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It all depends on how toasted they are doesn't it? I have done that about a million times btw. Still, if you want pristine shifting or braking spring for the 30 bucks and get new.

Drew
 

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Sure.. just clean them and inspect for kinks or fraying. Re-lube if you like and use them again. I usually rotate my rear derailleur cable to the front and buy a new rear on a regular basis. Don't forget to spray out the housings with silicone spray also.
 

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ravingbikefiend
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My parents and grandparents lived through the depression and they taught me at an early age that one never throws away perfectly useable parts.

More often than not, a good shot of lube in the housings will really improve the cable's performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks all. i am in the process of switching shifters between two bikes. i dont have a good wire cutter and im trying to do it without buying new cables. but being new at this, i think i made a mistake.

i pulled the cables out of the housings to swap them, thinking the length was similar enough with both bikes. but theyre not. i should have just switched the shifters and left the cables. now i need to reinsert the cables in their original housings.

so its not that they are used, its more that they are frayed at the end.

as for lube, im not sure what to use. i just have grease and chain lube. ive heard grease is not so good. is chain lube okay?

any advice since i am new to this would be much appreciated.
 

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Old man on a bike
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Even if you do buy new cables, if you're going to do your own installation you're going to need a good cutter, one that works for housings as well (and the investment in a good tool is worth it, in the long run you'll save time and money as compared to having a shop do it for you). I'm not a big fan of lubes that gunk up in the housings (like wax or paraffin suspension lubes), I've had better luck with dry and clean cables with full housing runs (no exposure of bare cable); the silicone spray I haven't tried but sounds like a good idea. Sometimes you can twist the frayed end to the point where it can be reinserted into a housing, but that depends on how badly frayed they are.
 
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