Workshop Wisdom – Brake and Gear Cables


Brake and gear cables might not be the most exciting things but they are an essential link between the levers and the brake callipers and gear derailleurs. Plenty of bikes still use a steel inner cable and outer housing to operate the brakes despite hydraulic disc brakes becoming the norm on most new mountain bikes and hybrids –and now making inroads to road bikes.


When corrosion builds up between the brake outer cable housing and the inner cable the brakes feel less powerful and unresponsive. In extreme cases the corrosion can cause the brake to stick. Keeping the brake cables lubricated regularly or replacing corroded cables is good way to keep the brakes sharp.


Mechanical shifting with a cable is still the most common way to shift gears; at least until electronic shifting becomes a little more economical. Corrosion on gear cables and in gear outer housing leads to shifting problems. It can cause gear levers to feel sticky, lead to hesitant shifting or stop reliable shifting altogether. Again, keeping the brake and gear cables lubricated or replacing them when necessary is a great way to keep shifting gears reliably.


So, maintaining the brake and gear cables is a great way to keep your bike operating smoothly. This is why we lubricate them in our simple and norm services. In our full bhuna service we replace them to make your bike feel brand new. Watch out for videos in the coming weeks with top tips on maintaining your cables.