Real world experience of fully integrated cables

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Post Reply
Posts: 149
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:24 am

by cunn1n9

Hi all

Looking for comments on how much of a pain it is to live with fully internally routed cables. I mean the new style disc brake bikes like venge, s5, bmc teammachine etc.

They look very sleek which is the biggest appeal. They save a very small amount of drag (1W perhaps).

But how are they to live with? To travel with in a bike bag/box?

Worth it or not?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Posts: 3630
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

Integrated cables are great. Until you need to do anything. In the case of an Etap hydraulic brake set-up, There is not much cause for internal maintenance. However there are still a couple of situations that concern me.

If you do any bad weather riding and sometimes just due to dust, it is necessary to drop the fork and clean the headset. You might need to do this several times per year. On some designs, any cables integrated into the stem/head tube make this an impossibility without a full re-cable job.

You asked about travelling. Depends on the bike box. If you have to take the handlebars off then it may be a problem. I won't travel with anything I cannot completely rebuild in a hotel room. Simple works best when travelling.

I am happy with all the latest tech, but integrated cables are just no my thing (yet).
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

by Weenie

Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:44 am

by Maddie

What Mr.Gib said. I have a Yishun R12 disc and as much as I love the clean look, working on it is a PITA as soon as the bar/stem needs to be removed from the steerer. And let's not even start when you have to remove the fork completely...
Travelling isn't great either. Even though I attached the bar/stem to the frame (hydro lines still in place of course) I wasn't feeling comfortable when I was picking it up a the airport for the first time. I was worried about the hydro lines but thank god no damages at all.

Full integration has its price. But to be perfectly honest, the look's worth it for me.

IMHO DI2 or Etap doesn't make much of a difference. Just one cable that can be unplugged.

Posts: 1212
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2016 5:49 am
Location: Seattle, WA

by bilwit

We talking electronic or mechanical drive chain? Electronic is no big deal (cabled or wireless). Mechanical.. it's only an issue if you have to route it from scratch. If there's cables already installed then changing cables is easy (you use the old cables to slide the liner through, then pull the old cables out and put the new cables in).

Posts: 4296
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

The best thing about fully internalized cabling is the lack of any cable rattle while riding. As for cleaning headsets. My Madone has enough slack that I can easily life the stem and lift the bearings out of their seats for basic cleaning. For a full bearing replacement, yes I would have to unwrap my bars, detach my hydro hoses, etc., but luckily headset bearings are unlikely to need frequent replacement.

Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

I haven't done the fully integrated stem/headset yet, but on a carbon bike with a DI2 compartment, the frame-side is pretty easy to intially setup. Routing mechanical cables + brakes lines through 3t bars is torture. The clean look is well worth the setup pain. One trick is to try to store some extra cable length in the downtube so up can adjust the exposed cable or pull slack. On the minimal exposed cable, like Trek Emonda or Giant Propel, you can leave the cable slack really short.

For travel, It’s a no-go. If money is not object, etap with quick release brake cables would be the way to go.
Last edited by jfranci3 on Mon Apr 29, 2019 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 400
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:36 am

by Catagory6

just me personally, i will never EVER consider another anything-at-all with internal cable routing... ever, Ever, EVER!!
if i can't separate the frame from all of its parts, without having to unclamp a cable from its actuating component, then i want nothing to do with it.
the horror of building up ... oh my, i don't want to re-live that shit-show.
I have 2 bikes with internally routed handlebars. and NO EFF'ING WAY! cables go outside.
if i could find the person responsible for the wretchedness that is internal cable routing, i would beat him unconscious with a stack of dirty diapers
i suppose if you're buying a complete bike, and have someone else do all the wrenching, then whatever.
as for looks? to me, a bike looks stupid without cables running along the outside of the tubes. but that's neither here nor there.

oh, did i mention... NEVER AGAIN!!!

Posts: 2257
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:19 am

by alcatraz

How much do you like working on the bike?

Catagory6 :lol:

Posts: 3528
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:48 am
Location: Vienna Austria

by Marin

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:28 pm
The best thing about fully internalized cabling is the lack of any cable rattle while riding.
I would have listed this as the best thing about fully external cabling - which I have on all my bikes now that the carbon frame is finally gone!

User avatar
Posts: 2786
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:24 pm
Location: Houston, Texas

by ms6073

Whether it be hydro/Di2/mechanical, if you go with a frame that has internal cable runs and you do your own wrenching, then the Park Tool IR-1.2 Internal Cable Routing kit should definitely be in your workshop. All our bikes have internal routing of hydro housing and Di2 cables and with that tool, installation times dropped from more than an hour to under 15-20 minutes!
Michael - The Anaerobic Threshold is neither...

by Weenie

User avatar
Posts: 8608
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:14 pm

by Calnago

^This... I can’t believe I waited as long as I did to get the internal cable routing kit from Park, along with just some designated lengths of cable liner just to help run things in certain frames.
Also, I don’t know any mechanic who would even suggest that internal cable routing is less “rattle prone” than external cabling. Especially with loose Di2, EPS wires and junctions floating about. Bubble wrap, zip ties with long tails pushing against the insides of the frame, and numerous other inventive solutions to prevent the inevitable rattles are just standard procedure with internally routed wiring.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post