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Gear cable snapped

SquawkSquawk Posts: 132
edited November 2016 in The workshop
Last night on the commute, boom. No gears. I've done maybe 3k miles, all of it commuting. New in Sept last year.

Trek Madone 2.1, 2015, partially internal routing and it's gone inside somewhere: I'll find out where tonight.

Is that normal/acceptable? Seems low to me, and has made me paranoid about brakes so it'll be all new cables and outers tonight.

Posts

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    If it's shimano they do tend to snap. Usually right inside the shifter head, annoyingly
  • SquawkSquawk Posts: 132
    Shimano yeah, 105 5800 (I think). I suppose if the shifter causes issues then my commute will be a killer, 15 miles into central London with a million gear changes.

    Shim shifters affect brake cables too? I don't much fancy rear brake only in rush hour
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    I have had the same happen twice. It's just bad luck, sadly. The brake cables should be totally fine.

    If you have the coated cables you may find the coating bungs up the outers, but push an uncoated steel cable through a few times and it should be fine.

    You may find the cable a real nightmare to remove. It does require a huge amount of patience, plenty of light, some very pointy pliers and all the swearwords you know. You need to change gear a few times to see which aligns the nipple to best come out.

    If you remove (carefully!) the rubber hood and then remove the underside of the shifter then it may come out more easily - the guy in the Cyclesurgery by Southwark Bridge did it for me the second time it broke. The downside is that the rubber hood is hard to replace without ripping it. The first time I sorted it myself, partly due to good luck.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Never snapped a cable in 30 years plus. I have snapped a couple of chains though.Its not that common.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    I think the 11 speed shifters are more prone to breaking. When the shifting starts to go a bit vague, change them asap!
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    My 10 speed 105 (5600) RH shifter eats the gear cable fairly predictably. No commuting, just leisure riding 2 or 3 times a week, so I get 2 or 3 years out of a cable. So I'd say a year of commuting probably involves a lot more gear changing than that.

    As soon as gear shifts start to go awry I check the cable at the shifter end. Easy to do with the old side entry 5600 and 4500 shifters I have. Far easier to replace the thing when it's just frayed a bit; if you have one snap it can be a nightmare retrieving the nipple and getting all the stray strands of wire out again.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    in my experience, gear cables are like car light bulbs, if one goes, the other isn't far behind it ... despite the other one if its the front only getting used a nth of the time.

    whilst you are replacing the broken one, I would change the other one as well ..... mind you this has always been on MTB's and trigger shifters, dunno if the life expectancy of Ultegra shifters/cables should be different. I do tend to shift the chain rings a lot more on my mtbs than the road bike
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    fat daddy wrote:
    in my experience, gear cables are like car light bulbs, if one goes, the other isn't far behind it ... despite the other one if its the front only getting used a nth of the time.

    whilst you are replacing the broken one, I would change the other one as well ..... mind you this has always been on MTB's and trigger shifters, dunno if the life expectancy of Ultegra shifters/cables should be different. I do tend to shift the chain rings a lot more on my mtbs than the road bike

    I've never had to replace the LH shifter cable on either bike. I must do dozens, possibly hundreds of rear shifts for every front one. Rear shifting is constantly up and down like a bride's nightie as my old, politically incorrect boss would've said
  • SquawkSquawk Posts: 132
    What a royal pain in the censored that was. The cable had frayed and snapped about an inch from the end and lodged itself nicely inside the shifter. I finally bit the bullet and removed the shifter from the bike, somehow managing to preserve the bar tape.

    New cable on, and a resolution from me to replace the rear shift cable on the same schedule as I do chains.

    Chap in cycle surgery reckons 3k miles is acceptable. I call bollocks, but meh
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Yeah I think that's about right. Nice work doing it yourself!!
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Squawk wrote:
    What a royal pain in the ars* that was. The cable had frayed and snapped about an inch from the end and lodged itself nicely inside the shifter. I finally bit the bullet and removed the shifter from the bike, somehow managing to preserve the bar tape.

    New cable on, and a resolution from me to replace the rear shift cable on the same schedule as I do chains.

    Chap in cycle surgery reckons 3k miles is acceptable. I call ****, but meh

    Well done on sorting it yourself! I suspect it's down to the number of gear changes rather than the absolute mileage, and commuting likely means a lot more gear changing than the type of leisure riding I do. So the bloke in Cycle Surgery may be right in saying that's how long they last. Whether that's acceptable or not is another question.
    I was kind of hoping it was a 5600 issue and it had been resolved in newer / dearer groupsets, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The inner cable is wound / unwound round a fairly tight radius, and the repeated flexing eventually snaps a strand, which puts even more stress on the remaining ones so it deteriorates quickly thereafter.
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