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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    18

    Default Making a Custom Bike Brake Cable

    Hi All,

    Apologies if I'm posting this in the wrong forum. I have a 70s Peugeot Folding bike which I'm quite attached to. I was riding it recently when one of the brake cables snapped. The brakes are centre-pulled so they use a short straddle cable to close the two brake calipers, and this was the cable that snapped.

    I've taken the bike to a local bike shop for repair however they've said that they can't get a suitable replacement cable. I've looked around online to see if I can find anything that would do the job however so far I haven't been able to find anything.

    So, I've been thinking that it might be easier to make a DIY brake cable. All I need is to attach two ends to a short length of cable. I've been looking online and there appear to be a few different ways of doing this - using some sort of crimp-on end, or moulded lead, etc.

    As it's for a brake I'd like it to be secure! I'm wondering what people here recommend?

    I've attached a picture of the old broken cable ends.

    Cheers,

    Chris
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    York, North Yorkshire UK
    Posts
    4,846

    Default

    Hi Chris, Welcome to the forums.

    You can buy solder on ends for bowden cable quite cheaply, literally pennies, of if you have access to a lathe make them ! You might find that the hole in them is a bit small for some cables, so you would need to drill them out to suit. The same applies to crimp on ones ! Though I would much prefer to hard solder them on.

    A cooks torch would do this easily. Use "Borax" and a little water as a flux. When you cut them to length wrap the cutting point with electrical tape to contain the strands. I have a pair of pliers with cutting jaws on the sides that are useful for this job.

    HTH.
    Best Regards:
    Baron J.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    North Brisbane. Qld. Australia
    Age
    67
    Posts
    1,001

    Default

    Dimensions of ends, cable size and total length required?
    Nev.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Mallacoota,VIC,Australia
    Age
    50
    Posts
    904

    Default

    Hi Chris
    When I rode motor bikes many years ago I remember a couple of times making a clutch or brake cable from a kit. To make the cable you use to fit the end fitting (usually brass and countersunk at one end) onto the cable and spread the wire cable slightly and then solder the end. They worked quite well and I never had one fail. I googled Bike Brake Cable Kit and ended up on eBay looking at this kit https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/37296544...waAmBnEALw_wcB and here's another link https://www.wiggle.com.au/brake-cables .
    All The Best steran50 Stewart

    The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    207

    Default

    I had an accelerator cable let go in my old Vanguard.
    In the toolbox I had an plastic covered electric cable connector.
    I smashed the plastic off and used the brass connector to repair the cable.
    Was still like that when I sold it years later.
    H.
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    North Brisbane. Qld. Australia
    Age
    67
    Posts
    1,001

    Default

    Made cables for all sorts of things over the years. Usually use stainless cable and make the ends from brass a Silver Braze.
    Nev.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Southern Highlands NSW
    Posts
    1,636

    Default

    Like many other owners of old motorbikes, I sometimes need to make cables.
    In the past I used a soldering iron but then found out that a solder pot makes for easier and better jobs.
    Started with a home made gas fired one, but now I have a more convenient electric solder pot, bought cheaply via ebay.
    Ebay item no. 164425078653

    Check out YouTube for DIY info.

    I use tin/lead 60/40 per cent because that's what's usually recommended for control cables, but 50/50 has also been used.
    I avoid stainless steel cable wire because I don't have experience with it, and it needs a particular flux and technique I think. Ordinary galvanised wire Bowden cable works well.

    Test all cables, especially brakes. When installed, if it doesn't fail when using two hands to tightly squeeze the hand lever, then it will be good for any one handed use.

    More links:
    Motion Pro Cable Making Kit 01-0055 | Motorcycle Parts | Remar Cables
    https://ariel-square-four.blogspot.c...le-making.html

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BaronJ View Post
    Hi Chris, Welcome to the forums.

    You can buy solder on ends for bowden cable quite cheaply...
    HTH.
    Could you post a link for these.

    Cheers!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Thanks for all the tips!

    A quick update - when I picked up the bike, the mechanic gave me a short cable that already has an end on it (see attached). The end is a little bit too big so it needs to be filed down. The cable looks like stainless steel and is 380mm long. It will need to be cut to length, but I'm not sure of the exact length as I don't have the old cable, and I think that the front one is slightly different. I'm going to take some photos and post them shortly. Hopefully this will make it a bit clearer.

    Cheers!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Greendale Vic. Australia
    Posts
    63

    Default Cable make up.

    Particularly for a brake cable, the nipple will/should have a shallow depression in it at the outer end, the cable should slip through the nipple, then use a countersink to tap down and spread the cable stands out into the depression, and then using soft solder is fine as long as the strands are spread into the depression. Squeeze the cable in a vice using wood 'jaws' to hold and protect it just below the nipple when you countersink. (Easier to do all this that explain it!)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joolstacho View Post
    Particularly for a brake cable, the nipple will/should have a shallow depression in it at the outer end, the cable should slip through the nipple, then use a countersink to tap down and spread the cable stands out into the depression, and then using soft solder is fine as long as the strands are spread into the depression. Squeeze the cable in a vice using wood 'jaws' to hold and protect it just below the nipple when you countersink. (Easier to do all this that explain it!)
    Can you post a link to a suitable nipple - there seem to be 101 different types, shapes and sizes.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Here are a few images of the brakes - hope this makes things clearer. The dowel is holding the calipers out so that the end doesn't hit the sprocket.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Australind , WA
    Age
    56
    Posts
    1,008

    Default

    FYI, Bunnings sell small crimps that might be suitable.
    You could aslo try a Sling supplier. I've had spare tyre winch cables made by them.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Greendale Vic. Australia
    Posts
    63

    Default

    There are as you say so many nipples available. You'd need to take a sample to a bike shop or motorbike shop. Most will have a box full of different nipples.
    The nipple sizes depend on the fitment -both ends, lever and actuator. You can also buy cable inners and outers without nipples so you can make up your own.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sterob View Post
    FYI, Bunnings sell small crimps that might be suitable.
    You could aslo try a Sling supplier. I've had spare tyre winch cables made by them.
    Just having a look on the Bunnings site - I can find the crimping tool but I can't figure out what the "crimps" are actually called?

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