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  1. #1
    Sensuous Man Devotion's Avatar
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    A History of Colored Brake Cable Housing?

    "Campagnolo gray" seems to be the most common choice for "period correct" re-builds around these parts, but I do, on occasion see a much older bike with a color-coordinated brake cable housing (red, yellow, etc.) This leads me to the following questions:
    When did colored housings become available? And when were they most popular? Were they ever more prominant (in the pro peloton or at the local level)that good ol' Campy gray? If so, was this a passing fad? Or has there always been a small percentage of folks who chose to personalize their bikes in
    this fashion?
    And speaking of fashion, what was the color of choice in the mid-80's, just before brake cable routing became aero? I ask because I am rebuilding a buddy's 84/85 Pinarello Montello. I think Campy gray will look best, contrasting the black Ambrosio Bike Ribbon...but perhaps black is "right"?

  2. #2
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Grey? Black? Where's your sense of adventure? Post pictures and then we'll help you decide. You'll easily have a dozen possibilities by the end of the day. And we'll suggust bar tape color, Brooks saddle possibilities, fender options, etc., etc. We enjoy designing other people's bikes!
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  3. #3
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    My very first exposure to colored cable housing... other than gray, black, white or clear was on a mid eighties Huffy Omni-10, it was blue. Blue frame, housing, seat, bar tape and tires. Ugh, did I mention it was cheap too.

    IMHO, colored housing either looks cheap or spot on no middle ground. YMMV

  4. #4
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    OEM & aftermarket coloured housings have been fairly popular ever since the mid 70's ( esp by the bmx market) and remained so until after the advent of indexing. nearly all early brake and derailleur housings utilised a spiral wound wire core construction which exhibited too much compression to be suitable for the newer indexed systems. as indexing took over the market, and each component manufacturer began specifying their own dedicated cable and housing products for proper performance, the demand all but evaporated for aftermarket cable goods and with them, their coloured housing options.
    fwiw- atm, i personally use a shimano sante' pearl brake housing on one bike to match its white benotto cello handlebar tape. I had to purchase a complete NOS sante' brakeset to get them and then sold off the brakeset sans cables.

    Last edited by caterham; 01-29-08 at 06:11 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devotion View Post
    ...what was the color of choice in the mid-80's, just before brake cable routing became aero?
    ... I am rebuilding a buddy's 84/85 Pinarello Montello.
    Campy white ,of course

    http://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Cat...arello85/4.jpg

  6. #6
    Senior Member buddyp's Avatar
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    when I originally built up my derosa in the early 80s I used yellow housing to match the yellow benotto cello tape. My ex's custom with the radical fade had white cable to match the white benotto tape. IIRC it was the in thing to do, at least in my neck of the woods
    Last edited by buddyp; 01-29-08 at 09:49 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bikedued's Avatar
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    The color on 75% of the bikes I find from the mid 80's is clear. Followed closely by white. Every once in a while I find one with blue or yellow, but not very often. Black is boring on most bikes. Fortunately some bike shops are beginning to figure this out finally, after a decade of only stocking black.,,,,BD
    The one good thing about black cork wrap is that it's better than nothing.

  8. #8
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    seems to me that the colour of the bike largely determined what colour housing was used- even the manufacturers went so far as selling special coloured cables as OEM contrasting for various paint schemes & models within their lines.

    for example-black bikes usually received yellow,red or white housings, silver bikes got red, blue or black, blue bikes got black,white or yellow, green bikes were often fitted with brown /tan or yellow, red bikes with black, white, yellow, or silver, etc.
    there was even one company that did 2 & 3 colour candy-striped housings and many did metallics, translucents, clears and later, neons.
    and of course, bianchi had a celeste .
    Last edited by caterham; 01-29-08 at 06:06 AM.

  9. #9
    Old Skeptic stronglight's Avatar
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    By the 1980s, fancy pantographing and detailing of some bikes had gotten very dramatic, and there were quite a few color options available, but they were mostly for aftermarket application. I know by the early 1980s I had seen quite a few very high-end Italian bikes with dramatic cable colors to match decals and graphics (DeRosa comes to mind, right away). And of course on the commercially sponsored racing teams they also made some effort to match all the bikes to the company preferred colors.

    Peugeot was very fond of white housing during the 1970s, and my black with red Motobecane Grand Record originally had red housings. Otherwise, Black, Gray (Silver) or simply Clear transparent plastic (which quickly yellowed) were the most common colors I recall seeing.

    Here is a page from a 1986 Dia-Compe Catalog showing a whole crayola box worth of available housing colors. I'd really love to find some of those hues!

    BIG Image Here


  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    In the 1960s, everything was either gray, white, or Campagnolo unsheathed stainless. I first noticed black on ca. 1970 Japanese bikes. I started buying and using color-keyed (mostly red) cable housing in the early 1970s. For the bikes with Campagnolo derailleurs, unsheathed stainless is the obvious choice for the gear cables.

    I currently run white brake cables on the two ca. 1960 bikes and black on the three 1970s and 1980s bikes, all of which seem historically accurate. Red might be fun on Capo #2 or the Peugeot, but I do not even know where to look for it.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  11. #11
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    My 87 panasonic came with pink housing before I made it a fixie.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  12. #12
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    ...Red might be fun on Capo #2 or the Peugeot, but I do not even know where to look for it.
    John,

    Red is not hard to find;

    http://www.loosescrews.com/index.cgi...&id=5797974359
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  13. #13
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    being chromatically challenged I never thought there was a need
    for more than black white or grey.
    However I do recall seeing mulihued housing mid to late 70's.
    but then I saw lots of multi hued things in the 70's but thats another
    story
    Marty
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  14. #14
    Sensuous Man Devotion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caterham View Post
    Don't get me wrong, I love colored housing as much as the next guy. I searched the world for the right shade of "golden yellow" for my '83 Tommasini and built my girlfriend's '72 Hugh Porter with red.
    And while I am a big fan of 80's bikes, NO white bar wrap, saddles or housing for this guy!...
    The saddle and bar wrap on the Montello are both black. So my question is, would either gray or black have been the more common choice for replacement in 1985?

  15. #15
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    black- gray was soooo 'out' by then


    http://www.bulgier.net/pics/bike/Cat...arello85/7.jpg
    Last edited by caterham; 01-29-08 at 07:16 AM.

  16. #16
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    "And we'll suggust bar tape color, Brooks saddle possibilities, fender options, etc., etc." QUOTE.

    "PASTORBOB" !

    "FENDER OPTIONS", on a Pinarello Montello?!

    Have some mercy!


    Regards,
    J T

    (LOL)

  17. #17
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
    John, Red is not hard to find; ...
    Yup, I should have checked this source. Thanks, Reverend!
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  18. #18
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    I tend to match my cable housing to my bar tape, which is matched to the logo of the bike.

    Not sure about the history of this though..
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    yellow was popular in the 70s.

  20. #20
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    I wish the clear were still available, myself. What, was it shown to cause cancer?

  21. #21
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J T CUNNINGHAM View Post
    "And we'll suggust bar tape color, Brooks saddle possibilities, fender options, etc., etc." QUOTE.

    "PASTORBOB" !

    "FENDER OPTIONS", on a Pinarello Montello?!

    Have some mercy!


    Regards,
    J T

    (LOL)
    Ya did see my winky smilie?
    Bob
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  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    "Have some mercy!" MY QUOTE/YOUR QUOTE.

    Mercy, mercy, mercy me!

    You are forgiven Teacher. (I hope that I am!)


    Regards,
    J T

  23. #23
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I must be going to the wrong bike shops. Everytime I ask for a cable housing they quote Henry Ford during his model T years, "Any color you want as long as its black".
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  24. #24
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J T CUNNINGHAM View Post
    "Have some mercy!" MY QUOTE/YOUR QUOTE.

    Mercy, mercy, mercy me!

    You are forgiven Teacher. (I hope that I am!)


    Regards,
    J T
    Mercy, grace, love, compasion, understanding, redemption, and all of the above!
    Bob
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  25. #25
    Plastids
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    Cable housing color? Try Krylon spray paint.

    When I needed just the right shade of green cable housing, I bought a can of Krylon rattle can spray paint and painted some black housing. I gave it two coats and let it dry for several days. Although I rarely rode the bike, the paint held up fine for two years (then I sold the bike). The worse that can happen is you are out a few bucks for housing and paint.

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