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I'm about to order a custom frame to be used for rough road use, commuting in the snow and light duty off road singletrack. The bike will use cantis. Would it be best to route all the cables in traditional cross style along the top of the toptube or should the derailleur cables be routed down the underside of the toptube as is done with traditional road bikes?
 

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I will suggest the top routed cables, specially for you riding needs.

But even more radical maybe you can run totally enclose (full length) housings from head to tail to prevent any water and moisture damage, yeah they are heavier, look kind of ugly and the shifting response is a little slower since is more cable to compress, but they will last you far longer, specially riding in wet muddy conditions.
 

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scorpionking said:
I'm about to order a custom frame to be used for rough road use, commuting in the snow and light duty off road singletrack. The bike will use cantis. Would it be best to route all the cables in traditional cross style along the top of the toptube or should the derailleur cables be routed down the underside of the toptube as is done with traditional road bikes?
Here are the practical arguments as I see them. YMMV.

DT routing:<ul>Pros<li />Less housing -- lest weight :rolleyes:
<li />Housing less likely to become contaminated due to orientation of stops.
</ul><ul>Cons<li />Dirt can collect at the BB guide and cause friction.
</ul>TT routing:<ul>Pros<li>Newer and therefore assumed to be an improvement for some reason. :skep:
</ul><ul>Cons<li />More sections of housing to keep clean.
<li />RD cable channels water and gunk downhill into the final housing section.
<li />Routing from shifters to first TT mounted stop rarely optimal.
<li />Only top-pull FDs available are for MTB drivetrains. So you need a pulley or some other kludge.
<li />There is a guy on MTBR who swears that TT mounted stops are an episiotomy waiting to happen. :nonod:
</ul>
 

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scorpionking said:
I'm about to order a custom frame to be used for rough road use, commuting in the snow and light duty off road singletrack. The bike will use cantis. Would it be best to route all the cables in traditional cross style along the top of the toptube or should the derailleur cables be routed down the underside of the toptube as is done with traditional road bikes?
You said "....routed down the underside of the toptube.....". Did you mean "downtube"?

If so, I went through this same dilemma six weeks ago when I ordered a custom cyclocross frame. I looked on the 'net at pics of lots of CX bikes and weighed all the pros & cons of high shifter cables and low shifter cables.

Ya know what I found? On top end CX bikes gear cable routing seemed to be split evenly between TT and DT - far more DT cables than I would have expected. Not that I'm a slave to any kind of fashion but that's the route I took - DT gear cables.

I did it for one reason - the more I looked at top-routed gear cables the more I thought those bike looked cluttered with stops, cables, outer-casing bits and the pulley. I can't imagine that a bit of muck flung at a bottom bracket plastic cable guide is going to affect shifting at all.
 

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scorpionking said:
I'm about to order a custom frame to be used for rough road use, commuting in the snow and light duty off road singletrack. The bike will use cantis. Would it be best to route all the cables in traditional cross style along the top of the toptube or should the derailleur cables be routed down the underside of the toptube as is done with traditional road bikes?
If you don't plan on racing this bike,route it along the down tube.

The only real advantage to cable routing along the top tube is that it gets the cables out of the way when shouldering the bike.

I've got a Redline that routes the front mech along the DT and the rear mech along the TT. I also have a Merckx that routes both along the TT. For the record, I find the Merckx more pleasant to shoulder. I'm not a fan of the pulley required to redirect the cable though.

So if I were considering a custom race bike, I'd be conflicted as to whether to go with full TT routing or route the front mech along the DT. I would still stick with rear mech along the TT since continuous housing along the seat stay keeps the cable running freely for many races at a time.

To reiterate, for you I'd suggest DT routing.

Oh yeah, and I assume you meant underside of the DT as the traditional approach ...
 

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I like the way my old Conquest has it, the FD cable goes along the downtube and the rear goes along the top tube. No monkey motion with pulleys up front. In the back the the final turn of housing has a cleaner run.

Even though the front shift cable is more exposed to water and mud, it hardly matters. Cables are cheap and the front cable is simple to replace. Get stainless and it'll last plenty long. There's nothing to wear or break or add friction. Just grease the under bracket cable guide and replace a $5 cable when it gets rough where it enters the housing or rides along the guide.
 
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