I have recently had problems with my front gear cable. I know for a fact it's not a problem with the cable housing. Is there a way I can replace my front gear cable without removing the housing and the Bar Tape? I'm on full Shimano Sora groupset.

  • 1
    First, disconnect inner cable from derailleur, and then check the motion through all the different parts f outer. You might find one piece sticky - the under-BB piece is chronic for this being exposed to a lot of road water.
    – Criggie
    Jan 28, 2020 at 5:55

2 Answers 2


I’ve never had any issues with only replacing the cable (they break from time to time). The important part is that the housing sits snuggly against the brifter so that you can hit the hole with the cable. If it does not you can lift the rubber grips and try to guide the cable into the housing.

Just make sure the cable end is not frayed when you remove it. It can get stuck and/or destroy the housing.

  • 1
    I always cut the end of the cable that had been clamped in the derailleur which is most likely to cause trouble inside the housing when pulling it out. It is nearly always feasible to make that cut.
    – Carel
    Jan 28, 2020 at 19:53
  • 1
    It’s just a gentle reminder to cut it, and to cut it cleanly.
    – Michael
    Jan 29, 2020 at 8:36

Maybe - it really depends how the housing is seated into the base of the brifter.

If the housing is in a dish, recess or socket then you can pull the inner wire out through the brifter, and feed in a new one. Job done.

But that depends on the alignment staying concentric, which is unlikely. What you might end up doing is pulling short segment out the brifter, cutting the end off, and butting your new cable end to the old one.

Tape probably won't work here cos it will be too thick. Instead, slightly splay the strands on the old headless inner, put the free end of the new inner in the middle, and try and feed it back down through the brifter. As soon as you get three inches into the brifter you're probably good to pull the old inner out the lower end and then free-feed the new one down.

Tip - check the end of your new cable - if its soldered then that's good. If its just twisted, you might suffer a flyaway strand. So solder or superglue the tip so that its a bit more robust. This end will get trimmed off later anyway.

Last resort, if it all goes badly, is to carefully unwrap the bar tape. It generally goes back on well enough afterward, certainly easier than the initial application because the bartape takes a "Set" and will reinstall easier second time around.

  • 2
    unwrapping and rewrapping bar tape is pretty standard practice. I real would start here. If the bike is internally routed then we have be extra certain we can cleanly rethread a new cable without the old cable as a guide. The las thing you want is to have to tear apart the frame so you can thread a shifter cable.
    – Rider_X
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:03
  • 2
    For drop bar bikes, the wrapping only gets tricky as the tape goes around the shift lever. Chances are good that the OP could unwrap it just until the gear cable is exposed, then re-wrap. If the tape isn't black, then the tape is likely to be dirtier on the bit that's exposed to air and clean on the part where it overlaps itself, which makes for an easy guide to re-wrap. The OP might want to get a roll of electrical tape ready to secure the bar tape afterward.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:45

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