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Modern outer-cables have plastic linings so lubrication is not necessary for operation. Keeping the bike cables lubricated is mostly to keep water from getting into the tiny spaces between the inner and outer-cables.
Use synthetic lubricants not mineral oil or grease. Mineral products may degrade the plastic lining of the outer brake cable or gear cable.
Teflon-coated inner-cables don’t need lubrication.
Introduce a small amount of synthetic grease in the lever-end of any outer brake cable brake runs. Threading the inner brake cable in will force the grease through the pipe. Wipe off any excess as the inner-wire emerges.
Don’t use grease or viscous liquid lubricants on gear cables for indexed gears they can stick the gear cables to the point where the ‘return’ springs don’t work properly. Some manufacturers suggest no lubrication for gear cables.
Dismount the brake cable or gear cable
Apply a drop of liquid lubrication at the point where the inner-cable emerges from the outer-cable and slide the outer-cable back and forth to drag the lube into the outer-cable. Wipe off excess.
Brake Cables and Gear Cables That Don’t Dismount
Apply a drop of liquid lubrication at the point where the inner-bike cable emerges from the outer-cable and work the brake cable or gear cable to drag the lube into the outer-cable. For derailer gears you need to lift the back wheel off the ground so you can pedal to shift the gears.