How to Install Gear Cable on a 3-Speed Bike

Written by matthew ferguson
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How to Install Gear Cable on a 3-Speed Bike
Vintage three-speed style bikes (two bicycles image by Juris Simanovics from

With so many gearing options available today, three-speed technology is most often associated with older, cruiser-style bikes. The technology employs an internal gear hub and is relatively simple to maintain and operate. Whatever vintage the bicycle, if the shift cable is frayed, damaged or over a year old, it is best to remove the cable and install a new one.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flat-blade screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Loosen the cable at the hub by unscrewing the fitting at the end of the cable from the fitting that is connected to a short length of chain emerging from the hub.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the nut and bolt from the clamp that secures the shifter to the handlebar. Slide the clamp and the shifter from the handlebar.

  3. 3

    Free the upper end of the cable from the shifter, and remove the cable from the shifter. If the shifter is encased in a plastic body, slide the body off before removing the cable.

  1. 1

    Fit the head of the new cable inside the shifter. If the shifter had a plastic cover, slide the cover back in place.

  2. 2

    Reattach the clamp to the handlebar, and tighten its nut and bolt. Try wriggling the shifter to ensure that the nut is tight.

  3. 3

    Thread the end of the cable through the shifter cable housing until it fully emerges from the other end.

  4. 4

    Screw the fitting at the end of the cable onto the fitting connected to the short length of chain that emerges from the hub.

  5. 5

    Adjust the cable by first shifting into third gear. The cable should have very little slack. To tighten the cable, back out the locknut and tighten the accompanying barrel adjuster. Once adjusted, screw the locknut back in place.

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