As you ride your bike and shift through your speeds, your shift cable will wear down. Typically what happens is the cable will stretch out over time. Because the derailleur and shifter work together via cable tension, when that cable tension gets weaker, you get poor shifting. Now, you can always re-tension the cable both via the barrel adjuster or just re-tensioning the cable at the cable bolt, but after a certain point, the cable needs to be replaced. But replacing your shift cable is an easy and straightforward task!
Here is a video walking through this job:
Tools needed for this will be:
- 5mm Allen/Hex Key
- Pick Tool
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Cable Cutters
Here is the process:
- Take your 5mm Allen Key and loosen the bolt holding the cable to the derailleur.
- Use the cable cutters to cut off the worn/frayed end of the cable.
- Go up to the shifter and locate the spot where the cable end is sticking out (see picture below). You may have to use the screwdriver to loosen the shifter so you can rotate it and access the cable end.
- Either using the pick tool or by pushing on the other end of the cable, get the cable end in the shifter pulled out, and then use it to remove the whole cable.
- Once the old cable is removed, insert the new cable into the hole. It may take a few shots of pushing to get the cable through the internal hole, but you should be able to get it poking out of the other side. Once it is poked outside of the shifter, feed the cable end into the housing.
- Continue to feed the cable through the housing until it pops out at the other end near the derailleur.
- Once the cable has been pushed all the way through, feed the cable through the barrel adjuster and loop it under the cable clamp/bolt.
- Pull tight on the cable to give it tension, and then tighten the cable down. Do not pull so much the cable moves the derailleur, but just enough so it is taught.
- Pedal the bike and shift up on the derailleur. If the chain does not move, then use the barrel adjuster to add cable tension until it does. If you find yourself dialing the barrel adjuster out more than halfway, it is best to un-tension the cable and try again.
If when you start pedaling, it automatically shifts into a larger ring, then you have added too much cable tension, and you should un-tension the cable and start again.
Once you have the cable installed at a good place, go through the process of a shifter adjustment to get the derailleur dialed in.
Everything DIY E-Bike Repairs
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- Initial Build of a Tower eBike
- Tower eBike Torque Specs
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- Quick Reference eBike Repair Guide
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- Electric Bike Shifter Cable Install
- How to Install a New Chain on an eBike
- E-Bike Derailleur Installation
- Replace the Shifter on an E-Bike
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- E-Bike Derailleur Hanger Adjustment
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