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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    shifter cable housing question

    i just picked up a niner and it has solid casing shifter cables on it. There zip tied the frame because it looks like it takes the split type cables to fit into the mounts. Can you purchase cables with the casing already cut or do you have to do it yourself. im not having any luck finding cables that aren't completely enclosed

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    You have to do it yourself or the shop. Given your question, I'm guessing you are new to this, so better off going to the shop. Besides that, full housing is the way to go in my opinion, it might not look cool however, if your bike is not fit for that, but it lets you run for much longer without having to replace/maintain the cables.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Yup new to all this. Bike I have been riding already had the split cables on it. I will most likely leave the full cable housing on there

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Welcome to the MTB world mxracer394!

    I'll help you out with some vocab here:
    The black stuff (what you called the "casing") is usually referred to as housing. There is cable housing that is usually 4mm and there is brake housing that is usually 5mm. But if you have hydraulic disk brakes on your bike you will just have hydraulic hose for the brakes.

    As far as your question goes, there are two lines of thought-

    1) the more enclosed the cable is inside the housing (less breaks in the housing where the cable is exposed and visible) means more friction on the cable and slower shifting. Full-housing = less than perfect shifting. Don't get me wrong, it still works and setup correctly can work really well, but to the trained mechanic or enthusiast, it will feel a hair sluggish.

    2) the dirt, dust and mud of mountain biking gum up exposed cables and impede shifting. The more exposed cable you have, the more opportunity you have for grime to enter the housing and create drag that KILLS shifting. Full-housing = a "sealed system." Full-housing doesn't mean that its impossible for dirt to get into the housing, but it dramatically cuts down on it. On a full suspension bike, there are a lot of moving parts. Its also handy to have the cables house for these applications to route it around the moving bits and allow it to bend, etc.

    If you look at XC bikes where shifting performance and weight are of the highest priority, full-housing for the shifters is not standard.
    Long travel bikes like trial, enduro and downhill run full-housing. Protecting those cables is high priority.

    Ultimately, for myself, I ride in a lot of dusty conditions in the summer and wet conditions in the winter. I don't want to have to change cables too often. If my bike had the opportunity to run fully housed cables, I would do it.

    Hope that helps!
    Marketing Intern Performance Sports and Hobbies

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