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Old 06-15-06, 01:48 PM   #1
TallRider
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need longer brake cable housing when upgrading to aero road brake levers?

I've been away from internet for two and a half weeks, traveling and camping and hiking at a bunch of national parks out west, and am now in Michigan at my parents' house, and my mom wants her touring bike updated to aero brake levers (not brifters, just switching from road brake levers with exposed cable housing to road brake levers with cable housing routed underneath the handlebar tape). I would also be replacing her current 80mm quill stem with a 60mm quill stem, since her bike's top tube is way too long for her.

My only worry is that cable housing may need to be longer when using aero brake levers and routing cable housing underneath the bar tape, and I don't have any extra cables or housing with me.

So, simple question. Anyone have estimates of how much longer (if any) cable housing needs to be when going from non-aero to aero road brake levers?

Thanks much,

TC
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Old 06-15-06, 01:52 PM   #2
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I think you will be okay, since the cable now makes those big loops from the tops of the levers.
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Old 06-15-06, 02:33 PM   #3
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I'd thought that too, previously, demoncyclist, but one time when I'd done such a conversion, I needed longer cable housing when updating to aero levers. Which surprised me. But I don't remember how much longer, and this may be offset by switching to a stem with 20mm shorter extension, so I may be okay.

But I'd like to be pretty confident that this will work before doing it.

15-20 years ago would have been a much better time for me to ask this question (if the internet had existed on any widely available scale then) because lots of people then had experience upgrading non-aero levers to aero. Today, not many people do, because non-aero levers are basically dinosaurs.

Anyway, if anyone does have specific knowledge on this, I'd much appreciate hearing it. And I realize there's a fair bit of fudge in the equation, because cable housing could vary a lot in length for non-aero levers, and still work fine, whereas there's not much possible variation in cable housing length when housing is routed under the handlebars.
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Old 06-15-06, 03:01 PM   #4
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I don't know the answer, but since full cable sets (brakes and derailleur cables) can be had at Wally World for around $5, I would go ahead and replace all the cables while I was doing the rest of the work.

The down side is that I have only seen black cable housings at *Mart and I don't know if that is an issue for you.
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Old 06-15-06, 03:05 PM   #5
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Estimate? It could be longer than needed, shorter than needed or the right length. Seriously it's impossible to tell unless you measure everything. But if you've done that it'd probably be easier just to dry fit a section of housing and you'll easily be able to tell.

New cable set is like $10...
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Old 06-15-06, 04:24 PM   #6
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You are going to the time and expense of upgrading your brake levers and you're contemplating reusing your scuzzy old cable housing? Yuck!
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Old 06-16-06, 09:14 AM   #7
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My parents live in rural Michigan, toward the top of the "thumb". There is a Wal-Mart 20 miles away, but I called (thanks for the tip) and they don't have brake cable housing sets. I've not spent much on the upgrade materials - $15 for levers and $5 for bar tape. So that's not a problem. I'll probably give it a try, and if it doesn't work, put the old levers (with the replacement stem) back on.
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Old 06-16-06, 10:22 AM   #8
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Take a piece of string and lay it along the bars from the new aero brake lever position and back to the cable anchor stop or rhe front brake adjusrter thimble. Cut it to the proper length (add about 1" to account for the housing end being tucked into the lever. Compair that string to the current housing for length.

How long are you going to be at your folks? Prefbar can ship new cables, housing, etc. overnight or second day for a premium shipping fee if all else fails.

BTW, I liked your previous Avatars better!
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Old 06-16-06, 10:36 AM   #9
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The string suggestion is very good - thanks.

I'm going to switch my avatar to something when I return to NC, on Saturday (so, no time to get cable housing). It was just my hair balooning after I took out the braids. The hair just stayed like that until I washed it, but it was hilarious. My hair is cut quite short now, zero-maintenance.
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