Do electric bicycle brake cables stretch
Do electric bicycle brake cables stretch
There’s no denying that your rest time is a major part of your bike and helps you have a safe and enjoyable ride. You won’t have fun or feel safe if you don’t slow down properly in traffic, altitude changes, or close to pedestrians.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how brake cables work, what they’re used for, the costs involved, and how to replace your own.
Do bicycle brake cables stretch? The short answer is yes, bike cables do stretch. There’s quite a bit of debate among cyclists, as some are convinced they’ve been pre-stretched to full capacity, while others have posted demonstration videos of how to stretch the cable. Be aware, however, that stretching them beyond their natural feel can break cables and lead to expensive repairs.
If you own a bike, you need to know what cable it’s connected to – it’s that simple. Brake cables are essential for safe riding. Just by knowing how to fine-tune your bike, you can avoid accidents, dangerous situations, and expensive repairs.
Do bicycle brake cables stretch?
Cable stretching can be simplified to: hold in place. The cable has the natural elasticity of metal and will stretch slightly. It’s trivial and you probably won’t notice it, but only the brake changes. This could mean it’s time to replace the cable and make some fine-tuning.
Although they should be “pre-stretched” from the dealer, riders often adjust their cables when buying a new bike. New bikes can be a little stiff, and regular adjustments are normal.
This is a topic you would think has a fixed answer. But professional cyclists’ blogs, forums and articles have a completely different opinion. Here are some answer ranges:
“My understanding is that cables don’t stretch…” Another myth. make adjustments.
“If you need to stretch the cable, adjust it with a barrel adjuster. Problem solved.”
“The cable stretches over time, but it doesn’t become elastic.”
In fact, metal is known to stretch slightly and be elastic, which is why we use it for things like steel springs. But surprisingly, the debate on the topic has spread all over the internet.
How does cable stretching happen?
Stretching is often noticed when buying a new bike or having only ridden it a few times.
The mechanics inside the bike have to do with shifting. You can greatly affect your bike cables by shifting up and down frequently. Once you’ve got the derailleur in what we call “your happy gear,” you’ll want to leave it there to avoid shaking cables like monkey vines.
If you feel pressure on the derailleur, just push it harder to get there. You might want to pull it back a notch, but it ends up being comfortable for the rider. This bike is built for it, but the point to take away isn’t too drastic.
Unless they are hydraulic, your brakes are affected by cables. When you try to break, you’ll feel loose and you’ll be forced to pull the lever farther, making it harder to get the same stopping power as before.
This indicates a cable problem that you may need to look for or make adjustments.
When to stretch the brake cable
What everyone agrees on is that cables eventually wear out, so it’s not uncommon to need new cables. If you ride or race bikes a lot, you need to understand what is a cable problem on your bike, and what is a completely separate brake problem.
There are many reasons why you might need to replace your brake cables. Some seem obvious, while others are quite surprising.
If you are a bicycle owner, be aware of the following possibilities:
You’ve been in the sun for too long, exposed to the elements. This will cause premature rust and degradation of your precious ride. To avoid this problem, I recommend storing your bike indoors, in a garage, or in a waterproof bike shed. You don’t want to buy a new bike every year, so be careful about the one you own.
You notice that your bike doesn’t have the proper tension. It’s what you feel while riding, not the visual attention. If you feel something loose or your reaction time slows when you try to brake, you may want to look at the cable connections.
You just had an accident and the situation is very unstable now. If you hit the curb or throw off any main stem, structure or rim – you may have damaged the cable connection. This might require a simple repair at your local bike repair shop, or it might mean you need to buy a new bike.
You can feel your brake pads wear out and you have to put more force on the lever than before. This is normal for a bike that is already used and loved. You can go to a bike shop to see what lubricants or fixes they recommend. This may result in replacement of the brake pads.
The rim is actually the part of your bike that the brakes make contact with. It grips the rim like a crab claw to ensure the wheel stops. Check that your brakes are actually making contact with the rim, not just rubbing it lightly.
It may have slipped off the compression bolt (cable connection). Find the cables and where they attach on the bike and simply readjust to a tighter position. Test the bike to see if it’s too tight for you, or if the brakes should be released.
Likewise, if the bike is new, the cable is new. So this is normal. If this seems to be an ongoing issue to you, the cable may be frayed and done.
How to prevent stretched cables
There really is no way to stop that, because that’s part of being a bike owner. If you ride a lot, you’ll need to replace your brake cables at some point or for your entire bike.
The absolute best way to fix this is to buy a bike that states “pre-stretched cable” directly on the information label. They should come this way, but some distributors are lax about it.
Stretching just puts a lot of force on the system, which makes the bike vibrate a bit. A shock bike can prepare you for heavier riding and braking in fast situations. Adjusting the system beforehand is essential for a healthy bike structure.
It will save you a lot of time and re-tuning if you are not a cable or braking expert.
How to Pre-Stretch Your Own Cable
Some riders say that riding a bike stretches the cable, while others think it’s childish.
The conclusion seems to be that they will tighten over time and require stretching. If you’re a handy dude and like to take on these tasks yourself, this is how you do it.
If you’re keen on fixing it yourself, the thing you need to invest in is a barrel adjuster. This is the tool you need to loosen the bolts.
One piece of advice before you start is that you might want to recruit a friend there as an extra hand. They hold the brakes in place when you adjust the cables.
First, check the brake pads. They wear out like old tires if they need to be replaced. If that’s not an issue, this can save you time stretching the cable.
Have your extra hands hold the brakes so they touch the rim.
Take the purchased barrel adjuster. Tighten it on the brake level as tightly as possible. Then take it easy and relax a bit.
Find the bolt attached to the brake and loosen it counterclockwise.
Move the bike up while keeping the wheels stationary. Don’t shake it or push the bike where it feels like it will break it. It takes just a little force to get these cables working.
Let your excess hands release the brakes. Wrap the barrel adjusters around the brake level and check that they still hit the rim in the right place.
Feel the overall balance of the bike and check for even braking. If someone is rubbing the rim, then make sure the brake pads are not touching the rim. You want both brake pads to be away from the rim.
If it’s still a little wobbly, turn the barrel adjuster out a bit to loosen the tension.
Tension is what a bicycle brake cable is for. If the tension feels tight enough to brake, but not so tight that it is limited when you pedal, you’ll know it’s done correctly.
Although stretched only a small amount, the cable flexes within the natural capabilities of this particular bike. Other things that can help you stretch the cable are looking at brake levels, pads and calipers to add natural springs.
The cost of stretching the cable
Again, they should now be pre-stretched. However, if you bought a quality bike and the cable broke, I’m sure you wouldn’t be keen to replace the entire bike.
Taking it to your local bike shop will be a breeze and they can usually get it back to you within a few hours. The cost really depends on your region and the quality of your bike model. The average price to stretch or replace a brake cable is about $20 to $150.
I would like to point out that many people in the forum debate are trying to oil their bikes, which is not a safe technique. The manufacturer recommends against this as it will damage your parts faster and result in higher repair/replacement costs.
A general monthly inspection will benefit your bike a lot. This can easily be done by taking a few minutes to check that all nuts and bolts are securely tightened.
Really, it all comes down to tension and balance. These are what your bike cables are for and need to feel natural to a particular rider. If it needs to be changed, take it to your bike shop to have it customized and adjusted to your needs.
Now that you’re an expert in brake lines, you can ride as you please into the sunset with your tassels blowing in the wind behind you.
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