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Cable Lubrication

Thought I'd share something with ya'll that I tried recently, and seems to have worked quite well.

Like most of you, I hope, I periodically lubricate all the cables on the bike. All the cables means just that, to include the speedo, enrichener, and throttle.  Talking mainly about the throttle cables here, this amounts to my taking the switch housing apart so I can remove the cable ends from the grip end.  I then feed 3-in-1 oil onto the exposed end and allow it to work its way through the sheath, stopping when I see the presence of oil at the carb end.  I also pull the throttle handle off the end of the bar and clean off any crud that may have accumulated in its bore and on the bar end.  Re-assembly consists of lubing the free ends of the cables with a little grease so they will pivot freely in the grip handle - AND - trying to remember how all of it fits back together so everything works. The end result is a throttle that works free and easy, and the peace of mind knowing that the ends are pivoting properly and not stressing the wires of the inner cable. The former is especially true if you've installed one of the Audiovox cruise controls.

Way back when, I tried using a light lubricant (oil and grease) on the bar end, but this usually wound up causing a little resistance in the feel of the throttle.  Not a lot, but just enough to where it was annoying to me. I found that simply leaving them dry seemed to work the best.

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of participating in a Pinewood Derby competition with my son.    The bottom line is that the car that runs the straightest, and whose axle/wheel combination offers the least amount of friction usually wins. The lubrication of choice is graphite, and lots of it.  Some people even go to the extreme by 'burnishing' a coating of the stuff into the bores of the plastic wheels. The trick is to get the plastic just hot enough to where the graphite will impregnate itself into it, but not melt and deform the hole the axle runs through. I didn't go to that extreme on the car or the throttle, but I sure gave them both a dusting of graphite. I worked the stuff into the paint of the bar end, and impaled one of them female thingies on a pencil and coated the bore of the throttle grip.

Once re-assembled, the difference in the feel of the throttle was immediately apparent - its operation was almost velvet-like.  The cruise, which worked flawlessly before, also seems to operate more smoothly. IMHO, it was time well spent.

I did this a couple of weeks ago and have detected no deterioration in the way it operates thus far - even after running through a couple decent rain showers and washing the bike once.  Time will tell.


Article By: Guy B. Young

August 2001 

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