I stupidly started changing the outer casing on my rear gear without having cable cutter ready. Suffice to say I've messed up the cut and now I can't get the gear cable though the outer casing. My friend is gonna give me his wire cutters tomorrow but I still need to ride the bike to work. Will this be bad for the bike to cycle without the gear being set up properly as long as I don't change gears when I cycle?

Thanks for your help

  • Sounds like a good excuse to buy the right tool.
    – Criggie
    Jan 12, 2019 at 22:48
  • Cannot you use the old cable again instead? It is already of right length. Jan 13, 2019 at 7:55

2 Answers 2


Yes, it's ok.

You'll be having the largestsmallest cog engaged, that's all. What you can temporarily do is set the limiting screws to the gear you wish.
Or you can have a short "pigtail" inner cable fixed somehow so it keeps the rear derailleur on the gear you wish.
Or you can take a punch or a small (Philips head) screwdriver, and a file and work the outer cable out.

Before purchasing the proper cable cutter I used to cut the outer cables with electric cable cutter, bringing it back to shape with a Philips head screwdriver and making it straight wit a table grinder. It gave a perfect result every time. Only the proper cable cutter is much faster.

  • 1
    Largest cog or smallest cog, depending on the action of the derailleur. All the ones I've had (Shimanos of various kinds) have used the spring to pull towards the smallest cog so, if the cable fails, you end up there. Jan 12, 2019 at 16:16
  • @DavidRicherby - you're correct - smallest cog is the most typical nowadays. It seems like I've spent too much time riding my bici eroiche
    – Mike
    Jan 12, 2019 at 17:04

You can rig up a temporary solution, but whether it will work for you is dependent on how far you have to ride.

You can leave the rear derailleur in the highest gear, put the front derailleur on the small chainring (or middle if it's a triple). You can go a short distance like this.

Another approach is to rig something up to keep the rear derailleur in the middle of the cassette. If you have a old or spare cable you can tie it to the frame somewhere, or put a knot in it just behind a housing boss.

FYI, regular cable cutters with blades that come together are not good for cutting housing - they squash the housing. You need proper housing cutters with blades that have a scissor action.

  • Even better are the cable cutters with recurved blades, that prevent the wire from pushing apart. And they're quite cheap nowdays.
    – Criggie
    Jan 12, 2019 at 22:47

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