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Discussion Starter #1
my cross bike has campy 10 and is my everything bike: racing, commuting, trails, bad weather road riding.

my question is this: what derailleur cable/housing combo will provide the best shifting for the longest period in bad weather?

i've used the campy sets and most recently the bulk QBP housing/cables. both seem to work equally well and both seem to get jacked up pretty quickly when used in bad weather. case in point:

- truly horrible rear der. shifting after months of daily commuting in all weather, targeting wet trail rides on the weekend, etc.
- cleaned stainless cable with steel wool
- replaced rear der. housing from chainstay to derailleur
- end result: shifting good as new
- next day went for a 3 hour trail ride with many wet and some snowy sections (yes, in the san francisco bay area)
- by the end of the ride the shifting was nearly as bad as it was before the maintenance
- replaced the same rear der. housing section and cleaned the ferrules (dirt packed in the ends of both) and shifting was flawless again

i've heard lonefrontranger say she had great success with jagwire for racing/training in bad weather. any other opinions? does cable routing make a major difference? if so what routing stands up the best for the rear der?

 

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well some say a sealed system is best like a nokon/gore/flakjacket/etc

others say go cheap then just change your housing when needed.

I would think the sealed systems would work well for cyclocross though, its just money.

cool picture, looks like a fun rollercoaster.

jeremy
 

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jnichols959 said:
i've heard lonefrontranger say she had great success with jagwire for racing/training in bad weather. any other opinions? does cable routing make a major difference? if so what routing stands up the best for the rear der?
The cable's going to get dirty. I've heard mixed reviews of the Jagwire cables. What you're doing is probably the best you're going to get. Replacing that housing loop to the rear der on a regular basis is a pretty good way to keep shifting acceptable. Cut your cable long and you should be able to snip the end a few times before having to replace the cable as well. Also, make sure that the housing loop to the rear mech is not too tight a bend. Any grit in a tight bend will reduce performance dramatically.
 

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lung lacking loser
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Option B(andaid)

This has helped me a few times on my mtb for a quick fix and on the beater "no-lockit rocket" since it will never receive new housing. Try cleaning out the rear housing by blasting out the inside with something like a WD40 or a teflon based spray lube. This should remove some of the crud in there. Then either leave it as is or lube the cable before reattaching the housing to the frame. This can be done without unbolting anything.

1. Shift to your largest rear cog.

2.Without spinning the cranks, click the shifter down to its smallest position.

3. Since you didn't spin the cranks, the chain and derailleur stayed where it was on the largest rear cog. This has created slack in the cable, allowing you to remove the housing from the stops.

4.Shoot the spray down through the top of the housing ferrule, allowing the excess to drip out the bottom of the housing through the other ferrule. This does (not perfectly) remove some of the crud from the housing.

5. Once the dripping has stopped, wipe the exposed cable, place housing back in stops, and either shift back to the big cog or turn the crank to shift and take up the excess cable slack. This should add a little bit of extra life to the rear housing and cable.
 

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What about running full length housing?
for the 'ghetto' way, you could zip tie it to the frame, or go whole hog and drill out your cable stops (I've done this on a couple of mtn bikes).
if interested, there's some good threads over at mtbr.com (here's a link to speedub nate's many helpful links http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=130055 ).
 

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Gripped said:
The cable's going to get dirty. I've heard mixed reviews of the Jagwire cables. What you're doing is probably the best you're going to get. Replacing that housing loop to the rear der on a regular basis is a pretty good way to keep shifting acceptable. Cut your cable long and you should be able to snip the end a few times before having to replace the cable as well. Also, make sure that the housing loop to the rear mech is not too tight a bend. Any grit in a tight bend will reduce performance dramatically.
I use Campy...just wash your bike after a dirty ride (these pix from today). My bike gets this way a lot and I'm still running original cables from Y2k.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bocephus Jones II said:
I use Campy...just wash your bike after a dirty ride (these pix from today). My bike gets this way a lot and I'm still running original cables from Y2k.
do you do anything specific to the derailleur housing during the wash? my problem seems to be the dirt/moisture combination that gets into the end of the housing - and i'm not certain a normal wash (which i do sometimes) would help that - but maybe so.

before i had my cross bike i used my campy 10 road bike in wet weather and had nowhere near as many problems. i think the main differences are a) the addition of riding on trails when it's wet (dirt/water and not just water) and b) possibly the different cable routing. i'm pretty sure it's the upward facing end of the last section of rear der. housing (along the right seat stay) that is messing up my shifting so quickly.

the idea of cleaning out the housing with a lube of sorts seems interesting. i'm still not decided on the dry vs. lubed der. housing issue. seems the former would have more friction initially while the latter would be more of a dirt/dust magnet in the long run. in any case it does sound like a good quick fix.

i think i might just call the ghetto shrink wrap tubes approach crafty if it really helps at all :)

the full length housing (at least from the rear top tube cable stop) idea seems like the way to eliminate that problem area altogether... and with QBP housing in bulk, probably fairly inexpensive (certainly compared to the fancy sealed cable systems).

thanks all. i'm still curious about using normal road bike cable routing instead of the mtb style cross routing - but testing that approach doesn't sound cheap...
 

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jnichols959 said:
do you do anything specific to the derailleur housing during the wash? my problem seems to be the dirt/moisture combination that gets into the end of the housing - and i'm not certain a normal wash (which i do sometimes) would help that - but maybe so.

before i had my cross bike i used my campy 10 road bike in wet weather and had nowhere near as many problems. i think the main differences are a) the addition of riding on trails when it's wet (dirt/water and not just water) and b) possibly the different cable routing. i'm pretty sure it's the upward facing end of the last section of rear der. housing (along the right seat stay) that is messing up my shifting so quickly.

the idea of cleaning out the housing with a lube of sorts seems interesting. i'm still not decided on the dry vs. lubed der. housing issue. seems the former would have more friction initially while the latter would be more of a dirt/dust magnet in the long run. in any case it does sound like a good quick fix.

i think i might just call the ghetto shrink wrap tubes approach crafty if it really helps at all :)

the full length housing (at least from the rear top tube cable stop) idea seems like the way to eliminate that problem area altogether... and with QBP housing in bulk, probably fairly inexpensive (certainly compared to the fancy sealed cable systems).

thanks all. i'm still curious about using normal road bike cable routing instead of the mtb style cross routing - but testing that approach doesn't sound cheap...
Not really...I just wash all the dirt and grime off and relube chain with Prolink...If as dirty as this I usually try and get a drop into the end of the cable housings and I hit the pivot points of the brakes and ders, but nothing special.
 

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Bocephus Jones II said:
Not really...I just wash all the dirt and grime off and relube chain with Prolink...If as dirty as this I usually try and get a drop into the end of the cable housings and I hit the pivot points of the brakes and ders, but nothing special.
Like the OP says, the orientation of the final loop of the rear mech cable housing probably is the biggest difference between your experience and his. I use a cross bike for wet weather riding (and racing) and it doesn't take too long to get crappy shifting no matter what cable/housing combo you run. I do live in the PacNW so I ride in the rain an awful lot this time of year.

I usually replace my cables and housing 2 times a year -- once after cross season, and once after the rainy season. In between, I clean and lube to keep shiting borderline acceptable.

I'm going to try out using solid housing from the tt/st junction to the rear mech and see if that improves things at all.

Edit: My bike gets about as much grit as shown in your photos at least every couple days. I'm thinking I'll see perhaps 60-100 days/year worth of grit like that around here. How many times a year does your bike look like that?
 

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Gripped said:
Edit: My bike gets about as much grit as shown in your photos at least every couple days. I'm thinking I'll see perhaps 60-100 days/year worth of grit like that around here. How many times a year does your bike look like that?
not all that often to be honest--usually only when I'm caught out in a rain/snowstorm which isn't all that often. If I know I'm gonna be doing a foul weather ride I'll take the MTB or my backup road bike.
 

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Just re-cable it...

I buy housing and cables by the roll/ box and I throw new on at the slightest hint of dirt-induced poor shifting. When Barb and I are on the road during cx season we bring along 4'-8' of housing and a big wad of cables. On a muddy race weekend I usually just re-cable all the bikes saturday night. You can drip lube here and drip lube there, but there's just nothing like the old snip, snip, snip. I also use aluminum ferrules so as not to chance the wires of the housing pushing through a plastic ferrule when all the mud makes the shifting extra hard. Sorry, but this is the one fix you can alway depend on. Cables, housing, bar tape and brake pads- they're worth every penny.
 

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Way too long of a rant on cables and housing.

1. Nothing works as well as new cables and housing. Cost more, works best. If you can afford it, change it all of the time. Just make certain you are good at prestretching and seating the cables and housing. Don't save it for a last minute job or else you'll suffer the wrath of your bike ghost shifting about the time in the race where you have no oxygen left to process what's happening.

2. Lube will get your bike shifting again, but will attract more gunk and actually worsen the shifting after awhile. It's a bit of a slippery slope to walk. We've all used it to get the shifting/braking back to where it should be, but the time you save initially will be spent later. All modern housing is lined with teflon. Dirt and many lubes will breakdown the the teflon innner liner causing more drag. The more you lube it, the more dirt sticks, the more it chews up the teflon. More lube isn't always better. Just look at your chain if you don't believe me. I know of a few mechanics who take a teflon friendly degreaser to new cables and housing before they are installed to "dry them out" to make certain no dirt will stick and be brought into the system. Pro mechanics will often grease cables for two reasons. One is that they started working on bikes before they had liners in the housing. The cable actually slid on spiral woind metal for braking and shifting and grease was good for that application. Two is that they get to slap on a new set much more frequently than you or I. Also, if you're using a pressure washer, there probably isn't much grease left anywhere on the bike.

3. Sealed systems work well as long as they stay sealed. Any break in the housing or the special liner will draw in dirt and gunk. Sealed ferrules work but have extra drag and the little o-ring in them will eventually breakdown and let in grime. Plus it will hold the grime inside once its there. Nokon is great, but slower to work with. One of it's main advantages is that it uses regular cables. No special inner wires like the old Gore systems. It doesn't like the inline brake levers though. The inner liner binds and kinks going through the lever, causing more drag. The absolute best, however, when it comes to routing a front brake under and or around a stem.

4. Top tube routed cables actually attract more dirt into the crucial last 8" of housing as it hits the rear derailleur. If you're gonna run top routed cables, be prepared to deal with this issue. A device called a Nightcrawler from SRAM will seal it up without causing any extra drag or adding tension to the cable like the old Bassworm. Bottom bracket routed cables are easy to lube at the guide on the shell without mucking up the housing since there isn't any to begin with around that spot. It's amazing how may crappy shifting bikes I've fixed by cleaning the dried up Cytomax residue off of the guide with reular old rubbing alcohol.

5. Brass is the cat's ass when it come to ferrules. No corrosion like alloy, no break throughs like plastic, they are super durable and easy to get off old housing for re-using them, and they don't get the "gritchy gritchy" noise while turning when the SIS inner wires start to creep past the ends of the housing and grind on the insides of the ferrules.

6. Cables are usually let down by the housing they run through. The liner goes away and grabs the cable. The cable will bring this on itself if it's has a bunch of lube on it. Cables and housing are a lot like your chain. Many of the same things that cause it to work will also detroy it. Keeping it clean and replacing the cheap component will prolong the life of the expensive one. I know its about cables and housing, but think chain, cassette,and chainrings. Just remember that everyone uses too much lube on everything.

Sorry about such a long post, but I've seen alot of expensive parts bagged on because the bike was poorly maintained and the cables were a frequently ignored or misunderstood part of the equation. Knowing how to deal with the cheap stuff conecting the expensive bits makes them last alot longer.
 

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wunlap togo said:
Cables, housing, bar tape and brake pads- they're worth every penny.
Warning, this is a hijack of the thread. Wunlap, what kind of tape do you run. I'm assuming you use a non-adhesive if you are unwrapping bars to replace cables that frequently.
 

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euro-trash said:
Warning, this is a hijack of the thread. Wunlap, what kind of tape do you run. I'm assuming you use a non-adhesive if you are unwrapping bars to replace cables that frequently.
I run Shimano, and I'm really only talking about shift cables here. Brake cable change= 2-3 times a year. So although I am pretty fussy about having new, clean tape, it's not just because of cable maintainance. I use Soma bar tape which is cheap, on the thick side, and has adhesive tape that comes of when you need it to.
 

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Unoveloce said:
1. Nothing works as well as new cables and housing. Cost more, works best. If you can afford it, change it all of the time. Just make certain you are good at prestretching and seating the cables and housing. Don't save it for a last minute job or else you'll suffer the wrath of your bike ghost shifting about the time in the race where you have no oxygen left to process what's happening.

2. Lube will get your bike shifting again, but will attract more gunk and actually worsen the shifting after awhile. It's a bit of a slippery slope to walk. We've all used it to get the shifting/braking back to where it should be, but the time you save initially will be spent later. All modern housing is lined with teflon. Dirt and many lubes will breakdown the the teflon innner liner causing more drag. The more you lube it, the more dirt sticks, the more it chews up the teflon. More lube isn't always better. Just look at your chain if you don't believe me. I know of a few mechanics who take a teflon friendly degreaser to new cables and housing before they are installed to "dry them out" to make certain no dirt will stick and be brought into the system. Pro mechanics will often grease cables for two reasons. One is that they started working on bikes before they had liners in the housing. The cable actually slid on spiral woind metal for braking and shifting and grease was good for that application. Two is that they get to slap on a new set much more frequently than you or I. Also, if you're using a pressure washer, there probably isn't much grease left anywhere on the bike.

3. Sealed systems work well as long as they stay sealed. Any break in the housing or the special liner will draw in dirt and gunk. Sealed ferrules work but have extra drag and the little o-ring in them will eventually breakdown and let in grime. Plus it will hold the grime inside once its there. Nokon is great, but slower to work with. One of it's main advantages is that it uses regular cables. No special inner wires like the old Gore systems. It doesn't like the inline brake levers though. The inner liner binds and kinks going through the lever, causing more drag. The absolute best, however, when it comes to routing a front brake under and or around a stem.

4. Top tube routed cables actually attract more dirt into the crucial last 8" of housing as it hits the rear derailleur. If you're gonna run top routed cables, be prepared to deal with this issue. A device called a Nightcrawler from SRAM will seal it up without causing any extra drag or adding tension to the cable like the old Bassworm. Bottom bracket routed cables are easy to lube at the guide on the shell without mucking up the housing since there isn't any to begin with around that spot. It's amazing how may crappy shifting bikes I've fixed by cleaning the dried up Cytomax residue off of the guide with reular old rubbing alcohol.

5. Brass is the cat's ass when it come to ferrules. No corrosion like alloy, no break throughs like plastic, they are super durable and easy to get off old housing for re-using them, and they don't get the "gritchy gritchy" noise while turning when the SIS inner wires start to creep past the ends of the housing and grind on the insides of the ferrules.

6. Cables are usually let down by the housing they run through. The liner goes away and grabs the cable. The cable will bring this on itself if it's has a bunch of lube on it. Cables and housing are a lot like your chain. Many of the same things that cause it to work will also detroy it. Keeping it clean and replacing the cheap component will prolong the life of the expensive one. I know its about cables and housing, but think chain, cassette,and chainrings. Just remember that everyone uses too much lube on everything.

Sorry about such a long post, but I've seen alot of expensive parts bagged on because the bike was poorly maintained and the cables were a frequently ignored or misunderstood part of the equation. Knowing how to deal with the cheap stuff conecting the expensive bits makes them last alot longer.
BRAVO! All sound advice. Thanks for taking the time to spell it out this way, I agree with everything here!
 
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