I was adjusting the tension of my front derailleur cable and managed to pop off the cable end cap. The cable is now quite frayed at the end and I think it would be difficult to attach another cap.

What would work as a suitable replacement for a cap? I've read that perhaps superglue or duct tape could work?

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    FWIW, several years ago I bought a bag of about 20 caps, for a very nominal sum. Good to have on hand. – Daniel R Hicks May 28 '13 at 14:30
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    A piece of heat-shrink tubing would corral a mildly haywire cable end. – Daniel R Hicks May 28 '13 at 14:31
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    I've actually managed to twist the frayed ends of a cable back together and slide an end cap onto the end on more than one occasion. It requires a bit of patience and dexterity, but it's not terribly difficult. – jimchristie Jun 1 '13 at 16:21
  • this may be similar to your problem? – hagubear Jun 5 '13 at 11:59

10 Answers 10


You could maybe cut it where it is not frayed and put a cap if the slack is long enough.

Or you could put a piece of duct tape just to avoid the fraying from reaching a place interfere with the derailleur.

Or you could try to gather the frayed-out strings and put a cap anyway

Or if you really don't like it, you can change the cable completely though it is overkill.

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  • Cables are cheap, and replacing them is essentially trivial. – Stephen Touset Jun 4 '13 at 16:33

Those end-caps are quite reusable. If you take a pair of pliers and squeeze it gently so that the flattened portion opens up you can then slide it back onto the cable. Using the pliers you can then re-crimp it on the cable. Although it looks ugly and everyone will know that you are too cheap to buy a 10c end-cap.

A little bit of superglue placed at the end of the cut seems to help keep the individual wires from separating.

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  • His problem is that it's already too frayed to easily get another cap on. A reused one will be harder to get on. – armb May 29 '13 at 9:28
  • "What would work as a suitable replacement for a cap?" - OP. There are other concerns in his post, but his direct question is about a replacement cap and if superglue will work. – Ritch Melton May 29 '13 at 14:04
  • This is good information, but as the other users note, the cable end is too frayed to get another cap onto. – Robert Dougan May 30 '13 at 8:47

If you have an unneeded old wheel laying around, use a spoke nipple. Remove the nipple from the spoke slide it over the cable and crimp with pliers.

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  • That's an interesting idea. – Ritch Melton May 29 '13 at 14:05
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    I used to do that too. But then I paid like $2 on ebay for a bag of a couple of hundred end caps, so I'm pretty much sorted for life now. – stib Sep 13 '15 at 13:43

I have successfully used A tiny bit of epoxy glue.

Another option is a bit of tin soldering wire: give it a couple of tight loops around the end of the cable then squash it with pliers. Tin is soft enough to be defformed around the cable without deforming the cable.

Yet another option is to use an actual soldering iron to cover the very last centimeter of cable with tin. It is quite difficult to solder the end of the already installed cable though.

If the cable is not too badly frayed it can be de-frayed with pliers, grabbing all the strands and twisting it in the right direction. Do it before applying the cap end substitute.

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  • My experience with soldering is that most cables are impregnated with some kind of lubrification which makes soldering practically impossible. Would be the cleanest option if it worked, though... – sarnu Jun 7 '13 at 10:07
  • Well, it worked for me, I gues the soldering gun burned the oil quite well. If that doest't work, maybe a lighter can do it. I also remember having bought cables that came with a fused end, something like it was heated with a torch or soething like that and just when the cable got softened it was squeezed so the strands would keep together... – Jahaziel Jun 10 '13 at 21:40
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    Soldering works very much better if you use liquid flux. Soldering stainless steel wires is difficult without it. Some solder has flux in it, but that's not enough for wire rope, which is what brake cable inners essentially are. – Criggie Jan 23 '18 at 9:14

I've used a cable crimp. It looked terrible but it prevent the cable from unravelling before I got to the bike shop to discover that a bike shop will usually give you those end caps if you buy something else from the store. The shops have them in the thousands and they probably paid about $3 for them. cable crimpers

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  • I guess heatsrhink could work extremelly well too! – Jahaziel Jun 10 '13 at 21:42
  • Sometimes in the middle they have a v block. I drive a nail into it to clear the v block. – paparazzo Aug 7 '14 at 13:50

Cable Connectors

I've used these cable connectors before...you just break one off and screw it over the cable end. They work great and look pretty "impressive".

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  • Welcome to Bicycles SE. We're looking for answers with more detail. Please consider expanding your answer to explain what these are for anyone who might not be familiar with them. E.g., what their standard use is, where someone might look for them, and what they're called. A short, one-line answer like this is likely to get downvoted, flagged for moderator intervention, and possibly deleted. – jimchristie Jul 7 '15 at 13:02

You could use some heat shrink tubing (example) to keep the frayed cable together.

If you don't have a heat gun, most heat shrink tubing can be shrunk with a hot hair dryer.

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In a pinch, use wirenuts. They're available at hardware stores. The smaller ones work better as a cable end-cap.

enter image description here

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If you have slack in the cable, cut the frayed end and cap as usual.

If you don't have enough slack, use JB Weld to prevent further unraveling. Work it into the fibers, and wrap with duct tape to hold tight while it cures.

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Cut a bit of cable housing, peel the plastic, and squeeze as you would a conventional cap (using more force, though). Doesn't look bad but is no substitute for actual end caps.

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