Cable organization perfection: resistance is futile..

La Vie Velominatus: Cable Obsession

La Vie Velominatus: Cable Obsession

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I’m fluent in three languages: Dutch, English, and Hyperbole. The third is an acquired talent developed by creative and narcissistic tendencies; the narcissism feeds a belief that normal words can’t properly describe the magnitude of my experiences, and the creativity struggles to cope with restrictive paradigms like “facts” and “reality”. I have also been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder which, when taken with everything else, suggests that my darling partner exhibits some questionable judgement.

I have a visceral response to clutter; when I see things out of order, my insides turn about themselves and cause me physical discomfort. If the clutter escalates to becoming a “mess”, my mood changes and I become irritable. This applies to everything from our house, my workshop, my office, desk space, my computer desktop, my briefcase, and my bicycles’ cable organization. I don’t have to tell you that the last one is the only one that really matters.

The tidiness of the cables on a bicycle are one of several key factors that elevate the Velominatus above the Common Cyclist. The old style of STI shifters and their protruding cables were barbaric; they represented a principle reason for my dislike of Shimano’s system. Campagnolo took a few extra years to produce the Ergo shifters, and I am quite convinced they spent that extra time sorting out how to internally route the cables.

The organization of a rider’s cables and the length to which they are trimmed is a critical detail to which we must all pay close attention. No matter how beautiful the bike, disheveled cables will always bring it down. I hereby give you the V Principles of Cable Routing:

  1. It is of paramount importance that the housing exit the bar tape at precisely opposite points on the bars. This extends beyond the cables taken in aggregate, and applies to both the brake and shift housing meaning that if they are routed together, the brake cable must always be below the shift cable, and if they are route front/back on the bars, they must both be routed in the same fashion.
  2. The housing must be organized such that they mimic and mirror each other’s curves to the maximum capability of the frame and application. This is to say that housing intersections and contact points must be minimized and under no circumstances may a shift-brake cable pair be split by another cable running from its mirrored set.
  3. Cable housing must be cut to the shortest length possible while still allowing full movement of the handlebars. It must, however, be cut long enough to allow that the cables run in a smooth curve at all points, minimizing friction. The shift cables should be cut such that they overlap only slightly; the ideal is that they just kiss each other at the apex of their arch to the frame.
  4. Inner cables must be cut to a length not exceeding 2cm. The ideal length is 1.5 times the length of the cable end.
  5. Cable ends will always be crimped using a crimping tool. Extra points awarded for a diagonal double-crimp. Under no circumstances are frayed cables to be tolerated.

Go with Merckx, and do not violate these principles. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

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// La Vie Velominatus

  1. @brett

    So you are quoting a pro mechanic to contradict another pro mechanic, and then saying that pro mechanics shouldn’t be asked. You can’t buy that kind of convenience just anywhere. You need a 7-11 for that.

    Also, your own quote from today:

    Front brake cable goes in front of everything else. Ask any mechanic.

    Honestly, I could give two shits if you put them in front or behind – its a matter of preference and what works best for your setup.

    Just don’t split the pairs up like a barbarian.

  2. @Barracuda Easy solution: Just ask your LBS for some.

  3. @Ron

    I have some Jagwire frame protector gimlets you can have. Gimme a shout and they’re yours. No need for them on my bike.

  4. @frank

    @brett

    Honestly, I could give two shits if you put them in front or behind – its a matter of preference and what works best for your setup.

    Just don’t split the pairs up like a barbarian.

    So, your concluding sentence “do not violate these principles” (and therefore the whole article) is moot then?

    Anyway, finally got around to re-cabling and taping after two years because of this discussion… so it’s achieved something.

    [dmalbum: path=”/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2013.09.25.06.57.48/1//”/]

  5. 4 cables good, 2 cables better!!

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

    Admittedly the front is looking a little on the short side.

  6. I’m a big fan of the cable guildes that Jason uses on the Rourkes. Tidies up the front end, and means no cable rub.

    Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

  7. @brett So after all that why didn’t you put your front brake cable in front of everything else ?

    That was the one part of this thread that I clearly understood.

  8. @ChrisO

    Yep, it’s in front, the rear gear cable runs parallel to and above it on the bar, then goes off to the stop.

  9. Sorry, the Garmin should be straight and it should be black

  10. @brett almost all of the Japanese owned bicycles I work on have the front brake on the right brifter. while I generally adhere to the rule of ‘front brake, front derailleur, left brifter’, Japanese mechanics customarily have the brakes set up the same as motorbikes, and as such, I’ve noticed most motorcycle enthusiasts who also are bicyclists have the same brake setup.

    I also agree with you on the front brake cable issue it seems several people are pissing over. The reason I run the front brake cable in front of all the other cables is that when the bars are turned, the front cable is pulled on by one of the shift cables, or a shift cable and rear brake cable, if the front brake cable is run behind the others. In order to ‘fix’ these issues, many lazy mechanics and even more home mechanics run extra long cabling. A longer stem exacerbates the cable pull issues, unless again, it is ‘fixed’ with extra long cabling. Looking at the cabling jobs people are posting up as proof that the front shift cable should be run behind shows the extra lengths of shift and rear brake cable needed to prevent the front from being pulled. However, if the cable routing to the brifters is the same as the Japanese/Motorcyclist setup, this becomes a moot point as shown in the above picture of the Colnago.

  11. @16ozCoffee

    @brett almost all of the Japanese owned bicycles I work on have the front brake on the right brifter. while I generally adhere to the rule of ‘front brake, front derailleur, left brifter’, Japanese mechanics customarily have the brakes set up the same as motorbikes, and as such, I’ve noticed most motorcycle enthusiasts who also are bicyclists have the same brake setup.

    I also agree with you on the front brake cable issue it seems several people are pissing over. The reason I run the front brake cable in front of all the other cables is that when the bars are turned, the front cable is pulled on by one of the shift cables, or a shift cable and rear brake cable, if the front brake cable is run behind the others. In order to ‘fix’ these issues, many lazy mechanics and even more home mechanics run extra long cabling. A longer stem exacerbates the cable pull issues, unless again, it is ‘fixed’ with extra long cabling. Looking at the cabling jobs people are posting up as proof that the front shift cable should be run behind shows the extra lengths of shift and rear brake cable needed to prevent the front from being pulled. However, if the cable routing to the brifters is the same as the Japanese/Motorcyclist setup, this becomes a moot point as shown in the above picture of the Colnago.

    This.

    Yes, I run my front brake on the RH lever (‘moto’ style, and I have a moto background), and it’s definitely the most common way down here in NZ and Australia; all bikes are sold set up like that.

  12. Right lever, right brake.

    excuse the scan quality, circa 1982

  13. @frank

    @Ron

    Also, was going to use a Jagwire Racer Pro cable kit. Anyone using Yokozuna or Nokon cables on their cross bike? (this is the gravel bike, I think, Frank?). A few friends said stainless cables and a decent kit on the cross bike is the way to go, the price of the sealed kits not being worth is on cross bikes when recabling so frequently.

    I’m using Yokozuna on mine. There is no difference between a Graveur and a CX bike in this case, its just down to tire choice and position. This same bike will be used to race cross after I get back from doing the Heck of the North this weekend.

    And, have heard some say sealed is the way to go on RD cables on a cross bike. My cable stops won’t permit this unless I bore them out, something I don’t want to do. I thought I might use a piece of internal routing housing on the TT between the stops and on the right seatstay where the cable is exposed. A good idea or unnecessary/it’ll trap mud and grit?

    I would stay away from sealed; I’ve heard they add a lot of friction, and that’s something you want to reduce as much as possible – especially with SRAM. Switching to Yokos significantly improved shifting performance.

    Got it, Frank. I use my cx bike for racing, lots of cx training, and some winter road riding (with road wheels). I keep it clean and lubed but I do wonder if the upside of the Yokozuna shifting improvement is worth the price uptick. It is if the cables shift much better and last longer, but if you recable every six months, as some do on their cx bikes, I do wonder. Then again, I’m well past a year on my current regular ol’ Sram cables. I can kinda see Yokozunas being worth it on a road bike where they don’t see the muck and mud and last longer, but I wonder on a cx bike.

    Okay, no sealed of any kind. Friction is the enemy.

    Nate – cool. Can’t wait to grind down the housing with the new tool.

    Cable routing. Hmm, with all the different brake, lever, bar setups, then the possibility of cable stops on the HT it really doesn’t seem like there can be a set rule on routing. Depending on the bike and the gear, seems like you need to install and evaluate and then go with the best option.

    Cable donuts and housing sleeves, in a right world someone in your neighborhood would buy the 1,000,000 pack (multi-colored, of course) plus end crimps and give them away like candy on Halloween. Hmm, maybe I should screw the local kids and put the candy money towards this service next month…

  14. @frank

    @Fausto

    However, where I think there is a worrying trend with people thinking that running your brakes front-left is somehow correct. It isn’t. My Ducati has it’s front brake on the right, running the front brake on the left on my other bikes would result in an unpleasant accident on one or the other. I don’t fancy taking my chances, especially with a muscle memory that can’t even cope with SRAM Double Tap shifters. Added to that my Look has the entry for the rear brake cable on the right hand side of the top tube, rendering it impossible to route the cable tidily from the right hand side whilst retaining the ability to turn left without ripping the cable out. If Look have designed it to be like this, it simply must be correct. No further correspondence will be entered into.

    While we’re at it, shall we move the rear brake to the foot peg and put a clutch in the right lever? You may have stumble upon Velominati by accident while you were looking for BRMC.

    The clutch would go on the left, but hey, run your unnecessary / fictitious controls where you want. In the mean time, front-right rear-left will work just fine; the comment above about the rear brake being in your left hand whilst dismounting your CX bike merely adds weight to the argument.

    Actually I was looking for this lot: http://armyofdarkness.com (damn the link button not working on iDevices)

    I’ll leave it to you to discuss cable routing options with Look. (Resists temptation to insert emoticon)

  15. And while we’re at it, keep the HOT head tube shots coming. I love seeing all the nice bikes and nice set-ups y’all got goin’ on out there. Fack, I see so many shite bikes in person, I wish more of you live closer to me. But, I guess the population density of Followers has to remain low, or else…

    I also do wonder if there ever can be a steadfast Rule on routing, length, etc. So many different set-ups that even on my own bikes, I have to install and see how things look/work, then adjust as needed. Throw in many more frames and gear, things only grow more complex.

  16. @brett

    So, your concluding sentence “do not violate these principles” (and therefore the whole article) is moot then?

    None of the principles talk about putting the brake cable in front or behind – that’s something you invented into the discussion on your own, git.

    Life must be difficult for you, having such a tiny brain. On the other hand, you’re an Aussie living in NZ, so you have to be forgiven for your ongoing confusion – assuming I’ve learned anything from @Marcus and @minion. I recommend you never move to Canada. The results could be disastrous.

  17. @brett

    Anyway, finally got around to re-cabling and taping after two years because of this discussion… so it’s achieved something.

    [dmalbum: path=”/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/frank/2013.09.25.06.57.48/1//”/]

    Beautiful. I feel physiologically better knowing you cleaned that mess up.

    Also, looks like you switched to the new fi'zi:k performance tape. A trick I learned with it is to make sure you don’t stretch it at all when wrapping so the padding stays more puffy. Love that stuff.

  18. @frank

    @brett

    So, your concluding sentence “do not violate these principles” (and therefore the whole article) is moot then?

    None of the principles talk about putting the brake cable in front or behind – that’s something you invented into the discussion on your own, git.

    Life must be difficult for you, having such a tiny brain. On the other hand, you’re an Aussie living in NZ, so you have to be forgiven for your ongoing confusion – assuming I’ve learned anything from @Marcus and @minion. I recommend you never move to Canada. The results could be disastrous.

    Easy there captain. You’re a bit too close to the border to be casting aspersions on those of us north of the 49th.

    Then again, my cable routing is currently less than fantastic (inherited from bike’s previous owner) so I should probably go fix that before October 5th.

  19. @frank I just noticed my Velominati +1 icon. That was either for my rant on Froomie’s stem-staring or there’s a glitch in the system. Since I doubt there’s a glitch – Sweet! Thank you.

    Fuck. Now I really do have to go and get my bike looking fantastic.

  20. I’ve never posted, just lurked here for a while, but I just had to show off my cables.

  21. @LadyV

    I’ve never posted, just lurked here for a while, but I just had to show off my cables.

    Welcome and I have to commend you on your excellent name. Furthermore, your bike has me in a lather, please post more photos as Luggs are too much of a tease!

  22. @frank

    @brett

    Also, looks like you switched to the new fi’zi:k performance tape. A trick I learned with it is to make sure you don’t stretch it at all when wrapping so the padding stays more puffy. Love that stuff.

    Yeah, it’s real nice, but a bit harder to wrap than the Microtex… nice and thick though, feels as good as the old double-wrap from KT12!

  23. @brett

    @frank

    @brett

    Also, looks like you switched to the new fi’zi:k performance tape. A trick I learned with it is to make sure you don’t stretch it at all when wrapping so the padding stays more puffy. Love that stuff.

    Yeah, it’s real nice, but a bit harder to wrap than the Microtex… nice and thick though, feels as good as the old double-wrap from KT12!

    Noticed the same thing – hard to wrap so long as you don’t stretch it. If you stretch it, its a piece of cake but then you might as well use the microtex!

    I rode a single wrap of the Performance tape on KT2013 and it was every bit as awesome.

  24. Yea though I walk through the Valley Of Velominatus, no derision do I fear.

    For I am Rastuscat, rider of my own form, weak as it may be.

    I judge my cable layout by its’ efficiency, and how well said cables transfer the toil of my guns to the Hard Road Ridden.

    I love the Lady V setup, and the lugs appear heavenly. But I seek not the approval of others, merely understanding that some of us ride our bikes more than we pamper them.

  25. @Rom

    Right lever, front brake.

    excuse the scan quality, circa 1982

  26. @frank

  27. @LadyV

    That is all kinds of wow.

  28. First post is to show off gold braided housing? How vain!

    Awesome bike! Is that blue on purple lugs or periwinkle on purple? Either way, darn sharp.

  29. @Johnny B

    Sorry, the Garmin should be straight and it should be black

    …and absent.

  30. A tool and a jewel, that bike, LadyV.

  31. Fill me in…new TRP CX8.4 brakes. Around the little flip-flop pivot piece where the cable guide pipe enters the brake is a small rubber donut/clasp.

    I don’t know what this is, what function it serves, or where it goes. My only idea is that it somehow keeps the cable guide pipe attached/in that black pivot piece.

    Ideas? Use it? Or, is this just something they ship with?

  32. @Ron

    It goes here:

    I don’t use it, but most people do. I may end up putting mine on; they are supposed to keep dirt from crawling up the noodle, but I’m skeptical of how much dirt normally crawls up noodles and how much that would matter.

  33. @Ron It’s lavender paint on the tubes with a top coat of blue tinted pearl. It never looks the same in different light. Unfortunately, there’s no way for the painter to mix a touch batch and I’ve already scraped the chainstay.

  34. @LadyV

    Whelp, time for a new paintjob!

  35. @Steampunk

    @Johnny B

    Sorry, the Garmin should be straight and it should be black

    …and absent.

    This.

  36. @frank

    @Ron

    It goes here:

    I don’t use it, but most people do. I may end up putting mine on; they are supposed to keep dirt from crawling up the noodle, but I’m skeptical of how much dirt normally crawls up noodles and how much that would matter.

    Okay, so that looks like the sleeve rubber thingy. I have that on there. This is a rubber donut, almost like a rubber band for braces (never had ’em!) that was on the left side of that TRP-labeled flip-flop thing. I don’t know if it serves a purpose of holding the noodle in the flip-flop arm or if it was for shipping purposes only.

    In this photo, aren’t the brake pad holders backwards? Shouldn’t the little screw that holds the pad in the holder be at the rear of the brake, not the front?

  37. @Ron

    Thats a rear brake pictured, not a front. No clue what donut you’re talking about, mate. Probably nothing.

  38. @brett

    @frank

    @brett

    Honestly, I could give two shits if you put them in front or behind – its a matter of preference and what works best for your setup.

    Just don’t split the pairs up like a barbarian.

    So, your concluding sentence “do not violate these principles” (and therefore the whole article) is moot then?

    Anyway, finally got around to re-cabling and taping after two years because of this discussion… so it’s achieved something.

    2 / 2

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

    Download:

    2 years and yet you couldn’t be arsed enduring that the distance from stem to start of bartape was uniform on both sides. ;)

    may I also humbly suggest that where frame protector pads are used, that the cable should biset them evenly when viewed side-on.

  39. stupid quote thingy. *hangs head in shame*

  40. Ah, a rear brake, why didn’t I think of that? Hmm.

    Okay, so now a new question about those TRP brakes. Where the cable goes into the barrel adjuster on the noodle, Frank/others – are you using a regular ol’ housing ferrule or do I spy in the photo of the rear brake housing a “stepped” ferrule, meaning one of the types that normally go into the RD cable stop where the housing starts before heading to the RD?

    I used just a regular ferrule but did notice it didn’t go into the barrel adjuster very far.

  41. @AndyT

    I think your eyes may be uneven!

    And, frame protector pads? What? Where?

  42. @brett

    @AndyT

    I think your eyes may be uneven!

    And, frame protector pads? What? Where?

    Apologies, pads comment does not refer to

    your steed, more a general comment.

    my eyes may well be uneven. Have you measured? I was awake all night with unbalanced dreams. ;)

  43. @LadyV

    @Ron It’s lavender paint on the tubes with a top coat of blue tinted pearl. It never looks the same in different light. Unfortunately, there’s no way for the painter to mix a touch batch and I’ve already scraped the chainstay.

    Love the paint lug work! Reminds me of a J.P.Weigle bike from 1987 Bicycle Guide.

    For your scratched chain stay, maybe try nail polish?

  44. @sthilzy Wow, there’s definitely a resemblance there although there is much too much going on with that Weigle. Aaron Dykstra used modified Richard Sachs lugs to build mine but they do look remarkably similar to these, without the puke-worthy heart cutouts. Thanks for the nail polish tip.

  45. I use automotive vacuum line for frame protectors. It’s cheap from an auto parts store and you can just cut it to length and slide it over the housing.

  46. @starclimber

    @Ron

    I have some Jagwire frame protector gimlets you can have. Gimme a shout and they’re yours. No need for them on my bike.

    Count me in on that offer!

    @Carl

    A neat cable end fix is….. shrink tubing. Easy on (still have your old Zippo?), easy off (fingernails), comes in colors (should you be so inclined) and weighs less than nothing….

    Where does one find shrink tubing? And not sure what it is, but I can guess it is some sort of plastic that adheres (and shrinks) via heat, as opposed to a cold ocean effect…

  47. @LadyV

    @sthilzy Wow, there’s definitely a resemblance there although there is much too much going on with that Weigle. Aaron Dykstra used modified Richard Sachs lugs to build mine but they do look remarkably similar to these, without the puke-worthy heart cutouts. Thanks for the nail polish tip.

    Are hearts more puke-worthy than clubs?

  48. @Ron True Value, Ace Hardware, Home Depot should all have it over on your side of the Pond. Though getting the very fine sort may be a bit more difficult. It comes as a short section of tube and you cut off the length you want, slide it over the end of the wire / string / rope and apply heat (candle or lighter – though not too close) and it shrinks to seize the end of said wire / string / rope.

  49. @Johnny B

    Sorry but your gore logo’s are not both aligned to the vertical…

    fail!

    (teehee)

  50. @Carl Another really neat way to end the cable…solder it. Super nice and clean.

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