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Gear cables, oil/grease?

Topbanana0Topbanana0 Posts: 28
edited February 2014 in MTB workshop & tech
When replacing gear cables, inner and outer. Is there a need to oil the new cable.
Also I've considered applying some grease to the inside of the outer cable caps.
My thinking is it will help stop water getting inside? Or do you think it could hold dirt?


  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    No need to oil. I do put a dab of grease on the caps. No idea if it helps or not, but I hope it keeps water out.
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  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    Not saying it's right or wrong but I've always applied a thin grease to the cable and added a couple if squirts of grease from a pointy grease gun to the outers. Always had super smooth gears for a long time.
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  • *AJ**AJ* Posts: 1,080
    I just tend to use a bit of teflon spray (TF2) on the inner cable and spray a bit down the outer too.
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    I actually agree with all the above, in certain situations. But if I have some brand new SP41, I think it'd be a bad idea to do as AJ suggests, older outers to refresh - fill your boots.

    I also find a smidge of grease on the ferrules, especially at the headtube area stop creaking.
  • BigLee1BigLee1 Posts: 449
    As long as they`re regularly replaced I don`t oil or grease mine. Run a full length outer for the rear mech for maximum protection, only 2 ends to worry about and one of those is on the handlebars :D
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Add that is the other school of thought. You'd have about 1.5M of outer friction in a full setup, where I'd say most open cables routings have around 60% friction against fresh air and less compression possibility.
  • BigLee1BigLee1 Posts: 449
    When my cables get replaced on my MTB I change them to full outers and tbh the friction from a new inner and outer isn`t that noticable against open cables.
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    That, that, is the problem and a reason I use open cables as well as being slightly less squidgy.
  • GT-ArrowheadGT-Arrowhead Posts: 2,507
    GT 85 or WD into the outers, and slide inner cable in.

    You can dab the end of the inner into some grease, just to encourage it to go through the outer cables. I do that sometimes.
  • I use lithium grease very thinly by applying a dab to a cloth and running the inner cable through it.
    If you later spray the inner cable with something like GT85 it will unfortunately remove the grease.
    Word of warning, I used to liberally apply grease to cables and noticed a definite slowness in gear changes on the road bike ( think may have lighter spring in rear mech) and now a lot less "liberall"
    I do frequently spray the lever mechanism with GT 85 as removes grit/ crud and keeps things moving nicely. I feel grease on exposed parts can cause problems as often becomes a "magnet" to hold grit.
    Also don't use GT85 or WD40 on bearings as will remove grease protection and cause friction damage.
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  • BigLee1 wrote:
    As long as they`re regularly replaced I don`t oil or grease mine. Run a full length outer for the rear mech for maximum protection, only 2 ends to worry about and one of those is on the handlebars :D

    I was thinking of converting my rear gear cable to a one piece outer, currently it three piece, like you said BigLee1 only two open ends for censored to get in.
  • jon1993jon1993 Posts: 596
    New inners and outers don't need anything.
    If they start to get a little sticky use a little furniture polish doesn't attract grit and muck but provides a very slippery surface.
    Oil and more so grease are the worst thing you can stick on them as it will take no time at all for them to get all clogged up with grit and dirt.
    One way to increase the life of a gear cable is to run full length outers mainly this is done for the rear and very rarely the front.
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  • Neal_Neal_ Posts: 477
    Shimano SP41 gear outer grease is silicone so I shove the outers in a tube of servisol silicone grease and squeeze the tube to part fill the outers with grease. It's very slippy and very waterproof. Middleburn cable oilers in each section of outers to spray with silicone spray or grease for easy maintenance
  • Spot of wet lube on a rag and then pull the cable through it. That's what I've always been taught, doing my cytech and at work.
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  • A squirt of grease in the endcaps and triflow oil on the cables.

    Another tip is to bend the rear loop around first before cutting it. This keeps the end square and gives a more precise shift as when the outer bends, the inner side takes a shorter route and pushes wires out.
    This means the ends are not square and therefore rock under load and also sets up the condition where the wires start to imbed themselves into the endcaps causing all sorts of problems.
    Much more important if you run full length casings.
  • Candle wax on the inner works really well. As does the rock and roll cable magic.
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