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Randomly a couple of days ago, my left brake stopped working. When I investigated, the bolt or nut or whatever that had held the brakeline inside the brake lever was missing!

Image showing brake handle showing a connected brakeline held in place by a nut:

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Image showing left brake handle with a disconnected brakeline and missing nut. Not the missing nut inside the break lever.

enter image description here

I can't find the name of this part anywhere, so I can't figure out how to investigate how it might be fixed (if it can!). Can I fix this or do I just need to consider replacing the brake levers and maybe the gear switchers entirely? The brake line seems very short. I'm not sure I can imagine it working even with a replacement part.

If it helps the bike is a Trek Multitrack 720 and is sort of in general in bad condition.

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    Criggie's answer is correct; just to clarify, let me add that the cable (neither the outer part (the housing) nor the wire) is not held in place by a nut or bolt or any type of screw. The Bowden cable's principle is a bit surprising and unusual. The inner cable is always under tension; that's what holds everything together and prevents the housing from jumping out of the "receivers" at its ends. The ends are not attached in any way. If e.g. a brake gets stuck in the closed position, the wire has slack and the housing can be pulled out of its "receivers". Commented 2 days ago

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Your brake inner cable has been torn from the head, and the head is either stuck in the lever or has fallen out on the road.

You need to buy and fit a replacement inner cable. I'd suggest replacing both brake cables. They're cheap, just make sure to get the same fitting as your brake levers use, which is probably a MTB barrel like this:

enter image description here

It would probably pay to give your bike a once-over using a method like an m-check, given you describe it as "bad condition" A Trek Multitrack is a nice bike and will last you a long time, if maintained.


Also, I notice the barrel adjuster is not in place - in your photo it is lying in the valley. You'll need to thread that back into the brake lever's housing before feeding the inner cable out.

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