Thursday Tech Tip: Lubing your shifter cables

A few weeks ago, I tried out Lance’s super sweet Santa Cruz only to find out that the shifting was pretty bad. I had suggested that he try to lube his cables to see if that will help. So after finishing our after-ride breakfast, I showed him how to baby his cables. But the photos shown below are from my garage this morning.

First step is to shift to your biggest gear in the back.

Next is to make sure that you don’t spin the pedals, then down shift your shifter to the smallest gear.

Once you’ve down shifted, you’ll notice there is slack in the cable. Remove the housing from the cable guide. Then slide the housing to expose your cable.

Apply some lube on the cable. I’m using White Lighting just because I like it. Shimano makes a great cable lube called “Special Grease.” That stuff works like magic on cables. However, it’s pretty hard to find, you can try to see if your LBS can order it for you, but be ready to pay the price…a small tub that looks like a stack of 2 Oreo cookies is about $15.

Don’t forget to do the same thing through out the rest of the cable that the housing was covering, just slide and lube.

After you’ve lubed up your cables, go try it out. It should feel WAY better than before.

About the author

RL Policar is an avid mountain biker and the Editor In-Chief of MtnBikeRiders.com and BikeCommuters.com. Between the two sites, he's published well over 4,000 articles (and growing).