How to Install Gear Cable on a 3-Speed Bike

How to Install Gear Cable on a 3-Speed Bike
With such a wide range of gearing now available, three-speed bicycles have been largely relegated to the status of collector's item. Many of these models can still be found, however, not least of all because they are easy to maintain and many cyclists favor the simplicity of their design. Like their updated counterparts, three-speed shifters rely upon a cable to affect the gear change. Worn cables and cables over a year old should always be replaced.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Flat-head screwdriver
Step 1
Unscrew the fitting at the end of the shifter cable from the fitting joined to the small chain that emerges from the rear hub. Turning the fitting counter-clockwise will loosen it. Pull the cable from the fitting.
Step 2
Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the bolt and nut combination from the clamp that attaches the shifter to the handlebar. Slide the loosened clamp and shifter from the handlebar.
Step 3
Unlatch the head of the cable from its fitting and slide the cable from the shifter. If the shifter is enclosed in a plastic cover, you will have to slide the plastic off before removing the cable from the shifter.


Step 1
Fit the head of the new cable into the shifter and latch it into the fitting. If the shifter was enclosed in plastic, replace the plastic cover now.
Step 2
Slide the clamp and shifter back onto the handlebar. Replace the bolt and nut and tighten the bolt.
Step 3
Pass the end of the cable through the cable housing. The cable will follow the same route as the old cable.
Step 4
Insert the end of the cable into the metal fitting near the hub. This is the fitting that you unscrewed earlier when removing the cable.
Step 5
Adjust tension upon the cable. The cable should have very little slack. To tighten the cable, shift into third gear and back out the barrel adjuster at the end of the cable. Once adjusted, tighten the accompanying lock nut so the cable doesn't slip.

Tips & Warnings

Before removing your old cable, remember how it's routed. This will help you properly route your new cable.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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