Motorcycle cables are some of the most ignored components of your bike. You usually pay attention to them only if they show signs of trouble such as poor road performance and control issues. Remember, poorly maintained cables can put you more at risk for road accidents. To keep them in good shape and working for a long time, make sure they're always lubricated. With enough lubricant, the wires inside the cable housing will slide better and are more protected against friction. Fortunately, lubricating cables are easy. Here's how:
Tools you'll need:
- Lubing collar
Step 1: Verify the cable type your bike has. Before you slab on some lubricant on your motorcycle cables, double-check first if they're lined with Teflon or are composed of steel cable with multiple wires. If it's the latter, then they definitely need regular lubrication. Keep in mind that many modern bike cables are lined with Teflon, so they don't need that much lubrication anymore.
Step 2: Unhook the motorcycle cables. Whether you're lubricating the front brake, clutch, or throttle cables, unhooking them is easy and simple because they all link to a lever or control that's located on the handle bars. Once you've located the cables you need to lubricate, simply unhook them from the controls. If you're having problems figuring out which cables to disconnect, just consult your manufacturer's manual for further instructions.
Step 3: Put some lubricant inside each cable. Place the lubing collar, which acts like a funnel, around the end of the cable that connects to the controls. Then spray just the right amount of lubricant into the piece of cable that's inside the lubing collar. Wait for a few minutes or until the lubricating fluid has completely flowed down into the other end of the tube. A sign that the fluid has completely worked its way down is if it leaks out of the other end.
Step 4: Reattach the motorcycle cables. Once the cables are properly lubricated, reattach them to the lever or controls by reinstalling the hooks or nipples. Wipe down any extra lubricant and make sure that the right cable is attached to the right lever.
Tips to keep in mind
- If you don't have a lubing collar or if the lubricant tube doesn't include a needle nose, you can improvise with a Ziplock bag. Simply grab a regular-sized plastic bag, cut out a bottom corner, and insert the cable inside the cut-out hole. Apply painter's tape around the cable and the cut-out hole so that the lubricating fluid won't leak out.
- When lubricating clutch cables, go for sprays with graphite or Teflon since these ingredients can improve clutch pull.
- When dealing with complicated cable routing, tie a string to the other end of the cable that's being pulled out. Once the lubrication is done, simply pull the string to serve as a guide when pulling the newly lubricated cable back in place.
- During lubrication, inspect the motorcycle cables for signs of wear and tear such as holes, dents, and cuts. Severely frayed cables should be replaced as soon as possible.