Watch: How to Change a Shift Cable on Your Mountain Bike

Today, we’re going to learn how to change a gear cable. There are many reasons why you would do this. Gear cables wear out, get kinked, and stop working smoothly after a while.

The reason I’m changing mine today is a bit more—complex. When I got this bike the dropper cable was routed to the left side of the frame and the gear cable was run to the right. This made the cables rub on the head tube and it didn’t look neat, and it was freaking me out man! Obsessing over things like this is just a sign that you love you bike, so today I’ll be installing a longer cable so I can route it the way I like.e

Let’s do a general overview of the process and then talk details.

First, shift your bike into the smallest gear and bring your barrel adjuster all the way in. Loosen the clamp on the derailleur, and remove your old cable. You’ll need to knock this cap off or cut the end to get it through. Up at the shifter you’ll need to find the access port, which is sometimes shielded with a cap. The cable should come out with a metal stop on the end.

Most of you are going to be changing your cable and your housing, so it would be a good idea to pick up a pair of cable cutters. You can use end nippers or dykes but, these are much easier.

You can use your old housing as a guide, but if you’re changing something else on the bike like your bars or your derailleur, you may need to dry fit it to determine the length. That’s what I’m doing. Here, I’m fitting it into the shifter, making a nice wide bend, and trying to match the length of the brake hose to keep things neat. As I run the cable, I’m keeping in mind that too long is better than too short. We can always go back and cut it more. Once I’m happy with the length, I can cut the housing and ONLY the housing. Don’t cut the cable until the very end.

To read the rest of the transcript, please turn on closed captions.

Share This: