I have a Raleigh MT 200 - 1994. I lost the segment of the housing for the cable of the rear derailleur (Shimano STX) that goes to the shifter, see red in the image 1.

I would likely purchase a replacement online. I want to know what should I look for in the spec, to make sure that I am buying the right thing.

What I found in the segment that goes to the derailleur (which is similar to the segment that goes to the front shifter):

  1. Legend in the housing: Shimano SIS SP, image 4.
  2. Outer diameter: 5mm, measured with caliper.
  3. Two different metallic ferrules in the ends, images 2-4. The grooved ferrule goes to the shifter. These look very much like types A and B in https://www.bikeman.com/bicycle-repair-tech-info/bikeman-tech-info/1641-cables-a-housing
  4. Length: about 200mm.

So, I have several specific questions:

  1. Is there anything else I should look for?
  2. Will an SP40 work (like http://www.ebay.com/itm/Shimano-XTR-XT-SLX-Shifter-Cable-Housing-SIS-SP40-/301329907340)?
  3. Or an SP41?
  4. Is it mandatory that the two ferrules are different, of types A and B respectively? (I do not know the difference among them).
  5. What does "sealed" mean (like in http://www.ebay.com/itm/SHIMANO-180mm-SIS-SP-Sealed-Cable-Housing-New-w-black-ferrules/222309191697)

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  • 2
    I would just walk into your local bike shop with the companion cable and say "I need a piece like this, NN inches (or cm) long, with ferrules." They can make up the piece and crimp on the ends and likely would only charge a buck or two. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 2:21
  • Probably 3 or 4 bucks, but yeah, going to the shop and just asking for the housing (and a new shift cable; why not while you're at it).
    – Batman
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 2:27
  • A LBS is an option. But I am wary of LBSs, for some things. I had not-so-good experiences with two renowned ones, here in Argentina. And there is no way for me to know if they are doing the right thing. For instance, cutting the end and fixing any imperfection at the end should not be complicated, but ill-performed work may impact the result (from what I read). So, if I can purchase a readily manufactured part, I'd rather do so. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 2:36
  • 2
    The problem is that you will almost always need to cut the cable & housing to length. Which means that someone is going to have to do the stuff you're fearful of. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 12:54
  • 1
    @Criggie - I feel I have no option. I am tired of having one simple thing turn into a nightmare, just because tiny overlooked details. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 23:13

2 Answers 2


I would suggest replacing the inner as well as all the outers. If the inner is frayed at all, you will not be able to rethread it. The benefits of a new cable are much better shifting, to the point cables are considered a consumable by many riders - just like tires and brake pads.

Shifter cables are very generic and cheap - as low as $5 online for a set.

You will also need a cable cutter. Dedicated bicycles ones make the job fast and tidy. You can use heavy duty wire cutters, but needs more care and is less successful get tidy and fray free cuts. If you don't have access to a decent cutter, you could buy one for about $25. If you plan this to be a once only, the LBS will install a new cable cheaper than buying the tool.

  • 1
    Note that a cable cutter is not really what's needed. Rather one needs a cable housing cutter, which is much "heavier" in construction. And one needs to make sure that the cutter includes a crimper for the housing ferrules, not just one for the inner cable ends. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 2:27
  • 1
    I already have the replacement cable. So I need the missing housing segment. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 2:39
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    @sancho.s most bike shops sell housing by the metre. Or by the cubit in the US. Online I suspect you will have to buy a set with inner and outer (or like some of us do, a roll of 30m or 50m). But $5 for a complete inner+outer means you'd pay more for postage than you'd save by not getting the inner.
    – Móż
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 2:51
  • @Móż - I have two candidates (e.g.), as posted in the OP. ebay.com/itm/Shimano-XTR-XT-SLX-Shifter-Cable-Housing-SIS-SP40-/… and ebay.com/itm/…. But then I meant to find out about specific points, like the types of ferrules, that is what I was asking. Even if I buy a housing cut and set at the LBS, that will help me better telling if what I get is ok. Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 7:32
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    @Móż Cubit? Really? While we're at it, why not barley corns too?
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 22:32

I suggest you buy a cheap wire kit from somewhere like Wiggle and learn.

http://www.wiggle.com/lifeline-essential-gear-cable-set-2014/ would be perfect at under $6 US.

http://www.wiggle.com/lifeline-essential-brake-cable-set-mtbhybrid-1/ There's a similarly priced brake cable set too.

The bare minimum tools you need are

  • Something to cut the housing. I use bigger side cutters, but a hacksaw or dremel-tool work

  • Something to file the end flat. Any kind of multipurpose file will work.

  • Something pokey to open the inner plastic liner after cutting and filing. A pointy screw works, or a toothpick.

  • A small spanner to undo the inner cable at the brake/derailleur.

There are many other tools that help and make the job quicker/easier but they're more specialised and not worth buying for a one-off.

Just remember, its a bicycle. The tolerances are not particularly small, and you don't need sub-millimetre accuracy on ferrules and so on.

  • 1
    An ice pick is a much better choice for opening the housing after cutting. And there's no need to file the end flat if you get a clean cut. (But I suppose if you use plain side cutters a clean cut is unlikely.) Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 2:58
  • You also need something to crimp the ferrule with. Pliers will sort of work, but not real well. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 3:01
  • @DanielRHicks I was going for the bare minimum tools required for the task, so no access to dedicated housing shears. Personally the ferrule works perfectly without being crimped to the housing - only upshot is slightly easier water ingress at the bottom/lower end.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 3:42
  • Do you mean using a brake kit for learning how to do the job, and later doing it myself with the shifting kit? That is way beyond my intention, and it will likely end with even worse results than what I could get with sloppy work at the LBS. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 10:26
  • @sancho.s sorry I must have mixed things up - there are similarly-priced shift cable inner/outer kits which will provide all the consumables you need to do the job. I will edit my answer to correct and expand.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 19:32

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