How To Replace Bike Shifter Cables

Any avid bicyclist knows the importance of bike maintenance and quality. The freedom of the natural air and the potential to be anywhere drives the bicyclist into being a responsible bicycle rider. There is nothing more satisfying than freedom, and that is what drives every one of us.

There are several things you should be familiar with if you're a bicyclist, and one of them is how to replace shifter cables.

  • To begin, you will first need to remove your old and worn bicycle cables. You begin by shifting the small cog in the back and the small ring in front.
  • Next you need to find the bike derailleur, which is in the front. Start with the left shift lever, and follow the cable until you reach the front gears. That mechanism is called the front derailleur.
  • Now take a screwdriver or Allen wrench, and loosen the bolt holding the cable to the derailleur in place; be careful and do not remove the bolt completely.
  • Now you need to do the same thing, only backwards. Starting with the right shifter, follow the cable to the pulley mechanism near the back gears; this is the rear derailleur.
  • Do the same thing you did to the front, use a screwdriver or Allen wrench and loosen the bolt, but again, do not remove it completely.
  • Now that the cables are loose, push them through the cable housing. Use pliers to secure one end of the cable where it pokes out of the shifter and tug it until it is completely removed. Repeat this process with the second cable.

Now that you have completed removing the old cables, it's time to replace them with new ones.

  • Before you begin, grease your new cables liberally.  If WD-40 or something similar is unavailable, use any kind of bike oil.
  • Now push the newly lubricated cable through the hole in the left shifter.  Feed the cable in slowly; if you're having trouble, wiggle and rotate it slightly, or grease it more.
  • Now, after you've completed feeding the cable through there will be excess that will come from either side, and there will be a lot of it.
  • Place your new cable in the slot on the derailleur where the old cable was. Please remember that some derailleurs have clamps, others will be a bolt with a hole in the middle.
  • With pliers, pull the cable to its end and tighten the bolt on the other end. Repeat this process with the right shifter, attaching the cable through the right derailleur.
  • Now cut or clip the excess cable and cover the sharp end with a cable tip, or with heavy waterproof tape.
  • Finally, adjust the derailleur to your specifications.  Take the time to make sure everything is working properly; you wouldn't want the bike to seize up while you're at top speed!


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