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Full length brake cable

Old 01-09-15, 07:44 AM
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Full length brake cable

Hey folks, who all is running full length brake cable on drop bar bikes with discs? Specifically, 4600 Tiagra and BB7 Road calipers. I'm thinking about going with compressionless Jagwire cable vice the crap that came on the bike.

A few questions:
1. Should I go full length?
2. If I go full length, should I go around the old cable stops, or drill them out to make them cable guides?
3. Is the Jagwire Ripcord cable worth my time?
4. Bike came with white cables. Has a white frame with light blue accent decals. Should I stick with white, go black, or some other color?
5. Is it worth my time/effort to replace the 10" section under the bar tape before the inline adjuster, or should I not bother with that piece until I need to do tape anyway?

Thanks!
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Old 01-09-15, 09:57 AM
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1 you choose 2 Zip ties or tape will do fine

Jagwire Ripcord housing is made in these colors
https://jagwire.com/products/v/mountain_pro_brake

regular brake housing is cheaper and uses a coil of square wire and has been adequate for decades before the cable disc brake on bikes was invented ..
I have regular housing on my Disc Bike Friday .. brake and Shift

If you write software code , and get $50+ an hour... it's probably Not worth your time ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-10-15 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 01-09-15, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by SpeedyStein
Hey folks, who all is running full length brake cable on drop bar bikes with discs? Specifically, 4600 Tiagra and BB7 Road calipers. I'm thinking about going with compressionless Jagwire cable vice the crap that came on the bike.

A few questions:
1. Should I go full length?
2. If I go full length, should I go around the old cable stops, or drill them out to make them cable guides?
3. Is the Jagwire Ripcord cable worth my time?
4. Bike came with white cables. Has a white frame with light blue accent decals. Should I stick with white, go black, or some other color?
5. Is it worth my time/effort to replace the 10" section under the bar tape before the inline adjuster, or should I not bother with that piece until I need to do tape anyway?

Thanks!
1. Why? If you already have cable stops, I don't see how full length housing does anything except complicate things.
2. Be kind to the next owner of your frame and just go around the stops.
3. I find the difference in compressionless brake cable on my road bike (with dual pivot calipers) is noticeable, but not so great that I felt compelled to use it on my other 3 bikes.
4. Never ask an engineer for fashion advice.
5. Comes down to what are you hoping to achieve. That's where at least a third of your housing compression is happening now (the cable stops on the top tube make that run effectively compressionless). We're not talking about a night and day improvement to begin with, so can you live with only 60% of a modest improvement?
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Old 01-09-15, 11:19 AM
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I run full length Ripcord housing not just on my bike with disc brakes but also on one of my CX bikes with cantis. The Ripcord definitely makes a huge difference. I can't say how much the full length housing matters because both bikes have always had it that way.

The big thing with full length housing is that keeps dirt and mud off your cables, reducing friction. If my bike wasn't set up for it, I don't think I'd make any mods to allow it. On the other hand, if you do make the mods you'll be ready for a future upgrade to hydraulic brakes.

I think the bits under the tape will make some difference. If you plan to keep the inline adjusters (not really as necessary as Avid claims IMO), you could try it without replacing that and see what you think. The downside is that it could sour your opinion of the Ripcord investment if it did have a big impact.

I'd probably go with a contrasting color if my bike were white, maybe blue to go with the accents, but that's a personal choice.
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Old 01-09-15, 09:42 PM
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Hey guys, thanks for the responses!

Fietsbob, I am not in software, and don't make anywhere near $50/hr! I spend way more time on my bike than in my car, so I think little upgrades here and there are justified, especially if it makes a noticeable difference.

Kopsis, I think full length housing makes things easier, cause then I only have to trim 2 ends, rather than 6 when I change cables. Plus, that's only 2 ends to worry about fraying/bulging/doing the weird things that brake cables do after a while. Also, I don't intend to remove the stops completely, just drill out the "stop" and use the barrel shape to hold the cable in place. MTB guys do it pretty regularly, especially when they upgrade from mechanical to hydraulic calipers. If done properly, no one will ever tell that it used to be a stop. With my final question, you make a great point - that is actually one of the longer pieces of housing, now that I look closer. The brakes on this bike are powerful, with pretty good modulation, and they are fairly easy to adjust... but they go out of adjustment pretty quickly. There is a definite squish factor in the cable also, and I think going to a compression-less cable should take most of that squish factor out and improve modulation. I read an article a while ago that stated the BB7 was particularly finicky when it came to getting the adjustment just right, and that single run, compression-less cable was a contributing factor.

Andy K,
You get it! This bike is my do everything bike, so I might as well make it easy to maintain - ie not worry about dirt/grime/muck in the brake cables. I ride everywhere... asphalt, dirt, mud, gravel, grass, you name it.

I have been eyeing over the hydraulic brake/shift levers from Gevenalle... I don't think this bike will get those unless the STI shifters bite the dust way earlier than expected, but certainly if I ever build up something a little more worthy... I can see myself on a Surly Straggler/Singular Gryphon/Salsa Fargo with a set of those.

I like the idea of removing the inline adjusters, since they don't really seem necessary. There are other ways to adjust these brakes. Avid probably has shop techs/new bike assemblers in mind when it comes to the inline brake adjusters - make adjusting as easy and quick as possible.

As for color, I like the blue Jagwire, good suggestion!

Also, general question about compressionless cable: How is the service life compared to traditional cable?
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Old 01-09-15, 09:45 PM
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When I had cabe discs on the mountain bike, I ran it that way for a couple of years just changing the inner cable. They will work a long time
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Old 01-10-15, 06:31 PM
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There is the Hy Rd caliper Too the actuator is Hydraulic so the cable force requirement can be a Lot less

taking away the requirement to have low compression housing.

MTB guys do it pretty regularly, especially when they upgrade from mechanical to hydraulic calipers.
but that means taking a Pre bled brake set tearing it down, Buying and putting New Olives on both ends to get it to seal again.
then Putting it all back together and Bleeding the air Out etc.

The new Bikes just use zip tie down (or C clips) on their Braze/bonded on fittings these days

What is your time worth was the basic question..
Earning more than the people in the Bike Shop that will do the work, instead, is a pretty Low Barrier .

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-10-15 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 01-10-15, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
What is your time worth was the basic question..
Earning more than the people in the Bike Shop that will do the work, instead, is a pretty Low Barrier .
I should have clarified in my original post. I was not referring to if I get paid more than the folks at the bike shop. I enjoy working on things, so I fully intend to do this project myself. I was really trying to ask if that specific cable is any good, and if I should bother removing the bar tape and replacing that section as well, since it isn't that long of a piece.
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Old 01-11-15, 12:30 PM
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My wife's cross bike runs mechanical discs with SRAM Rival. I do the more or less usual thing and run full housing to the front and interrupted housing using stock cable stops to the back. It hasn't seen much mud but the only exposed cable is the run along the top tube so I don't expect any trouble. I redid her bar tape at build time since we were doing a full changeover from Shimano to SRAM shifters and removing the crosstop brake levers at the time. In my opinion full housing is a mixed bag, on the one hand it does keep crud out, but if crud does get in it's a lot harder to clean out and you have to replace the whole piece if it's contaminated instead of just replacing the contaminated section of interrupted housing.
I think you are OK leaving the old housing under the tape as long you don't mind having a break in the housing. I've heard of people deliberately doing that so they can replace housing without disturbing the bar tape, and you can get double ended ferrules to replace the inline adjusters if you want a cleaner setup. We didn't need adjusters because her bike uses Hayes CX-5 brakes which have a barrel adjuster on the caliper.
The Jagwire Ripcord cable is probably overkill, we used Jagwire Racer Kits since it was the only readily available pink housing and the brake housing had reduced diameter ends for a cleaner fit under the bar tape.
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Old 01-11-15, 01:32 PM
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I don't run a setup like that but I do work in one of the top shops here so I'll pass on some information and you can make your own decisions.

(1) Jagwire Ripcord is Kevlar reinforced compressionless cable housing and can be used for brake cables or shifter cables. It's standard issue in a Jagwire Racer Kit.
(2) Full length cable runs are exactly where you'd have the most compression if you used anything EXCEPT compressionless housing. So if you go full length housing with anything else you'll actually DEGRADE your performance.
(3) Nosed ferrules with plastic tubing over the cable between them are as effective as full length housing for keeping dirt and contamination out of the cable run.
(4) The liner inside your cable experiences most wear at bends and interfaces. Liner wear is the source of most friction issues with SS cables. So if you think about it, that short piece of cable you're thinking about NOT replacing should actually be at the top of the list of items to replace.
(5) You have to cut those cable housing in any case and a Jagwire Racer Kit comes with a 4" spiral wound tip already swaged to one end of the cable to facilitate the tight bend (under the tape) as it exits the brifter. Why not take advantage of it?
(6) Pimp your bike - go with the blue - it'll look hot!!
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Old 01-11-15, 02:22 PM
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QBP stocks Black (only) in a 25 foot roll Jagwire Ripcord Universal Housing > Components > Cables and Housing | Jenson USA a bit over $2 a foot, when bought in the roll..
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