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A couple days ago I got in a small bike crash and since then both my front and back brakes have this issue. As shown in the picture, the metal ends of the cables come out of the handles when I squeeze the brakes, and then they get stuck outside and my brakes become useless. What is the fix for this?

  • The cables are sticking inside their housings, or your brakes themselves are sticking. Hard to guess how a crash might have caused this -- the usual cause is corrosion inside the cable housings. Check for obvious damage along the cable routes and at the brakes. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 6 '17 at 2:57
  • (But one other possibility is that the cable housing ends have "jumped" out of cable routing gizmos down the line somewhere. Check the entire length of the cables to make sure that everything is in its proper place.) – Daniel R Hicks Apr 6 '17 at 2:59
  • Thanks for your comments. I've checked the entire lengths of the cables to make sure everything is where it should be and I messed around with adjusting the handles. It seems that the issue was that there was not enough tension in the cables, which was causing the ends to dramatically move when pulled. I'm not sure exactly how this happened because the crease in the cables at the tuners (the exposed cable itself by the actual brakes) was still at the same place. However, tightening that seemed to solve my problem, although it might be temporary. I'll update the post if the issue arises again. – Dilly S. Apr 6 '17 at 3:27
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    @SteveMcGroto If the crease was still in the same place at the brake unit, I'd lean towards they were adjusted "loosely" to start with, and then never readjusted after break in. Steel cables stretch, they generally need to be readjusted/tightened after a break in period. – Deleted User Apr 6 '17 at 12:13
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It's hard to tell completely, but it looks as though the cable isn't under proper tension. The housing end shouldn't be floating outside the adjuster barrel like so. It's possible they were loose before and assuming an amazing "power grab" during teh crash they may stretched or slipped a bit (at the other end of cable). Adjust the brakes.

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    It looks as if the ferrule at the lever end has crept up the housing thus reducing the overall length. (suggested by the rippled plastic cover of the housing) – Carel Apr 6 '17 at 11:56
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I think @suspendeduser's answer regarding tension is likely the right one, but another cause of this is that the brake outer or inner cable was kinked or crushed in the crash.

This causes extra friction which causes the inner cable to pull out of the outer (or vice versa) when the brakes are applied.

Solution: new brake outers and inners. Cost: about 20-40 eurodollars with labor at a bike store.

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