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Lubricating rear brake cable

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Lubricating rear brake cable

Old 11-24-19, 10:09 PM
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Robert A
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Lubricating rear brake cable

I'm trying to reduce the friction and stiffness when actuating the rear brakes but am not having much luck. My bike is a one-year-old CAAD12 with Ultegra R8000 caliper brakes. Cable routing is internal.

I placed a few drops of Finish Line chain lube in the rear cable housing and made sure it ran through pretty well. I also inserted lube where the cable terminates at the brake levers. It didn't really make a difference.

Are there any suggestions to improve the feeling of the brakes, or should I consider cable and housing replacement?

Thank you,
Robert
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Old 11-25-19, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I'm trying to reduce the friction and stiffness when actuating the rear brakes but am not having much luck. My bike is a one-year-old CAAD12 with Ultegra R8000 caliper brakes. Cable routing is internal.

I placed a few drops of Finish Line chain lube in the rear cable housing and made sure it ran through pretty well. I also inserted lube where the cable terminates at the brake levers. It didn't really make a difference.

Are there any suggestions to improve the feeling of the brakes, or should I consider cable and housing replacement?

Thank you,
Robert
I would say if the brake cable has been on the bike for one year, it's time to replace. ??
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Old 11-25-19, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cycledogg View Post
I would say if the brake cable has been on the bike for one year, it's time to replace. ??
LBS was saying the same. Is it normal to replace them annually?
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Old 11-25-19, 09:14 AM
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Something is wrong if brake cables need replacing every year. The housing is plastic lined and stainless cables shouldn't rust. If someone put on cheap zinc plated steel cables, they might not last long.

Unclamp the cable at the brake and see if the brake lever moves easily. Also test the caliper by squeezing the arms to be sure they close easily.
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Old 11-25-19, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
LBS was saying the same. Is it normal to replace them annually?
Depends on mileage, but for most avid riders, annually is a good time to install new cables and housing.
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Old 11-25-19, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Something is wrong if brake cables need replacing every year. The housing is plastic lined and stainless cables shouldn't rust. If someone put on cheap zinc plated steel cables, they might not last long.

Unclamp the cable at the brake and see if the brake lever moves easily. Also test the caliper by squeezing the arms to be sure they close easily.
It's not just the cable itself, it's the housing that usually goes first. After usage, the housing twisted strands start to pull out on the ends. Also, depending on grade, the plastic inner housing starts to wear, especially at the bends. YMMV
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Old 11-25-19, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cycledogg View Post
It's not just the cable itself, it's the housing that usually goes first. After usage, the housing twisted strands start to pull out on the ends. Also, depending on grade, the plastic inner housing starts to wear, especially at the bends. YMMV
These are the original housing that came on the bike, so I assume it's Shimano Ultegra cables and housings. If I replace, what brand is recommended?
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Old 11-25-19, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
These are the original housing that came on the bike, so I assume it's Shimano Ultegra cables and housings. If I replace, what brand is recommended?
The same would be a good choice, but I prefer Jagwire brand.
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Old 11-25-19, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
These are the original housing that came on the bike, so I assume it's Shimano Ultegra cables and housings. If I replace, what brand is recommended?
Nah, its most likely not a shimano cable. Most use JAG wire. Imo get the Shimano PTFE road brake cable set.
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Old 11-25-19, 11:27 AM
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Campy cables and housing must last longer than most. When I was riding 5,000 miles a year I could go many years with a pair of brake cables.
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Old 11-25-19, 01:28 PM
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Try shimano polymer cable with shimano SP41 housing. Its like butter when new even for hard to route internal rear brakes
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Old 11-25-19, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Campy cables and housing must last longer than most. When I was riding 5,000 miles a year I could go many years with a pair of brake cables.
Environment has a lot to do with longevity of cables. If you ride in the rain and mud, cable life can be less. Also, what riders are willing to tolerate plays a big roll. I had a rear brake cable that was funky. I don’t do a lot of sensitive braking with the rear brakes, so it didn’t bother me that much. Problem went away after I got the cables replaced a few years later.
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Old 11-25-19, 03:21 PM
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Check out the condition of your brake housing ferrules too, if metal, I've had to replace my rear cable ferrule and/or housing because of rust/corrosion in this area. Could be b/c I sweat like a pig in the summer ? road salt? I dunno. In any case, I regularly inspect this area, and occasionally I'll put a shot of Boeshield T-9 anti-corrosion on ferrule area, seems to help. Just throwing this out there for troubleshooting, if it's a recurring issue.

Sometimes the cable strands can get unwound or messy at the pinch bolt too, or maybe the caliper pivots need a shot of lube both those things can also cause some weirdness or rough feeling.

Last edited by MagicHour; 11-25-19 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 11-26-19, 12:15 AM
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How difficult is it to replace the brake cables and housings? My main concern is the internal cable routing through the top tube.
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Old 11-26-19, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
How difficult is it to replace the brake cables and housings? My main concern is the internal cable routing through the top tube.
Not too difficult. Just start at the enter point by the headtube with the housing, and push it threw. You should see it when it stops at the exit point at the seat tube, or it may just come right out. Either way, if it hangs up at the exit point, just fiddle with it until it pokes out. I have used a short piece of clothes hanger wire to help poke it threw. It just takes a bit of patience but it will work.
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Old 11-26-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
I'm trying to reduce the friction and stiffness when actuating the rear brakes but am not having much luck. My bike is a one-year-old CAAD12 with Ultegra R8000 caliper brakes. Cable routing is internal.

I placed a few drops of Finish Line chain lube in the rear cable housing and made sure it ran through pretty well. I also inserted lube where the cable terminates at the brake levers. It didn't really make a difference.

Are there any suggestions to improve the feeling of the brakes, or should I consider cable and housing replacement?

Thank you,
Robert
You should simply replace it. Save yourself a headache. However, it's not normal to have to change it after only 1 year. Isn't your bike warrantied? If so, what did you LBS say about that?
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Old 11-26-19, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
You should simply replace it. Save yourself a headache. However, it's not normal to have to change it after only 1 year. Isn't your bike warrantied? If so, what did you LBS say about that?
LBS said that housings should be replaced annually. Bike is beyond one year, and I think housings are a wear item anyway.
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Old 11-26-19, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert A View Post
LBS said that housings should be replaced annually. Bike is beyond one year, and I think housings are a wear item anyway.
How many miles have you put on the bike so far? They don't need to be changed annually - they need to be changed whenever they're worn-out.

Wear is not covered by warranty indeed, but premature wear is another thing.
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Old 11-26-19, 12:50 PM
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Disconnect the cable and actuate by hand. If the caliper feels free then it's the cable. Grab the end and put a tiny bit of pull on it then pull on the brake lever. Tons of resistance? Time to swap the cable and housing.

Yes it's normal. Yes it is a wear component. Put high quality cables and housings on. The Shimano OEM ones are nice if you install them correctly and have no problem swapping them out then the internal routing your frame has causes the coating ont he cable to jam up in the housing. OR you can just get high quality stainless polished inners and Teflon lined housing from Jagwire. If you route it correctly then you shouldn't have any more problems. if you mess it up you will end up with just as much drag but new housing. Yay.

It's not hard but if you aren't comfortable with working on your bike then be willing to make mistakes and pay for the education. If you don't like paying for the education then take it to the shop and pay the people who know what they are doing.
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Old 11-26-19, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Disconnect the cable and actuate by hand. If the caliper feels free then it's the cable. Grab the end and put a tiny bit of pull on it then pull on the brake lever. Tons of resistance? Time to swap the cable and housing.
That's exactly what I experienced when I disconnected the cable -- almost no resistance until I put tension on the cable. I hear good things about Jagwire -- either Pro or Elite. Don't mind working on my bike, though I'm still somewhat of a novice doing so.
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Old 11-26-19, 05:44 PM
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This and some Triflow would be a lot simpler. Might be worth a try.

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