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What is the best tool to crimp cable end caps - especially those where access is limited, such as dropper post remotes?

I have got a crimp area on my cable cutters, but it is a bit fiddly to use, is there anything better?

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    I have a 4-way ferrule crimper for electrical wiring, and it doesn't do well on brake cable crimps. So a tool for a similar job may not be ideal on a bike.
    – Criggie
    Mar 9, 2023 at 18:50

3 Answers 3

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There are stub-nosed dedicated crimping "pliers" where the crimping is done at the tip end, which is typically what works best for limited access situations, as opposed to back by the hinge where they're sometimes added on to other kinds of pliers or cutters.

enter image description here

Another approach that still works well for limited access spots is keeping around a pair of dull, bad quality side or diagonal cutters, and just using the tip. Don't use good ones because it will be too easy to cut the endcap by accident, but there are a lot in the world that aren't good ones.

Some wire strippers also have crimp areas near enough to the tip that might work.

Another tool common in bike shops that can be capable of reaching in and putting a good crimp in tight spaces is a lockring plier, such as this Hozan:

enter image description here

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    Oh yeah, how many endcaps have I cut with my Knipex side cutter...
    – arne
    Mar 10, 2023 at 8:32
  • Thanks. Park EP-1 looks perfect, it doesn't seem to be available here in the UK at the moment, which must have been why I missed it.
    – LC1983
    Mar 10, 2023 at 9:57
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    @arne Knipex!!! I bet their pliers wrench set would give a good squeeze, without cutting through. Will give those a try.
    – LC1983
    Mar 10, 2023 at 10:03
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    @LC1983: You don't want a full-length squeeze, but rather a couple of short sections dented inward. I'd just steal any old combination pliers from my granddad, the more worn out the better. Or buy a really cheap one in the equivalent of a dollar store. That way, you need to pay far less attention when doing it.
    – arne
    Mar 10, 2023 at 11:55
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    @LC1983 I've occasionally done it with Knipex plier wrenches and it works but gives a pretty squashed look. Mar 10, 2023 at 19:21
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If you want a bit of a lo-fi solution, I crimp all my cable ends with a mole wrench.

Set the mole wrench so the jaws just about close when locked together.

Hold the ferrule in the tip of the mole wrench lengthways and place onto the end of the cable. Squeeze until the wrench locks closed. The ferrule should get properly crushed onto the end of the cable.

It takes a little bit of force, but you get a really good crimp.

enter image description here

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  • Thanks, that’s one I can try easily.
    – LC1983
    Mar 13, 2023 at 11:15
  • This is what I do, but often twice, once on the open end and once further up the ferrule. Not all mole grips do this as well as my big pair, or the ones pictured.
    – Chris H
    Mar 14, 2023 at 13:36
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If you have a crimp tool for electronics you can use it for end-caps/ferrules of bike cables as well. Use it on one setting larger/wider/looser than you would for an equally sized electrical cable to account for the fact that steel bike cables do not compress as much or easily as copper cable strands.

I have personally done this quite a few times this way.

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