Shop tip: cable, housing and accessories

By Gwen Koon, Service Supervisor

Last month, Gwen wrote about the exciting world of brakes and levers. In this shop tip, she will review cable, housing, and accessories as a complement to her previous post.

In the picture below, you can see a number of the different small parts which are used in setting up brakes and shifters.


Cables: The cables are the two braided metal strands that run through the center of the photo. They have specially designed heads on one end which fit precisely into one part of a brake/derailleur system. The cable running from top to bottom is a brake cable. Brake cables, like shifter cables, travel from a lever, through “housing” (see below) and then to either a brake caliper or a derailleur. The cable running from left to right is a “straddle cable”, which is part of certain cantilever brake calipers. The head of the cable is clearly visible on the left, and will fit perfectly into a slot in the brake caliper. All cables need to be trimmed and equipped with a “cable tips” (also pictured) to ensure that they don’t fray or become entangled in any moving parts as you ride.

Housing: The cable housing pictured is green. It runs from levers to either a “housing stop” (see below) or a brake or derailleur. Most of the time, cable housing will have a special cap called a ferrule clamped over either end. This helps the metal strands that make up the cable housing stay in place over prolonged periods of use.

Housing Stops: There are two different types of housing stops pictured, but there are many more on the market. The purpose of the housing stop is to hold the end of a section of cable housing in place so that the cable can move through it instead of with it. In addition to the housing stops pictured above, most bicycle frames will have housing stops which have been attached by the manufacturer.

Yokes, Link Wires and Noodles: Right in the center of the photo is a “cable yoke”, with a “link wire” to the left and a “brake noodle” to the right. All three of these work with different types of brake calipers to change the direction from which the brake cable is pulling.

Adjuster Barrels: In the top right corner of the picture, there are three adjuster barrels. Adjuster barrels come in a variety of sizes and styles. Each type is designed to work with a different system- some fit into brake levers, derailleurs or brake calipers and some mount right onto the frame. Adjuster barrels can be loosened to move cable housing upwards to tighten a cable or tightened, to move the housing downwards and loosen a cable.


Stay tuned next month for more bike anatomy blog posts! 

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Hours: Open Wednesday-Friday 11AM-7PM & Saturday/Sunday 12PM-5PM. Closed MondayBike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786