Brake Housing & Cable Installation – Upright Bars

Brake Housing & Cable Installation – Upright Bars

In this video, we’ll walk through housing
and cable installation for upright bar brake levers. Installing Brake Housing and Cable is part
of our video series: The Park Tool Guide to Rim Brakes. Watch this video to see how we’ve organized
the content in this series. Otherwise, let’s begin. Hello, Calvin Jones here, with Park Tool Company.
First, let’s go over the tools and supplies needed. Cable cutter for cutting the cables
and also woven and braided housing Sidepull cutters for cutting the wound housing A seal pick for opening up the inner liner And a bottle of lubricant for inside the housing. Let’s begin by discussing what the role of
housing is. The brake lever will be connected to our caliper with the housing that allows the cable to pass through it, going around the frame, going
down the fork, and that allows us to squeeze the lever and
pull our caliper – either rim caliper or disc caliper – tight against the rotor or rim. There are certain housings that are appropriate
for a brake system as well as certain cables. Let’s first look at some that are inappropriate. This is a smaller shift wire –
it’s about 1.1 millimeters in diameter – passing through some smaller housing
that is shift housing. The shift housing, we’ve cut away a section of the outer protective plastic sheath to show inside. That’s not a cable, that’s the support wires
that run in line with the load. This provides a very good rigid shifting system. In braking, it is very inappropriate because
we have a lateral force, much more force going on in our braking that could blow right through
these wires. This is a traditional brake housing called
a wound housing. This is a single spiral wrap. We’ve cut away the plastic sheet on this one
to show inside. Very strong in the direction of the force
of braking Fairly inexpensive, does a good job of braking, You can sometimes actually see through the plastic a very subtle line pattern showing the wrapping. This is another option that is a bit more expensive –
this is a woven or braided housing system. Inside, we have a similar system to
the compressionless housing, but this weave – this is a Kevlar weave on
the outside – it gives us a lot of strength. So this black housing here,
we’ve cut off the plastic to see inside. The lower piece here is a little bit clearer – you can see through there and see the the braid or the weaving. So, a more expensive system but does provide
a good rigid high-performance brake housing. On this bike, the left lever is going to route
down to the front brake. Here, this is a common linear pull. So our housing will be installed into the barrel adjuster
and come down to the housing stop at the brake, which may be at another barrel adjuster,
or in this case, at the noodle. So we would install our noodle at the linkage and then hold our housing adjacent
to the stop on the noodle. If we’re too long – we’ll hold in the middle at the cut point, and we can see here – this is too long. The housing is rising up and above the brake
lever adjusting barrel before it comes down, so definitely too long. Additionally, we can notice that the stem
is already as high as it can go. So this rider cannot raise their stem any more – there’s no reason to have this excess housing on the front. Especially on a mechanical disc brake,
excess housing can reduce performance. There’s going to be more cable drag here, and also with more housing we’re going to
have more flex in the system, reducing performance. So here, we want to watch the loops as they
enter the barrel adjuster. We’ll come down to the caliper and start to shorten – shorten – and keep an eye on the barrel adjuster at the top. Once it starts straightening up in a
nice straight line, we will stop. If we can get away with shorter and still be straight,
we will want to do that. So right about in here is where we want to
be and that will be our cut point right about
here. If we bring it down, down, down too far, we
now have an example of too short. We can see at the brake lever – it’s bending
immediately as it leaves the adjusting barrel, so this would be too short.
So we add some more, and we add some more, and we can see the end cap’s starting to come
up and sit square in the barrel adjuster. So about halfway in the noodle stop –
that’s where we would cut. That’s a decent housing length for this brake. Regardless of the type of brake you have, the concept is the same – straight housing into the barrel adjuster. To cut the wound housing, remember it’s a
single piece of wire. So we’re going to use a diagonal cutters and we’re going to reach to the end of the jaws there where there’s the most leverage. A little bit of flex opens up the coils and helps give us a cleaner cut. Sometimes there will be a sharp burr.
You can use these to come in and trim. Be careful not to let a piece of metal fly off. If there’s still a little closed end or a plastic liner,
we can take a seal pick and open that up. So that is ready for some oil. It is possible to also use a cable cutter, but these are really intended for multi-wire,
not the single wire cuts. The braided or woven housing does use the
cable cutter. The construction here is of multiple wires inside, so here we find where we want to cut,
hold the housing square to the tool, squeeze and it cuts. Here we see that we’ve ovalized
it a little bit. We can use these little crimpers on the tool
to open that up and again repeat with the seal pick, if necessary,
to open up the inner liner. Sometimes we will find that there’s a jagged
end, a burr. Trimming it simply can’t get it out. It can sometimes be filed out by hand,
or we can use the axle vise. Use the 5mm, have the housing barely stick up,
gently snug that down then we can come across with our file
trim up that burr and make a nice level smooth flat end
out of our wound housing. This would not be done with the braided housing. After the wound wire is filed flat and smooth,
it may pinch off the liner. Use a seal pick to open it up
and it’s ready to go. Whenever an end cap can be used,
it should be used. This end cap slides on our housing
provides a very nice end to go into our brake You’ll see on some brakes it fits right in. This is a good model here that would use an end cap. If we didn’t use an end cap here,
it’s a sloppier fit. However, some models and some brands
this end cap simply does not go in. They’ve made the barrel adjuster smaller in diameter.
Effectively, it is its own end cap so this model would not use an extra end cap. Brake cables are commonly sold with two ends. A mushroom or teardrop end
is for the drop bar style lever. The round or disc end
is for the upright handlebar brake lever. So here we will remove the mushroom end. Locate a groove in the brake lever and then
notice the lockring and barrel adjuster will also have grooves. Align this groove or opening so that
1, 2, 3 are all aligned. Next, pull the lever back and engage the cable
end in the linkage that carries the cable. Lay this into the opening or groove all the way out, give that a half a turn to hold it in place, and we are now ready to install the housing. Some brake levers may have the opening behind
the lever body. A little bit of lubrication inside the housing
can help prevent water from settling in there and causing corrosion. Next, we feed the cable end through the housing and we engage the end cap
into the barrel adjuster. The cable will now pass through the barrel adjuster. In this case, it’s a linear pull brake, so the noodle contains a housing stop rather than a barrel adjuster, and this will be engaged in the linkage. And from here, we are adjusting the brakes. The next section in our rim brake series is on brake caliper mounting and adjustment. There are many different types of brake calipers and we’ve got videos on most of them. Select the one that’s appropriate for you. If you’re not sure what you’ve got, watch
this video to find out. If you’re working with disc brakes, we have
other content with links in the video description below. Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe
for more from Park Tool.

31 thoughts on “Brake Housing & Cable Installation – Upright Bars

  1. Awesome video no clue why anyone would thumbs down. You provided more information to me in one video than the previous three I watched. Excellent quality. Well done.

  2. I need new brake handles i think? because after i pull my brake they don't snap back in a open position ( meaning the brake is still in a closed position and i have to pull my handle out in order for them to stop rubbing the tire, also before i started watching these video i put a basket on the front of my bike and damaged the lock ring's threads so they don't work well with the barrel adjuster 'am i right? in order to fix my brakes so they will snap back after using them the adjustment needs to be made in the lockrings and barrel adjuster? PS. thank you for taking the time to advise me.

  3. Easily the best instruction video I've see, huge thanks.  Especially impressed on piece getting cable/outer housing at correct height or level relative to adjuster slots.  Excellent: cable must 'flow' out of adjuster (cable must not be at higher level) or be excessively short (with excessive downward pressure on adjuster).  Can now replace a v-brake cable, the same principle as your disc brakes.  Great video from Park Tool!

  4. These Park Tool videos are really the best bike repair videos you can find. So helpful, I am doing more and more on our bikes thanks to you guys. Awesome.

  5. Hello, this is great and very helpful video for me as begginer.
    I like to do it on my own and to learn something by the way.
    So I decided to upgrade my brakes, brake levers and shifters.
    Brake levers and shifters are Shimano ST-M570
    Now I am wondering how to insert brake cable in the lever?
    I know that the lever has slot on itself as this in your video, but as my levers are bit specific I am stuck.
    Also I saw shimano pdf tutorial about inserting brake cable, but I am afraid to break plastic clip which is in the lever.
    Can you please explain it to me?
    Thank you!

  6. So, when I installed the cable into the anchor bolt, or whatever it's called, it keeps on slipping even though I put the cable into its respective notch and tightened.

  7. I always buy Park Tools where possible. They are more expensive for sure but they are high quality and I view the difference in price as my contribution to Calvin's superb tutorials. They are not only extremely informative, they are so well made too. Thanks Park Tools and thanks Calvin.

  8. Your instructions are great & almost anyone should be able to follow them successfully. I'm laughing at myself that I watched, though, as I've been a bike mechanic myself since around 1970. But I get a lot of value from reviewing best practices frequently, and occasionally I'll see something that I need to pay close attention to, in some of these tutorial videos. Watching them, especially excellent ones like yours, even adds to the amount of enthusiasm & excitement I feel when tackling various repairs. Health issues have slowed me down in recent years, too, and I can only do the work a little at a time any more. 10-or-15-minute bursts, alternating with forced rest periods of often an hour or more. I need all the help I can get at times, to keep up with my various home projects. Thanks for putting some wind in my sails.

  9. Dads bike needs an overhaul. I saw the straight wire and figured it was a Kevlar woven cable, it turns out it was shifter cable. Big mistake. It didnt blow out the side but it pulled the wire right though the end cap and into the lever, crushing the housing leaving the wires exposed about an inch out the end. Learn something every day. Never would of had to know if my dads bike wasnt 20 years old lol.

  10. Calvin Jones, you say? I think you'll find that's Frank Zappa. Anyway, excellent video – very clear, detailed and informative. Thanks, Frank!

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