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The Importance of Maintaining and Lubricating Your Bike's Control Cables

The Importance of Maintaining and Lubricating Your Bike's Control Cables

Your dirt bike's cables control a large number of your bike's functions. Keeping your cables clean, lubed, and in good condition is a necessary part of dirt bike maintenance. Never skip cable maintenance, and never ignore any signs of damage to your cables. Learn how you can take care of your bike's different cables so that they can take care of you.

Why You Need to Take Care of Your Control Cables

All of your bike's cables are important, and there's quite a number of them to keep an eye on. Just to recap, you need to stay cognizant of your:

  • Throttle cables
  • Clutch cable
  • Hot start cable
  • Brake cables (if you have them)

Issues stemming from any one of these cables can affect how your bike performs. Even if the cables aren't in disrepair, keeping them in good condition will make a noticeable difference in how your bike rides. Leaving these cables dirty or without lube can turn your bike into a dangerous liability if too much time passes by.

What You Need to Properly Lubricate Your Control Cables

All of your bike's control cables require similar care. To start, you should have a cable luber and some cable lube.

A Cable Luber

If you're not familiar with a cable luber, it's a small device that clamps onto the cable and housing. The luber will allow you to use an aerosol lube on and through the cable, as well as on the inside of the cable's sheath.

The cable luber will have a port on the side that allows you to spray the lube. The mechanism will force the lube into the cable housing and down the inner parts of the cable.

Cable Lube or Equivalent

You can use general cable lube or cable lube specifically advertised for dirt bikes.  A silicone spray will do nicely. Avoid general or multipurpose lubricants or any unrelated oils, like motor oil. Do not use chain lube for your cables.

How to Maintain Your Throttle Cables

Cleaning and lubricating your throttle cables will help the cables last longer while preventing fraying or snapping. You can maintain or even improve your throttle action and avoid the dangers that come with jamming your throttle.

To start, remove the throttle tube assembly from the handlebars and open it up. Make sure that you wipe out any accumulated dust, grime, or debris inside the assembly.

For many throttle cables, the cable luber isn't necessary. If your throttle cable isn't compatible with your cable luber, you can squirt lube directly into the cable itself. When finished, reassemble the throttle tube, and you're done.

How to Maintain Your Clutch Cable

Your clutch cable requires more care than your other cables, as it receives a lot of constant abuse. As you shift and grind through the dirt, the clutch cable will accumulate a lot of wear, tear, dust, and grime.

You should check on your clutch cable after every couple of rides. Look for signs of fraying or other damage. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you may want to preemptively replace the clutch cable rather than hold onto it.

If your clutch cable looks operational, then you’ll just need to use your cable luber and lube. Follow these steps:

  • Disconnect the clutch cable from the clutch perch.
  • Remove the housing from the adjuster.
  • If you can see the cable end, then go through the lubing process.
  • If you cannot see the cable end, remove the magneto cover and place a rag at the bottom of the cable to stop the lube before it gets in the ignition.

When you're done, you can enjoy smoother shifting and overall better performance from your clutch.

How to Maintain Your Other Cables

Hot start cables will require you to remove the cable from the carburetor before lubricating it. Always do everything you can to keep lube out of your carburetor. Anything foreign in the carburetor can adversely affect its performance.

If your dirt bike has front brake cables, you should lubricate those as well. Many bikes have braided steel or hydraulic hose these days, so lubricating the front brakes cable always come up. You can remove the front brake cable and inject the lubricant. This applies to rear brake cables as well, although you should completely remove a rear brake cable before lubricating it.

Different bikes have their own peculiarities that may require you to go about the lubrication process in a slightly different way. Before you begin maintaining your control cables, do a little research on how the process typically works for your specific model. If in doubt, always choose the manufacturer's instructions over any others.

No matter what you need, Bob's Cycle Supply has you covered. Check out our website for lubricants, replacement cables, and other accessories to ensure that your bike gives you a smooth ride.

November 22, 2018