Bowden Cable

Bowden CableA Bowden cable is a cable system in which a small stranded wire moves inside a flexible outer casing. The Bowden cable has been in use since the late 1800s and has replaced the complex cable and pulley arrangements seen in bicycles and automobiles. Its hollow exterior housing is often made of spirally wound steel wire wrapped in a plastic sheath.

The cable was initially intended to be used as part of a bicycle brake mechanism and was widely accepted by cycling enthusiasts. The original Bowden brake mechanism consisted of a braking stirrup with a set of rubber pads positioned in line with the rear wheel's metal rim. A Bowden cable attached to a lever on the bicycle's handlebars control the stirrup. This required professional installation in order to deliver proper and reliable braking force.

Bowden Conduits

'Bowden' conduit is a flexible, tightly wound spring capable of keeping the spring straight with its initial tension. This spring can be pushed to bend in any direction in 360 degrees from the linear axis.

The basic Bowden wire connection lacks an internal liner but may be protected by a thin, flexible shield made of:

• Polyethylene
• Nylon,
• PVC - depending on the external conditions to which it will be subjected.

Lined Bowden Conduits

• These Bowden conduits have flexible plastic liners wound internally in a tightly wound spring.
• Lined Bowden conduits are beneficial to be used where friction is to be reduced.
• They are effective when moisture and corrosion can cause problems due to severe weather conditions.

Typical Liners

• High-Density Polyethylene
• Nylon
• Teflon

Bowden Cable Control Systems at Tyler Madison Inc.

Bowden Cable Manufacturing Process

• The outer Bowden cable housing is made up of circular wound steel wire that has been hardened to give a strong, flexible, and incompressible outer casing. It's wrapped in PVC to protect it from the elements, keep the lubricant in place, and for aesthetic effects too.
• End caps are then swaged on the outer spiral housing. The Bowden cables use adjusting screws in combination with end caps to keep them in place.
• Afterward, wires of required material are fed inside the casing, and the end terminals are usually threaded to fit them into the required point of application.

Material in Bowden CableBowden Cables

Spiral Housing

• The outer housing or spiral housing of Bowden cable is often made of a composite material that includes a tightly wrapped helix of either square, round or flat steel wires.
• To prevent rust and corrosion from accumulating on both the outside and inner steel wires, this enclosure is wrapped in plastic.
• To further limit the risk of corrosion and rust, modern versions of this cable include a plastic liner inside the housing.
• To improve the smooth operation of the inner wire, some type of dry lubricant is frequently used. Sometimes outer housing has hollow threaded ends to allow for length modifications as necessary.

End fittings for Bowden Cable

• Chromium plated or galvanized end caps, snap rings or threaded studs

Inner Wires

• The inner wire of this cable is often made up of stranded stainless steel wires, galvanized wires, and coated steel according to the customers’ requirements.
• Heavy-duty cables may also contain a solid steel wire running through the middle of the stranded wire.
• In pushing activities, Bowden cables typically have a solid steel wire inside a hollow plastic casing.

End Terminals

Threaded end terminals are made up of brass, galvanized steel, and stainless steel.

Tyler Madison Inc.’s Best Sellers

Tyler Madison is a market leader in manufacturing custom cable of wire rope fittings, aircraft cables, Bowden cables, custom wire rope lanyards, and other steel cable assemblies.

Tyler Madison has the following range of conduits among our best sellers:






401-001 .218

Outer Diameter



1/16 diameter cable/wire and under

401-002 .325

Outer Diameter



3/32 diameter cable/wire and under

444-002.5 7/32

No liner

The Tyler Madison Advantage

The experience of experts at Tyler Madison enables us to produce a standard and specialized Bowden cable assembly for a wide range of industrial clients. The latest technology is being used in Tyler Madison to deliver quality products with better reliability. With in-house engineering and design services, you can receive the exact Bowden cable control system you need from a single source at a reasonable price.