How to cut bike cable (with or without cable cutters) – 5 Solutions

Cuting a bike cable can be frustrating for newbie. Even worse, you don’t have a bike cable cutter handy.

In this article, I will show you different ways to cut bike cable, and bike cable cutter alternatives that are great for cutting brake cables and cable housings.

How to cut brake cable without cable cutters?

For beginners, cable cutters are quite expensive as you’re only going to use them once or twice in your lifetime. Here are a few bike cable cutter alternatives that are handy to make the job done in no time:

Bike cable cutter alternative

You can use a dremel tool with the cut-off wheel.

A dremel will cut the brake cable much cleaner than manual pliers. Using the dremel saves time and provides a cleaner cut with zero housing compression and zero cable fraying. When I built my first bicycle, I didn’t have cable cutters, but I did have a dremel. It saves time, and importantly, it saves me some money to buy a cable cutter.

First cut a shallow groove in a small piece of wood to hold the cable and then very lightly cut the cable…. the finished job looks professional with just a little oil to lubricate the cable at the ends.

It’s helpful to grind the ends flat after cutting whether you use it for the cut or not.

Use a hammer and a cold chisel tool.

Wrap electrical tapes at two sides on the cable where you want to cut the cable. This will prevent fraying. Place the bike cable on a hard metal surface and place the cold chisel in between the two pieces of electrical tapes and give it a good hard whack with a hammer.

You can also use pliers.

These tools are popular and can be handy. Even if you don’t have a pair of pliers, it’s cheaper to buy pliers than to buy cable cutters. Hold the cable tight with the sharp edge of the pliers, close down on it and give it a good hard whack with a hammer.

An oxy-acetylene torch is also a great option if you don’t have tools mentioned above.

It gives a nice tidy welded ball on the end of the cable which prevents fraying. Be careful to point the torch away from the paint, and to shield the frame and your face/body from the sparks.

Once you cut a cable, you should encapsulate it in order to prevent it from fraying.

What is the best tool to cut a bike cable?

If you’re in the field of bicycle mechanic or need to cut cables frequently, then get the correct cable cutters for the job.

All of the companies that sell tools for bikes sell them. Here are a few options:

Cable Cutter