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I replaced the no-name brake calipers on my bike with Ultegras today. Am I correct in thinking the rear brake housing is too long and needs to be shortened? And if so, how do I determine how much to remove other than trial and error? (With one of the errors being too much.)

enter image description here

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It looks too long from that angle. Have a look at the Sheldon Brown article on cable routing and length. –  fideli May 18 '13 at 0:38
    
@fideli I did look at Sheldon's article, and the trouble is his picture is a very different arrangement. He says the important point is the cable should enter the brake at a straight angle, and this does. But is it too much? That's my question. –  Carey Gregory May 18 '13 at 0:47
    
Actually, the housing looks like it is coming in at too much of an angle rather than straight, look at the right side of the housing entering the adjuster, it is shoved back a little. –  BillyNair May 18 '13 at 12:16

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The curve above the brake looks like it is crimping down on the cable, so yeah, it is too long. The curve coming out of the cable stop is about the curve that you want going from the stop to the brake (but curving down rather than up). And it is ALWAYS better to be slightly longer than shorter, you can all ways cut it if it is long, but too short and you need another housing.

The best way to measure the housing is with the cable out. I would drop the adjuster almost all the way down (leave a few threads showing so you can adjust it down if you need); remove the cable, chop an inch or so (from this shot I would maybe even do 2 inches), replace the housing and look to see if there is a gentle curve. Chop a little at a time until it looks right, then put the cable back in and tighten everything down.

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For those with no experienced, take of a 1/2 inch at a time. It's very quick to insert the outer (without the inner) to check length and decide if another cut is needed. Better to do a couple of cuts than take off 1/2 inch too much first time..... –  mattnz May 18 '13 at 23:51

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