When installing new cables and housing, is is wise to oil the housing?

If so, how? Here Hicks recommends spraying (but for re-newing old cables). On the other hand, I have found it intuitive to put a drop of oil onto the entrance of the housing, then thread the cable through it.

My rationale is that oil reduces friction, and cables and housings enjoy lack of friction.

So does oiling new housing help, or is it reserved for servicing old housing systems?

  • 1
    Modern outers have teflon liners. Only old outers need greasing. However adding grease or lube to new rusty outers may help eak out a few more months of usage.
    – Criggie
    Jul 8, 2016 at 8:34

3 Answers 3


I would suggest leaving new cable housings as they are. From my experience with riding MTB bikes in different conditions, lubing them only attracts more dust. I suggest regular cleaning and using oil only for short term reviving. These cables need to be replaced once in a while anyway.

  • How can you know how much dirt enter inside your cable housing? In the first place, how can dirt enter inside the nearly sealed housing?
    – Vorac
    Oct 28, 2013 at 15:59
  • 2
    @Vorac: when you remove the cable and it is black and sticky, then this is a mix of dirt+oil+time.
    – cherouvim
    Oct 28, 2013 at 19:18

No, you shouldn't apply to additional lube to new cables and housing. These come pre-coated (cables) and pre-greased (outers) so adding anything additional is not required and could possibly degrade the factory lube.

  • I did never see pre-coated cables. About grease in outers I'm not so sure.
    – Alexander
    Oct 28, 2013 at 20:29
  • 1
    Simply look at inners in many online stores they have low friction coatings and in the case of top quality cables like Jagwire have a Teflon coating. Similar with outers, these have ptfe low friction centres and come pre-greased with low friction silicon lubricants. Unless you are bying the cheapest cable and outer you can find your unlikely to buy something untreated or unlubricated.
    – DWGKNZ
    Oct 28, 2013 at 20:56
  • 2
    I am actually buying the cheapest cable and housing :D
    – Vorac
    Oct 29, 2013 at 7:34
  • Don't know. I leave in Israel, and didn't notice of coating on cables. The outers come with Teflon coating and I see it as enough for our climate.
    – Alexander
    Oct 31, 2013 at 21:51

I tend to buy the cheap cables and housing. My experience is that the cost isn't worth the difference for my bikes. Customers, they want to see 'JagWire' on their cables.

If you must lube, I'd recommend Rock n' Roll Cable Magic. It's a solvent that carries ptfe/wax. Couple of drops in the cable housing before installing the cable and your good to go.

Personally, I can't notice the difference. My solution is that I change housing/cables every 6 months. Basically, the rainy season gets one set and the dry season gets the other set. I use white bar tape, so it also keeps things clean.

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