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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All,
I've noticed in various pics of bike set-ups that some of you choose to run a full cable housing set up for your brakes -and seemingly no cable stops- in your custom frames.

I'm curious about this type of build request. Is there more integrity to the tubes w/o having extraneous braze-ons? Is there any loss of braking power when running full housing? Is it an aesthetics thing?

Just curious and interested in hearing your thoughts on this.
Thanks,
ssRR
 

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mudnthebloodnthebeer
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585 Posts
ssRoughRider said:
Hey All,
I've noticed in various pics of bike set-ups that some of you choose to run a full cable housing set up for your brakes -and seemingly no cable stops- in your custom frames.

I'm curious about this type of build request. Is there more integrity to the tubes w/o having extraneous braze-ons? Is there any loss of braking power when running full housing? Is it an aesthetics thing?

Just curious and interested in hearing your thoughts on this.
Thanks,
ssRR
It's about keeping junk from getting in the housing and increasing friction, which degrades brake performance.
 

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Steamroller
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1,227 Posts
I considered it........

.........,but I ended up putting stops in and an interupted housing. The housing adds weight and can compress when braking. It does not add much weight though and any compression could be solved with a turn or two of the barrel adjusters. Some guys think it's cleaner with the full housing and some think the opposite
.
My inclination to run a full housing was to be able to zip tie it in the center of the top tube to stop that maddening clink of cable on tube. I did that on my last bike for a few months and it worked great. On my new bike I think I have the best of both worlds, I have stops, but I'm using Avid flak jacket cables. They have a continuous plastic sleeve over the cable between the stops greatly reducing the clink and keeping the cable sealed. If it still klinked I could add a zip tie mid tube. I just wish the sleeve was blue instead of red. ;)

My frame is disc only so it actually has two sets of stops, the picture shows the rear set and the Avid cable with red sleeve pretty well.
 

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Premium Member
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Works better. Smoother routing. Fewer housing ends to cause friction. Fewer places for the gunk to get in.
Today's housing are much better than they were 15-20 years ago. Then the multiple housing stops helped because it reduced the compression of the poor quality housings.
 

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Yes, what Shiggy said.

I once thought it would cause more friction because of extra material. This is not true. It is smoother at first, and way smoother 6 months later because of the lack of gunk in the cable. When in doubt, listen to the wisdom of Shiggy.
 

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Derailleurless
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9,122 Posts
Mattman's beautiful frame there helps make the case for full length (sorry Matt).

Notice how the ferrule & housing end at the top end of the seat stay aren't quite in line with the cable? It's unavoidable, but you can guarantee that a standard interrupted setup will see the cable cutting into both the ferrule & the edge of the housing, and I've got plenty of used ferrules sitting around to back that up. I't my impression that those edges are a great source of friction in interrupted setups.

I'm guessing the Avid Flak Jacket that Matt uses addresses that concern to some degree, but it still leaves a bit of an edge at the end of the housing.
 

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I personally run uninterupted housing (or did before going hydrolic), simply for a set up that didn't take any time to replace when the grit started makeing itself at home inside. Full length does degrade stiffness and therefore ultimate power, even with the best housing out there. Nothing is going to be as stiff at the frame itself.

With that said, I believe that the best set up is to have as absolutely little housing as needed, and have a top notch mechanic install the housing. What I do for customers is fuss over the very last millimeter of length to assure a linear pass through the cable stop, grind the ends flat and square, and shape the inner nylon housing to a nice trumpet at each end. If the customer doesn't mind the appearance, I like to zip tie the first section of rear brake housing tight to the frame so the housing stays inline regardless of turned handlebars.
Some frames have a pair of cable stops such a small distance apart that it is simply foolish to even use them. Poor judgment in cable stop placement is quite rampant in taiwaneese frames, and sometimes they are just not worth using.
 

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Derailleurless
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Sideways said:
have a top notch mechanic install the housing.
You and I are in obvious disagreement, but we each have formed our opinions through our experiences, so that's cool -- no argument there.

But you bring up the point about having a "top notch mechanic" perform the install.

'Round these parts, anyway, I don't know if that person exists. In other words, the only person who'll stress over housing installation to the last millimeter is most often the owner of the bike! I'd be hard-pressed to find a mechanic who doesn't clip, file & insert with nary a second thought.

Regardless of interrupted or full-length installation, housing prep is the single most important step in a smooth, friction free run. More important than choice of housing, more important than coated vs. uncoated cables. Even the most expensive housing will feel like poo if it is installed haphazardly.

I'm a firm believer in cutting the housing square with a Dremel & a cut-off wheel, in trimming any plastic fringe that remains at the housing end, and in fluting the inner liner open using an awl or a scribe to reduce entry/exit friction. Even the hackiest of hack home mechanics can manage this if they assign the task the proper importance and give it just a little bit of their patience.

The Dremel is optional equipment -- a file can be used to finish of the ends -- but it sure makes the job easier.
 

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Steamroller
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Your right Nate

I'm guessing the Avid Flak Jacket that Matt uses addresses that concern to some degree, but it still leaves a bit of an edge at the end of the housing.
But I did do the install myself, and I made a project that a bike shop would spend 15 minutes on take probably an hour or more. I'm pretty meticulous about cutting, filing, and reaming each break perfectly (my wife says I'm anal). I'm guessing I have as little friction as if I had done a quick sloppy job with a full length cable, even though I have six cuts instead of two. I have done it both ways though and could argue the advantages of uninterrupted cables too. In my mind it is the install that makes all the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks For The Info!

Thank everyone for their insight and comments!
Very educational.

-anyone have preferred cables and/or housing? I've been using the Aztec/Delta powerlines and seem pretty good -though don't think I could run full-length with those as the provided lengths wouldn't be long enough for the rear.

With the comments Shiggy made on overall housing quality advancements is there a bulk housing anyone would care to reccomend?

As alway thanks for sharing!

ssRR
 

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drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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I bought a box of this pimpy silver housing also. It's on sale for $19 for 98' at the Specialized website. Compare that to the $2/foot my LBS charges me and you'll save a LOOOOOT of cash ;)

Also, I've found that an old DT 14/15 spoke snipped in half and sharpened works well at opening up the liners. The butting between the two sizes helps open it up evenly.

I've tried using a Dremel and cutting wheel to cut my housing, but it's more difficult for me to get it as nice as good pair of housing cutters and tabletop grinding wheel.
 

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ssRoughRider said:
Thank everyone for their insight and comments!
Very educational.

-anyone have preferred cables and/or housing? I've been using the Aztec/Delta powerlines and seem pretty good -though don't think I could run full-length with those as the provided lengths wouldn't be long enough for the rear.

With the comments Shiggy made on overall housing quality advancements is there a bulk housing anyone would care to reccomend?

As alway thanks for sharing!

ssRR
I use QBP bulk housing (30 meters for under $30) or Nokon housing (big bucks).

Jagwire Teflon coated cables. No lube.
 

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i worship Mr T
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ok, i have a stupid question...Duh! nevermind...

[edit]
ok, ignore my stupid question below. all i needed to do was click one more time to see that you have to choose if you want brake or shifter housing. duh.....shouldn't have given up coffee. :rolleyes:

[original]
i think i need some of this pimpy silver housing. but, can this housing be used for either brake or derailleur cables? that's what it seems to indicate on the specialized site. or do i need to specify one or the other?

thanks!

rt
 

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drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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*rt* said:
i think i need some of this pimpy silver housing. but, can this housing be used for either brake or derailleur cables? that's what it seems to indicate on the specialized site. or do i need to specify one or the other?

thanks!

rt
I wouldn't. The stuff that you see above is just for brake cables. It's spiral wound (which works best for braking) underneath that mesh.

The shifter stuff looks nothing like that. It's plain gray and skinnier, like some of that older Shimano XTR shifter cable from at least 5 years ago. I haven't shifted in 4+ years, but my wife still does, so it's for her bikes.
 

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Shamisen Appreciator
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Speedub.Nate said:
Yeah, the stuff I show in the picture is the brake housing.

I'm in a good place -- the Speedhubs on my and my wife's bikes are all internally indexed, so I'm able to use brake cable housing (sprial wound) on everything. Cuts down on overhead, ya know?
You can use shift housing for brakes so long as it has the braided wrapping pictured above. It'll make your brakes feel better and won't blow up like traditional shifter housing (when used for brakes.)

Also like Drevil said, a sharpened spoke is invaluable for opening the ends of newly cut housing. It has other uses as well...anyone who is a Gore Ride-On holdout may remember the awesome smoothness those brake cables provided. I always hated the fact that they used standard compressible housing for a top quality product. You can use the threaded end of a 14g spoke to carefully pull the inner liner out of some wrapped, compressionless housing and then carefully insert your Gore cable and lining for the smoothest, best feeling canti's known to mankind. Good luck finding those cables anymore though. Word is they can still be found in the Euro market.
 

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drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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smudge said:
You can use shift housing for brakes so long as it has the braided wrapping pictured above. It'll make your brakes feel better and won't blow up like traditional shifter housing (when used for brakes.
Smudge is right. However, the shift housing that I got from Specialized (and ordered at the same time as the brake housing) does NOT have the braided outer cover like above. It's just the plain ol' plastic-coated outer casing, which probably will crack and explode after not too many uses.

BTW, I'm not sure if the outer braid on this housing does much more than look nice. It's so thin that I doubt it resists compressive forces much.
 

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Derailleurless
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I think the outer weave on these is purly decorative, but again, the stuff pictured is sprial wound.

I wouldn't trust an outer wrap to resist the compressive forces of brake use unless it's stated by the manufacturer or is thoroughly tested at home -- but not by appearance alone. Since we know Jagwire makes this housing for Specialized, we should be able to drop them an email and get the skinny.
 
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