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I've bought and installed new cables for my bicycle, but I didn't have any cable-ends to crimp the ends. I've been riding for a few days now and just noticed that one of my cable ends has unwound itself due to movement or vibrations. Now I have a frayed set of wires sticking out of the end of my brake calipers.

Is there a good or proper way to reset these wires back to their original position so that I can crimp the end of the cable properly? Thanks

  • It's probably too late for this but if you don't have a crimp it's a good idea to leave the cable a little longer than normal and put a blob of glue on the end. This will hold it quite well. If you do need to fit a crimp later there's enough cable to cut it back. Even tape would hold for a few days until you can get a crimp – Chris H Jan 23 '18 at 7:34
  • Closely related bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/15930/… – Criggie Jan 23 '18 at 9:15
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    A guy I met uses spoke nipples as a replacement – zedoo Jan 23 '18 at 13:11
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    @zedoo good recycling, bike people often have bags and jars of reclaimed nipples. Brass ones would be hard to crimp down compared to the more uncommon aluminium alloy ones. – Criggie Jan 23 '18 at 23:40
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Seth's Bike Hacks channel on Youtube has a video that specifically addresses this problem:

A quote:

When I showed the cable fray trick in another video, some of you thought I was playing it in reverse, but it’s true! You can unfray some cables by twisting them from the base and working your way back up. This works particularly well on cables that were recently frayed, and usually by clipping a little off the end and adding a new cap, you’re back up and running without needing to swap the whole thing.

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    As long as none of the wires have been bent it is pretty straight forward to rewind the frayed cable. If any of the wires got bent after becoming unwrapped you are pretty much out of luck. – Rider_X Jan 24 '18 at 22:25
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You can just try to do it by hand first, then use pliers to twist the cable back into place. If that fails, cut off the cable to a point where you can twist it back. That is what has worked for me.

  • This is a fair solution - if your cable is dialled in for adjustment, you could simply snip off the spikey free ends flush with the derailleur pinch bolt. There's a minor risk it could pull through easier, and future adjustments are basically impossible unless it can be done with the barrel adjusters. But it gets more life out of that inner wire. – Criggie Apr 11 at 11:22
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I twist them back together, then if its my bike will thread a length of heatshrink over the wire and contract it with a hot air gun. Then I nip off the very end with my cable cutters.

I've also used flux and solder to join the frayed ends together once they were retwisted. That was a sleek-looking fix (more aero too!)

Putting a crimp cap on works too - do be careful to capture all the metal threads because they're no fun later.

  • I thought about solder. I like the idea of 'shrink. – tedder42 Jan 23 '18 at 17:41

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