Derailleur Cables – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Bicycle Components Glossary

I. What are Derailleur Cables?

Derailleur cables are an essential component of a bicycle’s shifting system. They are responsible for transferring the rider’s input from the shifters to the derailleurs, which then move the chain between different gears on the cassette or chainrings. Without derailleur cables, the bike would not be able to shift smoothly and efficiently.

II. How do Derailleur Cables work?

Derailleur cables work by pulling or releasing tension on the derailleurs, which in turn moves the chain to a different gear. When the rider shifts gears using the shifters on the handlebars, the derailleur cables transmit this input to the derailleurs, causing them to move the chain up or down the cassette or chainrings. The cables are housed in protective outer casings to prevent dirt and debris from interfering with their movement.

III. What are the different types of Derailleur Cables?

There are two main types of derailleur cables: stainless steel and coated. Stainless steel cables are durable and provide smooth shifting, but they can be prone to corrosion over time. Coated cables, on the other hand, have a polymer coating that helps reduce friction and prevent corrosion. Coated cables are often preferred for their smoother shifting performance.

IV. How to maintain and replace Derailleur Cables?

To maintain derailleur cables, it is important to regularly clean and lubricate them to ensure smooth shifting. Inspect the cables for any signs of fraying or damage, and replace them if necessary. To replace derailleur cables, first, shift the bike into the smallest chainring and cog to release tension on the cables. Then, disconnect the cables from the derailleurs and shifters, and remove the old cables from the housing. Install the new cables by threading them through the housing and reconnecting them to the derailleurs and shifters.

V. What are common issues with Derailleur Cables?

Common issues with derailleur cables include fraying, stretching, and corrosion. Failing to maintain and replace derailleur cables regularly can lead to poor shifting performance and potential damage to the drivetrain. Other issues may include cable housing compression, which can cause sluggish shifting, and cable housing rub, which can lead to premature cable wear.

VI. How to troubleshoot and fix issues with Derailleur Cables?

To troubleshoot issues with derailleur cables, start by checking for any visible signs of damage or wear. If the cables are frayed or stretched, they will need to be replaced. If the shifting is sluggish, try lubricating the cables and adjusting the tension. If the cables are corroded, they will need to be replaced. If the issue persists, it may be necessary to adjust the derailleur alignment or replace the cable housing. If you are unsure how to fix the issue, it is recommended to consult a professional bike mechanic for assistance.