Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Do stainless steel derailleur wires last longer than galvanized?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Do stainless steel derailleur wires last longer than galvanized?

Old 04-13-15, 03:05 PM
  #1  
RandomTroll
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Do stainless steel derailleur wires last longer than galvanized?

Do stainless steel derailleur wires last longer than galvanized?

I've broken the wire of the front derailleur (triple) 11 times in the last 11 years, always at the derailleur. (I haven't broken the wire for the rear derailleur once.)

The shift levers are on the downtube. The derailleur is a Shimano 105.


Rust is not a problem.
RandomTroll is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 03:15 PM
  #2  
DMF 
Elitist Troglodyte
 
DMF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Dallas
Posts: 6,927

Bikes: 03 Raleigh Professional (steel)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Stainless steel is generally more brittle than non-stainless steel, but if you don't know what's under the tin, you can't make a comparison.

Advice: Whatever you're using (and breaking), try the other one.
__________________
Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

- Will Rogers
DMF is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 03:27 PM
  #3  
RandomTroll
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DMF View Post
Stainless steel is generally more brittle than non-stainless steel
That's what I think; then again, galvanization adds a layer of zinc: that means less steel.

Originally Posted by DMF View Post
if you don't know what's under the tin, you can't make a comparison.
I do know: Jagwire (basic and more-expensive), Clark's, Pyramid, Shimano, no-name. Unfortunately life doesn't correspond with brand, and 11 is a small sample.
RandomTroll is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 03:45 PM
  #4  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,396

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6907 Post(s)
Liked 240 Times in 198 Posts
I grease my Zn treated Die drawn Cables .. that resists the potential Rust in the Housing .

Im still using the same transverse cantilever cables on my Mafac Cantilevers as came on them when I installed them in 1976.




choose your favorite 3 anecdotes as evidence to support what ever opinion you have. It works in Politics.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 04:52 PM
  #5  
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,639
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Are you tightening it down way too much? Or is it becoming bent or crimped in some weird direction? I don't think galvanized vs. stainless is the issue here.
FastJake is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 05:10 PM
  #6  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,758
Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8946 Post(s)
Liked 145 Times in 118 Posts
I wouldn't guarantee that all cable brands are the same. Unfortunately everything is moving to China with limited QC, so it may be difficult to tell what you're getting. I did notice that the cable ends seem to be shrinking over time.

I rarely break cables, but I think they end up eventually fraying and braking at the shifter or brake levers. But they can last me for years. I think my last broken cable had rusted somewhat near the bottom bracket cable guide, but still broke at the shifter.

I'd look at what is happening at the point of breakage. Angles? Overtightening?

Also, are you using indexed shifting or friction shifting, and do you have barrel adjusters? I try to avoid repeatedly messing with the bolts on either the brakes or shifters (although sometimes it is unavoidable). Set it once, and ignore it.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 05:41 PM
  #7  
HillRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 31,595

Bikes: '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1187 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 47 Times in 42 Posts
Originally Posted by RandomTroll View Post
I've broken the wire of the front derailleur (triple) 11 times in the last 11 years, always at the derailleur. (I haven't broken the wire for the rear derailleur once.)

The shift levers are on the downtube. The derailleur is a Shimano 105.
I'm with FastJake on this one. 11 broken cables in 11 years is way off the charts and I'm sure are doing something to damage the cable. Stainless or galvanized isn't the issue. I've never broken a shift cable in 30 years and 185,000+ miles using downtube, barend, and both Shimano and Campy brifters and I use cables, nearly always stainless, for a couple of years between changes so it's not like I change them often.
HillRider is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 06:40 PM
  #8  
RandomTroll
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
Are you tightening it down way too much?
I think I tighten it just enough. I often don't tighten it tightly enough, it slips, and I tighten it more. Is there something that could have happened to the derailleur to make it not hold unless I over-tighten?

Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
Or is it becoming bent or crimped in some weird direction?
Not that I can see.

Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
I don't think galvanized vs. stainless is the issue here.
That's what I suspect.

Strands break at the bottom edge of the attachment point. It doesn't feel sharp to my touch. Could it have worn in such a way as to cut the wire?

This wire runs in the open, not inside a cable.

I have no barrel adjusters; it's friction shifting.
RandomTroll is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 07:22 PM
  #9  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,968

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 123 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4351 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I'm with FastJake and HillRider here. A cable a year points to a problem, not the cables themselves.

Let's get some facts straight. If there's no obvious cause pointing to something else, cables break from metal fatigue. Te constant bending back and forth at the pinchbolt work hardens the wire until it gets brittle and begins ti break strand by strand. But this is the same for all cables, and suffering that much strain that fast isn't even close to normal.

So, some questions

1- are you routing to the right side (the left, or far side is right) of the pinch bolt?
2- are you possibly over tightening the pinch bolt, and crushing the wire? I'm not sure this is a likely cause, but listed it anyway.
3- are you adjusting the FD so that there's a material increase in cable tension when on the outer ring. This error is VERY common, and might account for short cable life. When you replace it, and adjust the FD, shift to high, then draw the bare wire away form the downtube like a bow string. The FD should move out a bit confirming that it isn't parked up against the high limit. If not, odds are you also have excess cable tension, and THAT is the problem.

BTW- to clear up some misconceptions. Galavanzing doesn't affect cable size or strength. The coating is immeasurably thin, so the amount of steel is the same as a stainless wire of the same size. As for durability, the stainless grades used work harden faster than those used on galvanized wires, and die drawing also makes this worse. Better quality wires trade smoother running for shorter life, but still shouldn't be this bad.


Lastly, if all else fails (next year) you can slip a thin stainless or brass tube over the wire at the pinch bolt and extending down about 1/4" or so. This will act as a flex zone to spread out the flex zone in a way similar to the rubber flex on the end of appliance cords. That will significantly increase the fatigue life.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 08:00 PM
  #10  
Bill Kapaun
Senior Member
 
Bill Kapaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Mid Willamette Valley, Orygun
Posts: 10,898

Bikes: 86 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 707 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by RandomTroll View Post
I think I tighten it just enough. I often don't tighten it tightly enough, it slips, and I tighten it more. Is there something that could have happened to the derailleur to make it not hold unless I over-tighten?........
Tighten it tight enough ONCE.
Bill Kapaun is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 08:14 PM
  #11  
JerrySTL
Senior Member
 
JerrySTL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Near St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 1,447

Bikes: Giant Defy Advanced, Breezer Doppler Team, Schwinn Twinn Tandem, Windsor Tourist, 1954 JC Higgens

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well the good news is that if the front derailleur wire breaks, the gears slam down into something easy. Sure beats having the RD wire break while on a hilly ride!

I have to agree with the others. Something is causing the cable to get cut. Too tight? Maybe. FD too stiff causing extra strain? Not so likely. Maybe a burr or something sharp on the FD? Just throwing that on out there.

I usually change the cables every couple of years for preventative maintenance plus better shifting. But in your case, you'd need to change the cables every 6 months and that's way too often unless you ride mega miles or in bad conditions like muddy MTB conditions.
JerrySTL is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 08:17 PM
  #12  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 3,059
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 593 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 34 Posts
Downtube shifter derailleur cables should last a long time. The front derailleur cable that was installed on my 1972 Raleigh Professional never wore out in over 20 years of use. I only changed it when I installed indexed shifters and derailleurs
alcjphil is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 08:31 PM
  #13  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,758
Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8946 Post(s)
Liked 145 Times in 118 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
3- are you adjusting the FD so that there's a material increase in cable tension when on the outer ring. This error is VERY common, and might account for short cable life. When you replace it, and adjust the FD, shift to high, then draw the bare wire away form the downtube like a bow string. The FD should move out a bit confirming that it isn't parked up against the high limit. If not, odds are you also have excess cable tension, and THAT is the problem.
Are you sure that is true with friction shifters? You don't want to be throwing the chain. The pressure shouldn't be real high after shifting.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 08:35 PM
  #14  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,758
Mentioned: 176 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8946 Post(s)
Liked 145 Times in 118 Posts
Is it possible to modify a 1.6mm brake cable to use as a 1.2mm shifter cable? Does it fit into the shifter? Perhaps either carefully cutting half the end off, or carefully filing it round to fit the hole. You'll know quickly enough if it doesn't work.

Attached Images
File Type: gif
Brake to Derailleur Cable.gif (17.2 KB, 33 views)
CliffordK is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 08:56 PM
  #15  
FastJake
Constant tinkerer
 
FastJake's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,639
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Is it possible to modify a 1.6mm brake cable to use as a 1.2mm shifter cable? Does it fit into the shifter? Perhaps either carefully cutting half the end off, or carefully filing it round to fit the hole. You'll know quickly enough if it doesn't work.

I wouldn't bother modifying it at all. I'd just let the end stick out. It'll work the same, it just won't look nice.
FastJake is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 09:00 PM
  #16  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,968

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 123 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4351 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Are you sure that is true with friction shifters? You don't want to be throwing the chain. The pressure shouldn't be real high after shifting.
Yes, it's true, friction or index. There's room to set the limit beyond the point of perfect trim and still prevent overshifting. So, you overshift beyond where the trim position will be and settle back a hair.

So many people set the limit right about where the trim is right, and cannot overshift for a crisp shift and end up forcing the FD against the limit to get a shift.

My procedure for FD outer limit adjustment, is to shift via direct pulling on the wire, back off until I can dump the chain, then back in by degrees until I can't. Then no tighter than what's necessary to preventing the chain from dumping. That leaves plenty of room to work without forcing things.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 09:10 PM
  #17  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,968

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 123 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4351 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Is it possible to modify a 1.6mm brake cable to use as a 1.2mm shifter cable? Does it fit into the shifter? Perhaps either carefully cutting half the end off, or carefully filing it round to fit the hole. You'll know quickly enough if it doesn't work...
I'll save you the wasted effort. All the strength is in the larger section of the head. The extension is plain zinc and there only to prevent side exit from the fittings.

Inside the larger part of the head, the cable is frayed apart and formed into a "floret" resembling a tulip with the strands turned back to the center. When the zinc is cast around this, it forms a well supported structure than cannot be pulled apart.

There's nothing resembling this strand separating in the neck, so without the head attached, the pull out strength is minimal.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 04-13-15, 10:18 PM
  #18  
RandomTroll
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 434
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
1- are you routing to the right side (the left, or far side is right) of the pinch bolt?
I route as the instructions tell me: to the inside, the side closer to the frame.

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
2- are you possibly over tightening the pinch bolt, and crushing the wire?
How would I know without a torque wrench that small? The instructions tell me 5-7 N-m. I rarely over-tighten anything; as I said before I more likely get this bolt not quite tight enough. (Can the bolt bear much more than 7 N-m?) I've worried about how tight I've had to make it to get it to hold. The derailleur is at least 17 years old: could the surfaces have worn so as to cause this?

Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
3- are you adjusting the FD so that there's a material increase in cable tension when on the outer ring.
I can move the derailleur a further bit out when it's on the largest chainring; I need over-shoot to shift sometimes.
RandomTroll is offline  
Old 04-14-15, 05:55 AM
  #19  
Greenfieldja
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 1,032
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
One thing to look at is where on the derailleur you are clamping the cable. Normally there is a washer/bushing on the bolt between the bolt head and the movement arm of the front derailleur....the cable should be clamped between the movement arm and the washer/bushing not between the bolt head and the washer/bushing. Clamping directly against the bolt head, in my experience, tends to lead to the bolt cutting the strands of the cable when clamping.

YMMV,
-j
Greenfieldja is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jppe
Fifty Plus (50+)
1
02-08-18 12:55 PM
bikebreak
General Cycling Discussion
1
05-19-13 04:01 PM
jamison
Folding Bikes
14
08-25-09 07:37 PM
ChiapasFixed
Road Cycling
8
01-17-08 03:53 PM
hillyman
General Cycling Discussion
3
04-22-03 07:45 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.