My derailleur cable housing (sheath) has exploded:

Broken derailleur cable housing

I bought a new sheath of the exact same length:

cable housing

PROBLEM: Now I realize that unlike brake cables that are like []------, derailleur cables seem to be like []-------[].

QUESTION: How can I put the cable inside the housing? I don't have many tools, just screwdrivers, Allen keys and a few common others.

Derailleur inside

2 Answers 2


The "double end" accommodates a variety of attachments. The idea is that you cut off the end that doesn't match your setup. Then the cable looks like a brake cable :-)

So, what you should do it to remove the old cable and match the end to the new cable. Then cut off the end that you don't need (cut near the "wrong" end so that you preserve the cable length). Now you'll be able to thread the cable through the housing (sheath) and make your repair.

When you remove the old cable pay attention to how the ends are attached. You'll put it back the same way.

If you don't have / can't afford the investment in a "proper" shearing type cable cutter mentioned in the comment, you will improve your chances is you cut at the very end of the cable up against the end you are removing. The metal that formed the end may help to support the cable strands and create a cleaner cut. If the end does get mangled, try to reform the end of the cable by twisting the strands back into place. Here's an example of the kind of cable cutter you're looking for (in this case a Park Tool CN-10).

Park CN-10 Professional Cable & Housing Cutter

  • 1
    And it would be worthwhile to invest in a decent scissor-type cable cutter. The standard "diagonal" wire cutter will mangle the end of the cable. Nov 10, 2015 at 13:04
  • Thanks! After I have cut the cable and inserted it inside the sheath, I guess I bought a new "attachment" and solder it to the cable? Or maybe I can reuse the existing one? It can be seen on the last picture, if you have any idea how this type of attachment is called. Nov 10, 2015 at 13:15
  • 1
    Just the other way around, the first pair you linked to look like they have blades that pass over each other and shear the cable. The curves in the blades will also help support the cable so that it holds its shape as you cut it.
    – dlu
    Nov 10, 2015 at 13:25
  • 1
    What I think you are calling the "attachment' in your comment above is (surprisingly) called a "cable end" -- a tiny metal tube open at one end. It's purpose is to keep the end of the cable from fraying. To attach it you crimp it on, using either a pair of pliers or the crimping anvil that is well-concealed just below the swivel joint of the wire cutters in your first link. (You do this, of course, as the last operation in your installation, after the cable is all threaded and adjusted, and cut to final length.) Nov 10, 2015 at 13:33
  • 1
    @dlu - I'd be afraid that the flat blades would cause the cable end to spread. Plus such cutters are designed for soft copper, not hard stainless steel. Nov 10, 2015 at 13:35

Buy the kit with cable and housing. Cut the housing with a proper cutter and put on the ends. Thread the cable and THEN cut the cable. If you don't want to buy a proper cutter then pay a LBS (local bike shop).

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