Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 62 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Since many here are considering or perhaps have just purchased a new Roubaix or Tarmac with hidden cable routing...I thought I would provide some simple tips I have learned. This can be used as a living thread for others to share their experience as well to help elevate working knowledge of threading cables through these great new bikes.
I will start by saying that anybody avoiding a hidden cable bike because they prefer the simplicity of an exposed cable frameset...shouldn't. Its super easy to set up the cables on the new bike. So want to mention this up front for anybody concerned about installing cables on the new bikes with hidden routing. Also cable drag is very low on my new build...bike upshifts solidly into the new smaller cog in back. Many know about the 'California Cross' for cable routing. This simply crosses derailleur cables in front of the head tube and then again inside the downtube as they route down through the cable guide shown below which on my '12 Roubaix Pro is a 2-piece cable guide. Cross of cables is minimize internal cable drag by having cable housing bends as natural as possible. Multilple or tighter radii same side routing 'may' increase internal cable drag creating lethargic up shifting in particular.

The issue of whether to run in-line cable housing adjusters has come up before and I will only add, I am a huge proponent of doing so having tuned the derailleurs on my Roubaix now for a short while. They make life a whole lot easier. I am fussy about the trim on my derailleurs and want the bike dead silent even when running slightly cross-chained which is attainable.

Since I have had the cables on and off my bike a couple of times to achieve just the right length of housing, I have learned a couple of tricks along the way:

- From the vantage point of the opening in the downtube just in front of the BB under the bike, peer down into the downtube to ensure when you cross the front and rear derailleur cables you don't wrap them one more time. Double crossing derailleur cables would hamper shift quality greatly. It is unclear whether to cross front or rear derailleur cable over the other having studied it.
I would say it doesn't matter as both cables enter the downtube at the same elevation and also end up at the same vertical height on the cable guide under the bottom bracket shown below. Put a light down the down tube when seeing whether the sheathing is crossing once only as it should when setting up the California Cross orientation.

- Which leads to the best way to install cables. Once you have the proper housing length established from under the handlebar tape to down tube, best approach is to invert the bike and rest it on its handlebar hoods and seat like a tripod. This is how we worked on bikes as kids and much easier than threading cables though the frame with the frame hanging from a frame stand. Now you can see under the BB and inside the downtube without craning your neck and much easier to fish cables through the BB cable guide.

- A further good tip is...if you don't like the length of your housings for example and need to remove them for shortening which is common after an initial build...and need to pull the cables out of the frame, restring your sheathings back over the cables and...the important point...you don't have unscrew the ICR stops on the frame. The little screws are sensitive to cross-threading and my suggestion is don't remove them unless you have to. The sheathing diameter easily penetrates the housing stops so you don't have to remove the stop ports and I suggest the fewer you need to take these off the better.

- Speaking of cross threading...a brief comment about the cable guide screw that keeps the two cable guide halves together and secure to the bottom of the BB. The thread on my new Roubaix is sadly sub par. It is not stripped, but it is ratty. This maybe just an outliar or maybe common issue on these bikes. But my bike had a thread that not only doesn't look good but offered resistance when threading the little cable guide screw which is unfortunate. There are many workarounds if the screw were to strip but it didn't. I was very sensitive to not overtorquing however because of the poor thread quality. Further, the thread engagement of the screw was insufficient...screw was spec'ed too short and existing thread wasn't used throughout its thread bore length which further stresses the amount of thread that is engaged...especially with a poor female thread. You want the BB guide screw to penetrate the BB thread depth/thickness of the shell which on my bike it didn't. This can cause water puddling on the backside of the thread inside the BB. I believe the thread is 10-32. I replaced the screw with a stainless screw one size longer for full thread engagement thru the BB shell. Because of a margin thread, I used blue loctite and believe it will be fine but word up if you run into this on your new frameset. Btw, you do not have to remove this screw and I suggest you don't unless you have to as the cables can be threaded...including sheathing without removing the bb screw and lifting one side of the cable guide. Also, there is a drainage hole adjacent to the guide so no need to remove the screw periodically for drainage if you tend to ride in the rain.

- A last note if one side of the sheathing falls inside the downtube or rear right hand chainstay which happened to me in both cases. Don't panic. The sheathing has sufficient spine to route it thru again. Simply rotate and angle the sheath and fish it back through which can be accomplished with a bit of finessing accompanied by colorful language.:)

Above are the salient points and a very short list. I wanted to provide some notes to those that go next that threading or recabling a new Specialized road bike with hidden routing is very easy.

A last note...and I wrote to Specialized about this...Specialized made a running change to make all ICR (internal cable routing) stops the same. They are all labeled with the no. 3.
Since brake and derailleur housings have different diameters...4mm OD for derailleur and 5mm for brake housings, general wisdom is, only derailleur housings should use ferrules into the ICR stops and not brake housings which typically don't need them anyway because of housing construction.

Hope that helps and please use this thread to provide tips you have learned along the way.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Thanks for the detailed information! This is very helpful and I'm sure it will prove useful to many readers.

I recall that there was some discussion about the internal brake cable and avoiding rattles - do you want to add some of that information to this thread too?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Happy New Year ukbloke and thanks for your comments.
The internal brake cable rattle issue maybe a worthy addition...but I started a dedicated thread on that a while ago that had some good input from other members. Please feel free to merge the threads if you wish...but the brake rattle issue maybe a good one to stand on its own as well...as it doesn't seem to affect everybody. I only have a limited amount of miles on my new Roubaix due to winter for example and didn't detect any brake cable rattle...in fact no rattles on the bike. My posture on this and a suggestion for others building a new bike is...this issue maybe sensitive to frame size and/or types of roads ridden...even the hearing of the rider :) and therefore perhaps best to build the bike without the sheathing and O-rings pushed onto the brake cable initially. If a rattle is detected...very straightforward without need to remove the cable from the bike...steps are:
undo the cable at the rear caliper...remove the short rear housing and rear ICR stop and push a sheathing with O-rings onto the rear of the cable and then reverse the former steps. A simple retrofit.
Purpose of putting this thread out there is to help others as I didn't know what to expect going in and learned alot in the process and if armed with a few tips going in, will lower anxiety for many with their build. Also a dedicated thread if any questions arise, further tips are developed etc.
Best Regards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
good stuff--very thorough.

i proactively put some sheathing and donuts on the rear brake cable to avoid rattle on a tarmac and venge. no noise thus far.

internal cabling offers the promise of simplicity...but it can be really challenging/frustrating.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks tetonrider. In sum, I believe the hidden cables to be worth the slight extra effort which I am sure you agree isn't a lot more work at all. Taking the cables off the bike for tuning housing lengths provided more ideas of how to install the cables. The engineering behind these frames is pretty impressive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Thanks tetonrider. In sum, I believe the hidden cables to be worth the slight extra effort which I am sure you agree isn't a lot more work at all. Taking the cables off the bike for tuning housing lengths provided more ideas of how to install the cables. The engineering behind these frames is pretty impressive.
i agree it is worth the effort. i like the cleaner look. i should also note i installed di2 on an sl4 and a venge, now.

the sl4 was a bit easier to wire than the venge. on the venge, when you're running cable (mechanical) to the rear derailleur, the housing basically runs down the down tube, exits the frame, and then goes back in the chain stay and out by the rear derailleur. pretty simple.

with di2, you actually need to run the wire from the RD down the chain stay...then it has to go UP and OVER the bottom bracket, then down just in front of the BB. running the FD cable has a similar challenge.

the orientation of the venue's tubes and bottom bracket (though just a little bit different than the sl4) made this quite a bit harder to deal with. it's funny, because in looking at the frames you would think the process would be equally hard or difficult.

i should also add that i wired up internal batteries, so i had just a little more work to do.

in summary, i can string up a bike with external cables in around 30 minutes. with these frames it was more like a 3 hour (not exaggerating) operation. it took me almost precisely an hour just to deal with the rear derailleur cable in the venge. pretty crazy, huh?

here's another thing that's different:
when you string up the sl4 with di2, you run the cable down the own tube. at the end of the operation, you insert the grommet to close up the frame inlet.

i strung up the entire venge, used heat shrink on the di2 cables..........then realized the front cable stops are different on the venge vs sl4. in fact, one has to run the front cable down the down tube by FIRST running it through the cable stop, then inserting it into the frame. that meant i had to pull the cables from the BB, undo the heat shrink, remove the cable, run it through the cable stop....then wire it up again. fun!

another tip: when running internal cables, consider removing the bottle cage bolts. they protrude into the frame, and it is possible for cables to get hung up on them. removing those bolts (esp during a di2 install) will make things easier. with di2, the cables come with zip ties on them to reduce/prevent rattling, and they can be a little tricky.

i may post some pics if folks are interested.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am interested in your pics tetonrider...so please feel free to add them. This thread was meant to be about sharing experience and lessons learned so please add some pics if you get a chance.
Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
To add to this thread, Im having a bear of a time getting my cables right on my SL4. Im thinking this is primarily due to the fact its a smaller frame with the stem fairly low, so i dont have a lot of "room" to play with.

Im currently set up as "California Cross" with is OK. The cables hit my legs a bit when out of the saddle and hammering a little bit but that I could get used to. The real problem is that with everything so tight on the bars room-wise, whenever the bars are turned any decent amount, all the cables bunch up and bind and get all twisted up and the in-line adjuster rubs the handlebars or gets caught on the other cables. Its not good.

Is there any guidance on the best way to route these cables at the bar? Should I route under the handlebars a certain way? Order the cables a certain way? Im not married to crossing them and notice Spesh uses a traditional setup on complete bikes (I got frameset only an built it).

Here is how Im looking now:

 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hi Rk,
Should all be resolvable with a bit of tweaking.
I see two notable things off the bat.
Your left hand cable housing...as you sit on the bike and look down, appears too long. Rear brake housing looks long as well...on the same side.

On your right side as you sit on the bike, your in line cable adjuster is too far rearward...should be more under the handlebar.

You should be able to resolve all this without buying new cables btw. For the right hand side into the downtube derailleur cable, which is your front derailleur...pull the bare cable through the shifter well past the adjuster and snip the housing shorter and relocate the adjuster closer to the stem. You shouldn't have to touch your bar tape job for any of this. Then you will need a piece of replacement segment of housing because you have moved your adjuster forward...which btw is sold in lengths...Shimano SP-41 cable housing works well...google it...even for Campy housing...don't need a full new cable set. Same practice for both cable housings on the left of the bike as you sit and look down...brake and rear derailleur cables are too long.

See my Roubaix below. What you want to do is posture the cable length just so you can turn your handlebar about 80-90 degress with no more slack...the cables will limit further travel in other words. Be careful though...cut and test in small increments...a little change in cable housing length makes a BIG difference in how far you can turn the handlebars.
Hope that helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
Thanks for the advice. I played around a lot last night and just could not get the crossing of the cables to work without major binding and bunching up of the cables when turning the bars...at least not to my satisfaction. I just dont have a lot of room with such a small frame. So I went with a traditional routing.

The funny thing is...before I did, I did some tests of cable drag. I now have the traditional routing with the cables under the front of the bars and I could not pick up any more drag when I moved the cables back and forth in their housing, compared to a cross routing and even with the cables mounted to the back of the bars. I played around a lot with this before taping everything up. Now...Im not gonna say all the mechanics who swear by the cross method and its reduction in friction are wrong....Im just not seeing the claim play out in my scenario and any increase in drag wasnt worth the cable pinching and bunching and additional pulling and pushing on the frame stops which I noticed with the cross method and really wasnt thrilled with.

Anways....I did go with a traditional routing and can turn the bars through their full travel with no binding or weird cable bunching or stress being placed on the frame mounts. All good. I might move the cables "down" on the bars a bit from where they exit the tape so they dont ride so high on the stem, but overall, I think I did a fairly decent job both in terms of look and function.

Let me know if its looks like a hack job :)

Here is a picture from my bunker:

 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Granted your bar is lower to entry points into the stops on the downtube...but am a bit puzzled why you couldn't get the California Cross to work. If you look at mine...again on a tall head tube Roubaix....notice the radical difference in the tightness of the radii....there is no comparison. The whole point of crossing the cables in front of the head tube is it reduces the internal stress on the cables by not asking the housings and cable to do a U turn from under the bar tape to the same side of the head tube. Crossing the head tube has to reduce internal cable drag and frankly...no different than how the vast majority of external cable bikes are routed...to opposite sides of the head tube. Internal cable drag goes up proportional to the tighter the housing radii. If your bike shifts well in that config and you have full handlebar swing left and right then all is good and as long as you are happy with it...all that matters. Specialized has sold bikes in both configs.
Ride safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
Believe me, I would have liked it crossed. I think the issue for the smaller bike comes from the fact that the cables lie almost horizontal when crossed. Yours, on the taller head tube, take a more vertical position, giving them lots of room to move around. With my cables being horizontal, they are getting all hung up on each other when you turn the bars.

This is not a new rodeo for me. Small frames are a PITA to cable correctly becuase small frames mean NOT a lot of room and often, tight bends on the cables. I had the same issue on my mountain bike, so much so that when I finally came up with a solution, the frame manufacturer (small company in CA) emailed ME requesting pics of the "solution" I came up so he could share with his other customers.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Congrats on figuring out a solution that works. No doubt a smaller frame changes the landscape a bit. Perhaps somebody with a smaller size Tarmac will weigh in with a picture and some advice.
Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Is there any guidance on the best way to route these cables at the bar? Should I route under the handlebars a certain way? Order the cables a certain way? Im not married to crossing them and notice Spesh uses a traditional setup on complete bikes (I got frameset only an built it).
specialized doesn't send out complete builds--shops build complete bikes. so, all that means is that the shops you have seen use traditional setups.

the cross method has worked very well for me on numerous bikes, including my wife's small frame.

Let me know if its looks like a hack job :)

Here is a picture from my bunker:

all that really matters is whether it works for you, but it seems to me that you have materially longer cables than are necessary. they go way past the opposite side of the HT. if it works for you, great, but there are cleaner setups. i've never found "friction" to be a problem with cable routing...in real riding i just don't turn my bars very much at all, and even if i'm in a parking lot doing a tight 180 at 2 mph, cable friction isn't the problem.

i, for one, just want a clean setup.

Believe me, I would have liked it crossed. I think the issue for the smaller bike comes from the fact that the cables lie almost horizontal when crossed. Yours, on the taller head tube, take a more vertical position, giving them lots of room to move around. With my cables being horizontal, they are getting all hung up on each other when you turn the bars.
well....what length/angle stem do you run? a small frame (assuming it fits) still means the same stem that others use (100, 100, etc.). i've had no problems using the california cross on frames from 52 & up, and stems from 65mm to 130 (-17 & up). the trick is leaving the cables long, then cutting away just a very little bit at a time until you find the perfect balance of enough cable to allow full rotation of the bars and not too little to bind. my cables are generally pretty horizontal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
I think tonight Im going to go in and shorten the cables a bit and tighten things up.

teton..its a 52 with a 90MM stem. Im sure I could use your trick to go with a crossed solution. Might still try.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Will give you a tip that hopefully will help. If I am interpreting you properly...you say the handlebar bar is binding as you turn it when you run the Cal cross. Looking at your pictures, I am quite sure this is due to where you have the cable housing exiting from under the bar tape. What I suggest is...if you want to give the Cal cross another go...unwrap your tape on both sides back to the shifters.
Revise the cable routing along the bar such that it exists 'under' the bar....not well in front. Take a look at my Roubaix pic. For a less encumbered rotating of the bar...I have the cable housings emit under the bar. That way the bar is free to rotate. I believe your issue maybe that you have the housing coming out in front of rather than below the handlebar. A good possibility is...your cables are catching on the stem as you turn the handlebar because the cables are coming out higher in front versus under the handlebar where they have more clearance to swing with the bar. Btw...a further tip is...use electrical tape in a couple of spots underneath the handlebar tape to keep the cables in alignment...as without it, they are more prone to move around...also makes it easier to wrap your bars...you may do this already but another suggestion to help. Generally what I do is never wrap the handlebar until I have ridden the bike. I am super fussy about shifter location and handlebar rotation etc...and prefer to dial the ergos of the bar, levers and tweak cable length...before final wrapping of the bars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
So I finally finished my handlebar mess last night. I didnt go crossed...stayed "traditional" routing. Cables come out under the bar for the mech, front of the bar for the brake, cross in front of the headtube. Took some dealing to set all the lenghts to the point where the "play" with each other nicely when turning the bars. Buts its set now. I also moved the inline adjuster for the front mech to a spot only about half an inch from where the cable come out from under the bar tape. This is the only spot I could find where its truly out of the way, wont hit the head tube when turning the bars, interfere with the other cables, or screw up the nice bends the cables have.

So after years of battles and millions of casualties I got a setup thats clean, looks good and most important works.

Now I can go ride.

But of course, its gonna rain for the next three days.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here's two more Cal cross for reference. After all your effort, still a bit surprised you couldn't get the cross to work...or perhaps you didn' because you believe conventional routing works better.
What matters is you are happy with it.
Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
921 Posts
Killer topic !!

I'm really about to sell my '12 Roubaix Expert because I could not get it to change gears properly from day one. I've tried California Crossing,replaced cables,used SP41 lube but nothing,zero,nada..the bike still sucks !! Even when she seems to shift smootly while on the stand as soon as I sit and start to pedal here comes the bad shifting again. I'm totally disappointed.

I have one last chance : replacing the lousy Jagwire housing as suggested by some friend. Waiting to have Dura Ace SP41's coming in. Tension barrels are going on both sides,no question about it.

There is still one thing I'm wondering : to California Cross or not ????? 'tis bike is driving me NUTS. I'll sue Specialized if my wife will file for divorce as I've spent the last 3 nights working in the garage..
 
1 - 20 of 62 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top