That is an interesting question, I have never measured it. If the cable moves well, the only thing you are pulling against are the springs and any friction in the step-slide assembly. You can use a pull-scale at the cable shear link in the nose gear attach, then try same tool with a harness attached to bottom of the step; with a little math, that would tell us what the spring and friction in the slide are. Please post your results. Thank you.
That IS an interesting question! It must be a fair amount of tension, as the “bang” the step makes when the cable breaks and the step slams up into the stops will really wake you up. My wife almost jumped out of the airplane! I find that new cables last longer if you lube them with a good quality grease before you slide them into the housing. Don’t forget to use the proper shear link at the nose gear.