Cable vs. Hydraulic Clutch—What’s the Distinction?

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When we speak about hydraulic or cable clutches, we’re simply referring to how the clutch is actuated. With a cable clutch, lever drive is transferred through a Bowden cable, which has metal wire working inside a versatile sheath. With a hydraulic clutch, fluid is used to convey drive similar to in hydraulic brakes, besides as an alternative of a caliper on the different finish of the hose, there’s a slave cylinder that acts on the clutch’s strain plate in the identical method cable does.

If a cable clutch and hydraulic clutch do the identical factor, why would a producer or a rider select one over the opposite? Every system has its professionals and cons, and we’ll begin with the cable clutch because it’s the commonest setup.

Cables are frequent for one easy motive: They’re low-cost to make and straightforward to suit. That’s an enormous plus, whether or not you’re manufacturing bikes or simply sustaining your personal bike. On the subject of upkeep, cables want a good quantity of it. For starters, you need to modify the slack steadily to account for clutch put on—let the cable get too unfastened and also you gained’t get full disengagement if you pull the lever. Too little slack and also you’re going to get clutch slip and prepare dinner your clutch plates. Additionally, cables have to be lubricated periodically they usually’re inclined to corrosion and breakage, and binding in the event that they’re bent too sharply.

Then again you don’t have to fret about messy lube or fraying cables with a hydraulic clutch, and also you don’t should take care of adjusting something both. That’s as a result of so long as there’s fluid within the reservoir, a hydraulic system will self-adjust because the clutch plates put on, so the engagement level stays the identical all through the lifetime of the clutch. Talking of engagement, hydraulic clutches are usually simpler to modulate and have a lighter, extra constant lever pull since there’s a grasp cylinder and a slave cylinder amplifying your grip power.


That’s a variety of pluses for hydraulic actuation, however this can be a costlier setup, each to construct initially and to restore afterward if a seal fails. And whilst you don’t should fuss with cable rigidity on a regular basis, for these hydraulic programs use brake fluid, you’ll want to exchange it each few years.

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And what in case your bike didn’t include a hydraulic setup, however you’re satisfied it’s what you need? There are evidently sufficient folks trying to lower the cable that Magura has created the Hymec conversion equipment. It appears like a maneuver you’d do to somebody who’s choking, however “Hymec” stands for Hydraulic from Mechanical, which is what the equipment does—it means that you can convert your cable clutch to hydraulic. It provides all the advantages of a hydraulic setup and it comes totally assembled, pre-bled, and able to set up. And since it makes use of mineral oil as an alternative of hydroscopic brake fluid, you by no means have to exchange the fluid, so it’s maintenance-free.

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