ASK THE BMXPerts: SWAPPING A DETANGLER FOR A STRAIGHT CABLE
I have a detangler on my bike and I was wonder if I could remove it and use a single cable as my brake cable, and have my brakes still work? Also, do brakes work better with a gyro or no gyro?
The beauty of BMX is you can remove and trade out just about any brake cable system for another. In your case, removing the detangler will be the most labor intensive step in the process. Begin by buying a quality linear cable, like one of those available from brands like DK, Jagwire, or Odyssey and three or four 1/8” headset spacers (for 1 1/8” threadless headset only). Having them on hand will stop you from attempting anything crazy, like trying to use one of the lower cables as your replacement cable or bailing wire as a headset spacer. We have seen it all before and trust us, it won’t work. Remove your cables, upper and lower and set them aside. If you may use them again, avoid cutting them off. If your upper or lower cable stops are on the stem or frame, remove them now with the proper size Allen wrench, if not, remove your stem and remove the upper, center and lower plates from the spacer stack. Measure your new spacers against the upper and/or lower plates you removed and place them over the steertube to fill the void. Put your stem and bars back on and you are about ½-pound lighter and ready for a straight cable. Pull the cable out of the housing and measure your housing against the frame for the proper length. The housing should make long smooth bends and allow for a barspin if necessary. Remember your housing ends and thread your cable back into place. Use a zip tie or sticker to hold the cable tight to the frame near the headtube and top tube junction for optimal performance. Hook up your cable hanger and adjust it so it rests about ¼” in front of the seat tube when the brakes put tension on the system. If you did it all right, you can have top performance with minimal “babysitting”. While both detanglers and straight cables can work equally well, a straight cable is less maintenance and easier to get dialed. If you really want to kick your brakes into high gear, pick up a set of the clear brake pads, like the Odysseys and prepare to stop in a frightening hurry. Remember to always use cable and housing ends to improve performance and prevent a frayed cable from getting under your fingernail. Have fun grease monkey.