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Control cable sizes
#794251 12/30/19 12:09 am
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I want to buy some "bulk" (~10 ft. ea.) inner cable to have on hand so I measured what is on one of my Gold Stars now. I picked that bike because there's a very good chance all the present cables on it are OEM. Anyway, what I found was the following:

Magneto = 0.058"
Throttle = 0.060"
Valve lifter = 0.063"
(all of the above are likely the same)
Clutch = 0.086"
Brake = 0.099"

For reference,

1/16" = 0.062"
3/32" = 0.094"
1.5mm = 0.059"
2.2mm = 0.087"
2.5mm = 0.098"

I checked the clutch and brake on a different Gold Star whose cables might be aftermarket and got the same results. Even if the original cables were a mix of Imperial and metric sizes, where does the 0.086" fit into the scheme of things? Were the clutch cables actually 2.2mm when they left the factory?

To save time searching and sending queries, does anyone know who stocks inner cables in all three of these diameters (i.e. 1/16", 2.2mm and 2.5mm)? Thanks very much in advance.

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Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794259 12/30/19 1:22 am
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According to my quickest a reference..
0.086 ... is 7 strands of 21 ga. wire
a 7/21
Nominally a
12 gauge equivalent

you may want to do more measuring .
how many strands in each cable ? and of what gauge wire ?

Re: Control cable sizes
quinten #794265 12/30/19 1:33 am
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Originally Posted by quinten
you may want to do more measuring .
Short of cutting the cables to look at them end-on, the overall diameter will have to do.

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794320 12/30/19 1:34 pm
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You can get 50ft coils of inner wire quite cheaply from a UK mail order shop Trials Bits, see This Link

They stock the following sizes:-
- No 0, 0.050 inch
- No 1, 0.062 inch
- No 2, 0.075 inch
- No 3, 0.085 inch
- No 4, 0.104 inch

Also worth trying Venhill who have a bigger range, see This Link

I can recommend the Venhill outer conduit with a teflon lining, these make cables work very smoothly and are especially good for front brakes where max efficiency is needed.


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Re: Control cable sizes
gunner #794334 12/30/19 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by gunner
You can get 50ft coils of inner wire quite cheaply from a UK mail order shop...
Also worth trying Venhill...
Even though 50 ft. is more than I wanted I added the wire to my cart and got as far as entering the shipping information to see how much it would cost. At that point the drop-down list of countries they ship to opened, but the U.S. wasn't on the list.

Venhill has an irritating interface, but after some time spent with it I only could find 1.5 and 2mm.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions, but I'm still looking for a supplier of 1.5mm (or 1/16"), 2.2 or 2.3mm, and 2.5mm inner wire.

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794337 12/30/19 4:11 pm
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You could try emailing Venhill USA. I needed a cable end that they didn’t stock and the fellow ordered some in for me and added the # to their site.
I was pleasantly surprised by the interaction. My initial email was on a Sunday and he replied the same day from 35k ft over the Atlantic. Cable might be different if it’s something they don’t carry and have to buy in volume, but worth a try. [email protected] His name is Chris

Last edited by Cyborg; 12/30/19 4:12 pm.
Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794348 12/30/19 5:14 pm
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Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794357 12/30/19 6:31 pm
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Originally Posted by Cyborg
You could try emailing Venhill USA.
I did, and the answer I got within the hour is they only have 1.5mm and 2mm in the US but can get 2.5mm.

I also emailed the company gunner mentioned and got a quick response that they don't ship to the U.S., so the fact it is missing from their drop-down menu wasn't an oversight.

Originally Posted by kommando
Flanders are in US
This turned out to be the most frustrating suggestion. Not because the web site doesn't show what I need, but because the site apparently hasn't been updated since the 20thC despite the nine-year old 2010 copyright date.

They don't have a link to upload items to a cart, or even to navigate between pages. A separate google search found the main Flanders page, which connects to another site where orders are to be placed on their "secure server," but where the link to that server is broken. I eventually had to give up and email Flanders where, I assume, incoming emails are routed to their telex machine.

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794374 12/30/19 10:05 pm
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Seems odd that control cables are so hard to find in the US, however after further browsing I noticed that Motion Pro, which appears to be an American company stocks 1.5mm, 2mm & 2.5mm cable in 100 ft lengths, see This Link for the 2.5mm cable example.

It's not the cheapest but they seem to have a working website with an online shop for American customers.

Last edited by gunner; 12/30/19 10:07 pm.

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Re: Control cable sizes
gunner #794380 12/30/19 10:31 pm
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its not hard to find at all ...in fractional inch sizes .
the states also has foot-long hot dogs

mcmaster carr has
Aircraft cable ( not for airplanes )
in fractional inch sizes ... ( not metric ) ... 1/16 and 3/32 ... in 7x7 and 7x19 strand
... lubricated galvanized steel and lubricated stainless steel
sold by 2ft , 5ft , 25 ft...50 ft. pieces

or ... 50 ft. roll for 10 bucks here https://www.bmikarts.com/Bulk-Bare-Throttle-Brake-Cable--50-Roll_p_7438.html



Last edited by quinten; 12/30/19 11:28 pm.
Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794426 12/31/19 4:22 am
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You may try a aviation parts supply house.


Coming to terms with your delusions, is the first step to sanity
Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794433 12/31/19 5:26 am
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Thanks for the suggestions. There's no urgency so I'll give Flanders a week to respond in case they're closed over the holidays.

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794458 12/31/19 2:25 pm
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Hello. Do you have the cable lengths for someone who intends to make the cables from scratch. Thanks Jeff

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794624 01/02/20 4:10 pm
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I have used Venhills stuff before , its very good, a tip someone here put out once before is worth repeating, for throttle cables use the smallest inner with the next size up nylon lined outer, this gives a very free action. This may depend on the ferrule recesses at the twistgrip end, venhills have stepped ferrules that help when planning cable recipes.
particularly good for keeping twin pull carbs in synch.


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Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794628 01/02/20 5:31 pm
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Originally Posted by jfligg
Hello. Do you have the cable lengths for someone who intends to make the cables from scratch.
It's not possible to answer that question in general because it depends on the handlebars you have. For example, the high, wide handlebars on my Catalina must take longer cables than the short, flat bars on my Competition, but I'd have to remove one end of each cable to straighten them in order to check.

Originally Posted by gavin eisler
Venhills stuff ... its very good
Call it a Christmas self-present, even though it's more like an indulgence, but a few days ago a Venhill "bird's nesting" tool arrived and it is very well made. It wasn't cheap (hence, an indulgence), I could have made the equivalent myself, it won't be used very often (hence, an indulgence), and isn't even essential for the task (hence, an indulgence...), but I decided my life would be incomplete if I didn't have it. I already had several boxes of ferrules and cable nipples in a variety of sizes and shapes, solder pot, and proper Felco cable cutters (another indulgence) so as soon as I locate a supplier for the inner cable I'll be set to fabricate control cables from scratch, not just repair ones I already have.

As a related aside, I can think of three times in recent years where clamp-on cable nipples of the type (but not necessarily the size) shown here have saved me or someone else when clutch cables broke at the nipple, presumably because too much friction in the lever caused the cables to be bent back and forth repeatedly each time the clutch was used. I also had the small nipple on the Catalina's compression release break, which would have given a whole new meaning to "ease past compression" had I not been able to get enough slack in the cable to attach a clamp-on nipple. I carry one each in ¼" and ⅜" diameter.

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794639 01/02/20 8:14 pm
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At the risk of sounding like a share holder, I would recommend some of this if you don’t have it or a reasonable facsimile. Just make sure you neutralize it if you drip any on your steel workbench. Anyway.. it works wonders for cables. Wish I had discovered it years ago.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]A9657054-AC13-426C-85B1-2FF260FD2BDB by First Last, on Flickr

I made my own birdcage tool because my Scottish ancestry doesn’t allow me to purchase such things. There is probably some suitable epitaph for folks like me that never see the light of day because they are toiling away making shavings. Anyway it looks like a piece of dung, but seems to work ok. A photo from its first test run.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]D47FA471-CC72-41E1-B90F-15C5291E8235 by First Last, on Flickr


Dedicated cable cutters? My you are organized.

Re: Control cable sizes
Cyborg #794675 01/03/20 3:01 am
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Originally Posted by Cyborg
I made my own birdcage tool because my Scottish ancestry doesn’t allow me to purchase such things.
Lacking any Scottish ancestry often saves me a lot of time.

Originally Posted by Cyborg
Dedicated cable cutters? My you are organized.
I admit to being organized, but this is more a case of it being the right tool for the job The V-shape of both jaws holds the bundle together as it cuts rather than flattens it into a mess..

[Linked Image from wildlifecontrolsupplies.com]

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794677 01/03/20 3:58 am
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I’m guessing you have at least some Swiss ancestry given your predilection for their tools.

I have never actually seen a pair, but knew they must exist.. as in there must be a better way. I have been able to “get by” with a pair of really good (and sharp) cutters, but will add one of those to my list. I have a cable making session coming up sometime in the not too distant future.

The Scottish thing is a curse and when one starts counting how many riding seasons are left,... well probably best to start opening up the sporran and free up some time. I’m still stuck with that other affliction though. Why pay someone else to do the work if you can take that money and buy the doodad required to do the job? Also time to wean myself off of wood boats. Talk about a black hole!

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794696 01/03/20 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Cyborg
I’m guessing you have at least some Swiss ancestry given your predilection for their tools.
Over the course of my career it seemed that every time I decided not to buy the best item for my lab because a cheaper substitute would be "good enough" for some purpose, I regretted it. The cheaper substitute would break, not function properly, or otherwise cause needless headaches. For better or worse, that (expensive) approach encroached into my personal life. That said, a few items from Harbor Freight have creeped into my garage (but consistency is the hobgoblin...).

Originally Posted by Cyborg
I’m still stuck with that other affliction though. Why pay someone else to do the work if you can take that money and buy the doodad required to do the job?
This one isn't as straightforward. I enjoy riding, but I also enjoy making things. Plus, I know I'll do it right or, if I screw up, I'll know I did and will make it right rather than cover up my mistake. But, unless it's a matter of expediency (i.e. I need a special tool now), if the tool I need exists I'll buy it, not make it.

I might be making progress with Flanders. I got an email this morning from the company who handles their orders, whose on-line ordering page doesn't work, asking me to call Flanders directly. It's too early to call yet this morning but I will in another hour.[*]

[*]Update: I got a live person on the phone, placed my order, and the cables will be on their way to me today.

Last edited by Magnetoman; 01/03/20 4:27 pm. Reason: update
Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794754 01/04/20 6:35 am
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Originally Posted by Magnetoman

As a related aside, I can think of three times in recent years where clamp-on cable nipples of the type (but not necessarily the size) shown here have saved me or someone else when clutch cables broke at the nipple, presumably because too much friction in the lever caused the cables to be bent back and forth repeatedly each time the clutch was used. I also had the small nipple on the Catalina's compression release break, which would have given a whole new meaning to "ease past compression" had I not been able to get enough slack in the cable to attach a clamp-on nipple. I carry one each in ¼" and ⅜" diameter.


The usual mechanism for cable failure is tortional fatigue because the ball end can not turn in it's socket
When the cable is loaded it rotates , or tries to .
If the supposed free to rotate end does not accomodate this, the cable fractures with a perfect torsional fatigue fracture.
All of the samples for the SEM at UNSW & syd TAFE were provided by yours truly before I started using floating drums.
Both of the lab mangers were over the moon to get them because most trosional failures involve a rotating shaft under load and the rotations subsequent to failure destroy the characteristics of the failure surfaces.

So for those of you who do not do this already drill / machine out the drum on the handle bar end to take a pear or ball fitting so the cable can rotate at both ends.
Not only will the inner last almost forever but the action will also be lighter because you are not trying to twist the inner.

If you are only making new inners then all will be well.
I finally made some new cables for the M20 for the international at Halls Gap , only to find that the supplied ( by Shane ) Venhill ferrules would not fit my heavy duty outers.
Note these cables are better than25 years old and tis bike has done hundreds of thousands of miles on these cables.
The inners were fine but the outers were 4 times as thick as they originally were due to all of the patches over the worn through PVC outer sheaths
Even Conwire my usually cable makers could not supply them so I had to go down to lighter cable.

And yes that birdcage cable spreader does a much better job, faster that the old center punch ever can.
Add to that the strands are not a simple funnel shape as you get with a center punch which means good adheasion between the cable strands & the solder is not as critical so one of them is on my christmass list
The dedicated cable cutters are also another tool that helps take cable making from a PIA 1/2 day job to a 10 minute pleasure to do job.

Just because the method for making cables in 1943 was to tin the spot where the cable is to be cut, cut the cable, slip the end over the cable, splay the wire with a center punch, pull the wire tight into the hole then fill the hole with solder , it does not mean you have to do it that way in 2020.


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Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794778 01/04/20 5:48 pm
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The tool making thing is relatively new to me and really enjoy it. I looked at one recently and couldn’t remember what it’s for, so I should start stamping numbers on them. I can’t say that making the bird cage tool was a wise move. I used what I had in inventory instead of making a trip to get more suitable stock and in hindsight it would have saved time. It would probably have been efficient to collect cans along the roadside, cash them in and buy that one from Venhill for $160 or whatever it was.
When and if you have a moment, any chance you could post a photo showing the business end of one of those punches? Someone suggested that I drill a shallow hole (same size as the cable) at the bottom of the taper so it holds the strands together and helps to form a better birdcage. I didn’t do that and it seems to work fine, plus it would likely make the birdcage too long in some cases.

On occasion I have purchased tools of questionable quality or capacity, but I’m learning from my mistakes. When it came time to buy a plasma cutter, the pendulum swung too far the other way. No idea what I was thinking at the time, but now have the capability to cut up a D9 Cat in about 30 minutes.

Ps.. is there room in your birdcage tool to accommodate a 4th size?

Last edited by Cyborg; 01/04/20 6:45 pm.
Re: Control cable sizes
BSA_WM20 #794864 01/05/20 4:16 pm
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Thanks Magnetoman. Did not even know that made such a tool as the birdcage tool. Of course I really need one now!!! Not sure how much I want to indulge myself? LOL.

Have you tried John Healy at Coventry Spares for cable? I am surprised he has not replied, although he does not promote his business on the site. At one time they sold bulk cable.

Harris

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794871 01/05/20 4:51 pm
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This site has a decent range cable supplies and they say that they post worldwide.

cable-shop.nl

They also do the Birdcage tool similar to Venhill but much cheaper. The downside is that it is almost always out of stock, I think that whenever they get some in they get sold out almost immediately.

John

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794875 01/05/20 5:49 pm
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There is a view of the Venhill punch here: http://www.bsaotter.com/solering_pot_ential.html

Re: Control cable sizes
Magnetoman #794986 01/06/20 3:25 pm
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Thanks John. I had looked high and low and could’t find a good photo of the business end. It looks the same as what I ended up with, which worked ok.
Since you are a 998 enthusiast, here is a photo for you.

MM. something to add to your trailer tool kit. A couple of bastard files and a few lumps of aluminum.


[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]E5E6C8FA-38D0-4785-BAFB-20CAB3769276 by First Last, on Flickr

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