How to Lube Bike Cables




How to Lube Bike Cables

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To lube bike cables, apply a few drops of dry-type chain lube onto the cables and wipe them with your fingers to distribute the lubricant evenly. Wet lube should be avoided as it can attract dirt and cause damage to the cables.

When using lubrication on older or cheaper cables without a liner, it is necessary to lubricate to prevent sticking. However, Teflon-lined cables with corroded or stuck inner cables should be replaced. It is important to use a lubricant that is suitable for brake and shift cables, such as ProGold Prolink Cable Luber, Rock N Roll Cable Magic Lube, or Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube.

Importance Of Lubricating Bike Cables

Lubricating bike cables is essential for smooth and efficient shifting. To lube bike cables, use a dry-type chain lube to prevent dirt from sticking to the cable and causing damage. Apply a few drops of lube on your fingers and wipe the cable for optimal performance.

Why Lubricating Bike Cables Is Important

Lubricating bike cables is an essential maintenance task that every cyclist should incorporate into their regular routine. These cables play a crucial role in the functionality and performance of your bike’s shifting and braking systems. Over time, cables can become corroded, accumulate dirt and debris, and develop friction, which can lead to poor shifting and braking performance. By lubricating bike cables, you can ensure smooth and precise shifting, reliable braking, and extend the lifespan of your cables.

Benefits Of Regularly Lubricating Bike Cables

Regularly lubricating bike cables provides numerous benefits that enhance your cycling experience. Here are some key advantages to keep in mind:

  1. Improved Shifting Performance: Lubricating bike cables reduces friction, allowing for effortless and precise shifting. Smooth transitions between gears make your rides more enjoyable and efficient.
  2. Enhanced Braking Power: Properly lubricated brake cables ensure quick and reliable stopping power, promoting safety on the road or trail. Smooth brake operation is crucial for avoiding accidents and maintaining control.
  3. Extended Cable Lifespan: By reducing friction and preventing cable corrosion, lubrication helps extend the lifespan of your bike cables. This saves you money on replacing cables and ensures consistent performance over time.
  4. Reduced Maintenance Needs: Regularly lubricated cables require less frequent adjustments and maintenance. This saves you time and effort, allowing you to spend more time on your bike.
  5. Smoother and Quieter Rides: Lubricated cables eliminate the squeaking and creaking noises that can often occur when cables are dry or dirty. Enjoy a quiet and peaceful ride without annoying distractions.

To achieve these benefits, it is crucial to use the right lubricant and follow the correct lubrication process for your bike cables. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post on how to lube bike cables, where we will provide step-by-step instructions and recommendations for the best lubricants to use.

How to Lube Bike Cables


Choosing The Right Lubricant

To lube bike cables, use a dry-type chain lube instead of wet lube to avoid dirt sticking to the cables. Drip a few drops on your fingers and wipe the cable for proper lubrication.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Lubricant For Bike Cables

Choosing the right lubricant for your bike cables is crucial for smooth and effective performance. There are several factors to consider when selecting a lubricant:

  • Type of Lubricant: There are different types of lubricants available, such as dry lubes, wet lubes, and wax-based lubes. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you must choose one that suits your specific needs.
  • Compatibility: Ensure that the lubricant you choose is compatible with bike cables. Some lubes may not work well with certain types of cables, causing issues like excessive friction or cable damage.
  • Weather Conditions: Consider the weather conditions you typically ride in. If you frequently ride in wet or muddy conditions, a wet lube may be more suitable as it provides better water resistance. On the other hand, dry lubes are ideal for dry and dusty conditions.
  • Longevity: Look for a lubricant that offers long-lasting performance. This will reduce the frequency of re-application, saving you time and effort.
  • Application Method: Consider how easy it is to apply the lubricant. Some lubes come in a spray or drip bottle, while others may require manual application with a brush or cloth.

Here are a few recommended lubricants that are known for their effectiveness in lubricating bike cables:

Lubricant Type Weather Conditions
ProGold Prolink Cable Luber Dry Lube All Conditions
Rock N Roll Cable Magic Lube Wet Lube Wet or Muddy Conditions
Finish Line Dry Teflon Lube Dry Lube Dry and Dusty Conditions

Remember, lubricating your bike cables regularly is essential for maintaining smooth shifting and braking performance. Choose a lubricant that suits your needs and riding conditions, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Preparing The Bike Cables For Lubrication

When it comes to maintaining your bike, lubricating the cables is an essential task. Properly lubricated cables ensure smooth shifting and responsive braking, enhancing your overall riding experience. Before you begin the lubrication process, it’s important to prepare the bike cables to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Inspecting The Bike Cables For Wear And Damage

Before applying any lubricant, it’s crucial to inspect your bike cables for any signs of wear or damage. Frayed or kinked cables can affect the performance and even safety of your bike. Take a close look at each cable, starting from the handlebar down to the derailleur or brake caliper.

If you notice any signs of fraying, kinking, or rust, it’s recommended to replace the cables altogether. Damaged cables not only compromise the functionality of your bike but can also lead to accidents. Ensure that each cable is in good condition before proceeding with the lubrication process.

Cleaning The Bike Cables Before Lubrication

Once you’ve inspected the cables and confirmed they are free from any wear or damage, the next step is to clean them thoroughly. This step is crucial as it removes any dirt, grime, or old lubricant that may have accumulated over time. Cleaning the cables ensures a clean surface for the lubricant to adhere to, maximizing its effectiveness.

There are several methods to clean bike cables, but one of the simplest and most effective ways is to use a degreaser and a clean rag. Apply a small amount of degreaser to the rag and run it along the length of each cable, focusing on areas with excessive dirt or grime. Repeat this process until the cables are clean and free from any debris.

Remember to avoid using any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that may damage the cables. A gentle and thorough cleaning approach will suffice to remove any build-up and prepare the cables for lubrication.

Lubricating The Bike Cables

To lube bike cables, apply a dry-type chain lube by dripping a few drops on your fingers. Wipe the cable with the lubricant to prevent dirt from sticking and being drawn into the housing as the cable moves. Avoid using wet lubes that can cause this issue.

Step-by-step Guide To Lubricating Bike Cables

Lubricating the bike cables is an essential maintenance task that ensures smooth shifting and reliable braking. Over time, dirt and debris can accumulate on the cables, causing them to become sticky or stiff. By lubricating the cables regularly, you can extend their lifespan and improve the overall performance of your bike. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you effectively lubricate your bike cables:
  1. Clean the cables: Before applying any lubricant, it is crucial to clean the cables thoroughly. Use a clean cloth or a brush to remove any dirt, grime, or old lubricant from the cables. This step is essential to ensure proper lubrication and prevent the buildup of debris.
  2. Choose the right lubricant: Select a high-quality lubricant specifically designed for bike cables. Avoid using general-purpose oils or greases, as they can attract dirt and cause cable performance issues.
  3. Apply the lubricant: Start by applying a few drops of lubricant directly onto the cables. Work the lubricant into the cables by gently pulling and releasing them, allowing the lubricant to penetrate the inner layers. Pay close attention to the areas where the cables enter the housing.
  4. Ensure proper distribution of lubricant along the cables: To ensure an even distribution of lubricant, it is recommended to use a cable lubing tool or a thin tube to reach the inner layers of the cables. This will help the lubricant reach all parts of the cables, including hard-to-reach areas.
  5. Wipe off excess lubricant: After applying the lubricant, wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. Leaving excess lubricant on the cables can attract more dirt and debris, potentially compromising cable performance.
By following these steps, you can keep your bike cables in optimal condition, ensuring smooth and reliable shifting and braking. Regular lubrication is crucial to maintain the overall performance and longevity of your bike’s cables. Make sure to repeat this process periodically or whenever you notice any issues with cable performance.

Reassembling And Testing The Bike Cables

In this guide on how to lube bike cables, learn the step-by-step process of reassembling and testing bike cables for optimal performance. Keep your bike running smoothly with the right lubrication technique.

Reassembling The Bike Cables After Lubrication

Once you have thoroughly cleaned and lubricated your bike cables, it is time to reassemble them. Here are the steps you need to follow to ensure a successful reassembly:
  1. Start by inserting the cable end into the appropriate lever or derailleur hole. Make sure the cable slides smoothly into place without any resistance. If there is resistance, check for any obstructions or misalignment that may be causing it.
  2. Secure the cable with the appropriate fastening mechanism. This may involve tightening a bolt or screw or using a cable clamp. Ensure that the cable is securely fastened to prevent any slippage during use.
  3. Repeat the process for all the cables on your bike. Take your time to double-check that each cable is reassembled correctly and securely. If you have multiple cables, it may be helpful to label them beforehand to avoid confusion.

Checking For Smooth Cable Movement And Responsiveness

After reassembling the bike cables, it is essential to check for smooth movement and responsiveness. Here’s how you can do it:
  1. Operate the levers or shifters that correspond to the cables you lubed. Pay attention to how the cables move and how the bike responds.
  2. Ensure there is no stickiness or resistance in the cable movement. The cables should glide effortlessly, allowing for smooth shifting or braking.
  3. Test the responsiveness of the cables. Check if the bike quickly shifts gears or if the brakes engage promptly. If you notice any delays or sluggishness, it may indicate an issue that needs to be addressed.

Adjusting Cable Tension If Necessary

If you find that the cable tension is too loose or too tight during the testing process, it’s important to make the necessary adjustments. Here’s what you need to do:
  1. Identify the adjuster barrel on the affected cable. This barrel is usually located on the shifter or brake lever.
  2. Turn the adjuster barrel clockwise to increase tension or counterclockwise to decrease tension. Make small adjustments at a time and test the cable movement after each adjustment.
  3. Continue adjusting until you achieve the desired tension and responsiveness. It may take a few iterations to find the perfect balance, so be patient and make incremental changes as needed.

Maintenance Tips For Long-lasting Cable Lubrication

For long-lasting cable lubrication and smooth bike performance, follow these maintenance tips. Use a dry-type chain lube to prevent dirt build-up on cables, which can cause damage. Apply a few drops on your fingers and wipe the cable for effective lubrication.

Maintenance Tips for Long-lasting Cable Lubrication

Proper Storage Of Lubricants For Future Use

Proper storage of lubricants is essential to ensure their effectiveness for future use. When not in use, make sure to tightly close the lid or cap of the lubricant container to prevent air exposure and potential contamination. It is also recommended to store lubricants in a cool and dry place to maintain their quality.

Regular Maintenance And Reapplication Of Lubricant

Regular maintenance is crucial for long-lasting cable lubrication. It is recommended to clean and inspect the cables periodically to remove any dirt, debris, or old lubricant residue. Once cleaned, apply a thin and even layer of lubricant along the entire length of the cable.

Remember to avoid over-lubrication, as excess lubricant can attract dirt and debris, causing more friction and potential damage to the cables. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the specific lubricant and application method for your bike cables.

Signs That Indicate The Need For Re-lubrication Of Bike Cables

  • Stiff or sticky cable movement
  • Inconsistent shifting or braking performance
  • Noise coming from the cable or housing
  • Visible signs of wear or corrosion on the cable surface

These signs indicate that the lubrication on your bike cables may have worn off or become contaminated. It is important to address these issues promptly to ensure optimal cable performance and longevity. Re-lubricate the cables following the proper maintenance and reapplication process mentioned earlier.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Lube Bike Cables

What Can I Use To Lubricate Bike Cables?

To lubricate bike cables, use a dry-type chain lube to prevent dirt from sticking to the cables. Apply a few drops on your fingers and wipe the cables. Avoid using wet lubes as they can attract dirt into the housing.

Older or cheaper cables may require lubrication, but Teflon lined cables with corroded inner cables should be replaced.

Should Bike Cables Be Greased?

Yes, bike cables should be greased. Greasing bike cables helps reduce friction and ensures smooth shifting and braking. Use a dry-type chain lube or a lubricant specifically designed for bike cables. Avoid using wet lubes as they can attract dirt and cause cable damage.

Apply a few drops of lube on the cable and wipe off the excess.

Can I Use Wd-40 On Bike Brake Cable?

Yes, you can use WD-40 to lubricate bike brake cables. However, it is recommended to use a dry-type chain lube as wet lubes can attract dirt and cause damage to the cable. Apply a few drops of the lube on your fingers and wipe the cable for effective lubrication.


Lubricating your bike cables is an essential step in maintaining the smooth operation of your bike. By using a dry-type chain lube, you can prevent dirt from sticking to the cables and ensure their longevity. Remember to wipe the cables with a few drops of lube applied on your fingers.

While older or cheaper cables may require lubrication to unstick them, it is important to replace Teflon lined cables that have corroded. Regularly lubricating your bike cables will ensure optimal performance and extend their lifespan.

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