, and efficient functioning of the road bikes, it is necessary that their cables are routinely replaced. This guide will help you in changing the gear cables of your road bike, whenever you need to.
STEP 1: Making the connection
Cables are used for making the connection between the front shifters on the handlebar and the rear derailleurs. While arranging the shifter to move into a larger chain-ring or cog, you characteristically pull onto the cables, creating a movement in the front and rear derailleur, which eventually shifts the chain. When the tension on the cable is released by the shifters, there is again movement in the derailleurs, which shifts the chain to smaller chain-ring or cog.
While going through their journey from shifters to the derailleurs, cables run inside the housings. It is a typical problem with gear cables that once they wear out, the shift to bigger chain-ring is done easily, but there is certain delay in its movement onto the smaller chain-ring. This is generally caused due to dirty or dry cables which increase the friction between the cable and its housings.
For preventing this problem, remove the cable and wipe it clean with the help of a degreaser-soaked rack. After that, lubricate it using a fresh rag of oil. For better results, dribble some oil in housing too. If the cables are still not working, then it is better to replace them along with the housing. It is best practice to just use new cables whenever you clip the cables to remove them.
STEP 2: Fitting new set of cables
Make sure to shift the chain into smaller chain-ring position before fitting the new cable to the front derailleur. Shift the position to smallest cassette if you are fitting cable to rear derailleur. For removing the old cable, undo the clamp bolt on the derailleur and push the cable backwards through all the shifting and the housings. Once the old cable is removed, insert the new lubricated cable into the shifter and pass it through the housing. Pull the cable on the cable clamp bolt on the rear or front derailleur and tighten the clamp while you are still pulling it.
STEP 3: Bringing appropriate housing length
Even after replacing the old cables with a new lubricated set, you may experience friction. Although the friction is impossible to be completely eliminated, it can surely be reduced. It can be achieved by shortening the length of extra housing, such as the unwieldy loops that are present between the shifter and first cable guide on the frame. This is no rocket science. The only rule to keep in mind is that, you should leave enough housing to move your handlebar 90o right and 90o left.
If the housing is too short, then the cable may bend or kink inside the housing. If it is too long, it may cause unnecessary friction. All you have to do is figure out the required length and cut the housing appropriately. Use cable cutter to cut the housing and ferrules on each end for filing any burrs that form on the end.