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HomeCyclingThe Jury's In: What Bike Mechanics Actually Suppose About Inside Cable Routing...

The Jury’s In: What Bike Mechanics Actually Suppose About Inside Cable Routing Headsets

Love them or hate them, inside cable routing headsets are ripping via the bike trade like wild-fire. It’s one in all a sequence of steps manufacturers have taken towards full integration. Targets embrace improved aerodynamics, improved aesthetics and, the holy grail, “clear traces”. For some, nevertheless, it’s a step too far.

Working cables and brake hoses via the headset does, undoubtedly, tidy issues up within the cockpit. Nonetheless, headset-dependent, it does include extra time spent within the work stand, and the elevated labor prices related to that. Some riders with deep pockets will, I’m certain, be comfortable to pay the premium, however others are in for a shock.

fsa acros internal cable headset routing mtb road ebikes
Varied ranges of integration are attainable for street, mountain and eBikes with quite a lot of headsets from Acros, FSA, Deda, First Parts, Token and others

For many riders, it’s their bike mechanic that has to cope with the added complexity of internally routed cables. These people have put up with years of ever-changing “requirements” inside the bike trade, so how a lot will this actually hassle them? We contacted mechanics from Europe and the US to get their viewpoint on inside headset cable routing, and whereas a few of them did reply with a way of diplomacy, others have been reasonably extra agency of their opinion.

We despatched them the next:

“It’s you, the mechanic, who has to cope with the arrival of inside headset cable routing that’s sweeping throughout the trade. So, what are your ideas on it? Is it an excellent factor, or a foul factor? Are you having to cost your clients extra for headset bearing replacements, brake bleeds, cable replacements, and so forth? Is it actually that rather more trouble, or is it simple sufficient when you’ve finished one or two? Would you will have it in your private bike if, in some parallel universe, you weren’t answerable for the upkeep of your personal bike?”

Bike Mechanics’ Take On Inside Headset Cable Routing

Joergen at Parallel Handbuilt – Netherlands

What are your ideas on absolutely inside, built-in cabling?

I feel it’s principally nice. Usually sufficient it does complicate wrenching on a motorcycle, if the “wrenching” to be finished entails getting deeper into the bike, the body particularly. Some designs available on the market require partial or full disassembly of a motorcycle to do common (albeit not usually finished) upkeep akin to changing headset bearings. Some bikes with absolutely inside and built-in cabling which can be ridden in locations in situations that prefer to eat headset bearings recurrently, like cyclocross or mountain bike, needs to be averted when you’re asking this mechanic.

Is it an excellent factor, or a foul factor?
I don’t suppose it’s both. If a buyer is especially enthused about having all their cables, or in all actuality, simply two hydraulic hoses, tucked away neatly of their frames, then it’s an ideal factor! If a shopper likes DIY upkeep, sustaining their bike extra usually, or simply reasonably priced upkeep, then it’s not an excellent factor. When a motorcycle is bought to a buyer and the potential €1000 further per yr on built-in cabling-related upkeep has not been communicated clearly, that could be very a lot a foul factor.

Are you having to cost clients further?
I don’t cost clients “further”, however I’m positively compelled to cost clients extra labour when servicing a motorcycle with one of these cabling and doing restore or upkeep associated to, or behind the interior routing. That could be me being pedantic, but it surely’s an necessary element.

A easy headset bearing alternative, one thing which may be as low cost as € 50-70, could be 4 to 5 instances as costly on some inside cable designs due to the need to de-cable the bike and re-bleed the brakes after the set up.

Is it actually that rather more trouble, or is it simple sufficient when you’ve finished one or two?
I imply, I’m a motorcycle mechanic, it’s my job to repair the bike in entrance of me. I wouldn’t describe the repairs finished on these extra difficult bikes as an even bigger “trouble”, it’s simply way more work and subsequently extra price for the shopper. To be fully clear, there are many bikes available on the market right now with a lot easier cabling which can be an enormous headache for different causes. Part design and integration is every little thing.

Is it tougher that so many bikes use barely totally different options?
Annoying. Annoying is the phrase you’re on the lookout for. When a model “develops” a brand new answer for higher Cable Integration™ however doesn’t, or can not present good, impartial after-sales help, a comparatively easy and painless (albeit costly) restore turns into an entire headache for me and my shopper. I’m not naming names, however y’all know who I’m speaking about. Some manufacturers have very weak documentation as after-sales help, and in these instances, it’s way more tough, however that’s simply since you want particular, proprietary elements however can’t discover an article quantity for instance.

Would you will have it in your private bike if you weren’t the mechanic?
No. Fairly truthfully, I don’t just like the aesthetics of fully built-in cabling. I really like a well-cabled bike, tight curves in good proportions to the opposite cable(s) and size of the headtube, with a easy entrance into the downtube or onto the underside of the downtube. I really like the convenience of upkeep, whether or not I’m doing it myself or paying another person to do it. Let me be clear right here, I hate a rat’s nest on the entrance of a motorcycle similar to the remainder of y’all, however two neat and tidy cables poking out from beneath the bar tape, snaking into the body… It simply jogs my memory {that a} bicycle is usually a murals and design, but additionally very a lot a software and a method to an finish.

Cables enter the headset of Lukas Flückiger’s Thömus Lightrider by way of the headset prime cap

Watts Dixon at Revolution Cycles

I ******* hate it. I get that it appears clear, however so many corporations make it such an enormous ache to route. Although we now have our many tips, it’s nonetheless too simple to waste an hour making an attempt to get one rattling cable via a motorcycle.

Nick Tanner, Bspoke Cycles – Scotland

Marmite. Sums it up for me.

There’s one thing sensible, refined and ‘up-to-date’ about built-in headsets and cabling, however I feel this solely actually applies to the buyer. We’ve got clients curious in regards to the lack of seen cables and which have historically been there for many years, and so they do, nearly with out fail, ask ‘is it more durable or dearer to take care of’.

Integration lends itself to dearer part alternative; when you’re paying double the time for a headset service, it is sensible to pay for a extra sturdy headset/bearings, which can be 3 instances what you’d usually pay, but when taken care of will typically outlast the bike. This additionally encourages some skilled clients to take extra care of their bike as they turn into conscious of the elevated service prices. These shopping for for the primary time haven’t any benchmark towards which to evaluate the newer, dearer prices.

Sure, I’d have full integration on my bike as I just like the clear look, and ease of mounting lights, GPS and so on, however I don’t cost myself for my time concerned in placing my bikes collectively. Having stated that, as an ex-SRAM technician I’ve very excessive requirements in product and repair expectation, and for my part the design of many built-in headset elements isn’t the place it could possibly be; spacers don’t line up, there are gaps between stems and stem caps; if like me you will have a bit of motorcycle construct OCD it’s irritating when elements simply don’t match effectively.

We’ve got clients carry us bikes to assemble that they’ve purchased on-line or elsewhere, and sometimes corners have been minimize with manufacturing facility meeting or lack of QC; no lubrication, cables/hoses too quick and so on. This provides further time to a boxed bike construct, and sure, we cost extra in consequence. We all the time quote a value earlier than beginning any work in order that the client has no surprises. We typically take up the price of an additional barb or compression becoming when swapping brakes from Euro to UK setup, as these are hardly ever equipped within the vary of bikes we see. It will depend on the dimensions of the job and what the bike is in for.

In my view the worst side of built-in headsets is the default Euro setup; hoses and cables tackle ‘reminiscence’ from the manufacturing facility and boxing, and are sometimes broken the place there isn’t sufficient clearance inside the headset. Carbon frames are typically OK because the tube joints are a lot bigger voids, however alloy frames have such small holes on the joints that the cables or hoses usually jam up. I’ve had one severed brake hose, within the field! From my perspective as a mechanic when constructing a brand new bike, I would favor the cables and hoses equipped pre-cut, however ignored of the body. There are just a few secret workshop tips I take advantage of to make changing built-in cables simpler and faster than adjusting and/or changing these poorly put in on the manufacturing facility.

As for aero on street bike headsets, what number of common riders will expertise the watt-saving advantages of hidden cables? What number of will discover the bar/stem integration measurement is fallacious and require a change? What number of small IBDs would take up the price of a £500+ one-piece bar/stem combo swap? Will the client pay one other £500 on prime of the bike price? Sadly, the pandemic remains to be affecting product provide, and in some instances built-in headset elements are unavailable till subsequent yr, that means a motorcycle that wants for instance a 10mm stem change both doesn’t promote, or can be a sub-optimal match for the client for months to come back.

Headset integration is clearly right here to remain, and I feel in time the designs will enhance, and with luck, extra thought can be given to the practicalities of their becoming and servicing, and the mechanics who do the laborious graft. I’m a fan of the idea and the looks, however I don’t but get pleasure from engaged on them.

Battaglin Portofino R, custom-made-in -Italy modern integrated steel lugged road bike, cromovelato blue, NDS frameset
There’s no denying that full inside routing goes effectively on this beautiful Battaglin Portofino R metal street bike

Václav Svatoš, Unbiased Bike Mechanic – Czech Republic

So, what are your ideas on absolutely inside , built-in cable routing?
It’s only fashionable and an evolution of bicycles and clear design and perhaps some watt saving like aerodynamics. From a technical facet, it’s horrible for mechanics, customers, and designers of elements and elements like hydro hoses.

Is it an excellent factor, or a foul factor?
It’s good if aero is necessary and you should save watts. It provides time when you should change place of stem or change headset bearings or you should take off bars for touring. All service on the bike with hoses contained in the bars, stem, and headset is extra difficult and way more costly.

Are you having to cost your clients further (or extra usually) for headset bearing replacements, brake bleeds, cable replacements, and so on?
Sure, all is dearer and I like to recommend to clients on new bikes to alter sub-optimal headset bearings (BMC on so costly bikes use headset bearings for $10 with a horrible lifetime) for chrome steel bearings with good high quality seals. If you should change bearings, it’s a horrible job when you have to minimize brake hoses, typically change one hose (you possibly can often use the previous rear for entrance brakes and also you want new one for rear). Altering the rear brake hose is typically not simple (it’s a query in regards to the BB space). If you should change headset bearings, it’s typically a more durable job than constructing a brand new bike (you have to clear up every little thing, take all of it off, after which construct once more from zero.

Is it actually that rather more trouble, or is it simple sufficient when you’ve finished one or two?
Sure, it’s extra difficult. Sure, when you make the identical bikes many times, you know the way to try this shortly. However the job time and job steps are the identical.

Is it tougher that so many bikes use barely totally different options?
Sure. There’s no actual commonplace of this, some corporations use conventional headset bearings and a few D-shape steerer tubes and with out extra space for hoses. (It’s a must to overlook mechanical groupset!) Some corporations could overlook to make a gap within the steerer tube for the entrance brake hose after which solely settle for the FSA system with hose going into the steerer from the highest! That’s probably the most horrible concept, and the hoses are bent greater than 90° in such a small house!

Would you will have it in your private bike if, in some parallel universe, you weren’t answerable for the upkeep of your personal bike?
On my bike… for my cash? No by no means. I’ll have a 100% useful bike with out feeling the rear brake hose when you flip the bars. I want bikes with simple removing of the fork to service the headset, change a headset spacer, for straightforward for touring, simple to alter handlebars or change levers, and so on. So, no.

2020 FSA internally routed cockpit integration - ACR, ICR SCR road, gravel, mountain bike handlebar, stem, headset
The FSA Aerodynamic Cable Routing (ACR) answer routes cables via the highest of the steerer tube preserving them out of the wind in a bid to save lots of valuable Watts

James at Analog Cycles – Vermont

At Analog, all we do is construct journey bikes. Something that makes a motorcycle more durable to area service is dangerous for the client out on tour, and any gap within the body that doesn’t should be there’s a place for water to get in and in addition a spot the place the body is weaker. This has been born out by testing bikes with and with out inside routing holes in managed impression and fatigue assessments carried out in Taiwan for our sister firm Tanglefoot Cycles.  

Inside cable housing additionally bangs round in a body, which makes clients suppose they’ve a body crack when actually it’s simply crappy engineering. I’d be extra with the interior headset routing if there was a full size tube to seize the housing your entire approach.  This may eradicate banging noises, water egress, and the PITA of fishing a cable out. Sure there are good methods on the market for getting a little bit of cable via, however these don’t all the time work (i.e. typically a buyer has pulled all of the cables out in a DIY effort, and so on) and fishing a cable via a body is nobody’s concept of an excellent time. Moreover, when you have a look at how a lot put on a little bit of housing causes on a paint job to the purpose of body put on, even on a metal bike, one should marvel a few cable housing smacking and rubbing towards a paint-less, hidden steerer tube manufactured from plastic. Looks as if an accident ready to occur. 

So, what are your ideas on absolutely inside, built-in cable routing? It’s additionally pointless for bikes that hardly ever are shifting at peloton speeds.

Is it an excellent factor, or a foul factor? High quality for loopy street bikes I suppose, professional bikes…

Are you having to cost your clients further (or extra usually) for headset bearing replacements, brake bleeds, cable replacements, and so on? We cost a premium for all inside routing. Headset routing isn’t more durable than body routing, but it surely takes extra time so you should cost extra.

Is it actually that rather more trouble, or is it simple sufficient when you’ve finished one or two? Straightforward sufficient, the difficulty isn’t ease of use on a workstand.

Is it tougher that so many bikes use barely totally different options? After all it’s a ache within the ass. How might it not be? New requirements imply new tooling, extra training for workers, extra time spent on youtube the primary few go rounds.

Would you will have it in your private bike if, in some parallel universe, you weren’t answerable for the upkeep of your personal bike? Hell no. Probably the most I’d do could be inside routing with a brazed in place brass tube on a gravel or street bike prime tube or chainstay. I don’t suppose the headset routing appears good, it appears low cost, like a Walmart bike answer to not braze on cable guides. What would Pacific do? Inside routing! Quite a lot of these things is only for producers to tout marginal weight financial savings over final yr’s mannequin. Should you put off downtube cable ports or housing bosses, you progress the port to the headset, and immediately your body is X quantity of grams lighter. It’s all a rip-off, there isn’t any legit purpose exterior of aerodynamics to maneuver the routing to the headset. So, when you see this routing on something however a professional stage bike, and also you suppose it’s rad, you’ve been had.

enve custom road race bike aero full integration headset cable routing
Full cable integration on an Enve Customized Highway Race Bike offers the cleanest of traces for this aero-optimized body

Mitch Graham of BioWheels – Madeira, OH

I suppose we take the method that it doesn’t do us a lot good to complain about what the trade does with inside routing or new requirements on the bread-and-butter bikes that we promote and repair. It’s what it’s. If most clients are in favor of those options (many are on the lookout for full integration), then we now have to be. The typical value for a motorcycle we promote is $6000 which signifies that now greater than half of the bikes we promote to people have absolutely inside routing. We’re used to coping with them, and so they positively get simpler the extra you’re employed on them (particularly if you’re seeing the identical fashions in entrance of you time and again.) Wanting again now into our workshop, each bikes being tuned up have full inside routing. So increasingly more service bikes coming in are inside. We cost hourly for service, so we run the clock as soon as we begin work on a motorcycle, and invoice for our time. So sure we now have to cost extra as a result of these bikes are all the time going to take longer to service than the earlier era.

Would I personally select a motorcycle with conventional routing or absolutely inside? Nice query. I suppose since I would like the brand new Moots CRD street bike greater than I would like the earlier mannequin – I must say absolutely inside for me! They simply look superior.

What impact does inside routing have on bike becoming? There isn’t sufficient time throughout a motorcycle match to swap a totally built-in bar/stem out, in order that job often will get pushed to the service division of our store, or the match shopper’s store again residence. We use a fully-adjustable GURU becoming bike for the precise bike match, so we’re capable of get the client their measurements from that (which then would get transferred onto their bike).

Moots Cycles Vamoots CRD side shot
The aforementioned Moots Vamoots CRD with full cable integration

Felix Wolf, Gentle Wolf Studio – Germany

What are your ideas on absolutely inside, built-in cable routing? All people desires it, no person’s needing it, however we’ll do it anyhow.
It will probably solely be an aesthetic factor since there’s no technical benefit from our perspective.
We see far more disadvantages.

Is it an excellent factor, or a foul factor? It’s a development of this time.
As a customized bike builder, we’re within the fortunate place to fastidiously choose our merchandise and naturally persuade our clients for the perfect answer.
Most bikes we construct these days include AXS or Di2 shifting. So we’ll have solely two brake hoses. Our second benefit may be promoting bikes to customized match. Thus, we are able to minimize these two hoses precisely to the size wanted by realizing spacer stack, stem and handlebar specs. This fashion we are able to obtain a really clear look with out squeezing hoses although small elements.

So most bikes don’t include full integration. But when it comes with inside routing we now have strict guidelines:
We’re not constructing bikes with 2x mechanical drivetrain and built-in cables – 1x solely in some uncommon instances. We simply need to keep away from the unfavourable impact of stiff cables effecting your steering, and to reduce the chance of rattling. To conclude: we solely use techniques that basically work effectively and could be actually choosy to keep away from downsides for us and the client.

Are you charging our clients further (or extra usually) for headset bearing replacements, brake bleeds, cable replacements, and so on?

Truly we’re not charging further or extra usually, we simply cost per hour within the workshop. And a headset bearing alternative took minutes within the previous days. Now it’s hours to open and re-bleed two hoses and maybe additionally have to take away the BB for rerouting the rear one – relying on the brake system. I assume most clients don’t take that under consideration and can be shocked by the excessive workshop invoice. There are some inside routing techniques on the market that go away bearings uncovered. I guess this may have an effect on headset lifetime. However for us it’s easy – we simply don’t promote bikes with that type of built-in answer.

Is it actually that rather more trouble, or is it simple sufficient when you’ve finished one or two?

In most instances, its a ache within the ass and the mechanic must develop a 3rd arm. However after all, just a few bike mechanics are used to it by engaged on built-in options each day. And with extra bikes coming with these integrations, we’ll get used to it and evolution would possibly assist with a 3rd arm sooner or later. We’re in a cushty place once more with a boutique workshop, fastidiously assembling every bike. If a construct wants any longer – we’ll have the time and persistence.

Is it tougher that so many bikes use barely totally different options? We don’t see so many various options. There’s an even bigger higher bearing, a carved higher race, split-able spacers and a stem and handlebars with a number of holes. They could differ specifically form, however the system used is all the time quiet related.

Would you will have it in your private bike if, in some parallel universe, you weren’t answerable for the upkeep of your personal bike? To be sincere, I’m simply planning a brand new journey with every little thing {that a} bike store used to hate: absolutely built-in cables and proprietary elements. You guessed it proper – as a result of it appears cool!

Deda Superbox DCR flexible integrated stem, 4-in-1 internal or external routing options
The Deda Superbox DCR 4-in-1 Stem permits quite a lot of cable routing choices

Evan Robinson of Regular State Cycles – Pittsburgh

The present development for operating hoses and cable/wires via the headset is nice. Making a clear cockpit makes any high-end street bike look way more fashionable. If there are marginal beneficial properties from having the hoses contained in the headset, I’m right here for it.

However I feel it’s legal, completely legal, for this to be on lower-end and mechanical bikes. Oversize headset bearings require alternative much less usually. Moving into the pinnacle tube to wash and grease the interfaces between the bearings and the body is somewhat ache within the ass, however on many high-end bikes, not a deal breaker.

I had a buyer that did 10,000+ miles a yr in western Pennsylvania and wanted a headset after two seasons. The bike was due for an overhaul anyhow, so different requirements absorbed the associated fee. I additionally suppose an excellent observe as a mechanic to switch the cable housing reasonably than the internal cables alone is an expert observe, and now that turns into a particularly costly job on an entry-level bike.

cockpit closeup on Colnago V4Rs road bike
The Colnago V4Rs was designed to be the quickest all-road bike ever



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