The throttle cable may seem like a simple part of your bike, but it can keep you from riding if not properly maintained or replaced. Read as we take you through cable maintenance and install tips for a new ProX throttle cable.
With the riding season upon us, it’s not a bad time to cover an important, but often neglected, maintenance task: throttle cable inspection and replacement. The throttle cable connects your mind and body to the heart of your machine, which makes it an incredibly important link. Worn, damaged, misadjusted, or corroded throttle cables can lead to dangerous riding conditions and poor engine performance. Let’s dive into tackling this common maintenance task.
Most service manuals suggest checking throttle operation after each race or every 2.5 hours of operation. Along with this generic recommendation, engine performance can also be an indicator of cable issues. Poor full throttle operation may be a sign that the throttle cable has too much slack. An engine that is difficult to control or has an erratic idle may indicate that there is not enough throttle cable slack.
Your service or owner’s manual should provide all the pertinent cable adjustment information you need for your specific make/model of machine, and should be used to complement the advice and recommendations provided in this write-up. Within the service manual, you should find free play specifications, throttle cable routing information, lubrication info, and the prescribed tensioning procedure.
We’ll start by outlining the basic checks and adjustments that should be performed to ensure correct throttle cable operation. Once these are concluded, we’ll discuss complete cable replacement.
The throttle cable should be visually inspected for damage. Cracks, kinks, corrosion, and severely worn areas due to rubbing should all be cause for concern. Systematically inspect the cable from the throttle grip to the throttle body/carburetor as best as visually possible.
Checking Cable Free Play
Throttle cable free play is typically checked by measuring the amount of throttle grip movement relative to a fixed point on the throttle cable housing. Most makes/models specify 2-3mm of throttle grip free play. This can easily be checked by referencing a predominant feature on the throttle grip, or marking it with a marker and measuring the amount of motion relative to the housing with a ruler, scale, or caliper.
Checking Throttle Return
All throttle systems designed for powersports applications are designed to fail closed in the event the throttle cables break or the rider loses control of the machine. Return spring pressure can be inadequate if the throttle cables are sticky, binding, or if the throttle grip is binding on accessories such as handguard mounts.
Check throttle operation by fully opening the throttle and letting go. Confirm that the throttle quickly and easily returns completely to the closed position. Check throttle return with the handlebars all the way to the left, centered, to the right, and halfway between center and full stop on each side. If the throttle does not completely return the cable may be binding, incorrectly routed, frayed, or corroded, which warrants further investigation.
Throttle Cable Adjustment
Most modern machines utilizing throttle bodies and carburetors utilize two throttle cables, aptly identified as accelerator and decelerator cables. Older carbureted machines often only feature one throttle cable. Depending on the type of machine you own, the adjustment process may differ slightly from the outline I’m going to provide.
The number of adjustment locations will also differ depending on the machine in question. Some applications have adjustment points at the throttle body or carburetor and at the throttle cable housing, while others have a single adjustment point on the throttle cable housing. On machines with multiple adjustment points, minor adjustments are made at the throttle cable housing and major adjustments are taken care of on the throttle body/carburetor.
Dual Cable Adjustment
The first step to adjusting dual throttle cable machines is to remove any necessary dust covers and identify the accelerator and decelerator cables. The accelerator cable goes into tension when the throttle is twisted open and the decelerator cable is put in tension when the throttle is closed. Each cable is often easily identified visually by looking at the housing design or by making minor adjustments and determining what is affected.
To adjust the cables, the locknuts are loosened and the cable adjusters are turned in to slacken or out to tension them. This can be accomplished by hand or with an appropriately sized wrench. Commonly, the decelerator cable is adjusted first. Decelerator cable tension is usually set so that there is no play when the throttle grip is completely closed. Once the decelerator cable has been set, the accelerator cable is adjusted. The accelerator cable tension is usually set so that 2-3mm of free play is present in the throttle grip. Once the correct tension has been applied, the lock nuts should be snugged and any dust covers should be slid back over the adjusters.
Single Cable Adjustment
Single throttle cable adjustment is straightforward. Any dust covers protecting the cable adjuster should be removed first. Next, the locknut should be loosened. The cable adjuster can then be adjusted in or out so that the throttle grip has the correct amount of free play, which is usually 2-3mm. Once complete, the locknut can be snugged and dust cover reinstalled.
Checks After Adjustment
Upon completion of any cable adjustments, the system should be checked as outlined in the throttle return section of this article. Once you have confirmed that the throttle return functions properly in all handlebar positions, the engine should be started. With the engine idling and in neutral, rotate the handlebars from stop to stop and listen for any changes in idle behavior. Increases or decreases in idle speed may suggest that the throttle cable is binding either due to tight spots or cable routing.
Throttle Cable Replacement
In the event that the throttle cable warrants replacement, cable replacement can be accomplished fairly easily. Selecting and sourcing a new throttle cable is equally important as carrying out the work. Sourcing OEM parts from a dealer can lead to overpaying, so it’s common for people to turn to the aftermarket. However, it’s important to be careful not to sacrifice quality for cost.
ProX offers throttle cables made by OE manufacturers at affordable prices. Because they’re made by OEM suppliers, OE quality and specifications are met. ProX throttle cables are made with pre-lubricated nylon inner sleeves, tightly-wound steel inner cables, and a flexible PVC outer jacket, which, combined, ensure smooth cable operation and long life.
Find ProX cables for your model here.
The architecture of your specific machine will largely dictate what must be removed in order to successfully replace your throttle cable. Typically, the following components will need to be removed:
- Front brake master cylinder (sometimes)
- Front number plate
- Fuel tank
- Rear subframe and airbox
- Throttle body/carburetor
Once the necessary components have been removed, replacing the throttle cable is straightforward. We'll walk through the necessary steps with the assumption that we're working on a dual cable machine. The steps for a single cable application are nearly identical.
Start by loosening the throttle cable adjusters on the throttle housing and slackening the cables. Next, remove the fasteners holding the throttle cable housing together. Once removed from the handlebar remove the throttle cable ends from the throttle cable housing pulley. Note the accelerator and decelerator cable positions.
Remove any necessary covers from the throttle body or carburetor to gain access to the throttle cable ends. Note the locations of the accelerator and decelerator cables prior to removing them. Loosen the necessary lock nuts and adjusters then remove the cable ends from the pulley.
On single cable carbureted applications featuring round or oval slide carburetors, unscrew the top cap of the carburetor where the throttle cable enters the slide. Compress the return spring and carefully remove any necessary hardware securing the cable end to the slide. Once removed, the cable can be loosened and removed from the carburetor cap.
Prepare the new throttle cables by applying cable lube to both ends of the cables. Check the smoothness of the cables by moving them back and forth prior to installation.
Once the old throttle cables are free on both ends, note how they have been routed. Then, remove the cables and route the new cables in a similar fashion. If the old cable routing is suspect, confirm with your service manual the factory prescribed cable routings.
Upon successful cable routing, begin the reassembly process. Start by installing the cable ends into the throttle body/carburetor and throttle cable housing. Turn the cable adjusters on the throttle grip housing all the way in, then turn each of them one turn out. Once this is done, unless otherwise specified, use the throttle body or carburetor adjustment features to take the majority of the slack out of the cables. Refer to the tips outlined in the cable tension adjustment section to correctly tension the throttle cables. After the cable tensions have been set, be sure to check the functionality of the throttle return as prescribed previously.
Once the new throttle cables have been installed and the return checks are complete, finish the job by reinstalling any items that required removal to gain access to the cable system. With everything reinstalled, test the functionality of the system first with the engine off, then with the engine idling to ensure there are no abnormalities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I send my cables in before contacting Motion Pro?
It’s always best to email or call our custom cable department to discuss the details of your custom cable/s or pricing on sample-based custom cables before shipping anything to us. There are many variables that can change pricing on custom cables and we’d hate for you to spend time/money shipping your cables in especially if we didn’t need the sample.
Do I need to lubricate my cables at installation?
Yes, the only Motion Pro cables that come pre-lubricated are speedometer and tachometer cables and our high performance T3 clutch cables. All throttle, clutch, and brake cables must be lubricated during installation with Motion Pro cable lube or equivalent. Please note that you need to lubricate the inner wire in the housing and also the cable end barrels at their pivot points. Cable end barrels should be lubricated with water proof grease. Learn more about cable maintenance.
I see you offer stock cables for my specific model. Do I still need to send in samples or supply all dimensional information if I just need longer or shorter cables?
If we offer replacement cables for your machine and you are changing handle bars and using the stock controls and intake (carburetor or FI system), then in most cases all we'll need is to know how much longer or shorter than stock you want the new cables to be.
When are samples required?
There are several situations where samples are required for us to make your cables:
- You need cables for a vehicle on which we have no documented information about the specifications of the stock cables. This can be the case for older Japanese machines, most European street models like Ducati's, BMW'S and Moto Guzzi's, motor scooters, and rare or exotic bikes.
- You need a throttle cable for a vehicle that has non-stock components such as the throttle (twist throttle or thumb throttle), carburetor, or FI throttle body. In those situations it is likely that the free-length of the cable you need will be different from the stock cable. Cable free length is the amount of exposed inner wire, and this will most likely have to be changed when the controls or carburation are changed. If you do not already have a cable that works with the non-stock set up, it will be necessary to send us the new throttle and carburetor or FI throttle body so we can determine the correct free length. Please send us an e-mail with the details of your project and we'll be happy to supply information addressing your specific situation. Email us from our contact page.
- Sometimes we need your original cables so we can reuse cable components that are not otherwise available. This is common when working on older 2-stroke application with oil injection, some European bikes, some motor scooters, and rare or exotic bikes.
I have aftermarket bars and/or risers. How do I determine what length cables I need?
We cannot supply a length based on a handle bar description alone. There are just too many variables to account for. For example, positioning the bars differently in the handlebar clamps can affect the length of the cable that is necessary for proper operation. The best way to proceed is for you to do a full mock up. Leave the stock cables installed on the motor and carburetor or FI system, install the new handlebars to their desired location, and install the controls (throttle/lever) on the new handlebars. Then determine how much longer the stock cable needs to be (from the housing end) to reach the new location of the throttle or control lever. During this mock-up process you must make sure the new cable length will allow for full movement of the handlebars from lock to lock. Keep in mind that it is easier to absorb an extra inch or two of cable length in routing than it is to make up for a cable that is too short. So, if there are any doubts, going a little long is usually the safer way to go. Once you have determined how much longer than stock you need, you can review what we currently offer for you model in our catalog. If you don't see the length you need, please contact us at [email protected] with the year make and model of your machine and how much longer or shorter then stock you need and we'll be happy to provide detailed information on your specific needs.
Does Motion Pro make custom brake lines?
No. Motion Pro does not manufacture or sell hydraulic lines. We recommend that you go to Galfer, Goodridge, Russell Performance, or Spiegler for these products. Another option would be to work with your local motorcycle shop and look through distributor catalogs like Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, Western Powersports, Bikers Choice, and Drag Specialties to see if they offer a custom hydraulic line that meets your needs. If you look in the brake section of these distributor's catalogs you may find that they offer all the items you need to make the custom hydraulic line you need and information on how to determine the parts needed to do this.
Where do I send my sample cables?
Send your sample cables to us at following address:Motion Pro
Attn. Custom Cables
3171 Swetzer Rd
Loomis, Ca 95650
Please include a brief note stating what you need done and a means to contact you during the day (telephone number or email address). Once we receive your sample, will review your request and contact you to confirm the details of your order and payment information.
How long does it take for my custom cable order to be completed?
Our turnaround time for custom cable orders varies with the complexity of the order, availability of parts, and how busy our cable shop is at that moment. Once we have all the information needed to process your order, we usually require around 5 to 7 working days to complete production. However, during peak summer months it may take as much as 12 to 14 working days to complete your order. In some case we may not have the parts on hand needed to make your custom cable, in which case we will advise you of any additional lead time needed to procure those parts (if they are available to us). Please keep in mind we cannot include shipping time in the above estimates because that is out of our control.
Can I buy just the components needed to repair my cable or make my own cable from scratch?
Not usually. We have a small selection of basic cable repair items for sale, but this offering is limited to just those items needed by motorcycle repair shops for simple repairs. View cable repair products .
Can I send my cable to you to be repaired or altered?
No. Due to liability concerns our insurance company prohibits us from repairing or altering existing cables.
How do I pay for my custom cable order?
All custom cable order must be prepaid with a credit card or Paypal account. For export orders we only accept payment via Paypal. All custom cable sales are final and we do not accept returns on custom cable orders other than for warranty consideration. On receipt of your order we will run a credit card pre-authorization for the expected total. The final credit card charge will not be processed until your order is completed. For your security, we require that the billing address on the credit card must be the same as the shipping address on you order, and that the card holder is the person placing the order. On large orders we may require a 50% deposit in advance of starting your order. Once placed, custom cable orders cannot be canceled if any work has been started toward completion of your order.
What is your warranty policy on custom cables?
We cannot accept returns or replacement requests on custom cables except for warranty claims. We offer a one year limited warranty on our custom cables from the date of purchase and this warranty is limited to repair or replacement of the cable and to the original purchaser only. Motion Pro custom cables are warrantied against defects in materials or workmanship only, and this warranty does not cover improper maintenance, abuse or misuse. On cables for which the customer supplied the specifications we cannot warranty applicability for the use in which it is being applied. If you think a custom cable was made incorrectly please call or email our custom cable department and we will review the specification you provided against the cable that was made and if we find that the cable was not made correctly we will replace it free of charge. If your cable fails in use during the warranty period please call or email our warranty department to obtain a return goods authorization (RGA) number and instructions for returning the product for inspection. If we find that the cable failed due to a defect in materials or workmanship we will replace it free of charge. Above is the customer's exclusive remedy. The above is expressly in lieu of all other warranties express or implied and of all other obligations or liabilities. In no event shall Motion Pro be liable for incidental or consequential damages arising from the breach of any warranties, improper use, the failure to deliver, delay in delivery, delivery of non- conforming parts or any other breach of contract or duty.
How do I order cables if I've changed the controls or carburetion?
Determining the correct design for a control cable when changes have been made to the throttle, carburetor, lever, or lever perch is often more complicated than just changing the cable housing and wire end fittings. For example, determining the correct cable design when the throttle or carburetor have been changed requires proper determination of the free length of the inner wire. Free length is the amount of exposed inner wire of a cable, which often will change when either the throttle or carburetor or lever and perch are changed. We cannot make custom cables based on a simple verbal description of these changes because it is too easy to have miscommunication about these details. In order for us to accept custom cable orders of this nature we need either samples and a written description of what you are trying to do, or a mechanical drawing with sufficient detail for us to make the cable you need. Please e-mail us from our contact page and include information on the throttle, carburetor(s), handlebars, what specific items are being used on the build, and what type of changes have been made. A technician will then review your specific request in further detail and advise you what other information is necessary make the cables you need.
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Motorcycle Throttle Cables
Venhill have been making high quality replacement motorcycle throttle cables since 1970, originally specialising in off-road sport and subsequently expanding their fitment list to include road and track motorcycles of all shapes and sizes. Over time, the original throttle cables will stretch, fray and/or corrode, making them difficult to operate and reducing the responsiveness of the throttle. Venhill replacement throttle cables are made in their UK factory, which is ISO 9001 certified to assure quality, using the highest quality components and production techniques. If you can’t find a throttle cable for your bike listed, simply send us the original and we can produce a replacement. And if you have a special requirement, e.g. a longer throttle cable for raised handlebars, we can make something for you.
Featherlite Throttle Cables
Today, all Venhill throttle cables are made to Featherlight specification. Developed from the original factory-fitted cables, they are designed to give improved performance and feel, as well as adding durability, plus with smoother action. Each cable features Venhill's high quality Featherlight specification: marine-grade stainless steel inner wire for maximum flexibility, and a 'teflon' liner, to reduce friction and give a lighter action. The liner also removes the need for lubrication. The cables are all ‘Bird-caged' – a special process applied to the end of the inner wire, which allows solder to penetrate the weave of the cable, making the bond with the nipple much stronger. The process adds extra strength and durability, so cables can withstand being put under repeated stress and pressure, reducing the risk of failure and improving lifespan.
Braided throttle cable kits
Ideal for custom builds and owners looking to upgrade a cruiser, the braided steel conduit is fully lined and supplied with 2M of 1.5mm inner wire, plus nipples and high quality chrome fittings. A twin throttle kit is also available.
Specialist throttle cables
With five decades experience producing motorcycle throttle cables, Venhill has the understanding to offer a range of specialist throttle cables, including designs to fit trials bikes with 90 degree cable mountings and for Magura twist grips, plus many more besides.
Harley-Davidson throttle cable kits
These universal throttle cable kits are designed for Harley Davidson motorcycles and are supplied with cables that are unfinished at one end, so that they can be cut to length. All of the connections are designed to fasten securely without the need for soldering, so these are proper DIY kits for 'home mechanics', made to the high standard expected from Venhill. The Dual Throttle and Idle cable kits come in both push-fit and threaded versions, to suit a wide range of models. Extra long – at 1350 mm / 53 inches – they allow for bikes fitted with high handlebars, and come with either 90° or 75° bends, in a choice of black or braided steel outers. The black cables have longitudinal conduit (not coiled) which won't pinch on bends, so they won't restrict cable movement. Like all Venhill cables, they're made to deliver improved performance and durability, along with smoother action
Throttle cable kits
Venhill produce a variety of universal throttle cable kits to suit most needs and they can also be used for choke cables and hot start cables. The kits are finished at one end, with the other end ready to be cut to length and finished as required. Our various throttle cable kits include different size cables and fittings, so you can find one best suited to your requirements. Push/pull twin cable throttle kits are available, as well as designs for single and twin carburettor British motorcycles. The outer cable (conduit) is pre-lined with PTFE (commonly referred to as Teflon) for super-smooth operation.
Coloured throttle cables
If you want to add a splash of colour to your throttle cables you can specify outer conduit in blue, green, red, orange, grey or yellow at no extra cost.
Made-to-measure throttle cables
At Venhill we can make one-off motorcycle throttle cables in our UK factory, to suit custom builds or specialist restorations. Our experienced team will be happy to advise you, for an accurate fit.
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You are very guilty by entering without permission. Accordingly, the gingerbread will be increased. An idiotic situation. Instead of ripping off your ass, you have to come up with something completely different. Live and learn.Lube and Adjust Throttle Cables
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