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Cable housing, friction shifting

Old 01-06-22, 08:29 AM
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ehcoplex
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Cable housing, friction shifting

Maybe a dumb question.... back in the day of friction shifting, were brake and shifter cable housings the same thing, or different as they are now? (I understand why they're different now, in the age of indexing, etc)
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Old 01-06-22, 09:08 AM
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that's my recollection.
It was all just spiral wound metal with a plastic outer layer.. except for the nifty stainless steel wound housing used for rear derailleurs sometimes.
Of course, it was common to use very little cable housing for derailleurs. With downtube shift levers, about the only derailleur housing that was needed was right at the rear derailleur.

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Old 01-06-22, 09:57 AM
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Some companies did use different diameter housing for brake and shift systems, notably Schwinn. Still the same basic design, though.
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Old 01-06-22, 10:13 AM
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For some old-school builds, I still like to use the bare coiled steel housing for the RD loop. Supposedly it drains off the wet stuff, but I also put a dab of grease on the shifter cable to ensure smooth passage.
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Old 01-06-22, 12:36 PM
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I use brake cable housing for my friction shifting, because it's more flexible, cost efficient, more easily available, and perfectly matches in color the rest of the housing on the bike.

Also, shift housing often separates uncontrollably when not using the exactly correct diameter ferrule, an ugly problem you needn't worry about with brake cable housing.
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Old 01-06-22, 01:11 PM
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Old 01-06-22, 01:28 PM
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Ah, of course- I didn't think about the fact that most/many BITD bikes had down-tube shifters and no cable housing other than from the chain-stay to the RD... Mainly wondering because I have a bunch of old, unused brake housing I was wondering about using on my PX-10 refurb- but of course, it's really just the little bit at the RD that needs something, and the bare steel housing would look apropos there...
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Old 01-07-22, 05:30 AM
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My late-50s/early-60s Frejus TdF originally had full housing for the derailleurs. When I got it the previous owner had cobbled together some combination of barrel adjusters and funny little ferrules to eliminate most of it. I returned it to stock. The shifter housing is definitely smaller diameter than the brake housing. (Fortunately, it appears Schwinn bought similar housing from Huret that matches the brake housing (a small crosshatch detail), so I was able to get pretty good matchy matchy.

I don't have any good photos of that part of the bike, but in this shot you can see that the "cable stop" on the drive side chainstay isn't a stop at all. It just guides the housing to the real stop on the derailleur.

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