How to Change Your Bicycle’s Front Shifter Cable (Almost)

Bikes have a lot of parts. Eventually they wear out. The more you ride, the faster they break down. This was the case with my shifter cable. Put simply, it’s the thin wire that moves the derailleur (fancy French word for gears) and makes the bike harder or easier to pedal. After riding 10,000 miles in 2 years, this was not the first time it was replaced, but it was certainly overdue. I decided to have a go at it myself. How hard could it be, right? Well, it was simple but not easy. And in the end, I still had to take it by the shop. Live. Learn. Forget. Repeat. That’s A Dude Abikes motto.

A Post in Predominantly Photographs – Porque No?

NOTE: I could not remove the gaps in the final version, so please scroll down to see them all.

Because I basically worked a 12-hour day and I have to do it again tomorrow, this will be out of necessity a short post. Luckily I took alot of pictures of this to document the process for you, dear reader! But it’s still taken me over 650 words! Surely there are professionally done step-by-step how to guides for this out there. But mine may be interesting because I did it myself. What I didn’t do was…. well, you’ll see after the pictures. The bike is a hybrid Fuji Silouette with a triple chain ring in the front.

New shifter cable. The guy at Sun & Ski Sports let me have it for a buck.
There are various lubricant options. Most should work fine.
To the right of the red tip, the cable is missing. I removed the remainder.
View from under the shifter mechanishm, removing it with a screwdriver.
Both ends of the frayed cable with the shifter mechanism shown.
Oiling the inside of the shifter cable housing helps keep things moving.
Thread the new cable into the shifter housing; it’s pretty straightforward.
Reconnect the two ends of the housing into the barrel adjusters.
Thread the cable through the channel up to the screw and tighten screw.

I was able to ride but with a grinding sound and I could not shift to the largest chain ring. That’s because I didn’t shift into the smallest chain ring. So there was too much tension to allow the derailleur to move to the right. So I stopped by my friendly neighborhood Bicycle Sport Shop and they fixed it right up. Live. Learn. Forget. Repeat.

When it works, but not exactly right, go to your friendly bike mechanic for a fix! fixed my mistake in a jiffy and got me rolling!

ADAB Roundup

  • No official 30′ walk today for the first time in 64 days. But not to worry! I did go out for 8′ to reach over 10,000 steps. Because standing up most of the day for 10 hours and walking around SXSW is exhausting. Since I know two walks with Buddy was around 2 to 2.5 miles and covered around 10,000 steps, I am definitely counting it as walking. You can see by the chart from my Garmin vivoactive hr activity tracker watch that the average I walked over the last week was 10,681 steps – almost 18 miles!
  • I biked downtown and back for about 12 miles for the big convention that brings tons of people and money into Austin every March. I’ll be doing that daily ride for probably the next twelve days. That’ll be well over my biking mileage goal by an extra week, if all goes well with the weather. Could be less if I have to bus since the streets could be crazy with thousands of visitors, and I’m always worried about bike theft.
030518 Garmin Connect steps.png
10,000 steps every day is not a big deal to many people, but I’m happy about the additional 30′ I’ve added in walking every day this year thus far. I did 20 days of double walks with Buddy.


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