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MONKEYMAN
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791 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
FACT OR FICTION?

I'm talking to some guy and he was going on about how he would never own an aluminum bike because the cables rub against the tubes and wear through them. Like all the way through- as if you could shine a flashlight in and see the inside of the tubing. Even if the housing is cut and routed correctly. "It'll rub when you make turns- eventually it'll wear all the through the wall of the tube"

So I'm thinking 'hmm' I better check out my ancient Zaskar and see if it's ok. I've heard of this phenomena before. . . But I've never actually seen it really happen.

So this is my question- We've all heard of this happening but has anyone actually ever seen it happen? I've seen it rub paint off but as far as burrowing into the head tube ?

Is it just something they made up to scare kids, like the Boogie man or Michael Jackson?
 

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No good in rock gardens..
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Well, cable rub does happen - no doubt about it. But you'd have to be a total 'tard to not notice it rubbing a hole in your frame. I put a couple of layers of tape under cable contact points on my frame. I know other people who put stickers on, and I've seen these little clear sticky patches at the LBS for the same purpose.
 

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SuperInstigator
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Yea, I put electrical tape on. I've never heard of cables actually wearing through, and if you install them right, make sure there is something covering the contact points, and if needed, use 'low friction' cables, not like Avid Flak Jacket. But you'd be able to run those too if you use patches as sideknob said.
 

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It's possible for the cables to rub against your frame and possibly go through the clear coat but I'm sure the plastic jacket on the cables would wear out before they go through solid aluminum.
 

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bang
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aluminum is not that soft. pure fiction. now, if the actual cable somehow contacts the frame (perhaps the bottom bracket area), then it is plausible. you would really have to screw the routing up on purpose for that situation to happen though.
 

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All 26.5" all the time!
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Fiction.

It would take an amazing amount of time and negelect to allow cable housing to rub trough a typical aluminum frame. Not to mention there are many easy ways to prevent cable housing rub all together.
 

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This sounds like a job for Myth Busters! Who'd like to volunteer their alu frame? We could attach some cable housing to an electric sander or something and see what happens.

I predict: Busted!
 

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~I Ride In Circles ~
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Way strong fiction there. On my old frame I had some nice grooves in the paint that were there because of the cables.. So on my new frame I took a few 2x1 inch pieces of clear packaging tape.(the real thick stuff) I made it a few layers thick and put it in place where the cables rub around the headtube.. It has worked like a charm. Lizard skins makes frame patches and such if you're worried about it.
 

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No good in rock gardens..
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They can abrade the aluminium over time - it mainly seems to be around the head tube area or where there is constant pressure from the cable - but I'm not talking great divets out of the frame - more like a very shallow depression. My GT I just sold had some little cable rub marks in the metal.
 

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Vaginatarian
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5,686 Posts
while not technicaly cable rub , how about zip tie rub. when I bought my bike, the brake cable was zip tied to the front fork. 6 mos. later, I see a picture of an Enduro with a Fox 36 and there is a cable bracket. So I order one from Specialized and when it gets here I cut the zip tie and HOLY CRAP there is a large zip tie sized groove in my fork, Fox says $240 + labor & that doesnt include the routine service (isnt routine service new oil & seals? I know they will have to drain it and take it apart to fix it, so shouldnt that be part of the price to repair?) anyway heres a picture
 

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Old man on a bike
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12,395 Posts
I have seen some pretty good grooves dug into frames from housing rub, particularly aluminum tubes, but not all the way through the tube, but considering how thin some of the tubes are, it's not impossible. I did in one 80 mile trip wear right thru an aluminum Ibis frame due to rub on a bike rack (where the rack was intended for regular straight top tubes and the frame slipped from the original secure point, this was a full suspension frame with odd top tube shape; I bought him a new front triangle after several guys looked at it and said no way should anyone ride that anymore). If neglected long enough, it's definitely possible.
 

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Fact.

It is possible, with no protection, over YEARS, to rub a hole in a frame. Given enough cycles, any frame material will start to groove. It is up to the user to stay on top of it.

BTW, what does the OP's friend ride, a fixie? (1 gear, no freehub, no brakes)
 

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MONKEYMAN
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791 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
damion said:
BTW, what does the OP's friend ride, a fixie? (1 gear, no freehub, no brakes)
I guess his point was that aluminum is softer than steel- that's why the cables would eventually rub through the frame. He is kind of a blowhard when it comes to bikes ( and everything else for that matter)
he has an old breezer mtb I've never seen him ride it though
 

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A recent discovery



It's not very deep, but I have no idea how thick the aluminum wall is....its on the seat stay of my bear. The strange thing is that there is no visible wear on the underside of that brake cable. But there is wear down to the kevlar mesh on some areas up front where 2 of the flak jacket cables have rubbed together.
 

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druranium said:
The strange thing is that there is no visible wear on the underside of that brake cable. But there is wear down to the kevlar mesh on some areas up front where 2 of the flak jacket cables have rubbed together.
Fine abrasive particles get embedded in the softer coverings of the cable housing and act like sandpaper on the harder aluminum (or steel). Two cable housings wear equally on each other.
 

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Dr. Bike
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205 Posts
If it can rub enough to put a mark in it, then of course, over time it will eventually wear the whole way through. Which isn't very far on many of the tubes. I use the Lizard Skin patches. The leather ones work best because they are more flexible. I've also used pieces of rubber tubing with large enough of an I.D. to slide down over the housing. This will work too but you need to replace them when they wear through.
 

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I have a new anodized Santa Cruz Blur. I'm new to anodized, so do I still need to put patches on the frame to prevent rub? I assume so...and any adivce on what will stick best to the anodizing would be appreciated.
 

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Use Velcro

I put small patches of the fuzzy side of adhesive velcro at the rub points.

The problem with some of the hard tape- or patch- type protectors is that they will eventually wear just like the paint/aluminum. And if you get some type of harder-wearing frame protection patches, you may just wear out your cable housings instead. 1.5 years of a lot of hard suspension-flexing riding and the velcro patches look only slightly worn on my bike. In fact, I used it to protect my drive-side chain stay and it's working great there, too.
 
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