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cable housing

Ted Wojcik

Monkey
Nov 5, 2007
105
0
kingston. nh
I've seen a bunch of bikes now with cable housing used the full length of the cable. And I had someone tell me that this is an improvement over using stops and having open wire. Who actually believes this is an improvement in dérailleur control? Can you prove to me that it is an improvement? Remember, I was building frames when we opened up cables for cleaning and lubrication. Should we do a test? I need to be convinced that this is more than a fashion statement.
 

FOXROX

Turbo Monkey
Jun 23, 2007
2,119
0
hambur,nj
i think the full length cable housing looks cleaner, but i have also had problems with the cables fraying on open housings.......
 

zebrahum

Monkey
Jun 22, 2005
406
0
SL,UT
In my experience, the full housing gets sticky faster. I'm not stoked on all these full housing bikes out there.
 

BikeMike

Monkey
Feb 24, 2006
784
0
Full housing has more inherent friction and compression: Cable that is suspended in air experiences less friction when moving back and forth than cable that's rubbing against something, even if that something is a slick housing liner. Furthermore, stops on a frame aren't flexing or going anywhere, but housing will compress a bit. For pure shifting/braking performance, traditional stops beat full length housing every time (Ok, so you could put stops in some bad places if you tried...but let's assume the design is at least somewhat well planned).

Full length housing is often used on full suspension bikes (especially long travel bikes) because suspension design often causes routing problems. It's also used in areas where the conditions are really wet and grimy;that is in areas where the additional friction incurred by running full length housing is considered a better option than getting silt and junk in the cables through multiple openings in the system.

If you're going for "clean looking," then internal cable routing is the way to go (but it can be a pitb to string...).
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
10,837
1,111
Seattle
Internal routing, while pretty, is a PITA. I have one bike with it, and it's annoying.


I like full length housing. There's not that much more friction, and everything stays cleaner longer.
 
working in the shop and seeing everything from huffys to s works come in for tune ups I would have to say full length housing is alot easier to deal with. if prepped right it can last alot longer then open. dry lube the housing before threading the cable and using correct size ferrrules will keep the cables clean and operational alot longer than the open routing. when we get bikes in for a full tune up that have open routing cables (brake or derail.) we will include a small diameter sleeve to cover the open section of cable. it quiets the ride and protects the cable from weather, sun, oxydization, sediment, water, ect.

thus is my proof for the full housing argument.
 

-dustin

boring
Jun 10, 2002
7,162
1
austin
i do not like full housing. especially with rapid rise rear derailleurs. it does increase friction, and any dust that gets inside will stick to the "lube" and gunk it up.

interrupted housing with Shimano XTR ferrules and dry cables, FTW.
 

Ted Wojcik

Monkey
Nov 5, 2007
105
0
kingston. nh
I have found it easier and cheaper to simply pull the housing from the split stops, wipe the inner cable down from time to time and apply some cable lube. I remember when Huffy's, Murray's, and Columbia's all came with full housing. i can't get that $100 bicycle memory out of my mind. There is more friction with more housing, I think the springs on the newer dérailleurs are stronger and it doesn't seem to matter as much. Segmented housing is lighter.
 

nmr8

Monkey
Apr 6, 2007
108
0
I have found it easier and cheaper to simply pull the housing from the split stops, wipe the inner cable down from time to time and apply some cable lube. I remember when Huffy's, Murray's, and Columbia's all came with full housing. i can't get that $100 bicycle memory out of my mind. There is more friction with more housing, I think the springs on the newer dérailleurs are stronger and it doesn't seem to matter as much. Segmented housing is lighter.
good housing and cables have gotten substantially better since your memories of $100 bikes with full length runs. good cables are stainless and die drawn now. since they're stainless there's no need to coat them in grease, and since they're die drawn there's less friction to begin with. housing has plastic lining now too.

i think specialized has switched to full length runs on the stumpy and the enduro sl. i think with modern parts the benefit of sealing the system outweighs the cost of added weight and decreased precision / increased friction for the return spring to overcome. in particular think about bikes with full length brake runs. a full length run to a rear mechanical disc using flakjacket style compressionless housing feels so concrete and smooth at the lever and it lasts forever.

i run a rapid rise xtr on my trail bike and i have one open length of cable along the top tube, but a long run from the top tube to the derailleur. it works well. i've also noticed rapid rise ders are fussier, my old lx rapid rise was awful, never returned to the right place. i don't think the springs wear out, so i have a hunch it's dirt in the pivots.
 

buildyourown

Turbo Monkey
Feb 9, 2004
4,837
0
South Seattle
On DH bikes that are ridden excessively in the mud, full length housing is better IF you are lazy about maintenance. I would prefer to run stops, but after owning several frames that offered no choice, I have resigned to live with full length.
Add stops, and offer your customer the choice. Full length doesn't allow you to lube the cable without full disassemebly.
 

ultraNoob

Yoshinoya Destroyer
Jan 20, 2007
4,515
1
Hills of Paradise
I don't really like full length housings. One thing I like about exposed cables is that it makes troubleshooting a shift problem (mid ride) so friggn easy. Just reach down and give it a tug... wait, why does that sound dirty?
 

Ted Wojcik

Monkey
Nov 5, 2007
105
0
kingston. nh
Where my information on cable friction came from is when Ride-on cables were first introduced, some builders were asked to try top routing, bottom routing, full housing, segmented housing in any configuration we could think of. At that time, Ride-on clinics were conducted in conjunction with SRAM clinics and the results of builders who participated in this project where shared with the attendees Early grip shift was sensitive to any increased friction in the cable system. Ride-on was the answer as was a segmented cable system that was bottom routed. To help reduced the sensitivity of cable friction, Night Crawlers were introduced. The project showed the system of least friction was the Goretex coated cables with a full liner around the die-drawn stainless inner wire and as little housing as possible. It takes time and effort to set up dérailleur cables and/or brake cables in this manner but it paid off. I have a bike in the shop with a Ride-on cable system that is over 7 years old and it still works fine. In the following years Shimano has supplied Moly coated stainless inner wires and housing with PTFE liner to reduce friction. I have been making my hardtail frames with removable cable stops. This is for those who want to follow the full housing fashion or for those who like the "form follows function" set up, the stops can be used. I agree that most full suspension frames will benefit in some manner with full housing.
 

Jim Mac

MAKE ENDURO GREAT AGAIN
May 21, 2004
6,364
281
the middle east of NY
Sinister bikes seems to be headed in the direction of full housing as well. I'd love to hear Frank's reasoning for this.

FYI, my Sinister R9 runs full housing and I raced/rode in a ton of east coast mud in 2007. The bike shifted flawlessly all year.
 

-dustin

boring
Jun 10, 2002
7,162
1
austin
I find that people riding in dusty, dry, sandy conditions have issues with full housing more frequently than others.