Geared tandems require more consistent and regular maintenance of the derailleur cables. The longer length and additional housing combine to degrade shifting performance. To ensure proper shifting performance tandem teams should plan on replacing the cables and housing on a regular maintenance interval. The following guide walks you through the cable changing process.
1. Buy Cables and Housing
Stop by your local bike shop and request tandem length derailleur cabling. About 9 feet long the cable will fit most every tandem. Also purchase a length of housing long enough to be snipped into replacement sections for your exiting housing.
2. Get the right tool
The single most important tool for proper cable installation is a good pair of wire snips. Wire snips are different from electrical wire snips in that they apply force in a circular manner thus preventing fraying.
3. Shift into “cable changing” gear
Down shift the appropriate shifter to release tension from the cable. For standard shifters this will move the chain to the smallest ring (front and back).
4. Snip the cable intermittently
Using the wire snips cut the old cable to ease removal.
5. Remove old cable
6. Cut Housing
Independently remove each piece of housing section. Align the old housing with your new housing and cut matching length sections.
7. Install new housing in place
8. Route new cable
Beginning at the shifter route the cable through the new housing and cable guides on the tandem. Take care not to force the cable through so as to avoid fraying. No grease should be applied.
9. Adjust derailleur
Pull the cable tight at the derailleur and adjust for proper shifting. Cables are generally pre-stretched but allow for some additional stretch after use
Properly installed new housing and cables will greatly improve shifting performance.