Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Cable zen

Posted by Matt | January 25, 2006 | Leave a comment

So far this year I have replaced my jockey wheels, chain, middle chainring and the rear cassette in an attempt to improve the gear shift on my Rift Zone. They all needed replacing anyway but how frustrating is it to discover that part of the problem was stemming from a frayed gear cable that could have been replaced for less than a fiver?

Gear changes are one of those things that when they work correctly go completely unnoticed by the rider. You just take them for granted even though you change gear probably hundreds of times on an average ride. Over time though, the whole system degenerates into a clicking, grinding, graunching chorus of tortured bike parts every time you attempt to change gear and quite often when you don’t.

I hate it. It creeps up on you so gradually that you barely notice until you reach the tipping point where it can no longer be ignored.

That’s when the fun begins. Which part do you replace first? What will bring the greatest gain? Wise sages gather round and offer their opinions over the stricken beast (“it’s yer jockey wheels mate!” or “chain, must be the chain” etc.). Somehow, no one is willing to say “Let’s take it a step at a time, starting with the easiest. Now, how’s your gear cable?”

It happened to me. I spent £50 trying to sort out a problem that probably required only a fiver. Last week I had reached my nadir and belatedly turned my attention to the gear cable only to find it was badly frayed. I replaced it and a piece of the cable outer that I suspected had caused the problem and have since enjoyed two memorable rides in stealth mode – no crunching, no cussing, no frustration at hearing expensive parts being mangled. Just the smoothness of properly indexed gears again.

Cable zen – have you checked yours recently?

Filed under Tips in January 2006


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

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