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Derailleur Cable :
The derailleur cable is a flexible metal cable that connects the shifters on the handlebars to the front and rear derailleurs. When the rider operates the shifters, the derailleur cable transfers the tension or slack created by the shifter to the derailleurs, causing them to move and change the position of the chain on the chainrings or cassette. The derailleur cable is responsible for the accurate and reliable transfer of shifting commands from the rider's input to the derailleurs.
The cable sheath, also known as housing, is a protective outer casing that surrounds the derailleur cable. It is typically made of coiled steel or synthetic materials like plastic. The sheath's primary function is to provide a smooth and friction-free path for the cable to move through while protecting it from dirt, moisture, and other elements. The inner lining of the sheath is usually made of low-friction material, such as Teflon or a similar polymer, to minimize resistance and ensure the cable moves freely.
The derailleur cable and sheath work in tandem to enable precise shifting. When the rider operates the shifters, the tension or slack created by the cable is transmitted through the sheath to the derailleurs. The sheath allows the cable to move smoothly, preventing binding or excessive friction that could hinder shifting performance.
Over time, the cable and sheath may wear out or become contaminated with dirt and debris, affecting shifting performance. Regular maintenance, including cleaning, lubricating, and, if necessary, replacing the cable and sheath, is important to ensure optimal shifting performance on a road bike. Properly tensioned and clean cables, along with smooth-running sheaths, are essential for accurate and responsive gear changes while riding.