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Why change front shift cable as frequently as rear?

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Why change front shift cable as frequently as rear?

Old 04-28-17, 08:31 AM
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RShantz
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Why change front shift cable as frequently as rear?

As the title says. While starting to change my cables today I had this thought so I didn't change my front cable. If I don't go to the mountains I may easily go a couple weeks never in the small ring. The front doesn't get used. Call me lazy, but I happily did a half-assed job today.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
As the title says. While starting to change my cables today I had this thought so I didn't change my front cable. If I don't go to the mountains I may easily go a couple weeks never in the small ring. The front doesn't get used. Call me lazy, but I happily did a half-assed job today.
Honestly, the last few times I replaced a cable, I did so when it broke. They've all been rear cables, and all broke around 3500 miles. I've never had a front cable break.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:37 AM
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I never, ever change my shift cables. Never adjust them, either. And my shifting is as crisp today as on the day I bought the bike.

(Yes, it's Di2, but I have to confess that one reason I ponied up the extra for Di2 was to avoid the annual / semi-annual ritual of replacing cables, re-wrapping bars, and adjusting derailleurs/cables. In other words, I COMPLETELY understand the desire to skip one cable replacement. I paid good money to do the same!)
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Old 04-28-17, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
As the title says. While starting to change my cables today I had this thought so I didn't change my front cable. If I don't go to the mountains I may easily go a couple weeks never in the small ring. The front doesn't get used. Call me lazy, but I happily did a half-assed job today.
Because they come in a set?
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Old 04-28-17, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by rgconner View Post
Because they come in a set?


Yeah, but with my new grand plan the set is going to be 2 changes of the rear. I used change them around 5,000-7,000. So now a set will last 10-14k - now I just need to figure out where to spend all the money I just saved.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
Honestly, the last few times I replaced a cable, I did so when it broke. They've all been rear cables, and all broke around 3500 miles. I've never had a front cable break.
Same. What group do you have? I'm on 5700 and it eats the rear cable in the lever body. Always frays and fails just behind the cable anchor.

I change the front cable when I change the housings as a matter of habit, but I've never noticed any issues with it and no fraying. It doesn't get used very frequently.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:54 AM
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Cables break through metal fatigue as they bend on and off the lever drum. So, it's about how often you shift, and for most people that means the front cable should last 5-10 (or more) times as long as the rear.

I suspect that the FD cable will outlast the housing, which may fail from age, or physical abuse, so I'd leave it alone until I needed to replace the housing, at which time, I'd replace both.
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Old 04-28-17, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rgconner View Post
Because they come in a set?
No need to buy them in a set.
Example: https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...7&category=673
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Old 04-28-17, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Same. What group do you have? I'm on 5700 and it eats the rear cable in the lever body. Always frays and fails just behind the cable anchor.
I had it happen on both 5700 and 6800. Yep, it always frays and breaks inside the shifter. I should really just learn my lesson and replace the rear cable every 3000 miles.
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Old 04-28-17, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Same. What group do you have? I'm on 5700 and it eats the rear cable in the lever body. Always frays and fails just behind the cable anchor.

I change the front cable when I change the housings as a matter of habit, but I've never noticed any issues with it and no fraying. It doesn't get used very frequently.
I've got Red on the bike & I have never broken a cable on this bike. Actually the cables look good when I remove them.

I do it b/c I don't want it to break on a fun group ride. A lot of my friends do the ride it till it breaks method but they always seem to end up breaking it during a ride that's important to them. So, I just change mine earlier. However, I do think I'm going to stop changing the front simply b/c I think that it's a waste.
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Old 04-28-17, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
I do it b/c I don't want it to break on a fun group ride. A lot of my friends do the ride it till it breaks method but they always seem to end up breaking it during a ride that's important to them. So, I just change mine earlier. However, I do think I'm going to stop changing the front simply b/c I think that it's a waste.
This is definitely murphy's law in action, can confirm. My 2 most recent cable breakages were on the first lap of a race that I felt pretty good about, and in the first 3 miles of my favorite Sunday group ride on a beautiful day.

If they broke at the end of a trainer session or something that would be nice.
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Old 04-28-17, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
No need to buy them in a set.
Example: https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...7&category=673
Dura Ache also:

DA SHIFT INNER CABLE
1.2X2000MM STAINLESS
Y60098900
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Old 04-28-17, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
This is definitely murphy's law in action, can confirm. My 2 most recent cable breakages were on the first lap of a race that I felt pretty good about, and in the first 3 miles of my favorite Sunday group ride on a beautiful day.

If they broke at the end of a trainer session or something that would be nice.
Same here, it has always happened at the worst time. I try to replace on a regular basis
but if not watch out for the first sign of funky shifting.
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Old 04-28-17, 09:25 AM
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I've broken the rear shift cable once on a Campy-equipped road bike, and about three times on my Shimano-equipped foul-weather/touring bike.

The maddening thing is that every time it happens, I realize afterward that the shifting was getting crappy for about 20 miles prior, due to the frayed cable catching on the inside of the shifter. But I just thought it needed adjustment.
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Old 04-28-17, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
I've got Red on the bike & I have never broken a cable on this bike. Actually the cables look good when I remove them.

I do it b/c I don't want it to break on a fun group ride. A lot of my friends do the ride it till it breaks method but they always seem to end up breaking it during a ride that's important to them. So, I just change mine earlier. However, I do think I'm going to stop changing the front simply b/c I think that it's a waste.


I've got Red as well, & so thought I could ignore a reminder to change the cable, especially as I had inspected it a couple of times & seen no wear. It broke one or two rides later, but single-speed builds character, right?
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Old 04-28-17, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
... watch out for the first sign of funky shifting.
I'm not sure this works so well with SRAM derailleurs.
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Old 04-28-17, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
Honestly, the last few times I replaced a cable, I did so when it broke. They've all been rear cables, and all broke around 3500 miles. I've never had a front cable break.
I have. 10 miles into a 56 mile flattish RR. That was spintastic.
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Old 04-28-17, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I have. 10 miles into a 56 mile flattish RR. That was spintastic.
If that happened to me, I'd either pull out or try to bum a multitool off a rider or spectator so I could push the inner limit out and keep it on the big ring.
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Old 04-28-17, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
Same. What group do you have? I'm on 5700 and it eats the rear cable in the lever body. Always frays and fails just behind the cable anchor.

I change the front cable when I change the housings as a matter of habit, but I've never noticed any issues with it and no fraying. It doesn't get used very frequently.
Same. My Habanero has had the RD cable changed (by me) around 8 times, still on the original FD cable.
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Old 04-28-17, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
I had it happen on both 5700 and 6800. Yep, it always frays and breaks inside the shifter. I should really just learn my lesson and replace the rear cable every 3000 miles.
Agree. I should probably just change RD cable every time I change the chain, I get about 3000ish miles from a chain.
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Old 04-28-17, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post
I had it happen on both 5700 and 6800. Yep, it always frays and breaks inside the shifter. I should really just learn my lesson and replace the rear cable every 3000 miles.
Or just do like me and get a new bike around then
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Old 04-28-17, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
If that happened to me, I'd either pull out or try to bum a multitool off a rider or spectator so I could push the inner limit out and keep it on the big ring.
Yeah, unfortunately that wasn't an option, and my team car was too far back in the caravan . It basically became a challenge to try to stay attached to the main group as long as possible.
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Old 04-28-17, 12:45 PM
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I don't understand this changing shift cables concept. I have never done that in 34 years of road cycling, except when rebuilding a bike or changing out other connected parts. Why would I? Always shifts fine.
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Old 04-28-17, 02:10 PM
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I change them when they break. My '92 Campy Chorus group ate front derailleur cables but not rear. I guess it depends on which group eats which cables.
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Old 04-28-17, 02:47 PM
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I don't even remember the last time I changed shift cables, but now that I'm using Sram Force shifters, I'm hoping for the same durability.
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