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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the process of upgrading to a RS Reba fork and BB7 brakes on my 02 Rockhopper. My question is, is there any advantage/disadvantage to running a full length cable housing vs. open cable (no housing) along the top tube? I've read somewhere that running a full length housing provides less drag. If this is true, why does just about every bike come with the open cable? Thanks for any information/opinions on this subject...
 

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EvanSpikes said:
I am in the process of upgrading to a RS Reba fork and BB7 brakes on my 02 Rockhopper. My question is, is there any advantage/disadvantage to running a full length cable housing vs. open cable (no housing) along the top tube? I've read somewhere that running a full length housing provides less drag. If this is true, why does just about every bike come with the open cable? Thanks for any information/opinions on this subject...
I always ran full length housing for my Avid Mechs, and loved them. They were smooth as silk. I had friends who did not run full length housing, and I could definitely feel a difference when trying their brakes out.
 

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a e i o u and sometimes y
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It's a preference issue--as most things are. Not sure what you mean by "less drag", but full length housing will actually result in more friction and may make for harder pulling. Full length housing will surely keep your cables cleaner though. Split housing reduces friction and, I would think, makes for a smoother/quicker pull. But it sounds like Max99 (god I hope that's a Get Smart ref !) has had good luck running full length. Avid makes some cool stuff to check out: flack jacket, full metal jacket, etc.
 

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Brizn said:
It's a preference issue--as most things are. Not sure what you mean by "less drag", but full length housing will actually result in more friction and may make for harder pulling. Full length housing will surely keep your cables cleaner though. Split housing reduces friction and, I would think, makes for a smoother/quicker pull. But it sounds like Max99 (god I hope that's a Get Smart ref !) has had good luck running full length. Avid makes some cool stuff to check out: flack jacket, full metal jacket, etc.
Yes, Max99 is a Get Smart ref. I have 2 dogs, Maxwell Smart and 99. One of my favorite TV shows as a kid.

As far as the housing goes, I found that it kept the cables cleaner and made for a smoother pull. It's been a few years since I ran mechs, but full housing was sweet. As mentioned, it really is a personal preference, but considering that housing is pretty cheap, it won't set you back too much to give it a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for you opinion. What I was refering to by "less drag" is that I read there is less friction in a full length housing than a split housing because the fittings on the split housing, where the cable exits and enters the housing, causes drag/friction. Any thoughts on this?
 

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conjoinicorned
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there is less friction in a full length housing than a split housing because the fittings on the split housing, where the cable exits and enters the housing, causes drag/friction.
correct. also a split housing gets dirt inside, which is the worst friction cause.

a full housing is ALWAYS better than a split, when it's possible to have one. and use high quality housing...
 

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Meh.
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Split housing has more friction at the ends, so actually a full-length housing has less friction. It also keeps all sorts of crap out. Use Rock & Roll Cable Magic inside the housing to reduce friction even further. A good quality housing can make a huge difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am still debating on whether to go with full housing or not (leaning toward full but waiting for more opinions), but I will be using Avid Straight Jacket housing with PTFE coated cables. Would it still be advisable to coat cables with extra lube? If so, I only have Pedros Dry Ice Wax (normally for chain) and WD-40. Would either of those be better than nothing? Thanks...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just an update... I ran full length housing to my new BB7s and am totally stoked at the silky smooth feel! Because I see no drawback (other than drilling out stock cable guides), I would totally recommend to anyone.

My only question is, does anyone know if running full length housing provides the same benefits for the shifter cables? Thanks...
 
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EvanSpikes said:
Just an update... I ran full length housing to my new BB7s and am totally stoked at the silky smooth feel! Because I see no drawback (other than drilling out stock cable guides), I would totally recommend to anyone.

My only question is, does anyone know if running full length housing provides the same benefits for the shifter cables? Thanks...
It sure does! I've been running full length shifter housing for the last six months, and it's still operating as new. (I'm also a big fan of full length brake housing! :D )

It does add some weight, but unless you're an uber-weight weenie (not that there's anything wrong with that..) I think it's worth it.

- Greg
 

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It sure does! I've been running full length shifter housing for the last six months, and it's still operating as new. (I'm also a big fan of full length brake housing! :D )

It does add some weight, but unless you're an uber-weight weenie (not that there's anything wrong with that..) I think it's worth it.

- Greg
and Specialized has switched to full length rear derailleur housing on the Epic FS bikes because it is less affected by the suspension movement.
 

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Avid flack jacket uses a sealed plastic sleeve for the exposed parts (along the top tube) so the cable is still fully protected. I tend to run full length brake housing when I can, becuase I can.
 

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EvanSpikes said:
...why does just about every bike come with the open cable?
The answer to this question, I suspect, is tradition... it is most likely a weight-weenie decision carried over from road bikes, and has simply not been questioned.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that, prior to actually considering the benefits of full length housing, I thought of it as cheap, tacky, K*Mart, etc. -- especially growing up, before mountain bikes really hit mainstream.

As an aside, anyone here from the bay area remember the bikes given away by Matthew's TV & Stereo ("Steven Matthew David's, top of the hill, Daly City!") -- featuring bright yellow full length housing... point made?

So now every frame that enters the house gets the Dremeled cable stop treatment, and is quickly converted to full length housing runs.

https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=130062

 

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Speedub.Nate said:
The answer to this question, I suspect, is tradition... it is most likely a weight-weenie decision carried over from road bikes, and has simply not been questioned.

I can tell you with absolute certainty that, prior to actually considering the benefits of full length housing, I thought of it as cheap, tacky, K*Mart, etc. -- especially growing up, before mountain bikes really hit mainstream.

As an aside, anyone here from the bay area remember the bikes given away by Matthew's TV & Stereo ("Steven Matthew David's, top of the hill, Daly City!") -- featuring bright yellow full length housing... point made?

So now every frame that enters the house gets the Dremeled cable stop treatment, and is quickly converted to full length housing runs.

https://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=130062

More likely a carry over from when housing was lower quality and much more compressible.

Road bikes traditionally use full length brake housing. The use of housing stops and open runs is inspired by mtbs.

Road bikes with down tube shifters only need housing from the stay to the rear derailleur. The front derailleurs need no housing at all.
 

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shiggy said:
Road bikes traditionally use full length brake housing. The use of housing stops and open runs is inspired by mtbs.
Ahhh! My road bike ignorance shows, no? I didn't even consider the "old fashioned" shifter placement :p

My dad, who is not a cyclist, picked up on my full-length housing runs immediately and commented how "cheap" they looked -- probably referring to the zip-ties more than the lack of exposed cable.
 

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I also thought at one point the combo of housing/open runs were due to weight but some old skoolers indicated it was the housing quality that made the difference, the current housing quality is much better. Too bad so many bikes don't really give you a choice. I've been running full derailer & brake housings for several years now, will not go back. Much better performance and less maintenance.
 
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