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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have an old bike that I am using as a commuter bike at school, and I think it is time to replace the cables because the brakes and shifters take a lot of force to operate. I don't think any real maintenance has been done on it in the past 10 years. Is it just a matter of buying a cable+housing kit, cutting it to the same length as the old ones, and installing it like the old ones, then adjusting the tension?

The cables do not run in housings along the straight section of the frame, so do I need some kind of stops where the housings end? I don't know what is there right now.

I don't want to spend a lot of money, and I see that Pricepoint sells Alligator cables with housing for $2.50 each. Are they any good? Do I have to use a cable cutter to make the cuts, or can I just use pliers?
 

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Your drivetrain and brakes may have other issues other than cables and housing, but changing cables and housings would be a good start. I'm not sure how you could have interrupted runs of housing without cable stops. Generally yes, you would match the old routing (if it was correct in the first place). You'll just mash the housings with pliers, you need a quality cutting tool (have access to a dremel?). Try this page from parktool.com for a start on some of the subjects (and check out the brake section too) http://parktool.com/repair/byregion.asp?catid=53&imageField2.x=12&imageField2.y=8
 

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Replacing brake cables is fairly easy. You should replace both the inner wires and the housings. I can't recommend the Aligator product without more info. If within your budget look for die drawn inner wires if the cables have lots of bends in the routing since the smoother exterior of the wires will lower friction. Stainless steel wires also help but cost more.

If you shop around you should be able to find cable kits within your budget, but try to buy them in a package that includes ferrules and end crimps, it'll cost a bit extra, but will probably be worth it.

You can cut both the wire and housing with diagonal cutters, but the hard material might nick your cutters, which were made to cut copper. You're best off investing in cable cutters, which aren't too expensive and will last for years.

As to the bare routing along the frame tubes, I assume the actual stops are brazed or riveted onto the frame, so you won't need those, but will need to reuse or replace the ferrules. Follow the existing routing, measuring and replacing part for part, using a drop of thin oil inside the housings.

Hints, when cutting housing it's often necessary to trim or grind off the crushed last turn of the spiral, (if grinding be careful not to overheat and melt the housing or liner, keep a cup of quench water handy because heat happens fast). You might have to pick open the liner with a pointy tool. Lastly, don't cut the inner wires until all of the fitting and adjustments have been made. Once cut, the wires easily fray open making re-threading a bear. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I did some more research, and I'll probably buy a Jagwire Hyper Complete Brake & Derailleur Kit for $25 since it has all 4 cables and housings, plus all the extra bits I might need. It also has stainless cables, which will be good because I have to leave my bike out in the rain (and it rains a lot here).
 

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m85476585 said:
I did some more research, and I'll probably buy a Jagwire Hyper Complete Brake & Derailleur Kit for $25 since it has all 4 cables and housings, plus all the extra bits I might need. It also has stainless cables, which will be good because I have to leave my bike out in the rain (and it rains a lot here).

Thats a good price. Where u pickin that up at?

Thanks

J
 

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That Jagwire kit is pretty decent, but FWIW I run uninterrupted housings on some of my bikes, and that kit doesn't come with enough derailleur housing and it'd be damn close on the brake (running mechanical disc brakes).

What did you decide to do for a cutting tool?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now that it warmed up a little, the brakes don't feel as bad. I think I'll still replace the cables, though. I do have access to a Dremel, but I'll probably just get a cable cutting tool since I have to walk 10 minutes to the lab to use the Dremel. (I could ride my bike unless I need to make a little adjustment to the housing length while the cables are off. It would be kind of hard to ride without brakes.)

This bike might end up needing quite a bit of maintenance. The tires probable need to be replaced soon--there is almost no rubber left on the sidewalls, and the threads are holding them together are exposed. I think I'll wait until I'm riding on tubes, though. The barrel adjuster on one of the shifters broke. Everything else probably just has to be taken apart, cleaned, re-lubed, and put back together. I might get a chance to take it home this summer (if we drive home--2500 miles), which would make it easier to take apart and put back together since I would have access to more tools and have a good place to work.
 
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