Bike Shifter Cables

Shifter Cables Fixes, Reviews & Guides

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 Install and Adjust SRAM Road Derailleurs

Install and Adjust SRAM Road Derailleurs

Required told: 5 mm hex, torque wrench, phillips head screwdriver, flat head screwdriver, derailleur alignment tool, cable cutters, and needle nose pliers.

It is important to note that Sram...

Company: SRAM
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 DIY Index Rear Bike Gears

DIY Index Rear Bike Gears

Most cyclers are familiar with the sweet sound of a gear clicking into place when they make a flick of their shifter. In a perfect world this isn't accompanied by any quick jerking and with little...

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 DIY Shimano Rear Derailleur Adjustment

DIY Shimano Rear Derailleur Adjustment

Rear derailleurs for the most part are relatively maintenance free except for lubing and cleaning regularly. One minor fix you may have to perform on a regular basis is an adjustment for when the...

Company: DT Swiss
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for Simple Shimano XT Rear Derailleur Adjustment

Simple Shimano XT Rear Derailleur Adjustment

Hey this is Johnny Bravo from Performance Bicycle. 

Derailleurs guide the chain from here to gear and when they work they're great but when they don't your stuck and your frustrated,...

Company: Truvativ
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Adjust Shimano STI Shifters

How to Adjust Shimano STI Shifters

“STI” stands for “Shimano Total Integration” and it refers to the fact that the gear shifter and the brakes can be accessed in the same lever.

How it works is that the lever is a vertical...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to Adjust a Grip Shift Bike Shifter

How to Adjust a Grip Shift Bike Shifter

Grip shifters are basically rings that twist on the handlebar itself. They differ from the trigger shifters in that they don’t have a lever extending from the handlebar, creating a bit of...

Tools hex wrench
Company: SRAM
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How to String or Replace Derailleur Cables

How to String or Replace Derailleur Cables

After a while, your cables will need a little work. If you live by the ocean, have wet weather or ride through mud, you’re going to have humidity issues and possible rusting going on. And in order...

Company: Park
Type: Repair Tutorial
Embedded thumbnail for How To Fix a Mountain Bike Rear Derailleur

How To Fix a Mountain Bike Rear Derailleur

How To Adjust a Mountain Bike Rear Derailleur

Whether you mountain bike down edgy rock gardens or...

Company: Maxxis
Type: Repair Tutorial

Shifter cables often go unnoticed during a ride. All we know is that when we hit the shifter, the derailleur moves the chain onto the next cog.

Not so fast.

Shifter cables are simple and sensitive components that actuate the shifting mechanism.

Bowden cables have been around for more than 100 years. There's a nylon, rubber, or plastic coating around a protective, flexible steel housing. Within the steel housing is an inner steel wire lined with nylon fabric for lubrication. At the end of the cable are metal stops by which it is moved by the shifter. The cable runs through hollow bolts attached to the derailleur and shifter (called barrel adjusters). The tension of the cable can be loosened or tightened by moving the bolt. Actuating the shifter pulls or releases the cable tighter through the housing, simultaneously moving the derailleur in tow.

Different than brake cables, the housing layer surrounding the inner wire in shifter cables has very minimal elastic properties. Instead, the housing consists of a cluster of linear strands. The structure is rigid and fortified. Shifting is about precision, and unlike braking (where pressure increasing builds up on the cable as more braking is needed), the strain on these wires is consistent for every shift.

Shift bowden

 

On the low end, shifter cables can cost next to nothing. However, if you're serious about getting the best protective or lightweight housing, you will certainly notice a difference. Shifts will be crisp and exact, keeping your thoughts focused on the road and not the rear derailleur. The most expensive cables can reach over $200 on Amazon.com, but that's extreme. Extremely worth it.

Jagwire cable

Routing shifter cables around the frame of the bike is very important. Cables fitted to the proper length mean that the rear derailleur has the range of motion it needs. A cable too long will let the derailleur wander, sometimes leading to misalignment and ghost shifting when inconvenient. Having too short of a cable will limit the derailleur and it won't be able to move properly to shift through the gears. Many bike frames will have cable guides used to anchor the cable housing, helping the inner wire do its job.

cable guide routing shifter cable

Handlebar configuration influences cable routes throughout the bike. In general, the cables should be long enough to make wide, sweeping turns from the shifter en route to the derailleur. Any tight angles or extra slack will cause unwanted bending which puts stress on the cable or improper shifting. 

cable routing

The inner wire of shifter cables will be a diameter of 1.1mm. Outside diameter will either be 4mm or 5mm depending on materials used.

Length of the wire is cut as needed, which obviously varies on size of the frame and the path which it is routed. 

cable plus ends cutting a shifter cable