Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question on general maintenance - I had the "pleasure" of completing my ride yesterday with only 2 gearing choices due to a snapped RD cable. Made the last couple of climbs a real PITA!! :cryin: Never had this happen in my 30+ years of riding.....

The bike is only 8 months old and the cable snapped at 3960 miles +/-. Most of my riding is hard training runs with some climbing on ALL rides (I live in the foothills of Northern Calif), and I weigh about 150-155 lbs. I had planned on replacing all cables on a once a year basis (every 5-6 k miles), but now I'm wondering if I need to think about a tighter maint. schedule. The bike is a Trek 5.2 Perf Madone (Ultegra SL - if it matters).

So - what is the recommended cable replacement schedule? What about other wear parts? I do a lot of remote solo rides and do not want this to happen again (if possible) - or potentially ruin a day event (race or organized Century). So far I have figured out that I need to replace the rear tire every 2-3k miles (and the chain at the same time) and the front tire every other rear. Looks like I'll get about 7-10k mile son my cassette (depending on how much I climb and chain maint). Any other items to worry about?

TIA......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,555 Posts
Rear derailleur cables should last much longer than that. Where did it snap? I ask because improper installation may have led to it's early death, not fair wear and tear. For example, Shimano shifters have a way of breaking an improperly installed rear shifter cable right where it enters the shifter mechanism.
 

·
Old, slow, and fat.
Joined
·
3,897 Posts
In 20 years of riding, I've not snapped one cable that wasn't screwed up in installation. Look it over carefully.

Other than that, I usually change mine in the spring right before racing starts. OR when I change stuff... Which may or may not happen more often depending on the bike

M
 

·
Impulse Athletic Coaching
Joined
·
5,758 Posts
wim said:
Rear derailleur cables should last much longer than that. Where did it snap? I ask because improper installation may have led to it's early death, not fair wear and tear. For example, Shimano shifters have a way of breaking an improperly installed rear shifter cable right where it enters the shifter mechanism.
How do you fix it? It's stuck inside the barrel of the shifter...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,038 Posts
I made an excel spreadsheet with each bike and component listed with installation date and last service date. Cables and rim strips get changed annually, bar tape every 2-3 months, handlebars every 3-4 years etc. The spreadsheet helps to keep track of it.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,492 Posts
wim said:
Rear derailleur cables should last much longer than that. Where did it snap? I ask because improper installation may have led to it's early death, not fair wear and tear. For example, Shimano shifters have a way of breaking an improperly installed rear shifter cable right where it enters the shifter mechanism.
Bad installation would be my guess, too. I've been riding for more than 30 years as an adult, and I can remember only one broken cable, a rear brake on a bike I bought used, so I don't know what led up to it. Only place I've ever even seen one break is right at the attachment point, where the clamp squashes it.
I don't keep a maintenance schedule, but at a guess, I probably check the cables every three or four years (maybe 3000 miles spread over three bikes; used to be 5000 but I got old and lazy), and replace if I see anything wrong. Not that anybody should follow me on bike maintenance, but the point is that breakage is pretty rare.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanx for the input...the cable snapped right where it enters the shifter - the shop mechanic (different shop than originally assembled the bike) said it was a PITA to repair, as he had to disassemble the shifter to get the pieces of broken cable fished out. Sounds like a bad install and getting close to needing replacement.

About 800 miles ago, I had the first signs the cable was going - I just didn't understand what the bike was trying to tell me. Was out riding one day and the RD suddenly lost it's indexing (wasn't making clean shifts)....got it "repaired" via RD tuning/adjustment and then continued having to "tweak" the barrel adjuster on my rides to keep the RD indexing correctly until yesterday when the cable finally snapped.

Glad to be back on the road with a little more "basic knowledge" about my bike.

Thanx again - Bruce in Redding
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
I think the notion of replacing parts of a bike based on time or mileage intervals is silly. Afterall, you can see and inspect almost all of the parts on a bike, unlike a car, for instance. Why on earth would you replace a chain at, say "3,000 miles" when it's so easy to measure the wear and replace the chain when wear limits are exceeded?

With respect to cables, I suspect they normally break at the point where they are clamped. Here again, it's easy to observe these areas to see if any of the cable strands are broken.

Other components, like wheel bearings and bb bearings are equally easy to evaluate even though you can't directly inspect them. Just test them for smoothness and play.

More complex machines, like cars, do lend themselves to mileage and time interval-based maintenance. For example, most people arn't going to have an engine oil analysis done every few thousand miles to see if they need to replace the oil. In such cases, a surrogate of time and mileage is used, which makes sense.
 

·
Fat'r + Slow'r than TMB
Joined
·
10,086 Posts
steelbikerider said:
I made an excel spreadsheet with each bike and component listed with installation date and last service date. Cables and rim strips get changed annually, bar tape every 2-3 months, handlebars every 3-4 years etc. The spreadsheet helps to keep track of it.

Are you an engineer??:D :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
I've had one brake cable snap on me in the last 35 years of riding. Unfortunately, I was riding my commuter while pushing my tandem to the shop. So I had no brakes. I was on a single speed, but I was never really very good at breaking with my feet.

I just replaced the cables on my racing bike after 25 years. Didn't really need them though.

And yes, I am an engineer.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,756 Posts
Just replaced my shift cables after about 3000 mile (one year). The difference in shifting crispness is significant. I always noticed how much more powerful my brakes were on my mountain bike (V brake days) with new cables after just a few months. I'm hoping to find the same thing on my tarmac since the power of the dura ace brakes has become pretty poor--even with new cool stop pads. Those cables are also a year old.

Chain wear also affects crispness of shifts--especialy when standing/hammering under big loads (climbing). I change my chains well before they approach the reccomended elongation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
steelbikerider said:
I made an excel spreadsheet with each bike and component listed with installation date and last service date. Cables and rim strips get changed annually, bar tape every 2-3 months, handlebars every 3-4 years etc. The spreadsheet helps to keep track of it.
I do the same (tho not with bar tape) and replaced my cables on my commuter (formerly my only bike) at 6k and 2 years. The difference has been night and day, and it's allowing me to extend the life of my 3x8 Sora drivetrain another year or two. I had been thinking about upgrading it, but have decided 1 or 2 more frequent cable replacements will allow me to hit 10-12k miles before upgrading to some sort of 2x10 drivetrain...
 

·
Unsafe at Any Speed
Joined
·
456 Posts
Well, my LBS replaced my 7 year old cables (inners and outers) last year. I don't know what they fitted, but shifting deteriorated markedly. And braking feels heavier. I disassembled an lubed everything to little avail.

This over-zealous replacement policy is an epidemic over here. It is fueled and advocated by bike magazines who try to convince us 'cable outers can compress' (pleezz give me strength) and 'inners can stretch' with time AARGHHH!

I am sure the improved shifting crispness is mostly not thanks to the new cable, but thanks to the new lube that came with it.

So should I ever replace a cable inner 'on schedule' I will make sure it is an 'original item' and not an inferior type , say with fewer strands. Better still, LUBE and inspect it on schedule and leave in place when it is good. And keep the outers - they can be cleaned and relubed (unless corroded beyond help).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
416 Posts
nor_cal_rider said:
I have a question on general maintenance - I had the "pleasure" of completing my ride yesterday with only 2 gearing choices due to a snapped RD cable. Made the last couple of climbs a real PITA!! :cryin:
FWIW, with a little ingenuity you could have chosen an easier cog to complete your ride. :)

I do a lot of remote solo rides and do not want this to happen again (if possible) - or potentially ruin a day event (race or organized Century).
you could simply pack a spare cable

So far I have figured out that I need to replace the rear tire every 2-3k miles (and the chain at the same time) and the front tire every other rear.
FWIW, it's generally considered safest to have the best tire on the front. When the rear is worn out, many riders rotate the front to the rear and put the new tire on the front
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,863 Posts
I replace all my inner cables once a year (beginning of Spring). I've snapped a front der cable once, and had a rear der cable break at the entrance to the Ergo lever because it was frayed. I'd say it was probably a fluke, too bad it happened, but stuff happens.

I keep a record of all my bike maintenance logged in my computer. I can go back to day one on my old Colnago that has 35,000 miles on it.

Glad you were able to finish the ride. Where was it, Shasta?
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top