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Integrated cable routing

Old 09-20-23, 09:32 PM
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Integrated cable routing

Because I'm not sure where else to ask, and I'd rather start by being an idiot on the internet than start by being an idiot IRL: I'm interested in getting a custom Ti frame, but I like the aesthetic of fully hidden cables (not interested in electronic shifting: mechanical shifting and hydraulic brakes, please). There is a local frame builder who builds beautiful custom Ti frames, but as far as I can see all his examples are external routing. How much different is it to build a frame that can accommodate internal routing?
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Old 09-21-23, 03:47 AM
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Don't do it. I know it looks clean to not have any cables showing, but it is a nightmare to work on and shifting performance usually suffers. I've done a few internally routed frames for myself and I will never do it again. All of my current frames get externally routed cables now and the Off Road frames (gravel and MTB) get full length cable housing with bolt-on cable guides. It doesn't look as cool, but it works flawlessly and is easy to maintain.
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Old 09-21-23, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul
Don't do it. I know it looks clean to not have any cables showing, but it is a nightmare to work on and shifting performance usually suffers. I've done a few internally routed frames for myself and I will never do it again. All of my current frames get externally routed cables now and the Off Road frames (gravel and MTB) get full length cable housing with bolt-on cable guides. It doesn't look as cool, but it works flawlessly and is easy to maintain.
Is it a nightmare in terms of threading cable housing and building the bike, or is there also significantly more maintenance? My intention is to buy a frame and then spend a few weeks in the off season building it up. I'm not worried about it being a bit (even quite a bit) harder to build.
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Old 09-21-23, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by One Wheel
Is it a nightmare in terms of threading cable housing and building the bike, or is there also significantly more maintenance? My intention is to buy a frame and then spend a few weeks in the off season building it up. I'm not worried about it being a bit (even quite a bit) harder to build.

Building the bike is definitely a nightmare. It doesn't add any more maintenance, but it makes it more difficult to do maintenance like changing cables. Hydraulic brake lines are a pain to have to cut and put new barbs and olives after running the hose. If you run cable brakes, there is a good chance that the rear brake cable will rattle inside the frame, because its not under tension unless you are braking.
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Old 09-21-23, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul
Building the bike is definitely a nightmare. It doesn't add any more maintenance, but it makes it more difficult to do maintenance like changing cables. Hydraulic brake lines are a pain to have to cut and put new barbs and olives after running the hose. If you run cable brakes, there is a good chance that the rear brake cable will rattle inside the frame, because its not under tension unless you are braking.
Those sound like serious issues . . . In other applications. I'm not planning on running cable-actuated brakes, and I have rainy days in April- November and cold, snowy days in December- April when to be entirely honest I want to bring my bike down to the basement and tinker. If it's something that will drastically increase the number of instances of downtime that would be a negative, but what I've heard so far I'm not unconvinced. So how much harder is it to make a frame that can accommodate integrated cabling?
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Old 09-21-23, 09:17 AM
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I am building my first frame to have internal brake routing*. I have always been against the idea, but I decided to branch out.

I would ask the builder if they do internal routing. Some people do internal routing of everything and some very wise people don't.

*I almost changed my mind about this. If I had an extra top tube that matched Columbus SL a little better, I would have used that instead. But the frame has been sitting around mitered for at least 4 years, so I think I will finally build it.

Last edited by unterhausen; 09-22-23 at 07:25 AM.
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