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Difference between galvanised and stainless steel cables?
#1
Hello

Can anyone tell me the difference between galvanised and stainless steel cables/wires? From what I have read online, stainless steel doesn't rust. I have bought some cables, so how do I check what material it is?

Thank you
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#2
Got a magnet? Stainless is less likely to be attracted to a magnet. It's also harder to solder the ends to keep from fraying.
Craig Domingue - East Texas Hick
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#3
Galvanized cables are regular steel coated to prevent rust. Stainless steel is a form of steel that generally won't rust. Stainless will prevent rust much longer and under much worse conditions (water, salt) than galvanizing will.

If the cables don't say "stainless" on the package, they probably aren't. That's the kind of thing they advertise because it costs more. Stainless cables, since they're more expensive to make, are also generally higher quality cables less likely to stretch or break, but that's not universally true.

All that said, unless you live in a high rust area or have to store your bike outdoors, etc. I wouldn't worry about it too much. Either will work fine.

On either type of cable, you should coat them with a thin layer of waterproof grease when you install them, especially where they run through the housing. This will further protect them and make your brakes operate better too.
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#4
Thanks for the reply Dave. Very helpful.

@ Cradom do you mean stainless wont be attracted to a magnet at all or will it be attracted but less so than galvanised?

Thank you
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#5
Thanks for the reply Dave. Very helpful.

@ Cradom do you mean stainless wont be attracted to a magnet at all or will it be attracted but less so than galvanised?

Thank you
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#6
You might feel an attraction but I've found if you put a magnet on a piece of stainless and turn it upside down, the magnet will fall off.
Stainless is an alloy, most of which is nickel which is non ferrous (not magnetic).
Craig Domingue - East Texas Hick
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#7
(09-05-2013, 06:11 PM)cradom Wrote:  You might feel an attraction but I've found if you put a magnet on a piece of stainless and turn it upside down, the magnet will fall off.
Stainless is an alloy, most of which is nickel which is non ferrous (not magnetic).
nickel is ferro-magnet, just like iron.

400 series stainless steel alloys are magnetic, like regular steel.

300 series stainless steel alloys start non-magnetic, but become magnetic as they are work hardened. They can be returned to a non-magnetic state by heat treatment (leave that to the professionals).
Nigel
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#8
I apologize. My old brain got nickel mixed up with chromium.
I don't know about the different alloys, it's just been my experience that most stainless I've come across was just barely magnetic if at all.
Craig Domingue - East Texas Hick
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#9
I know I'm a couple of years late here, but I was hunting around for this answer. I have a bike here that somebody put new cables on, and I'm pretty sure they're galvanized (rougher certainly than I'm used to with stainless). I'd like to swap them out with stainless, but want to be sure I'm not throwing away stainless cables first.

And that's all a long way of saying that I can confirm that the magnet trick simply doesn't work. I only stock stainless cables, and every one of them is attracted to a magnet the same as galvanized cables are.

Bottom line - these new cables are rough, so I'll just go ahead and swap them out. I do wish there existed a reliable way to test for galv/stainless in the field though. If anybody comes up with one, I'm all ears.

Thanks!
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#10
(08-03-2015, 09:40 PM)darelldd Wrote:  I know I'm a couple of years late here, but I was hunting around for this answer. I have a bike here that somebody put new cables on, and I'm pretty sure they're galvanized (rougher certainly than I'm used to with stainless). I'd like to swap them out with stainless, but want to be sure I'm not throwing away stainless cables first.

And that's all a long way of saying that I can confirm that the magnet trick simply doesn't work. I only stock stainless cables, and every one of them is attracted to a magnet the same as galvanized cables are.

Bottom line - these new cables are rough, so I'll just go ahead and swap them out. I do wish there existed a reliable way to test for galv/stainless in the field though. If anybody comes up with one, I'm all ears.

Thanks!

Stainless, from my observations, are thinner and shinier and they feed into grip shifts much better as the ends, on the ones I buy anyway, are solid and do not frey from some treatment they do on the cable ends at the plant. just slightly more expensive.
"Where ever we go, there we are"
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#11
(08-04-2015, 04:15 AM)elmore leonard Wrote:  Stainless, from my observations, are thinner and shinier and they feed into grip shifts much better as the ends, on the ones I buy anyway, are solid and do not frey from some treatment they do on the cable ends at the plant. just slightly more expensive.

Thanks for the observations, Elmore. I performed some visual and objective measurements. And in the end, the only obvious and significant differences I could find were:

galvanized rougher than the SS
galvanized (after a few months in the elements) not as shiny as SS
galvanized MUCH easier to solder

The visual parts are the only practical field way for me to tell the difference. In my case, the diameters were the same, magnetic attraction was the same. Were it up to me, we'd just banish all but the stainless units! The few pennies saved is so not worth the problems of rough cables.
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#12
(08-04-2015, 03:46 PM)darelldd Wrote:  
(08-04-2015, 04:15 AM)elmore leonard Wrote:  Stainless, from my observations, are thinner and shinier and they feed into grip shifts much better as the ends, on the ones I buy anyway, are solid and do not frey from some treatment they do on the cable ends at the plant. just slightly more expensive.

Thanks for the observations, Elmore. I performed some visual and objective measurements. And in the end, the only obvious and significant differences I could find were:

galvanized rougher than the SS
galvanized (after a few months in the elements) not as shiny as SS
galvanized MUCH easier to solder

The visual parts are the only practical field way for me to tell the difference. In my case, the diameters were the same, magnetic attraction was the same. Were it up to me, we'd just banish all but the stainless units! The few pennies saved is so not worth the problems of rough cables.
From my experience the stainless are thinner then the galvanized. When held side by side the difference is quite obvious.
"Where ever we go, there we are"
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