Mountain biking can involve a lot of challenging conditions other than leisurely biking. Oftentimes, you will be involved with rocky roads, giant objects opposing your directions of biking, unstable altitudes of roads, and many other conditions that require you to brake.
Every mountain bike has different components, and the bike’s brakes are no exception. One of the components included in the brakes of mountain bikes is the brake cable. The bike brake cables help in creating and releasing the tension in each of their connected brakes.
In this post, we will go through how to fix and replace the bike brake cable. Let’s get started!
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Tools And Materials Required
There are a couple of tools and materials needed for replacing and fixing the bike brake cable. These are as follows.
What Is A Brake Cable?
The brake cable is one of the wires on a bicycle that connects the brake controls from the handlebars to the wheels. The cable wire consists of 2 parts with an inner cable of braided stainless steel wire and an outer cable housing.
This type of cable is called Bowden cable which is a flexible cable used to transmit mechanical force or energy by the movement of an inner cable relative to a hollow outer cable housing.
Different Types Of Bike Brake Cables?
There are three main types of bike brake cables, these are.
- MTB brake cable.
- Road bike brake cable.
- Derailluer brake cable.
For MTB and road bike brake cables, there are cables for the caliper brakes, cantilever brakes, and cable-activated disc brakes.
Since these three bike brakes are unique to each other, the ways of fixing these three cables on mountain bike brakes will also be different.
What Are The Different Types Of Bicycle Brakes?
They are a good variety of different types of bike brakes available. There are 2 main categories that you will only need to really know about. These are as follows.
- Rim Brakes – Widely in use on BMX, road and city bike.
- Disc brakes – Is standard on MTBs.
Main Types Of Rim Brakes
This type of brake is generally activated by a lever on the handlebar which applies force to the rim of the wheel, causing the bicycle to slow down and stop.
- Caliper brakes – As used on the majority of road bikes.
- Cantiliver brakes.
Main Types Of Disc Brakes
Disc brakes mainly come in two types, these are.
- Hydraulic Disc Brake.
- Mechanical Disc Brake.
When Should I Replace The Brake Cable?
The way the brake cable works on the bike is that you pull the brake lever from the handlebars, this creates a pull on the cable which in turn causes the bike to slow down. Over time the cables may become stretched, or become damaged and need to be replaced.
You should consider replacing the brake cable when you notice a decline in performance. The brake cables used on a bicycle consist of 2 parts the inner wire and housing. Over time the housing’s cable rusts, this causes the cable to catch on the housing causing things like the brakes not releasing properly.
Sometimes the inner cable is made up of twisted wires that become fray and break. If this happens to you, then more than likely your brakes won’t work.
How To Replace The Bike Brake Cable?
Sticking is one of the major problems experienced in caliper brakes’ cables. Sticking is a sign that you may need to replace your brake cable.
The other bike brake types have almost identical treatments on how to fix their bike brake cables.
- Firstly, you need to remove the old cable. if you snip off the crimped end, hence you are replacing the cable. Otherwise, it will get caught inside of the housing.
- With the Allen keys, twist it to turn the pinch bolt in a counterclockwise direction to loosen the bolt. Then slide it out the brake cable.
- On the handlebar, next to the brake lever there is a small barrel that secures the cable to the lever.
- Slide the cable out from the brake lever.
- Remove the outer cable housing from the bike and slide the inner cable out of the housing.
- Now, to add the new cable. Cut your new cable to match the old one.
- Put the cable through the outer housing. Carefully slide the cable through the entire length of the outer casing.
- Slide the inner cable into the brake lever.
- Secure the cable to the bike.
- Slide the ferrules at the ends of the cable housing into place. After securing the ends of the inner cable, slide the outer housing’s ferrules or end pieces over the barrel adjuster and retention anchor.
- Finally, pull the brake lever on the handlebar to check the cable resistance and brake mechanism. This is to test that everything is working. If the testing results are negative, don’t hesitate to repeat the previous steps until you have been certain that the bike brake cables are positioned properly.
- Tidy up and cut any excess cable, then crimp the end.
- Double-check that your brakes work properly before you go out biking.
Finally, even though all bike brake cables have almost the same way to fix and replace them, the caliper brakes are the most common brakes, yet the ones with more unique problems. With a little care and proper maintenance, you can get a little bit more out bike brake cable.
And that’s it for now! I’d love it if this post on how to fix a bike brake cable was helpful to you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.