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What exactly is the point of these metal pieces on many brake cables? I've installed the new brake cable and couldn't find one on my previous cable, nor can I figure out how to employ it usefully on the new cable. Before I took it off, it was positioned right below the little barrel on the end of the cable that clips into the brake lever.
 

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That is a ferrule for the old style non-aero drop bar brake levers. It sits at the top of the lever where the cable enters and acts like a cablestop (at the lever) for the outer cable.

Remove it if you don't have that style of lever.
 
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