Bike Brake Cable Review: 9 Best Bike Brake Cables in 2021

When biking, one of the parts that impact performance, comfort, and safety is the bike cable. A bike cable connects the brake to the wheel and helps you to make quick and effective stops.

Since you'll be biking on rough terrains, investing in a quality bike cable will ensure that your ride is smooth and enjoyable.

It's hard to determine the quality of a bike cable, as some of them may be made with low-quality materials or frayed due to overuse. Buying these types of replacement cables will jeopardize your safety and incur more costs.

As a result, I have prepared this bike brake cable review to ease your decision-making process.

What You Should Know

Bike brake cables are essential components of a mountain and road bike.

Here are the features of the best bike cable that will enhance stopping performance.

Features of the Shimano Universal Standard Brake Cable Set

  • Brand: Shimano 
  • Model: Universal Standard Brake Cable Set 
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Number of cables: Two

Find more about this product on this website

Features of the Shimano MTB SUS Bicycle Shift Cable Set

  • Brand: Shimano 
  • Model: MTB SUS Bicycle Shift Cable Set 
  • Material: Metal alloy and stainless steel
  • Number of cables: Two

Find more about this product on this website.

Features of the JooFn Bike V-Brake Noodle Cable Guide Pipe Rubber Boots Bicycle Cycling 2 Set

  • Brand: JooFn 
  • Model: Bike V-Brake Noodle Cable Guide Pipe Rubber Boots Bicycle Cycling 2 Set 
  • Material: Aluminum alloy and rubber
  • Number of cables: Two

Find more about this product on this website.

Features of the Yasi Bike Brake Shifter Cable Set for Mountain Bike and Road Bike - 8 set

  • Brand: Yasi 
  • Model: Bike Brake Shifter Cable Set for Mountain Bike and Road Bike 
  • Material: Stainless steel metal and zinc-coated material
  • Number of cables: Eight

Find more about this product on this website.

Top Pick Section

Best for Overall Performance - Shimano Universal Standard Brake Cable Set

This quality bike brake cable is known for its versatility, as it can be used on various bike brakes.

Best Cable for MTB - Shimano MTB SUS Bicycle Shift Cable Set

This bike brake cable provides better braking performance when riding on rough terrains with your mountain bike.

Best for Durability - Shimano PTFE Road Brake Cable and Housing Set

This brake cable and cable housing set is designed to last for a long time due to the stainless steel and PTFE coated materials.

Best for the Money - JooFn Bike V-Brake Noodle Cable Guide Pipe Rubber Boots Bicycle Cycling 2 Set

This set of aluminum and rubber noodles come with lengthy, durable cables and other accessories at an easily affordable price.

Best for Easy InstallationYasi Bike Brake Shifter Cable Set for Mountain Bike and Road Bike

This brake cable set includes multiple accessories that would make installation pretty simple and improve the cables' longevity.

Review of the Best Bike Brake Cables

 Shimano Universal Standard Brake Cable Set, For MTB or Road Bikes

Shimano is a top brand known for designing excellent and durable bike brake cables. The Standard is no different from its reliable line of products.

This universal Shimano MTB brake cable set and road cable can fit into most mountain and road bike seamlessly. The cable comes with two end caps and four ferrules for optimal protection, eliminating further purchasing costs [2]. It also has a polymer shield housing to prevent friction.

Shimano Universal Standard brake cable set comes in a durable stainless steel material construction for more durability and corrosion resistance. This means the cable will last for an extended period.

They also come in a complete set and have everything needed to guarantee your brakes' best performance, whether you are a traveler or a regular commuter.

Things I like

  • Long-lasting brake cables
  • Comes in a complete set for front and rear brakes
  • Universally made for road and MTB bikes.
  • Includes end caps and ferrules for optimal protection
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Easy to install

Things I don't like

  • Cutting the cable to the required length may be relatively tricky without the right cutter.
  • Insufficient end caps
SHIMANO MTB SUS Bicycle Shift Cable Set (Black)

This is another tremendous and sturdy cable set from Shimano, made with metal alloy and stainless steel for long-lasting use.

This Shimano Mountain Bike brake cable set includes two cables, one for the rear and the front. The cables measure 2100mm and 1800mm long enough to fit as a standard cable for MTB.

Also, it isn't difficult to trim the cable further if there's any need. My team of experts didn't find it challenging to cut the cable to the required length.

These Derailleur Mountain Bike cables have two cable end caps to crimp the cable's end for additional protection. Also, the cable housing is more than adequate to fit into any MTB.

Things I like

  • It is affordable
  • Good quality shift cables
  • Installation is seamless
  • Easy to cut
  • Sturdy cables
  • Sufficient cable housing for front and rear brakes

Things I don't like

  • The end caps and ferrules are slightly loose.
  • The cable head is slightly oversized for shifters.
SHIMANO PTFE Road Brake Cable and Housing Set

If you are looking for a durable brake cable and housing set for your road bikes, we recommend the Shimano PTFE road brake cable and housing set.

This Road Bike brake cable set perfectly fits any road bike. Also, installing the cables is almost effortless, unlike what you would encounter with some low-quality brake cables.

This road brake cable and housing is made from stainless steel, and PTFE coated materials to prolong its lifespan and enhance its resistance to friction [3]. Installing this cable set on your bike’s brakes will guarantee long years of use.

The road brake cable set has lengthy 2050mm and 1000mm cables for front and rear brakes, with cable ends and ferrules to safeguard the cable's ends against wear and tear.

Things I like

  • Highly durable cables
  • Long enough to fit adequately
  • Super smooth to cut
  • Easy to install
  • Enhances braking performance

Things I don't like

  • Not suitable for MTBs
  • Only two ferrules are included
JooFn Bike V Brake Noodle Cable Guide Pipe Rubber Boots Bicycle Cycling 2 Set(4Pcs)

This bike brake cable replacement kit is all you need to maximize your road experience, whether you are a commuter or not.

This noodle cable and boot set is made from durable aluminum alloy and rubber with a plastic catheter. This minimizes friction, prevent corrosion, and improve the brake line.

The rubber pipe is 45mm long, while the aluminum pipe is 113mm in length - long enough to replace your front and rear brakes.

I love how sleek, shiny, and robust the rubber and aluminum noodles are. Also, they are reasonably easy to attach. All you need is to use an Allen Wrench and a pair of pliers to get the installation done. It's that simple!

These cables are good quality, sturdy, and will enhance your bike experience.

Things I like

  • The rubber is stiff and robust
  • Great quality
  • Super cheap
  • Quite convenient to install
  • Fits well

Things I don't like

  • Relatively difficult to insert the catheter in the guides
  • Bending the aluminum noodle is somewhat difficult.
YASI Bike Brake Cable Shifter Cable, 8 Pack Bicycle Brake Cables Shift Cables Set for Mountain Bike and Road Bike, including 6 End Ferrules, 8 Cable End

My team loves the Yasi Bike Brake Shifter cable set because it includes all the complete accessories required to have the best braking performance, whether you've got an MTB or a road bike.

It includes four long cables, with numerous end ferrules and o-rings, which is more than what most bike brake cable packages include for the price. I don't only find it satisfying, but great value for money.

These cables are made with durable stainless steel metal and zinc-coated material to ensure a smooth riding experience, resistance to corrosion, and longevity.

I recommend these cables if you want your brakes to last longer and improve their stopping power.

Things I like

  • Cuts easily
  • Have a wide range of applications 
  • Low build-up of dust
  • Lengthy cables
  • Convenient to install
  • Great value for the price
  • Well-packaged

Things I don't like

  • Need to adjust the tension after installing
  • Some of the o-rings don’t completely fit in.
LSSH 10PCS Bike Brake Cable, Bicycle Brake Cable, Brake Cables for Bicycles,Mountain Bike and Road Bike, Bike Brake Cable Kit,Including 10 Cable End Crimps

This silver-colored bike brake cable is made from premium quality stainless steel material, with some zinc coating and quality finishing to boost durability.

My team loves the versatility of this brake kit, as you can install them in BMX bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, and others. Additionally, the cables fit easily and are comfortable to install.

These cables are super easy to cut. You can adjust the cable's length for a more incredible fit with the right tool without any hassle.

Furthermore, this cable set includes ten pieces of long brake cables for both front and rear brakes. It has end caps and two ferrules to crimp the cable's ends for more prolonged use.

Things I like

  • Made from a premium-grade material
  • Has a wide range of applications
  • Easy to install
  • Great fit

Things I don't like

  • Some of the cables are short
  • Insufficient ferrules
BMX Bike Gyro Brake Cables Front + Rear (Upper + Lower) Spinner Rotor Set Kit

If you're looking for a nicely designed set of gyro cables for a BMX bike, I suggest you go for this brake cable.

BMX Bike Gyro Brake Cables Front + Rear Spinner Rotor Set Kit includes all the cable components required to enhance your bike brakes' stopping ability. The kit consists of two cables for front and rear brakes and sturdy ferrules to boost performance and durability.

What's more? These Teflon-lined cables are long enough to fit in the handlebars and the lever conveniently, which is a plus, considering several brake cable kits out there with short wires.

For buyers concerned with matching styles and designs, this brake cable kit is available in several colors so that you can have your exact choice.

Things I like

  • Comes in different colors
  • Durable and wear-resistant
  • Long cables
  • Fits adequately

Things I don't like

  • Designed to fit into only gyro systems
  • No install manual included.
SHIMANO Stainless MTB Brake Cable and Housing Set (Black)

This affordable bike brake cable kit offers superior braking performance via its durable and sturdy cable.

Shimano Stainless MTB Brake Cable and Housing Set come with a 2200mm plastic-lined cable housing to minimize friction. This means that you'll not need to lubricate the housing all the time.

Additionally, this brake kit comes with two cables - 1000mm for the front and 2050mm for rear brakes. The kit also includes numerous end caps and two 5mm ferrules to offer increased protection against rust and wear and improve the cable's durability.

However, the brake cable kit had some fitting issues on some selected bike brake models that I used.

Things I like

  • Good quality brake cables
  • Thick
  • Comes at a reasonable price
  • Solid performance
  • Highly resistant to wear and rust

Things I don't like

  • Had fitting issues on selected models
  • Consists of only two ferrules
Hotop 2 Set Mountain Bike Brake Cable Gear Cable Wire and Cable End Crimps Kit

If getting the best mountain gear cable for your mountain bike is your priority, you should consider the Hotop 2 Set Mountain Bike Brake Cable Gear Cable Wire.

This MTB brake cable comprises premium-grade aluminum and silicone materials to offer smooth tension and elongate the bike brake’s lifespan.

Whether you are traveling downhill or uphill, installing this set of gear cable wire will provide instant and effective stops.

This set contains a cable for the front and rear brakes and additional end caps to offer optimal protection from wear and corrosion. Due to the end caps, these cables will last for a long time.

These cables fit when installed in mountain and road bikes superbly, and the installation process is seamless.

Things I like

  • Made with durable, long-lasting materials
  • The cables are easy to cut
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • It consists of end caps and donuts

Things I don't like

  • The cable housing isn't included
  • Small barrel end

Buying Guide of Bike Brake Cable

If you want to invest in a suitable brake cable replacement, you should consider some crucial factors that impact your braking performance. Below are some of those factors;

Durability

Brake cables come in different material designs, such as stainless steel, galvanized steel, and metal alloys. However, I consider stainless steel the best.

Stainless steel brake cables tend to be more robust and sturdier than galvanized steel and metal alloys. As evident in the bike brake cable reviews, these cables have high resistance capability, making them suitable for mountain and offroad biking.

Cable Housing

Housing is what holds the cables in place. Bike brake cables that have high-quality housing will ensure that the brake doesn't bend under pressure. High-quality brake cable housing also accounts for seamless braking efficiency.

Before purchasing a cable, you need to check if the housing is well-insulated as that will determine whether the cable will last long or break down unexpectedly. A well-insulated housing with a plastic lining will also minimize friction.

Compatibility and Fitting

It's not enough to buy a cable because it's high-quality. If it doesn't fit perfectly, there's an issue. Thankfully, you can make some required adjustments to the length with the right tools to ensure they fit adequately.

You should invest in a durable cable that you can cut smoothly and precisely. If not cut adequately, the cable's inner and outer parts may fray, resulting in its lifespan depreciation.

Extras

Getting a cable with end caps and ferrules is a plus. However, if your cable doesn’t have those, you’ll need to purchase them at an extra cost. End caps and ferrules help to protect the cable.

The downside of having a cable with end caps is you might have some issues making any adjustments regarding the cable’s length.

How to Replace Bike Brake Cable

Nike brake cables usually wear out due to overuse. In most cases, replacing them is the best option to avoid accidents and jeopardize the bike's longevity.

To replace bike brake cable, especially mountain bikes, you'll need an inner cable wire, a set of wire cutters, a 9mm open-end wrench or 5mm Hex key, and some lubricant. After that, proceed to the following steps. 

  • Observe the set up of the cable and its connections.
  • Disconnect the cable by loosening the pinch bolt with a Hex key. Ensure it's flattened. 
  • Pull the cable's head through the lever's barrel adjuster. 
  • Once the cable is removed, replace it with the new bike brake cable into the lever the same way you pulled the old one out.
  • Turn the barrel adjuster clockwise so that it locks the new cable in place.
  • Lubricate the cable housing and make sure the end caps and ferrules are in place before slotting the cable through. 
  • Thread the inner cable under the bolt and put them together as you did before.
  • Tighten the bolt properly, crimp the end, and adjust the brake as required.
  • Once you have installed it, pull the brake lever to check if there's any resistance. If they aren't, cut any excess cable, and you are good to go.

How to Cut Bike Brake Cable Housing

Before cutting your bike brake cable housing, you'll need to get some equipment, such as a cable cutter, ferrules, regular cutters, and a measuring tape or ruler.

After getting those, follow the steps below; 

  • You'll need to measure your old cable housing for a direct replacement length or buy as much cable housing as possible and then cut down to the required size.
  • Housing should have a clean curve. It shouldn’t be too short or too long. 
  • There should be adequate space to navigate the handlebar in all directions.
  • Once you have taken measurements, cut the cable housing with the cutter. I recommend you measure twice to have the exact size. 
  • Sometimes, the inner spiral will force itself out, leaving some metal chips. Cut this with your cutter to leave a smooth and clean end. After that, poke the plastic lining.
  • Once you’ve cut through and trimmed your cable housing, attach the ferrule at the end of each cable housing and install the cable.

How to Repair Bike Brake Cable

Sometimes, a simple fix is all you need to get a bike brake cable working again instead of replacing it entirely. First off, you need to inspect the bike brake cable.

If it's rusted at some point, you may need to cut that part off, meaning you will have to shorten the cable. However, if it's rusted beyond a significant length along the cable, replacing it would be the best option.

Bike brake cable replacement costs vary and are dependent on the set. You should buy a set that would suit your bike brake cable effortlessly. 

End Caps of Bike Brake Cable

End caps, cable ferrules, or brake cable ferrules are essential components of a bike brake cable. They are cheap components that crimp at the ends of a bike brake cable to protect it from sharp bends, air accumulation, and corrosion.

End caps vary in diameters according to the manufacturer. They are also not universally sized, as different brake cable type demands a specified size and diameter.

Shimano Standard Brake Cable Set Instructions

This is a set of instructions from the manufacturer, included to aid in the smooth installation of the product. Shimano standard brake cable set instructions are comprehensive. Also, they are detailed enough for even a beginner to understand how to install brake cables without any professional help.

Bike Brake Cable Types

Bike brake cable exists in three major types - MTB brake cable, Road bike brake cable, and Derailleur brake cable.

The significant differences between all three brake cable types are the diameter and shape, although MTB and road bike brake cables share relatively similar head designs.

MTB and Road bike brake cables are between 1.5 and 1.6 mm in diameter. MTB brake cable has a mushroom-like end, while a road bike cable is barreled-shaped at both ends.

Derailleur cables are thinner, usually between 1.1 - 1.2 in diameter. This type of brake cable has a pole-like end.

MTB and road bike cables are cables for caliper bakes, cable-activated disc brakes, and cantilever brakes.

How To Change Your Brake Cables

Bike Brake Cable (FAQ)


1. Are brake cables universal?

Most brake cables are universal. They have two anchors - one anchor for straight handlebars on MTB bikes and the other for drop handlebars on road bikes.


Are brake cables and shifter cables the same?


Brake cables and shifter cables aren't the same. The difference between the two cable types is the diameter. Brake cables usually range between 1.5 - 1.6mm in diameter, while a shifter cable runs between 1.1 - 1.2mm.

2. When should you replace brake cables?

The rule of thumb is to replace brake cables after they've exceeded 6000 miles. Additionally, once the cables start sticking and slowing the bike down when you pull the lever, it's a sign that they need replacement.

3. Should you lubricate brake cables?

Lubricating brake cables is utterly recommended, mostly if you ride on wet surfaces or use relatively old cable housings. These days, most cable housings have an in-built plastic lining, consequently eliminating the need for lubrication.

4. What metal is the cable?

Most good-quality brake cables are made from stainless steel, while others are made from steel, coated with some anti-friction material. Stainless steel brake cables tend to last for an extended period before damaging.

Final Words & Recommendation

If you want to enjoy your ride with the utmost comfort, then having a well-constructed brake cable installed is vital.

A high-quality cable will withstand wear and tear and offer the best braking performance, as in the cables described in this bike brake cable review.

My team has concluded that the Shimano Universal Standard brake cable set is the best bike brake cable. It installed seamlessly, and the fitting was impeccable.

Also, its versatility is impressive, as you can use it for both MTB and road bikes.

As a result of these outstanding features, my team rates this excellent quality brake 4.8/5.

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