Bike Brake Cables

Brake Cables Fixes, Reviews & Guides

Embedded thumbnail for DIY Cable Routing Guide

DIY Cable Routing Guide

Most bikes will have a dedicated cabe routing guide, however if you don't have one of those, a quick little hack is to use a zip tie and endcap.

Snip End Cap

...
Tools pliers
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Use Barrel Adjusters for Quick Adjustments

Use Barrel Adjusters for Quick Adjustments

How to use a barrel adjuster:

Barrel Adjuster on Brake Cable

Barrel adjusters are a good way to make quick adjustments to your bike without using a tool....

Tools No Tools
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Installing Campagnolo Ergopower Integrated Brake/Gear Levers

Installing Campagnolo Ergopower Integrated Brake/Gear Levers

Installing Integrated Brake/Gear Levers:

To begin, peel back the brake hood. Slide a lever on to the handlebar into position and tighten with a 5mm allen wrench. Positioning should look...

Company: Campagnolo
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Route Brake Cable Hose on RockShox RS-1 Fork

How to Route Brake Cable Hose on RockShox RS-1 Fork

RS-1 Brake Hose Routing:

Proper brake hose routing on the RS-1 is important to make sure your hose is not rubbing on your wheel or tire, and to make sure the brake hose is not damaging the...

Company: DT Swiss
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Bleed SRAM Hydraulic Disc Brakes

How to Bleed SRAM Hydraulic Disc Brakes

This video will show you how to properly bleed your SRAM Hydraulic disc brakes.

You will need the following tools and supplies: Avid Bleed Kit, T10 Torx Wrench, 2.5 mm Hex wrench, torque...

Company: Avid
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Installing and Adjusting Sram Red DoubleTap Shifters

Installing and Adjusting Sram Red DoubleTap Shifters

This video will show you how to install and adjust Sram DoubleTap Shifters.

You will need the following tools and supplies: a 2.5 & 5 mm hex wrenches, a torque wrench, a pair of cable...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Replace Internally Routed Cables on a Bike

How to Replace Internally Routed Cables on a Bike

Do you have any tips on how to replace internally routed cables? I always dread changing mine.

Nearly every mechanic has cursed the widespread adoption of internally routed cables for the...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Replacing Bike Brake Cables How To

Replacing Bike Brake Cables How To

Most bicyclers are quite familiar with changing their brake pads as they're one of the first things that start to go after excessive riding. Over the course of a life though, having to swap out...

Company: Shimano
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How To Fix a Frayed Bike Brake Cable

How To Fix a Frayed Bike Brake Cable

frayed cables don't bring a lot to the table

As we've shown in our other tutorials, cutting and replacing the brake cable system on your bike isn't that hard of...

Company: Shimano
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Cut, Trim, & Lubricate Brake and Shift Housing and Cables

How to Cut, Trim, & Lubricate Brake and Shift Housing and Cables

Your brake and shift cables connect you to your brakes and derailleurs, and are what you use to tell you brakes and derailleurs what you want them to do. Most cables are open to...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Cut and Resize Shimano Disc Brake Hose

Cut and Resize Shimano Disc Brake Hose

Today, we are going to be cutting the hose. As you can see I installed this hose and it's huge. You can do this off the bike or on the bike, however you like. I do it on, because I...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Set Up and Adjust Cantilever Brakes

How to Set Up and Adjust Cantilever Brakes

Hi, I'm Jonathan from Franklinton CycleWorks. Today I'm going show you how to adjust your cantilever brakes. Now, cantilever brakes are also known as cyclocross brakes because...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Bleed Avid Hydraulic Brakes

How to Bleed Avid Hydraulic Brakes

Avid hydraulic brakes require DOT 4 or DOT 5.1 brake fluid so DO NOT USE MINERAL OIL.

The Avid brake bleed kit comes with two syringes, one to catch discarded fluid and one to push clean...

Company: Avid
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Bleed Magura Hydraulic Brakes

How to Bleed Magura Hydraulic Brakes

I’ll probably repeat it a bah-jillion times but it is worth repeating: if you are bleeding hydraulic brakes, mineral oil and DOT fluid ARE NOT INTERCHANGABLE! It’s kind of like when they tell you...

Company: Magura
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Adjust Your Road Bike Brakes

How to Adjust Your Road Bike Brakes

Adjusting your road bike brakes is a pretty straightforward matter. And faulty braking, at any level, is something you don’t want.

First, you’ll want to look at what is going on. Maybe the...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Install Hydraulic Disc Brakes

How to Install Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Installing disc brakes is more often than not, a considerable upgrade for anyone who is serious about their mountain biking. You won’t have to worry about wearing down your rims and about trying...

Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Bleed Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes

How to Bleed Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes

Hydraulic brakes work by applying pressure to a liquid in a tube. They work by means of a piston in the lever which shoots liquid into the caliper piston which causes the brakes to clamp...

Company: Shimano
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to String Brake Cables

How to String Brake Cables

Stringing brake cables is pretty straightforward.

You’ll need:

  • Allen wrench
  • Cable cutters
  • Brake housing
  • Brake cable
  • Ferrule
  • Cable...
    Company: Truvativ
    Type: Repair Tutorial
  • Embedded thumbnail for Mountain Bike V-Brake Adjustment

    Mountain Bike V-Brake Adjustment

    Rim brakes are simple. Rim brakes are fun. Rim brakes sometimes need adjusting. If you pull the lever and the brakes are still loosy goosey, then it's time to tighten up the tension on...

    Company: Shimano
    Type: Repair Tutorial
    Embedded thumbnail for How To Adjust Sidepull Brakes on a Road Bike

    How To Adjust Sidepull Brakes on a Road Bike

    Misaligned brake pads can cause a decrease of braking power, or even a blowout! With 5 minutes of your time, you can ensure that you have the ability to stop when you're supposed to. Here's the...

    Company: Park
    Type: Repair Tutorial

    Brake cables are simple components. Generally there are two ways to actuate bike brakes. Mechanical cables consist of an outer housing containing a stainless steel wire pulling on the brake. Hydraulic brakes use fluid plunging through a hose to push pistons that close brake pads around the caliper. In either case, the cable transfers mechanical energy from the lever to actuate the brake.

     

    The type of cable obviously depends on the brake system. Many road bikes almost always use the mechanical "Bowden" cables to actuate their rim brakes, while many disc brake setups on mountain bikes are hydraulic. Both have some pro's and cons:

      Pros: Cons:
    Mechanical -Lightweight        

    -Inexpensive

    -more exposure to the elements        

    -require correct length/tension

    Hydraulic -Closed system prevents contamination/corrosion        

    -stronger braking power

    -If the seal is broken, the brakes can fail completely       

    -Requires frequent bleeding of the fluid/maintenance

     

    Brake cables can be often overlooked. When cycling, sometimes they mean the difference in coming to stop using the brakes, or using your face.

     

    Brake cables vary widely in pricing. Bowden cables can be bought for practically nothing, but if you're serious about getting the best protective or lightweight housing, they can reach over $200. Hydraulic hoses run about the same as mechanical cables, but Amazon.com doesn't offer as much diversity in hoses.

    jagwire brake

    Housing can be made of different materials that can mean the difference in a properly functioning brake, and a functioning brake. Investing in decent brake cables is in everyone's best interest.

    Routing brake cables around the frame of the bike is very important. Too loose, you end up lugging around extra (and unnecessary) hardware too short and brake performance is compromised. Handlebar configuration influences cable routes throughout the bike. In general, the cables should be long enough to make wide, sweeping turns en route to the brake. Any tight angles or extra slack will cause unwanted bending which puts stress on the cable. 

    routing brake cable

    For the most part, brake cables and hoses come in the same diameter all across the market. That's anywhere from 1.1mm to 1.6mm. It's debated if extra bulk of the cord makes any difference.

    Bowden cable

    Mechanical brakes are called Bowden cables. There's a nylon, rubber, or plastic coating around a protective, flexible steel housing. Within the steel housing is an inner wire of tightly-spun steel lined with nylon fabric for lubrication. At the end of the cable are metal stops to which it is stopped by the brake lever. They run through hollow bolts (called barrel adjusters) that adjust tension of the Bowden cable by loosening or tightening the bolt. Squeezing the lever pulls the cable tighter through the housing simultaneously pulling the brake closed. The outer wire is spiraled (like a slinky) and allows for more dispersed elongation or compression when the brake is applied. This evenly spreads out the heavy load when power is applied for braking, and keeps from snapping the cable.


    Hydraulic line

    Hydraulic brakes lines are a bit different.The inner wire is a Teflon hose containing DOT brake fluid or mineral oil. Housing that is a protective wire of Kevlar and nylon to help shield from abrasions or rubbing on the frame. The line is attached to the brake lever (master cylinder) in either open or closed systems. The lever drives a piston that compresses the fluid in the hose. They are actuated in 3 strokes:

    • Dead stroke: The master cylinder (the brake lever) pushes the fluid together at the other end of the hose, essentially pulling the slack out.
    • Pad gap stroke: As you might guess, this stroke is when the fluid pushes the pistons, and therefore the brake pads, against the caliper.
    • Contact and modulation stroke: Ever-increasing pressure is applied to the pads by the hydraulic fluid - which is specially designed not to compress.

    Hydraulic brakes are closed from the elements, meaning they will last much longer. However, if the ambient temperature exceeds the boiling point of the fluid, it could expand in the brake line and damage seals on either end. If the hose leaks the hydraulic fluid, the brakes will not function.