A Bowden cable (// boh-dən) is a type of flexible cable used to transmit mechanical force or energy by the movement of an inner cable relative to a hollow outer cable housing. The housing is generally of composite construction, consisting of an inner lining, a longitudinally incompressible layer such as a helical winding or a sheaf of steel wire, and a protective outer covering.
The linear movement of the inner cable is most often used to transmit a pulling force, although push/pull cables have gained popularity in recent years e.g. as gear shift cables. Many light aircraft use a push/pull bowden cable for the throttle control, and here it is normal for the inner element to be solid wire, rather than a multi-strand cable. Usually provision is made for adjusting the cable tension using an inline hollow bolt (often called a "barrel adjuster"), which lengthens or shortens the cable housing relative to a fixed anchor point. Lengthening the housing (turning the barrel adjuster out) tightens the cable; shortening the housing (turning the barrel adjuster in) loosens the cable.