Lubing your cables for fun and safety


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I’m not quite sure what this post is about… bike cables, perhaps? I feel like I walked into the room in the middle of a detailed conversation without knowing what the subject of the conversation actually is, so I have to try and pick up on it by context.


Cyclists of the world unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!


I’m guessing it’s for motorcycles, considering who posted it and that bicycle cables are usually quite easy to lubricate.

There are other schools of thought that lube just attracts dirt which will eventually gum up things, increase friction, and wear down the nylon sleeves. At least for bicycles that often do not have continuous housing from end to end. Boots over the housing ends certainly help otherwise.

Wait, so the bits go faster if you lube your Cat-6 cables?


“lubing your cables”

(cue the sound of creepy Bevis and Butthead laughter.)


Sounds like all the control cables on a motorcycle, as well. They run mostly through a sheath with open ends on both sides. Its such a small gap I’d gather that occasional lubing will keep stuff blown through or just the cable innards greased enough for it to be helpful. I can see that lubing once and forgetting may create a gummy situation. Most of my bike is crud encrusted.

As a biker from way back in the 70s, we used to lubricate cables as part of normal servicing. I didn’t use a tool though, being too broke at the time, but a condom/polythene bag/rubber glove filled with oil and a couple of rubber bands. Part fill with oil, attach to end of cable with rubber bands, squeeze slowly to push oil through.

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Bowden cables like these aren’t automotive grade, they wear faster anyway, so every bit of anti-friction would seem like a good idea.

That’s why I prefer graphite in an evaporating carrier, such as Lock-Ease. Avoid the stuff with teflon granules.

Of course I’m lubing the cables for the azimuth adjuster in my space-time interociter, but it’d probably work on bikes too.


Huh, I used to lube the brake/gear cables on my (pedal-)bike. Put some drops at one end, jiggle the wire a bit (pump the brake handle or manhandle a shift lever a bit), repeat a few times. The oil works up the sheath fairly fast, at least for the short runs I dealt with.

Just to make it confusing, there is such a thing as cable pulling lube for network cabling and the like.
(e.g. )


I think lubing is good for nylon sheaths but not for PTFE (Teflon) sheaths. However, cables are cheap and once you’ve ridden home using pliers instead of the designed control surface (twist grip or lever) you will have a memory, perhaps terrifying, making you change them sooner (been there, now do that).

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buy the best please - Motion Pro Cable Lube Tool

Clarity is for noobs.


I was fully expecting this to be another audiophile related post.

I am sad that it is not.


I’ve lubed a couple of automotive cables in my time: a throttle cable or two, a speedometer cable, a transmission shift linkage. Never had a tool to do it, so it was a messy process of pulling the cable out of the sheath, rubbing lithium grease all over it, and sliding it back in, then repeating if it seemed to need more. I suspect my way was kind of a wrong way to go about it, but for what it’s worth, it seemed to work fine. I’ll remember to seek out a proper tool next time.

Is a cable lubber like a landlubber?


For motorcycles, use something like DrySlide, an evaporative medium carrying molybdenum disulfide. For bicycles, either don’t do it, or use DrySlide or some Teflon stuff. A lot of nicer bikes have self-lubing cable guides. For “Teflon stuff” you can just spray some Teflon chain wax down the tube. For motorcycles this is sort of a “no duh” thing. It does wonders for throttle and clutch cables.

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