I used my brakes the other day and this happened (see photo). Is there any way to fix this?

enter image description here

I’m unable to use the brakes at all with this issue.

  • 1
    I assume the cable broke somewhere? Try to pull on it and see if it comes out. You’ll have to replace the cable. The cable housing end cap in the photo also looks like it should be replaced. You’ll only need a 5mm hex key for the clamping screw on the brake and a new MTB brake cable.
    – Michael
    Apr 10, 2021 at 14:12
  • Hey I think the cable is okay, if I pull the break handle it still pulls the breaks together but just barely. Of the cable is okay I just need to replace the cable housing end? Apr 10, 2021 at 14:31
  • I don’t really understand what’s broken or not working. If you increase the cable tension, does it allow you to pull the brakes firmly?
    – Michael
    Apr 10, 2021 at 15:35
  • The picture is not really sufficient, we would need to see the other end of the cable and if it's broken or damaged somewhere else. Even though replacing the cable is the correct cover your ass reply, probably there is something much simpler you can do to get working brakes again (until the cable rusts through completely and fails).
    – Nobody
    Apr 11, 2021 at 7:10
  • The nut at the other end slackened off allowing the cable to pull through. Apr 11, 2021 at 17:47

2 Answers 2


The inner cable is very rusty. I would think that the cable friction is so great that the spring of the brake cannot pull back against it. Maybe at the other end of the cable, something has popped out of place, you can inspect the other end and see if this is the case.

Ultimately, the solution is going to be to fit, or to have fitted, new cables and the brakes setting up again to work well. If that cable condition is indicative of the rest of the bike, a good service is due which will make it nicer and safer to ride.

  • 1
    Agreed. I realize that the cost of these things adds up, and that people think that bikes are simpler than cars and shouldn’t require this much maintenance. Unfortunately, things wear out. If you don’t change your car’s oil, bad things will also happen. Blame the existence of entropy, but changing cables is unavoidable unless you have electronic shifting and hydraulic brakes - and even then, you’ll occasionally need to bleed the hydraulics and eventually the lithium ion battery will lose capacity.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Apr 10, 2021 at 22:23
  • 1
    If you look real closely at the image, you can see that at the very least, the outer strands of the cable have started to disintegrate from the rust. It's possible underneath that layer of rusted strands are more rusted strands. Apr 11, 2021 at 5:08

There are several things that can lead to this:

  1. either the cable tube has moved along the steel cable, which means it has popped out of the connector at the other end

  2. or the length of cable and tube are not matching any more - either because the cable tube has broken, or more likely the steel cable is broken inside.

  3. The cable may have pulled through the clamp screw at the brake. In this case open the clamp screw, tighten the cable and close the clamp screw again.

Even if it's just popped out, I recommend changing at least the inner steel cable, especially since brakes are safety relevant. Very likely, the brake hose is also worn & rusty, and exchanging that as well would give you a brake that operates a lot more smoothly and doesn't require as much force in your hands.

I'd also grease the new cables, but that may depend on the model if that's advised, some cables may already be coated to reduce friction without grease.

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