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I've seen some expensive hydraulic hose cutting tools for over $100, e.g., the "SRAM PitStop Hydraulic Hose Cutter Tool".
I just want to cut the two new brake hoses I have now, so I don't want to buy an expensive tool.
I want to do it myself, and I don't mind spending some money for a tool to do it, but not $100.

I've read that cable cutters are not suitable (I have proper cable cutters).
Also, I'm guessing what is critical is getting a nice clean square cut (ie exactly perpendicular to the hose length).

What is my best option to do it myself, if I don't have the expensive tool?

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  • I think the trick is to not crush (too badly) the hose while you cut it. Plus, as you say, to get a clean, square cut. Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 22:49
  • Look-alikes for the SRAM unit are available for $47, BTW. Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 22:51
  • (You might want to buy a length of hose and practice -- see if a cable cutter will work well enough.) Commented Jan 12, 2012 at 22:55
  • @jm2 answer is the way to go. I used it, is easy, inexpensive, and works perfectly. Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 13:48

3 Answers 3

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Get a brand new razor blade, the type that you would use in a boxcutter or the type you would use in a scraper, as long as it's rigid. Lay the hose against a hard, flat, and clean surface and while holding the hose as close to where you want to make the cut as possible (without cutting your fingers off) push straight down on the blade while sliding it forward on the hose. Once it gets started it should go through pretty easily if the blade is new and sharp. The two important things when you're done are to ensure that you have a clean cut and that you have a perpendicular cut, ie you don't want to slice it at an angle or have a jagged cut. If the cut looks messy or isn't straight, move back a few millimeters and try again. It's not that hard to get right and it will save you a few bucks.

Personally, I would recommend against using cable cutters. You'll get a much better cut with a razor blade.

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  • I have Maguras and the very own product manual describes exactely this procedure: sharp razor-like object, sliding back and forward to produce a very straight-angled hose end. Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 13:48
  • This is probably what I'll do, but I'd like a bit more info on how I can get the cut perfectly square.
    – Jason S
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 21:36
  • @heltonbiker Magura did something right!
    – joelmdev
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 22:08
  • @JasonS short of a steady hand and a little bit of practice, there's not much more to it. It's really a pretty gentle learning curve. Even if you botch the first 2 or 3 cuts, which is unlikely, you'll only lose half an inch of hydraulic line. If the hose is significantly longer than you need an your worried about it, practice on a piece of the hose that's going to get cut off anyway. If you want to guarantee that the cut is spot on the first time then you'll want to splurge on the hydraulic line cutter.
    – joelmdev
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 22:10
  • @JasonS also, the cut most probably doesn't need to be PERFECTLY straight. Unless the hose is too skewed, it should work the same. Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 0:09
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Searching on Amazon (for "Hydraulic Hose Cutter"), I found a few under $20. But, the replacement blades look just like common utility knife razor blades.

Maybe you can rig of something to hold the cable square so you might be able to use a utility knife. I'd clamp, lightly so you don't crush, the hose to a scrap piece of wood and use edge as a visual guide and slice straight down with your utility knife. Cut it an inch long and if it doesn't seal up nicely, then splurge for one of the tools under $20.

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  • I'm in Australia and none of the hydraulic cable cutters on Amazon ship to Australia, and I can't find these at the LBS.
    – Jason S
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 21:46
  • I ended up finding a cheap $20 Jagwire cutter online in Australia. I have to say it was not worth the $20. Two things make it worthless. 1. The blade is so slim it flexes. Even though the blade comes down on the hose, it still flexes and doesn't cut straight. 2. The section to hold the hose perpendicular to the blade is too short, so it is not great for holding it perpendicular.
    – Jason S
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 4:27
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I just used a cheap kitchen knife (Google "kitchen knife plastic handle" to see what kind) and didn't even have to drain the system afterwards so you definitely don't need a specific tool for the job but something a bit sharper like a razor blade probably makes it easier as I had to push quite hard to get through.

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  • 2
    Hi, welcome to bicycles. How did you ensure you got a clean, perpendicular cut without crushing the hose?
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 13:43
  • How did you ensure a clean not-crushed cut? And how did you get through what's usually at least 2 wire hydraulic line with a kitchen knife? The steel wires in hydraulic line are really good at resisting a cut. Even with a brand new razor blade it's not an easy thing to cut through. I don't see anyway you could possibly cut that line clean enough to repair reliably with just a cheap kitchen knife. And if you did, you shouldn't give other people bad advice on how to do something that they make specific tools and procedures for.
    – Bob Hopman
    Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 11:17
  • @BobHopman not all hydraulic hose has reinforcement wires - Some lower grades are just plastic hose.
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 12, 2023 at 18:12

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