Step-by-Step: How to Fix Bike Brakes Cable

As an experienced cyclist, I can tell you that functional brakes are the essential components of your bike! After all, brakes are what allow you to slow down and stop when necessary.

Here’s how to fix the bike brakes cable:

  • Cut Off the Crimped End From the Inner Cable
  • Loosen the Pinch Bolt
  • Turn the Barrel Adjuster
  • Slide Out the Cable From the Brake Lever
  • Remove the Outer Cable Housing
  • Install the New Cable Housing
  • Thread the Cable to Outer Housing
  • Slide the Inner Cable Into Brake Lever
  • Slide the Ferrules Into the Housing

Brakes help you keep your speed under control and avoid skidding or losing control of your bike. Truth be told, it hurts when your brake cable goes haywire.

So, read on as I show you how you can fix your bike’s brake cables perfectly without any hassle!

What Causes Brake Cables to Fail?

Bike brake cables get damaged is because of the unsecured anchorage of the cable. The cable is constantly under tension from pedaling, and if it is not properly secured, it can eventually snap. 

Another common reason for damaged cables is friction from poor routing. If the cable rubs against other parts of the bike, it will eventually wear through. Also, cables can be damaged by corrosion. 

This is especially true for stainless steel cables, which are more susceptible to rusting than other types of cable. 

By taking care to secure and route cables properly and by using corrosion-resistant materials, you can help extend the life of your bike’s cables.

» Read my blog post about: How to Adjust V-Brakes

What Do I Need to Fix My Bike’s Brake Cables?

You need 4 things to fix your bike’s brake cables. They are:

  • New brake cables of the right dimensions
  • A pair of needle nose pliers
  • A utility knife
  • A Screwdriver

If your bike’s brake cables are frayed, kinked, or otherwise damaged, it’s important to replace them as soon as possible. 

When shopping for new brake cables, be sure to pay attention to the length and diameter of the cable. You’ll also need to decide whether you want a coiled or straight cable. 

Once you have the right cables, you’ll need a few tools to install them. A pair of needle nose pliers, a utility knife, and a screwdriver will all come in handy.

How to Fix Bike Brakes Cable?

The process of changing frayed bike cables is a bit of a confusing time, and you need to do it with utmost care.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fix your bike brake cables:

#1 Cut Off the Crimped End From the Inner Cable

While fixing the bike’s brake cable, it is advised that you cut off the crimped end from the inner cable. There are a few reasons for this.

First, doing so creates a clean, flat surface that can be inserted more easily into the cable housing. 

Second, it prevents the inner cable from fraying, which could eventually lead to the brakes malfunctioning. 

Plus, it makes it easier to adjust the tension on the brakes, ensuring that they will work properly when needed.

While it may seem like a small step, cutting off the crimped end from the inner cable is an important part of keeping your bike’s brakes in good working order.

#2 Loosen the Pinch Bolt

Once you are done and dusted with the crimped end, the next step is to loosen the pinch bolt. 

While it may seem like a good idea to tighten the pinch bolt as much as possible when fixing a bike brake cable, this can actually cause problems down the road. 

The cable can become frayed, making it difficult to apply pressure evenly and causing the brakes to potentially fail.

By loosening the pinch bolt, you give the cable a bit of slack, which helps to prevent these issues.

#3 Turn the Barrel Adjuster

The third step is to turn the barrel adjuster clockwise. 

If you don’t know about barrel adjuster, The barrel adjuster is a small screw that is located at the end of the brake cable. This screw is used to fine-tune the tension on the cable, which in turn adjusts the amount of braking power. 

The barrel adjuster is usually adjusted by turning it clockwise or counterclockwise with a small wrench.

In most cases, you will want to turn the barrel adjuster clockwise to increase the tension on the cable and decrease the braking power. 

However, if your brakes feel too soft or if they are not responding properly, you may need to turn the barrel adjuster counterclockwise to loosen the tension on the cable. 

#4 Slide Out the Cable From the Brake Lever

Once you have successfully turned the barrel adjuster, it’s time to pull out the old cable. The process is pretty simple, and you will just have to pull it out smoothly.

Make sure that it does not damage the lever’s housing when you’re chucking it out.

#5 Remove the Outer Cable Housing

Once you have pulled the brake cable out, it’s about time you pull the frayed cable out of its outer cable housing.

Outer cable housing consists of a single piece of plastic or metal tubing. This has several advantages, such as providing better protection against the elements, keeping dirt and moisture out of the cables, and preventing rust and corrosion. 

» This could also be something for you: Mechanical Brakes Vs. Hydraulic Disc Brakes

#6 Find a New Cable to Replace the Old One

When you are ready to replace the brake cables on your bike, there are a few things you will want to take into consideration. First, you will need to decide what type of cable you would like. There are three main types of brake cables: standard, linear-pull, and disc.

If you are unsure which type of cable you need, consult your bike’s owner’s manual or ask a sales associate at your local bike shop.

Once you have chosen the type of brake cable you need, you will also need to select the correct size.

You can also figure out these details by going online and looking for bikers with the same bike you have. Platforms like Reddit and Facebook are viable options.

#7 Cut the New Casing As Cleanly As Possible

After acquiring a new cable, the next step is to cut the new casing with precision. Extra care is required just to make sure the cable itself does not get damaged in the process.

Take the nose pliers or the utility knife to remove the outer plastic casing of the brake cables carefully. Your only concern here should be to keep the metal cable inside the casing intact.

#8 Install the New Cable Housing

Once you have removed the casing, it’s time you install the new cable housing. Not only will new cable housing improve the performance of your shifting, but it can also give your bike a much-needed aesthetic refresh.

Here are just a few of the benefits that come with upgrading to new cable housing.

First, new cable housing is much more durable than older versions. It’s designed to withstand the elements and stand up to years of use. 

Second, it’s also much smoother than older versions. This means that your shifting will be more precise, giving you better control over your bike on the trail. 

#9 Thread the Cable to Outer Housing

One simple but important task is threading the bike cable through the outer housing. The cable is what helps the brake levers to engage the brakes, so it’s crucial that it’s free of kinks and properly positioned. 

If the cable isn’t threaded correctly, it can become frayed or damaged, which can cause decreased braking power or even failure.

In addition, a poorly positioned cable can rub against the frame or other parts of the bike, causing wear and tear. 

Though it may seem like a small detail, taking the time to thread the bike cable through the outer housing properly is essential for ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride.

#10 Slide the Inner Cable Into the Brake Lever

Once you are done with the threading part, the next step is to slide the inner cable into the brake lever. It’s important to make sure the inner bike brake cable is properly seated in the brake lever.

If the cable isn’t seated correctly, it can come loose and cause problems with braking. 

In addition, the cable can rub against the side of the lever, which can eventually damage the cable. To avoid these issues, it’s best to take a few minutes to seat the cable correctly before riding.

First, make sure the end of the cable is properly positioned in the slot at the top of the lever. 

Next, gently pull on the cable until it sits correctly at the bottom of the lever. Once the cable is in place, sliding the inner bike brake cable into the brake lever will ensure smooth and reliable braking performance.

#11 Attach the Cable to Retention Clamp

Once you are done with sliding the cable into the retention clamp, the next step is to attach the cable to the retention clamp.

In order to function properly, the cable must be securely attached to the retention clamp.

The retention clamp is located at the point where the cable enters the caliper, and it helps to keep the cable in place during operation. 

If the cable is not properly secured, it can slip out of place and cause the brakes to fail. By attaching the cable to the retention clamp, you can help ensure that your bike brakes will work correctly when you need them most.

#12 Slide the Ferrules Into the Housing

Once done with attaching the cable to the retention clamp, the next step is to slide the ferrules into the housing. 

Once all of the ferrules are in place, your brake cable will be protected from friction and wear, ensuring smooth operation for years to come.

#13 Pull the Lever to Inspect the Resistance

Now that the brake cable is in place, it’s time to test the brakes to make sure they’re working properly. You can do this by engaging the brake lever and then checking to see if the wheels stop spinning. 

If the brakes are not functioning properly, you may need to adjust the tension on the cable or replace the pads.

Once you have adjusted the brakes, you should test them again to make sure they are working correctly.

#14 Perform a Final Inspection

After you have replaced your old bike brake cable with a new one, it is important to perform a final inspection. Take your bike out for a ride and test the brakes a few times to ensure they are working smoothly in real time.

This will ensure that the new cable is properly routed and that all of the parts are in good working order. 

» I have also written this post about: How to Clean Your Bicycle Chain With Household Products?

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Brake Cables?

You can usually get a new set for less than $30. Fortunately, brake cables are relatively inexpensive. Of course, if you’re not comfortable doing the work yourself, you’ll need to pay a mechanic to do it for you. That’ll cost you an extra 10-20 bucks.

Most people who ride bikes know that, sooner or later, they’re going to have to replace their brake cables. After all, they’re constantly exposed to the elements and can get rusty or frayed over time. 

But even then, it’s not a particularly expensive repair. So if your bike’s brake cables are starting to show signs of wear, don’t hesitate to get them replaced.

With a new set of cables, you’ll be back on the road in no time.

How Often Should You Replace Bike Brake Cables?

Most manufacturers recommend replacing brake cables every 2000 miles. While this may seem like a lot, it’s actually not very often if you consider how much you use your brakes.

One important maintenance task that is often overlooked is replacing brake cables.

Brake cables are made of metal, and over time they can become worn and frayed.

If they are not replaced, they can eventually snap, leaving you without brakes. 

If you ride your bike regularly, it’s a good idea to check your brake cables often and replace them when necessary. By doing so, you can help to ensure that your bike will be able to stop when you need it to.

How Do I Know if I Need New Brake Cables?

There are a few signs that you should look for to determine if your brake cables need to be replaced. First, take a close look at the cables themselves. If you see any kinks or fraying, it’s time for new cables. 

Second, check to see if your brakes are responding as quickly as they should be. If it takes longer than usual to stop, new brake cables may be needed. Finally, listen for any unusual noise when you apply the brakes. 

If you hear squealing or grinding, it’s a sign that the cables are worn and need to be replaced.

By keeping an eye on the condition of your brake cables, you can ensure that your bike will stop safely and smoothly

How Do You Fix a Frayed Bike Brake Cable?

Use a utility knife to remove the damaged portion of the cable. Next, use a cable end crimper to attach new ferrules to the ends of the cable. Finally, thread the cable through the brake housing and reattach it to the calipers.

With a little bit of time and effort, you can have your bike’s brakes working like new again.


The thought of installing bike cables in your bike all by yourself might seem intimidating at first, and rightfully so! But knowing the process and seeing how easy it is, I totally back you fixing your bike cables yourself!

With a little practice, it will become second nature. So, before you go out and enjoy the ride, fix your bike brake cables!

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