Cable routing rant- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cable routing rant

    Just wanting to question traditional cable routing:

    1) Why are cables angled anyways but towards the direction of where the frame's routing traditionally is, from handlebar mounted components? (ex. forward/downward on brake levers and shifters)

    2) Why do some cables still cross over to the other side of the frame, especially considering bars are much wider today?

    3) Why aren't cables secured closer to the front of the frame, at the side of the headtube, similar to Turner carbon frames?

    4) Why don't more brands route cables from the top of the down tube, over the BB, and if it's FS, alongside the main/lower pivot?

    Brake levers, gear shifters, dropper post remotes, headlight power lines, remote lock-outs... isn't it time to rethink a functional, yet more elegant way to control all these lines better?

    Any know of other fine examples of cable routing out there* to learn from, that can be applied to mtb? Can't someone invent something that clamps to the steerer in place of a headset spacer, that tames all the cables under the stem? Maybe standardize some sort of mounting for accessories on the stem...
    *doesn't have to be from the mtb industry


    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cable routing rant-cableroutingratsnest.jpg  

    Cable routing rant-cableroutingturnerheadtube.jpg  

    Cable routing rant-cableroutingabovedowntube.jpg  


  2. #2
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I ride a fixed gear with no brakes. I ain't seen no cable problem.

  3. #3
    Wanna ride bikes?
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    fixed will fix all your problems.
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  4. #4
    I Tried Them ALL... SuperModerator
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    Because when bikes do crash, the rider is often no longer holding the bars. Bars need to freely turn slightly more than 90 degrees in either direction...or risk ripping cables clean off shifters and brakes.
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  5. #5
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    When cables rub against the frame or against each other, the cable housings and your frame will wear. The best routing is where the cables don't rub, and they are as short as reasonably possible. That's why some cross their derailleur cables.

  6. #6
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    I'm very fussy about cabling and try to come up with the optimum for each situation. Crossing can sometimes help reduce sharp bends or make a straighter shot for the cable which can reduce drag and prolong life. It depends on the details of the situation. For hoses, of course, it doesn't matter as long as they don't kink. I always make mine long enough to turn the bars as far as they can go or 180 degrees, whichever is less.

    Some new road bikes totally integrate the cables internally, like the Trek Madone, Venge Vias, and some TT bikes. In my experience, the additional turns and small radius of the turns increases friction and reduces cable life, which kinda sux because it's such a pain to cable these bikes in the first place. Electronic is an improvement, and wireless electronic is better yet. As far as shifting goes, 1X solves half the problem.

  7. #7
    Duck Fonald
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    I'm very fussy about cabling and try to come up with the optimum for each situation. Crossing can sometimes help reduce sharp bends or make a straighter shot for the cable which can reduce drag and prolong life. It depends on the details of the situation. For hoses, of course, it doesn't matter as long as they don't kink. I always make mine long enough to turn the bars as far as they can go or 180 degrees, whichever is less.

    Some new road bikes totally integrate the cables internally, like the Trek Madone, Venge Vias, and some TT bikes. In my experience, the additional turns and small radius of the turns increases friction and reduces cable life, which kinda sux because it's such a pain to cable these bikes in the first place. Electronic is an improvement, and wireless electronic is better yet. As far as shifting goes, 1X solves half the problem.
    Yeah, I was in my local shop yesterday and the mech was ranting about a road bike he had to route all the cables internally. He said loudly, "It was a pain in the @ss!"

    Then, just to make sure I heard, he said, "A pain in the @SS!!!"

    At that point, he didn't care if customers heard or not.
    "Nobody likes me."

    DJT

  8. #8
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    ^ The mech is right.

  9. #9
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    It's like a small victory the first time you "get it", with some internal routing. But after that, it's just a struggle when you are trying to work on a tight schedule and time matters... I can sympathize with the frustration.

    I honestly don't mind under-the-downtube routing, like found on Spec bikes. It's cheap downtube protection too, as long as you're not experiencing brake line hose ruptures in a rare situation where people seem to imagine it being a serious possibility.

    Just wondering if this could be better, and people aren't being limited to thinking within some box dictated by tradition ("it's always been this way").

    Kind of extreme to fix this issue through elimination, yet creating a new problematic issue that presents itself when you look into the bathroom mirror (ahem, fixie hipsters). I kid! I kid! I'm not making fun of the bikes, just the culture. Not like fixies require you to look like you shop at a thrift store and be less concerned with personal hygiene...

    Again, I'm more interested in why there's big loops in front of the bars, and weird looping going around the BB area. For example, the newest Yeti SBs seem to hide cables extremely well, while the earlier SBs seem to risk rubbing between the swingarm struts and the swing-link, and also the most forward cable secure point is well behind the head tube, which doesn't seem ideal. So expensive, yet the attention to detail seems to be focused elsewhere. Ibis, Santa Cruz, Niner, and others seem to do some weird stuff from the down tube, to the underside of the seatstay part of the swingarm. While Ibis's solution looks neat, those sharp bends can't be good for long term smooth shifting.

    How about expanding on something as seen here (looks like a simple plate that hangs on the stem's lower faceplate bolts, that the cables are routed through): Loris Vergier's 100% Aircraft Helmet - PIT BITS - Lenzerheide World Cup - Mountain Biking Pictures - Vital MTB
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cable routing rant-cableroutingweirdbbarea.jpg  


  10. #10
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    Know who's to blame for internal routing? The buying public. "Oh, look at that, that bike has it's cables routed internally...I want a bike that has internal routing!"

  11. #11
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    I think right hand front brake makes it easier. In fact until I rode a Norwegian friend's bike I had no idea anyone put the front brake on the left.
    Specialized need a bit of slack under the BB. I've made the mistake of having them too tight, reduced travel by about 30mm!
    I like internal rounting, though only my dropper currently is. I can't wait for XT Di2, it looks super clean if you can hide the battery.

  12. #12
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    I'm waiting for mtb eTap...integrated with a wireless dropper and lockouts. The only thing left would be brake hoses.

  13. #13
    since 4/10/2009
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    Salsa did a pretty good job with the routing on my Bucksaw.

    Not pictured: semi-internal dropper post routing

    Salsa Bucksaw by Nate, on Flickr

    Aside from the bend off the handlebars, the shift cable is quite straight (the yellow one) and is butter smooth. Brake hoses are similarly straight. Only one that isn't is the dropper. It runs down the top of the downtube, and then has a bend where it curves upward to enter the port near the bottom of the seat tube where it goes internal.

  14. #14
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    The Trek Stache has almost identical routing, the dropper, rear brake and rear derailleur cables run down the top of the downtube and go their separate ways below the water bottle mount. All secured by zip-ties, so no hardware to loosen or lose, and you can slide the dropper housing to remove the seatpost without messing with anything else.

    It may not be the prettiest when you get up close and look at it, but it's simple and relatively unobtrusive, especially on a black frame.

  15. #15
    I hate that name.
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    The "loops" are slack in the cables to allow movement as the bars turn. I've worked on bikes whose owners didn't like the look of all the cables hanging free, so they ziptied them all together, or worse, down to the frame. And then wondered why turning the bars too far would apply the brakes or shift the gears.
    Worked at Trek/Fisher dealer 2008-2013. Only a little biased.

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