A Bowden cable is a type of flexible cable used to transmit mechanical force or energy, by the movement of an inner cable (usually made of steel) relative to a hollow casing. The casing usually comprises a helical steel wire, often lined with plastic, and a plastic outer sheath. The movement of the inner cable creates a pulling force. The cable tension can be adjusted, lengthening or shortening the casing relative to a fixed anchor point.
The Bowden mechanism was invented by Irishman Ernest Monnington Bowden, who patented it in 1896, primarily for use in bicycle brakes, although it had the potential for other applications. The Bowden Brake was publicly launched in the bicycling press in 1896.