How To Change A Bicycle Brake Cable

How To Change A Bicycle Brake Cable

VideoJug went to Bikefix in London where bike expert Stuart Dennison showed us how to change a brake cable.

Step 1: You will need

  • A set of Allen keys
  • A new brake cable
  • A length of outer casing for the cable
  • A good pair of wire cutters
  • A metal feral
  • An end cap

Step 2: Inspect cable

You should change a cable if it is frayed, or getting stiff. There may be damage on the inner wire, or often on the outer wire. Also any friction in the cable will stop your brakes from returning properly. Check for damage to the outer casing, the cranks, and for any bends in the wires. You'll need to replace both the cable and its outer casing if it is damaged.

Step 3: Undo

Locate the pinch bolt that clamps the cable. Undo it with an Allen key. Don't loose the piece of rubber that slides off the cable or the metal 'noodle' - you'll need to put these back on later.

Step 4: Adjuster

Next, find the adjuster next to the brake lever on the handlebar. It is a small barrel that can be turned. Unscrew the adjuster with your hands.

Step 5: Remove cable

Align the two slots on the adjuster where the brake cable goes through on top of the brake lever. The cable will gently fall out if you ease it.

Step 6: Outer casing

Hold up the new outer casing against the old one so you know the correct length. Use the wire cutters to make a clean cut. Check that there is a smooth hole at the incision for the cable to run in and out. Then attach a metal feral.

Slide the cable into the hole. Check that it goes in ok. Now slide the rest of the cable into the outer casing.

Step 7: Hooking back in

Hook the nipple into the end of the brake lever, and ease into the brake lever and into the two slots in the barrel adjuster. At the other end, thread the cable through the metal 'noodle' and push the outer casing into it then slide on the piece of rubber, larger end first. This stops the dirt getting into your cable. Slide under the cable clamp bolt and thread through. Clamp it temporarily with the allen key. Now reconnect your brake by pulling it across and slotting it into the hole. Make sure the metal noodle is bedded down in place.

Step 8: Tighten

Loosen the allen key bolt and pull the cable through. Hold the cable, loosen the allen key, pull the cable tight and tighten up again.

Step 9: Checks

Pull firmly on the brake lever. Check that the outer casing is properly located into the cable adjuster and into the noodle. Check that the other end of the noodle is in the final slot.

Pull on the brake lever several times. This will make sure everything is in place. This helps to bed the cable in. If it feels loose, you'll need to tighten it a bit more. When finished, make sure you have tightened the bolt up firmly.

Step 10: Cutting

Now is a good time to cut the end of the cable. Leave about 3 inches of cable poking out from the brake clamp. Attach a cable end cap to stop the end fraying. Squash it into place with either pliers or the end of the cable cutters. Hook around by the brake.

Step 11: Test

Do a final check to make sure your brakes work properly before you go riding.