The obvious reason why, is cost!

I need my front derailuer's cable to be replaced and I'd like to simply buy some raw brake cable from the bike shop and simply re-insert into my existing campy cable guides. Can that be done, or do I have to buy Campagnolo cables? Is there a cable guide or some PDF that has more technical details specific to Campagnolo cables?

I have Athena 11sp with 11sp Campagnolo Record shifters - not EPS.


  • 2
    Campag stuff is expensive because they don't have a bottom or middle grade/quality. They only have the equivalent of Shimano dura ace and ultegra. Athena is the lowest spec they make, and you spent the not-small money to buy that. I'm positive you could use Off-brand cables and they would work, but will they work "as well as the campy stuff" ? I dunno (hence comment not answer) Its akin to an exotic sports car driver complaining about the cost of the special oil their ride requires.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 6:37
  • 2
    Campag put non-standard cable-heads to force customers to buy their cables. Normal no-name cables won't fit in the levers. Derailleur cables and housings are even a fraction of a millimetre thinner
    – Carel
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 7:32
  • There are other manufacturers that make Campy-compatible cable ends. Personally, I don't use Campy cables because the housings become very brittle and crack at low temperatures.
    – ojs
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 16:19
  • I can't think of a manufacturer who uses interchangable brake and shift cables, so the idea would have been DOA to begin with.
    – Batman
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


A quick google research lead me to this article about comparisons of Campy and Shimano cables: Campy / Shimano Cable Comparison:

Brake cable end fittings:

Shimano "mushroom cap" diameter: 0.238"(6.05 mm)

Shimano "shank" diameter: 0.140" (3.56 mm)

Campy "mushroom cap" diameter: 0.214" (5.44 mm)

Campy "shank"diameter: 0.138" (3.51 mm)

Shifter cable end fittings:

Shimano end barrel diameter: 0.173" (4.39mm)

Campy end barrel diameter: 0.159" (4.04 mm)

Essentially, Campy cable ends are smaller than Shimano / SRAM systems.

As other users already suggested: Buying decent quality cables is a good investment. It makes shifting gears a lot more precise and thus fun. Personally I'd recommend the Jagwire Road Cable Sets - they're not the cheapest, but since you already bought yourself some nice Campy parts, do them a favour and wire them with a nice set of cables.

  • 1
    It'd be good if you mentioned what the comparison is. Also, that Jagwire kit is for Shimano/SRAM.
    – Batman
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 15:34
  • @Batman, thanks for the hint, I posted the wrong link. Should all be fine now.
    – dru87
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 15:59

You don't have to buy Campy brand cables, but you do have to buy Campy-compatible cables, because they use a head that's a little bit smaller for both shift and brake cables. If you ignore this, it can seem like it's fine, but get stuck in your lever. The alternative in a pinch is taking a little off with a grinder or file.

Most shops will have individual carded Campy-compatible cables that are more expensive than bulk but not nearly as much as Campy. Some shops have them in bulk. There is no compatibility issue with using them in your Campy housings.

  • Do you have specifics on the cable end diameter compared to Shimano for example or Sram? And is the cable itself the same thickness as any other cable? I am really after Campag cable specifications if anyone has them
    – Fandango68
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 1:48
  • "Most shops" should be some shops. The closest shop that is equipped for Campy from where I live is 155 miles away (250 km).
    – Batman
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 2:01

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