Gear Cable Joiners

by jason.timothy.jones   January 9, 2014  

HI, I have a problem, and a solution to the problem, and then a problem with the solution to the problem

Generally when I take my MTB out for a ride, it gets quite muddy, especially at the moment with all the rain and muck about, but this is fun, and thats what MTB’s are for right. The problem comes with the clean up, because I’m quite OCD I like to strip the bike right down and take as much of it apart for cleaning as passable, but when it comes to the rear mech, I have the option of taking it off, or leaving it as is with the cable connected, or taking it off the bike with the cable in place for cleaning. The problem with taking the cable off is that this can only be done a few times before the cable becomes to damaged, so I find myself replacing it every month or so. The problem with leaving it connected is that…I don’t want to…

Anyway, I know there are connectors that can be used with 1 bare end, but the other end needs a nipple, so again there is a cost problem, and if I’m buying a new cable just for the nipple, the joiner becomes redundant.

I have attached a picture of a joiner used in electrical work, does anyone know if there is anything similar that could be used on gear cable, or is there anyone that has the tools to make something suitable?, basically it would just need to be thick enough to be strong, but not so thick it will cause rubbing (4-5mm) bored out to take a 1.2mm cable and 4 grub screws to joint it all

Any thoughts/ideas or anyone with some machinery need an excuse to go to the shed?

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15 user comments

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Personally I wouldn't bother with anything like this. I would be inclined to bulk-buy cheap inner gear cables (no point in getting posh ones if they're only on the bike for a month) and just chuck a new one on when needed. Even if you change both cables every month it's only going to cost you a couple of quid.

posted by Matt eaton [701 posts]
9th January 2014 - 14:07

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Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7807 posts]
9th January 2014 - 14:15

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Matt eaton wrote:
Personally I wouldn't bother with anything like this. I would be inclined to bulk-buy cheap inner gear cables (no point in getting posh ones if they're only on the bike for a month) and just chuck a new one on when needed. Even if you change both cables every month it's only going to cost you a couple of quid.

at about 50p a cable thats £12 a year, im to tight to pay that, I would rather pay £11.99 for a joiner

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
9th January 2014 - 15:01

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I looked at those, the problem is the mech end needs a nipple

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
9th January 2014 - 15:02

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While it's generally advisable to keep your bike fairly clean stripping it down after every ride is clearly bonkers. Too much cleaning can be just as bad for your bike as not enough and if you are using one of the various proprietary bike cleaning liquids then it's probably worse as they will rot your bike, but that's not the real problem here. The problem is that if you insist on removing the derailleur because it is covered in mud then you will probably want to do the same with your connecter when that is filthy too, so you will have the same issues. Wouldn't it be better to remove the cable clamp bolt from the derailleur and replace it with a two piece connector which can be quick released without unscrewing the clamp bolt, similar to an Alfine hub?

posted by drfabulous0 [404 posts]
9th January 2014 - 15:20

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jason.timothy.jones wrote:

I looked at those, the problem is the mech end needs a nipple

Not to be rude, but I'm not sure why that's a problem?

posted by Matt eaton [701 posts]
9th January 2014 - 15:32

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drfabulous0 wrote:
While it's generally advisable to keep your bike fairly clean stripping it down after every ride is clearly bonkers. Too much cleaning can be just as bad for your bike as not enough and if you are using one of the various proprietary bike cleaning liquids then it's probably worse as they will rot your bike, but that's not the real problem here. The problem is that if you insist on removing the derailleur because it is covered in mud then you will probably want to do the same with your connecter when that is filthy too, so you will have the same issues. Wouldn't it be better to remove the cable clamp bolt from the derailleur and replace it with a two piece connector which can be quick released without unscrewing the clamp bolt, similar to an Alfine hub?

Thanks for the cleaning advice, however I am clearly bonkers, and also take a lot of pride in my bikes, and after many decades of doing so have never rotted a bike, rather all my bikes are in fantastic condition, notwithstanding OCD is OCD.

As far as the joiner getting muddy, yes it will, but its easy enough to scrub it in situe as it wont be full of grease and mud and I had also figured a heat shrink cover would make it look nice also, the rear mech takes a little more effort, and as much as it can be done on the bike I am just thinking of something thats a little different that will do a job.....let a guy dream for once.....

I looked at something like a QR system, but it changed the angle to much from the body of the mech to the cable

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
9th January 2014 - 15:38

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Matt eaton wrote:
jason.timothy.jones wrote:

I looked at those, the problem is the mech end needs a nipple

Not to be rude, but I'm not sure why that's a problem?

Sorry, I forgot to add in the OP the economical part of it. Normally after changing cables I have a few feet of tail ends left over, so I could cut these down to size and have them as single use thingies.

BUT, now that you mention it, a release system will mean I wont have to undo the clamp at all right?

I knew that as a team we would get there in the end

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
9th January 2014 - 15:44

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While I may think you're bonkers for the lengths you are willing to go, keeping your bike meticulously clean is in itself a fairly reasonable thing to do and has nothing to with "OCD" which is a genuine mental illness that can have life altering consequences, that term is used inappropriately far too much. You would probably think my approach of building a 6000 mile a year commute bike with the specific design criteria that it would never ever be cleaned is equally bonkers, no offense is meant just a gentle ribbing. I would assume you avoid rotting your bikes because you are careful to remove any residue, although I am surprised you haven't invented your own formula by now to remove the problem entirely.

The connector issue is quite interesting though and I can think of other bike related applications, the first thing that springs to mind is something similar to the Sturmey Archer connector. Where exactly in the cable do you want to put this?

Wouldn't a heat shrink keep dirt in as well as out, like shock boots?

posted by drfabulous0 [404 posts]
9th January 2014 - 16:00

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drfabulous0 wrote:
While I may think you're bonkers for the lengths you are willing to go, keeping your bike meticulously clean is in itself a fairly reasonable thing to do and has nothing to with "OCD" which is a genuine mental illness that can have life altering consequences, that term is used inappropriately far too much. You would probably think my approach of building a 6000 mile a year commute bike with the specific design criteria that it would never ever be cleaned is equally bonkers, no offence is meant just a gentle ribbing. I would assume you avoid rotting your bikes because you are careful to remove any residue, although I am surprised you haven't invented your own formula by now to remove the problem entirely.

The connector issue is quite interesting though and I can think of other bike related applications, the first thing that springs to mind is something similar to the Sturmey Archer connector. Where exactly in the cable do you want to put this?

Wouldn't a heat shrink keep dirt in as well as out, like shock boots?

I actually do have OCD, and Autistic, so im more making a joke at myself, its so bad that I had to leave 1/2 way through the xmas dinner because I left a job 1/2 finished...I didnt take offence at the bonkers, I dont take offence at much...and I am bonkers so its all good. As far as cleaning is concerned, I just use Fairly liquid, and a lot of rinsing after, then dry it all off with a towel...so far so good.

The idea for the heat shrink is that its replaced as the tail end of the cable is replaced at cleaning, I think your right it will keep dirt in, but it will keep more out during the ride, and if its changed at clean up, there shouldn't be a problem.

Where I was thinking about putting all this, somewhere in front of the braze on before the outer goes from the frame to the mech, basically so the disposable tail is as short as possible without changing performance.

I think there is some merit in the splitter http://www.davincitandems.com/comp.html#split but its less frugal, and I will still have scrap tail ends.

....also, really 6000 miles and no cleaning...not even a degrease?

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
9th January 2014 - 16:49

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i'm confused. if you have a splitter, why do you have to throw away any part of the cable?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7807 posts]
9th January 2014 - 17:22

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Dave Atkinson wrote:
i'm confused. if you have a splitter, why do you have to throw away any part of the cable?

im confused

If I use the splitter there will be no need to throw anything, but I will need 2 cables to start with rather than one to get 2 nipples

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
9th January 2014 - 17:27

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jason.timothy.jones wrote:

....also, really 6000 miles and no cleaning...not even a degrease?

6k a year, that's over 20,000 miles now. In truth it has been cleaned twice and have also changed the brake cable, pads, tyres and one of the rear hub bearings, but it is a belt driven fixie with a brown paint job, so no degreasing necessary.

Totally with you on the Fairy Liquid (or Aldi equivalent), soft on hands and bikes, plus not £8 a bottle. But I have been telling customers this for years and they still come back with seized up derailleurs and the like as a result of carelessly using harsh chemicals.

Provided there is enough space that it won't rub on the frame those splitters look just the ticket, and as it would separate the bottom piece of cable and housing which is the bit which gets crudded up the longer section of cable should last for ages. I'm not sold on the heat sink as I think they look OK anyway and I would have reservations about using one in the brake cable, I think it would be worth a go for your needs. It's probably worth making sure those threads are well greased and If you need anymore really short gear cable bits let me know, my workshop floor is littered with them.

posted by drfabulous0 [404 posts]
9th January 2014 - 21:27

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Oh deffo wouldn't be doing it for the brakes, in part because they are hydraulic Smile but if the join fails on the mech I can deal with that, if its on the stoppers...well thats just not a good day out

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
10th January 2014 - 9:22

1 Like

drfabulous0 wrote:
jason.timothy.jones wrote:

It's probably worth making sure those threads are well greased and If you need anymore really short gear cable bits let me know, my workshop floor is littered with them.

May as well give your shop a plug, I think your up my way, Im in St Helens? we are limited with good LBS, and I refuse to give another penny to Halfords

posted by jason.timothy.jones [303 posts]
10th January 2014 - 9:41

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