How to Lubricate Your Motorcycle’s Cables

Looking for advice on how to lubricate your motorcycle’s cables? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

In this blog from our control cable specialists at Venhill, we provide our top tips for effectively applying lubricant to your motorcycle’s clutch, throttle and brake cables. With more than 50 years of experience in manufacturing motorcycle cables, we know a thing or two about how to best look after them.

Importance of Motorcycle Cable Lubrication

Regularly lubricating and maintaining your motorcycle cables is crucial to smooth riding. Failure to appropriately apply lube can cause the cables to become sticky and bind, which therefore results in a bike that is incredibly difficult to control.

In addition to a more pleasant riding experience, lubricating your cables will reduce excessive resistance and help to prolong the life of the cable itself.

Unlike punctures, tyre wear and other common problems you might encounter with your motorbike, issues with your cables aren’t always easily noticeable. However, if your clutch lever doesn’t move smoothly, for instance, or the feeling of operation is heavy when it is gripped, then this can indicate that there is a problem with your bike’s cable lubrication. Ideally, you’ll lubricate your cables to prevent these types of issues, but if you do suspect a problem, then it’s important to take action quickly.

How to Lubricate Your Motorcycle’s Clutch, Brake & Throttle Cables

Here is our step-by-step guide on how to lubricate your bike’s control cables.

Step 1 – Establish the Type of Cable

The very first part of lubricating your cables is to establish the type of cables you have and whether they require lubricating. You should be able to check this in your owner’s manual.

Older types of steel cables will need to be lubricated. Newer, Teflon-lined cables won’t require heavy lubrication.

Step 2 – Use a Suitable Lubricant

When lubricating your cables, it is vital that you use a product that is formulated specifically for the task. Some riders use WD-40 or other similar solvents, but we recommend avoiding these as they can harm the cable, as these can act as a coagulant for dust and debris inside the cable conduit.

There are a whole host of cable lubricants out there, available for varying prices. They should all be fit for purpose, but we recommend having a read of the reviews of each beforehand to check what previous customers have said.

Step 3 – Remove the Cables (optional)

Unless you have a cable lubricator, it is much easier to apply lube to cables that are removed from the bike.

Before you unhook the cables, we advise taking a photo of how they are currently installed. This will help ensure you install and re-hook them in the same manner afterwards.

At this stage it is worth checking the condition of your cables. If they are damaged, worn or frayed, order replacement cables and install these instead of reattaching the damaged ones. High-quality replacement cables can be purchased from Venhill online.

Shop Venhill’s range of motorcycle replacement cables >

Step 4 – Use a Cable Luber or Create a Funnel & Apply the Lube

Using a dedicated cable lube tool to apply lube to your bike’s cables is the easiest and quickest method (you won’t even have to remove the cables from the bike). They are very cheap to purchase so would definitely be worth buying if you don’t already have one. The tool clamps onto the end of the cable, enabling you to apply lube directly into the housing

If you don’t have a cable luber, you’ll need to create a funnel. To do this, you’ll require a plastic bag and a rubber band:

  1. Cut out the corner of the plastic bag.
  2. Cut out a small hole in the tip of the corner you just cut out.
  3. Push the upper end of the cable through the tip.
  4. Use a rubber band to tightly secure the plastic bag to the top of the cable.
  5. Invert the bag to create a small funnel.

Once you’ve created the funnel, hold the cable vertically and spray some lube into the funnel. Work the inner cable up and down repeatedly to help move the lube along the whole cable. Once the lubricant has reached the bottom of the cable, you’re done. Venhill cables only need a very light lubrication, and this should be done only after dust and debris has been blown out of the cable.

Step 5 - Reinstall Cables

If you used a cable lube tool then you can skip this step. However, if you removed the cables from your bike then of course you need to reattach them. Remove your funnel, wipe down the cable and reinstall them to match the photo you took in step 3.

Motorcycle Replacement Cables with Venhill

For high-quality and reliable motorcycle brake, throttle and clutch cables, look no further than Venhill’s online range. Our offering includes a huge variety of solutions for road, track and dirt bikes of all shapes and sizes.

We even offer a bespoke cable building service so we can manufacture cables to suit your particular specifications and requirements!

Shop cables online >

See more: A Beginner’s Guide to Push Pull Cables