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Honda Brake Cable

'Standard fit' is too short

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Alan Donovan18/01/2020 17:41:05
66 forum posts
35 photos

Hello all.

This is a long shot - but I know many of you will have an interest in ALL things mechanical, so I hope it is acceptable to post this query here.

I am currently rebuilding a Honda SL125s registered in 1975. This was purchased as 5 boxes of bits - not a built bike. Even the engine was stripped down to its component parts.

The front brake cable has now been fitted and has been found to be too short (as can be seen by the taut outer cable in the photographs). A returned purchase (even shorter than current unit) and subsequent investigation has shown that the correct length brake cable appears to be unavailable - although there are plenty of allegedly correct cables from most suppliers. All being too short. The current fit has an outer sheath of 1120mm long, and inner cable with all attachments of approx 1250 long. I believe that I need an extra 100mm on both of those lengths for it to be a 'comfortable' fit.

My question is - has anyone out there had a similar problem with this bike, and did they manage to find a suitable alternative brake cable. If 'yes', do that know what the cable came from and better still a Part No. for it.

I did say it was a long shot ............. but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The photos below show the end fittings.



Well ......... fingers crossed!

Best regards to all.


Phil P18/01/2020 17:49:38
805 forum posts
195 photos


I cannot give you any specific help, but have you tried David Silver or John Oldfield for your Honda parts.

They were very good for supplying parts for my 1972 Honda XL250 rebuild.


honda 002.jpg

Dave Halford18/01/2020 17:52:11
2100 forum posts
23 photos

Are the bars stock?

If so try a CB175 cable, alleged to be 53"

Edited By Dave Halford on 18/01/2020 17:53:12

Grotto18/01/2020 18:03:05
148 forum posts
92 photos

I buy innner & outer from a local cable shop and reuse the ends of the old cable (have made new ends once).

I think the outer may only come in black, but I've never tried to get grey.

SL125's were fun bikes, only ever road mine as a commuter but remember they were particularly good for wheel standing.

old Al18/01/2020 18:03:46
186 forum posts

I use JJ cables and they make to any length with any end fittings

Keith Fox18/01/2020 18:09:57
36 forum posts

I was going to mention JJ cables as well, they attend a lot of motorcycle autojumbles and are very helpful.

Aonother option if Venhill, but they are quite expensive.

Jeff Dayman18/01/2020 18:36:57
2237 forum posts
47 photos

Not positive, but I seem to remember the silver front brake cable on my 1972 CB350K4 was 53 or 54" long.

In the bike mags I see from UK there is an advertiser "Wemoto" that has had some good reviews, and they advertise cables of any type, but I don't have personal experience with them. Just mentioning them as another possible source, As others have said, David Silver's are very good, got several hard to find items there for friends' bikes.

Mark P.18/01/2020 18:42:10
627 forum posts
8 photos

How about buying a longer similar one and cutting it down? Worked for m

Mark P.

Brian Sweeting18/01/2020 18:53:45
453 forum posts
1 photos

A couple of thoughts...

1. Are the fork legs correctly fitted in the yokes?

2. Have the handlebars been fitted with risers?

Russell Eberhardt18/01/2020 19:44:49
2752 forum posts
86 photos

I've allways had good service from Speedy Cables (London) Ltd. They will make cables to your spec.


Grindstone Cowboy18/01/2020 19:53:35
894 forum posts
64 photos

+1 for Speedy Cables

Alan Donovan18/01/2020 20:29:36
66 forum posts
35 photos

Hello All

Wow, I didn't expect to get such a brilliant response from so many people. Thank you all SO MUCH.

Just to respond to your various comments.

I did try David Silver, unfortunately it was too short. Their salesman was brilliant as he did measure their cable for me to check if it was suitable. So five star customer service for David Silver. I will look up John Oldfield and talk to them on Monday

Phil P - A Beautiful bike. The renovation standard has been set.

Are the Bars stock? - I assume you mean handle bars - They look the same as those in the part list and the Haynes manual - so I am assuming they are. The handle bars have no risers as they bolt directly to the yoke.

With respect to the fork legs I believe they are correctly fitted in the yokes - again they are as per the Haynes manual, but I am open to any advice / guidance you may wish to give me. However the lower fork is stamped K3 and I think (maybe) it should be K1 for this year of bike. I am not knowledgeable enough to know the significance of the K3 and the K1 references and whether this affects the overall length of the forks, or if the K3 is the original fit, but they have the same physical appearance as those in the parts manual.

With respect to all the other suggestions I will systematically try them all until I achieve success.

Again - Thank you all so much for your contributions.

Best regards - Alan

Circlip19/01/2020 13:34:49
1531 forum posts

Lever on brakeplate looks to be splined to shoe shaft? Have you got the lever on the correct spline position.??

Regards Ian.

noel shelley19/01/2020 13:48:13
1447 forum posts
23 photos

May sound silly ! But is the brake back plate in the correct position ? Rotating it anti clockwise would give you a better cable run? Noel.

larry phelan 119/01/2020 15:16:17
1192 forum posts
15 photos

Was a time when you could buy cable and outer cover by the yard and make up your own lengths, for push bikes that was. I heard of guys making up such cables to operate the points on model railways.

Don't seem to be available now, can only buy set lengths for set bikes, at a price !

Am trying to remember the name of cables of yonder year, anyone out there remember them ?

Keith Fox19/01/2020 18:17:30
36 forum posts

JJ Cables will supply all the necessary parts to make your own cable as far as I am aware, but are also happy to make cables to whatever length to ask them to. I bought a throttle cable off them recently and they said that if I needed it to be a different length, to give them a buzz and they would sort it out.

Alan Donovan19/01/2020 21:46:23
66 forum posts
35 photos

Hello again.

Thank you all very much for your continued suggestions.

Ian & Noel, I feel sure everything is correctly installed - but I will check that tomorrow.

It appears a custom made cable may be the easiest route to success.

Thanks again and best wishes.


Grindstone Cowboy19/01/2020 22:11:38
894 forum posts
64 photos

I guess you have photos of how the cable should run, but just in case you don't, this should provide a good example.

Hopper20/01/2020 02:03:22
6706 forum posts
347 photos

The problem with buying over-the-counter inner and outer cable or even getting one made is the difficulty finding the correct grey coloured outer cable Honda used.

You might have to get a brake cable off a larger capacity Honda, 350 or 450 and cut it down if necessary.

Edited By Hopper on 20/01/2020 02:03:56

Gerard O'Toole20/01/2020 08:20:23
138 forum posts
10 photos

Is the outer cable fitted correctly into the adjuster on the handlebar lever?

It is hard to tell , but in the photo it seems that it might be sitting proud of the adjuster ring.

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