Opinion: I Love Internal Cable Routing, There I Said It

Apr 22, 2021 at 7:52
by Henry Quinney  

16.04.21. Pinkbike Forest of Dean Rider Seb Stott. PIC Andy Lloyd www.andylloyd.photography
A Parade of Vanity?
Why Internal Routing Is Superior
What's not to love? I commend Focus. 8/10


Words: Henry Quinney

You're Joking Right?

No, I'm not. I'm fed up with internal routing being bashed. It's just far better. I admit it - I love internal cable routing. There, I said it. What’s more, I like it in the most basic form with only entry and exit ports. It’s the cleanest looking and most functional.

I think cable routing is like tyre inserts or bleeding brakes in that I often don’t understand how people can go so wrong. I’m not some bicycle rider-cum-technical-polymath… it’s just putting a bit of foam in a tyre or pushing oil through a system. I do, however, follow instructions and tend to have a plan A, B, C and even a D or E on occasion.
Obsequious adjective: obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree.
Bootlicker noun: an obsequious or servile person.
Sycophant noun: a person who acts obsequiously towards someone important in order to gain advantage.
Toady noun: toady; plural noun: toadies - a person who behaves obsequiously to someone important.

Here is a pre-emptive selection of words you may wish to use in the comments. Ever here to help and inform, indeed.


I should also mention that I’ve spent the most part of my professional life working as a mechanic. This might support or indeed undermine my argument but, then again, a lot of my interactions with riders or customers en masse would suggest that many of them think that bicycles are simple beings. In a maintenance sense I would agree with this. There is undoubtedly a degree of nuance with some jobs but I'm not sure that extends to pushing a cable through a hole.

Specialized Enduro 2020
Due to my "moto" setup, the front end on my Enduro will never look as clean as this. I don't like it crossing the headtube but it's not the end of the world. 5/10.
Whenever people complain out of sympathy for mechanics I just think that if your chosen mechanic can’t push a cable through a hole without significant difficulty then you’re probably backing the wrong horse. With triathlon bikes and even some of the more aero-orientated road bikes, I kind of get it, especially when you have to cut hoses and cables the perfect lengths to not only fit in but also to keep them from forcing themselves out under tension, but for the lines we use in mountain bikes… it’s just not a problem.

What Has Been Seen Cannot be Unseen.

My current main bike, a Specialized Enduro, is genuinely a remarkable bike but I have the gripe that I really strongly dislike fully guided internal routing and that’s for a very simple reason - I run my rear brake on the left. Small potatoes, I know but it does bother me on a superficial level.

The side that we run our brakes is often subject to the side of the road in which the traffic drives in your home country. There are different explanations for which side of the road one may drive on. Be it what style of horse-drawn carriage your ancestors used, Pope Boniface VIII’s declaration that pilgrims must travel on the left or indeed whether you may wish to keep your sword arm free and uninhibited should you find yourself in the midst of an impromptu enduro joust-off.

Either way, us Brits, with our tea, our biscuits, Duran Duran, two world wars and one world cup, drive on the left and subsequently run our rear brake on the same side. I believe the blasé term is “export”... and we certainly “exported” our culture elsewhere, and not just the driving-on-the-left thing, but maybe the less said about this the better. However, while I'm here, I would just like to take this opportunity to formally apologise to North America for Piers Morgan. To say the man is without redeemable traits would be unfair, as it doesn’t entertain the possibility of harvesting his potentially life-saving organs, but I’m sorry all the same.

But yes, the cables. So, I drive on the left and use my brake on the left. I also like my cable to not cross the headtube. It looks messy, in my opinion. I know some people feel or have felt in the past that longer curves in the cable translate to greater shifting performance or that it's the best way to keep cable off the headtube but I just don't buy it. The real problem then arises when you use a frame that has preordained entry ports for right hand rear braking. Honestly, there is currently a great deal of conversation in my own country regarding the realization that we’re actually not as important as might like to think. Shrinking violets and a lessening say in international diplomacy I can handle but it really hit home when I couldn’t have my cable routing of choice.

What’s WORSE, far worse, is that I can no longer heatwrap or affix my dropper and the rear brake lines together. Oh sweet Boris, the humanity.

A lot of Fuss About Nothing? Possibly.

Riding my bike is a pleasure and anything that inhibits that even slightly is to be avoided at all costs. I know this feeling could be denounced as mere shallowness or snobbery, and while I don't disagree with that, I would say my strong feeling of pro-internal routing is only as ridiculous as being vehemently against it. I think the optimisation of a bike is one of the things that got me hooked in bicycle mechanics in the first place. As soon as I rode a bike I was always curious how to maximize the experience.
Photo Boris Beyer
No. No. No. No. No. 1/10

bigquotesThis idea that we should be at the whims of the most mechanically inept is bizarre.

I suppose I do take pride in the way my bike looks, even if I am the only one to ever really take a close look at it. It's not totally dissimilar to being house-proud. I mean, we could live in holes in the ground with tarpaulin rigged over the top, label it as "highly ventilated semi-open plan" by way of justification, but personally, I'd really prefer to live somewhere nice even if maintaining it is either beyond me or labour intensive. For instance, I'm not a plasterer but I'm also not suggesting that I want all the guts of the house exposed just in case I want to have a stab at the plumbing. I'd rather just learn how to do it properly or pay somebody to do it well. This idea that we should be at the whims of the most mechanically inept is bizarre.

I want my tires to thud and not prang, my gears to roll through with not so much as a gentle purr, and my bike to always be free from creaks or clacks. Should my bike develop a noise, it's not the end of the world by any stretch but I'm always very happy to remedy it at the first available chance. Ugly or excess cabling on an instrument of pleasure that literally costs thousands of Queen Liz's finest pounds is just... absolutely unthinkable.
Hyper Spark
Tell me you don't care all you want, but if ever you rode a bike like ol' mate Dangerholm's I think you'd begin to appreciate it. 10/10

Admirable Efforts Aren't Always Enough.

My quest for the neatest routing even took me to try right-brake-rear. It's an interesting question - can one retrain your brain to use the brakes inversely to what you learned? Some people probably can but for me, I personally can’t. I know this because I tried and was genuinely scared for my life. Road cyclists have long run their setup “euro”, ie. front brake a gauche. Not only does it lend to cleaner routing to the front caliper brake, but it also means that one can endo while flicking through the gears at traffic lights, should you be faced with a big hill straight out of the blocks that no amount of tokes on the ol’ asthma inhaler will account for.

So yes, I tried it on my road bike as a hopeful youth coming down a not inconsiderable mountain and it was just awful. I persevered for another week or two but just couldn’t do it. It was a strange thing in that if I had time I could remind myself to do the inverse to what I know. The problem is that when you increase a small element of danger a panicked brain might get confused and overcorrect to do the inverse of the inverse.

But where was I? Ah yes, the cables. Some companies make a very inoffensive stab at well-executed external cabling and honestly, it’s fine. Pole does a good job of it and GT manage to hide their cables in the silhouette of their bike. I mean, it’s fine. It’s okay. It doesn't necessarily upset me. You might see some companies route their rear brake externally which is… well I don’t like it. As we’d say in ol’ blighty, it just isn’t my cup of tea. The argument that you might need to change your brake in case it gets damaged and the remedy is having the hose external to the frame... righto. And if you break a lever, for example, I would probably change the lever and not the whole system but maybe that's a luxury and finding compatible parts might be difficult, especially in the current climate.
GT Fury Review
In fairness, this is very well executed. 6/10

Privateer 161
To me, the "no nonsense" approach seems to be a little heavy on the non-sense. 2/10.
It might be said that it makes installing a new brake slightly easier, but does it really? You’re probably going to have to cut the new hose to length anyway. I suppose it does mean that you don’t have to bleed the brake you’re removing, which is a good thing I suppose. In a “race situation” maybe it has its merits but even then I seem to be immune to the idea’s charms. I would contend that in that particular “race situation”, a downhill bike fork's often don’t let you slip a caliper or lever between the stanctions and the headtube. So, you’re kind of just making work for yourself at that point. You may also run into a similar situation depending on your linkage.

Yes, I have a background as a mechanic but I don’t think that means I have a third hand or pot luck. Common sense and methodical thinking will be your most reliable ally, in my opinion.

I went riding with my friend the other day and upon seeing his bike with cables out every which way, I wondered if he was at risk from accidentally rustling some cattle by inadvertent lassoing or maybe after an OTB he would be found in the woods and the police would assume it had been some kind of auto-asphyxiation fetish gone wrong.

I have never been sat in a car and thought "well, this dashboard is nice but do you know what would really set it off? Lots of exposed wiring". These aren't lawnmowers or agricultural machinery. These are fine vessels and should be able to be designed as such, without people complaining just because their sausage fingers are bereft of the most basic requirements of dexterity to complete a simple task.

Magura dabble with full integration. Not too bad although it seems somewhat bizarre to go to all that trouble with putting a brake inside a handlebar to then have a cable doing a loop-the-loop out of the steerer. 8/10.

What Do I Want?

What I want is nice wide entry ports with malleable rubber grommets, including an option for a blanking plate and some borrowers-pipe-lagging. Installation only requires a small amount of patience and the red RockShox double barb tool (or you can use a cut spoke, some surgical tubing or a cut ferrule to great effect).

So, it’s quieter, cleaner, and looks better. What’s not to love? I suppose I welcome greater levels of integration and can’t wait to see what the next wave of bikes will have. Focus have got an interesting solution, as do Magura, and of course AXS is game changing. I’m excited to see where this will lead next and the svelte bikes we could be riding in the next decade.

If anyone has any queries regarding this article please feel free to handwrite me a strongly worded letter.


375 Comments

  • 549 37
 This is the worst take on Pinkbike since RC tried to cancel zipties. Whoever approved it should be fired. Smile
  • 131 7
 Some people say it was allowing Waki back. But at least he does seem to be behaving himself.
  • 5 1
 Link to focus stem in first pic

www.focus-bikes.com/int/cis
  • 38 4
 @gcrider: LOL at Focus calling that system "CIS." Big yikes.
  • 8 6
 @gcrider: so true...What really happened to WAKI?????
  • 23 2
 @audric: essentially Nicholson, at the end of “One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest”
  • 6 4
 @gcrider: what happened with waki though? i keep seeing shit abt him, but idk wtf happened
  • 20 37
flag kingbike2 (Apr 26, 2021 at 16:36) (Below Threshold)
 @audric: rumour has it that he’s a coward.
  • 19 4
 This has to be a belated April fool's joke. Either that or Pinkbike was purchased by One America News.
  • 16 4
 Short answer
He broke rule number one

www.wheatonslaw.com

@ltharris:
  • 9 9
 @gcrider: it's only a matter of time before he's off his meds.
  • 12 33
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Apr 26, 2021 at 18:05) (Below Threshold)
 @ltharris: He combined polish vodka with hallucinogens and things did not go well.
  • 21 42
flag kingbike2 (Apr 26, 2021 at 18:07) (Below Threshold)
 @audric: he is a racist.
  • 18 24
flag sjma (Apr 26, 2021 at 18:23) (Below Threshold)
 Hearing the attempted justifications for why downhill riders should have right of way was worse IMO because people can actually get hurt following that logic. This Quinney fellow is just particular and silly.
  • 13 34
flag suspended-flesh (Apr 26, 2021 at 18:31) (Below Threshold)
 @audric: Pay attention. The Cowardly Bullies cancelled him.
  • 4 22
flag maxlemp (Apr 26, 2021 at 19:25) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark RC is right, zip ties should die.
  • 27 3
 @sjma: we tried pretty hard to have lots of caveats, nuance, and the overarching advise of a) don't be a dick, and b) EVERYONE should give way to other trail users.
  • 25 6
 @sjma: I didn't see that article... But myself as one of the most considerate, hiker friendly, climb-loving riders I've met in 30+ years, I'd say yielding to downhill traffic makes sense more often than the opposite. Maybe on those slow janky technical sections, where there's not good flow to be had coming downhill anyway (unless you're Gwin or Pierron) - then it makes sense to give the rider coming up the right to clean that beast. But everywhere else where you're just toiling along to earn your turns down from the top.... Don't you want those descents to be as sweet and uninterrupted as possible? I guess the variety of our terrain types and trails can complicate things...
  • 24 0
 @brianpark: I think you all did a good job of trying to steer the conversation in that direction, it just didn't seem to set a clear expectation for trail users about what the rules of the trail are and why.

Pretty much all of us are working through our climbs just to get to the fun downhill runs but when we're on multi-use, shared trails, we have to be better than that. There could be any number of trail users including kids, equestrians, hikers, an injured rider, or wildlife that you can't see down every trail. It's the same as skiing - you have to be responsible for not running into anything in front of you. We need to reinforce this standard so that we can continue to have access to multi-use trails and so that people don't have more reasons to be pissed off at mountain bikers.
  • 10 0
 @ltharris: Probably some suggestions by his therapist to get rid of facebook and not read or post social media comments of any kind. If we all did the same, the world would be a much better place.
  • 30 33
 @kingbike2: everything and everyone is a racist to the woke mob, you guys are boring.
  • 3 11
flag headshot (Apr 26, 2021 at 22:02) (Below Threshold)
 Brian Park, you are a dinosaur. Fire yourself. Seriously though I'm with HQ on this one. I got my first bike with ICR and have changed a brake line and a derailleur outer. Sure, I had to undo the rear suspension pivot to get the outer through the chainstay but once I'd worked that out it was a doddle.
  • 4 0
 @headshot: swapping internal hoses isn't too bad. I did it on the road bike recently, just taped the old hose to the new and pushed the new one in place. Starting from scratch on some bikes can be much more challenging though
  • 4 3
 @gcrider: LOL "makes your cockpit more aerodynamic" wtf
  • 20 0
 @audric: some say that it’s no coincidence that @justwaki came online when @Mikelevy went offline.
  • 7 0
 I propose a poll involving internal routing, tan sidewalls, and oil-slick anything. Also, might as well do it right, so all photos should be from the non-drive side.
  • 4 0
 Brakes and opinions on scum media are correctly orientated. I like this guy.
  • 1 0
 @NoahColorado: I mean mtb is HUGE with CIS
  • 4 0
 Can you let HQ develop his internally routed lawnmower please? GrimMowNut?

Seriously. I’m seeing cables everywhere now. My bedside table is like an horiffic USB orgy. Anyone know where I can get an internally routed bedside table?
  • 2 1
 @audric: I kinda miss "his know it all" arrogant posts...
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: I agree even though you got downvoted by the pinkbike dude bro mob that doesn't know how to behave in a real society
  • 243 2
 Editor: Hey guys, research is showing that anger drives engagement. We need an article that can infuriate our audience what to drive more of the clicks...

Henry: I have just the thing...
  • 14 130
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Apr 26, 2021 at 18:08) (Below Threshold)
 Then how does this make it to the main page but my derailleur hater & YT nazi blog don't?
  • 12 0
 Just like my father said “I’m not angry I’m disappointed”.
  • 23 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Certainly curious, isn’t it? I know we’ve all been flummoxed by the same question..
  • 11 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: YT nazi is more probable than the industry accepting gearboxes...
  • 11 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: because it's in all the comments anyway
  • 12 0
 HQ - Firstly I will do an article on rear tyres and omit arguably the best / most ridden rear tyre ever - the Maxxis DHR2.

and Secondly as I know everyone hates internally cable routing I will do an article slamming external cable routing.

PB - Genius, the clicks will roll in and we'll all be filty rich.
  • 2 1
 @fartymarty: next week: 'Opinion: Why I Hate DHRII,' written with similar wit and range. Includes an interview with Sam Hill
  • 95 2
 Very well written article, and a great read. I completely disagree on almost every point, but I had a few chuckles along the way. External cables, 100% for me.
  • 1 0
 says the guy with 6 foot long cables........LOL
  • 1 0
 @PastizziBoy: I will ride the Humps, but i wont Hump my Ride. .... (-;
  • 91 4
 Internal routing for mech and dropper (tubes inside the frame to thread through)

External for rear brake hose.

Love Transition frames for this...
  • 2 2
 Also on Transition the brake hose is hidden behind the frame when viewed from the drive side. Looks nice. But honestly it would only take an extra ten minutes to route it internally with the Park magnet tool on a frame build, and very few people even get bikes that way. Before I got that tool cable routing was my least favorite task, but now it's NBD.
  • 4 0
 @mtb-thetown: I don't get the article here because I have a pair of second brake ready to replace the rear or front. How can you beat that?
  • 3 0
 I very respectfully disagree.

I have three bikes, one with fully external routing, one fully internal and one Transition.

The Transition is the worst one for cables. The rear brake line is precarious (especially on bike racks whose straps always want to interfere with it), noisier and bad-looking on the downtube. Love the bike otherwise.
  • 4 0
 @richt2000 100% agree. I purchased a 4m length of fine stainless braid the same diamater as a shifter cable. Crimped a lug on one end. Feed the braid through the new outer then through the old outer still inside the frame I want to replace. Pull the whole lot through the frame and it feeds the new outer through as the old one comes out. Works perfectly for shifter and cable droppers.
  • 88 0
 Your letter is on the way, @henryquinney. I sent it via carrier pigeon, so expect it really soon.
  • 110 4
 Will still arrive quicker than my new bike
  • 5 7
 @kevin267: this is such a low hanging fruit, come on pinkers
  • 9 0
 Maybe we should train carrier pigeons to deliver bikes
  • 1 0
 Podcast please
  • 3 0
 Well, it's an official spec for data communication... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers
  • 2 1
 Pigeons are way to reliable- if you want mail to get lost send it by USPS, works in at least 50% of all cases currently.
  • 68 10
 For years I have referred to internally routed cables as 'infernally routed'.

The way some bike manufacturers have achieved internal routing (and many still do) is absolutely abysmal from a maintenance and assembly standpoint. It looks nice on the outside, but it's a goddamn curse to bicycle mechanics everywhere.

Though FINALLY the industry is catching on to the (old) technology of sleeved internal routing where we can just push brake lines, cables, wires, and housing through one end and it smoothly makes its way out the other - this is a setup I can live with.
  • 59 4
 Tube-in-tube internal routing in the bikes I've owned is less work than external routing. I literally push it one end and it pops out the other, done. No zip ties and no removing the water bottle cage. Not all internal routing is created equal though and I'm aware it's sometimes a pain in the ass.
  • 15 1
 There is no more ire inducing event that's occurred in my entire life like routing internal cables in Commencal v3 frames. The fact that the frames came with a wire pre-routed for pulling the cables through is almost like some sick joker's prelude to how much fun you're about to have.
  • 49 1
 @jeremy3220: yeah Tube In Tube Systems are the only way to go and have an excellent acronym
  • 6 1
 @jeremy3220: yeah that tube in tube super tech completely obviates the need to bleed hydraulic line...

Internal routing is the ultimate in form of function vanity in cycling.
  • 3 1
 @Glenngineer: I always have to cut the brake lines to length anyway, even on my XXL frame so you probably do to.
  • 5 0
 I find it easy to swap hoses/outers even without sleeved routing, just go tip to tip with old and new, wrap some thin packing tape around and push them through.

The issue I have with some frames is them telling me which side the rear brake line has to come out messing up my backwards desire for MX brakes
  • 3 1
 Personally I would not buy a bike, like Specialized, that forced a Moto rear brake to run through the left side of the head tube. Unless you have a large ugly loop of hose out in front of the frame you’re rolling the dice as if you crash and the bars get spun anti-clockwise the hose will get at least kinked at the port.
  • 2 0
 @jeremy3220:
You forgot the bit about likely needing to bleed your rear brake.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: agreed. Unfortunate, a lot of bike manufacturers just drill a couple of holes in the frame and call it a day.
  • 1 0
 @Richt2000: No, you likely need to cut the hose to length no matter what. Do you not cut your hoses?
  • 2 0
 @jeremy3220:
Sometimes, but you don’t always need to if its within an inch or 2, which is often then case.
  • 3 1
 @jeremy3220: I hate tube in tube because I’m British so ride moto and hate the way tube in tube forces the rear brake hose into the hole on the left hand side. Ok my bike, no tube in tube, the hose enters on the riders right bu exits on the left crossing sides inside the down tube to exit in the correct place
  • 2 0
 @CM999:
Check out what bird have done with their Aether 9C - you can thread the brake through either the left or the right hand side and it pops out the right hole at the other end!
  • 1 0
 @Richt2000: brilliant. I wish everyone did that
  • 2 0
 @DizzyNinja: This rarely works on tight frames. The tape will catch or let go and you will have to start from square one half of the time.
  • 1 0
 @synaptonaut: it’s worked dozens of times on dozens of frames for me. It’s failed zero times so I keep doing it and not complaining.
  • 2 0
 Norco's bikes, at least Sight, requires you to remove bottom bracket to get dropper post cable in, it's ridiculous. And they still had pressfit BB's last year with the same internal cable design.
  • 1 0
 @flickr: No internal guides and pressfit. Sounds great to me.
  • 49 2
 Internally routed cables only when and where it makes sense. For example, gear cable routing through the chainstay, because this will often provide the path for least movement of the cable if done well.
All else is just cosmetics. Come on, brake bleeding just for installing/removing them?! Who the hell has time for that.
Can we have some technical articles about suspension again? Smile
  • 21 5
 Considering unless you buy an XL bike you have to cut the brake lines shorter you still have to bleed them is it really that big of a deal to do something you are likely doing anyways? And how often are you removing your brakes?
  • 34 3
 I’ve been riding for decades and external routing has literally been a problem a total of 0 times. Know what has been, having to take apart perfectly good brakes for zero reason just to take them off the bike. We don’t all have cushy pink bike jobs and time for that, or enough brake fluid or all the parts to a bleed kit I mean maybe in that pile over there but that’s a maybe. Also, where’s levy?
  • 7 6
 @thisspock: if your brakes were perfectly good, why were you taking them off the bike?
  • 21 1
 @mfoga: @dsut4392: rear triangle maintenance (or hunting down a squeak, or brake maintenance (sometimes it’s easier to take it off or change it temporarily for a different one).
Even if it doesn’t happen often, it’s still an extra step to remove the brake line. Completely unnecessary for questionable returns.
Mountainbiking has become too much of a fashion show. Why hide the technology?
  • 5 0
 Even to this point... I'm about to part out a bike as I build another here next month. Wouldn't it be nice to give "the new guy" that gets my perfectly bled and functioning brakes, some perfectly functioning brakes that he can just slap on and go... at least easily? So now I gotta go drive to the store and buy some more fluid (cause I'm out currently) that I may or may not need for another year or 2, and do a whole bleed just to not be a dick? Or... be a dick and be like, "hey thanks for the money bro, btw you gotta bleed those brakes have fun."

I know, first world problems, but its an extra annoyance for no reason.
  • 62 17
 Another controversial stance: Puppies. I love puppies. There, I said it.

Who doesn’t like internal routing these days? Especially when a lot of frames have guide tubes where you go in one end and come out the other so easily?
  • 44 0
 Henry specifically doesn't like tube-in-tube though.
  • 30 0
 @brianpark: is he some kind of monster?
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: not quite, he doesn't like single sided tubed routing. There's bikes that offer a port either side with tubed routing. Save for a small hole to blank where's the downside?
  • 2 0
 I can tell you who don't like it. I don't like Puppies or anything small like it. Also Goodridge with a sleeve users DON'T like internal routing for the brake hose...
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: I agree, from experiance my old bike was tube in tube and the cabes would rattle in the entry/exit of the tubes and being carbon after 4 years of use the cables had worn through the entry port of the tube, not good. My current bike (scott genius) has no tubes but does have clever interchangable grommets that screw in neatly and allow you to change out the rubber insert for multiple cables or no cables in each port, means 3 of my cables (rear brake, dropper and shock) all enter one port and are then wrapped so it just looks like one big cable, the ports are big enough that finding the cables at the other end is easy and i even added a foam outer tube to the cables so they don't rattle inside the frame, perfect in my book (TBF can be fidly to setup but once done i havn't touched it in years), having said all that i dont actually have any complaints about external routing i have on other bikes, i dont think it looks insightly as long as it follows the frame nicely (Treks new session routing around the seat tube drives me crazy) but one thing i would love to see alot more than internal frame routing is a neater solution around the bars, brake lines that fix under the bar or inside it to reduce the amount of flappy cables out front, we need brake levers where hoses exit near the bar clamp.
  • 34 0
 Nothing but the toady croaks of an obsequious sycophant, shamelessly licking the boots of the boutique brands and washing it down with gulps of their internal-routing kool-aid!
  • 7 0
 Points for using the handy guide.
  • 32 6
 I put all my cables out side the frame. There I said it. So I can maintain my bike.
  • 22 1
 "It’s the cleanest looking and most functional."

Half right. Cleanest, sure. "Most" functional? Not really. The function is get cable/hose from bar to devices, and allow steering. Internal or external, both perform that function equally, period.
  • 22 3
 Counterargument, and for what it's worth (probably nothing), I am also a professional mechanic: I like to wear skeletonized mechanical watches, because I like to see what makes my machines tick. No, I do not find it unsightly at all to see the cables and hoses that make my bike a bike. Just having the form of the function laid out in plain sight pleases me. I suppose this may be part of the reason I'm uninterested in internally geared hubs and gearboxes.
  • 3 2
 Same here, I kind of enjoy seeing what's making the bike actually work when I click things. Feels like there's more connection to the machine.
  • 3 1
 This definitely explains why I like some external routing and hate other external routing.
  • 4 0
 @brianpark: If external cabling is good enough for Karl Nicolai, it's good enough for me.
  • 2 0
 Couldn't agree more. I like all the tech bits and I own a few mechanic skeleton watches. Watching the spring tighten and the gears going to work is mesmerizing. I love it!
  • 22 5
 As a bike mechanic myself, I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with the article. Here are my thoughts, whether you agree or not.

1. I agree - every high end bike should have internal cable routing, bar none. The problem is to what extent? My Reign 29 actually works really well with big old ports and no internal guiding that means you can switch the hoses to run 'proper' brakes (for I am English as well). The Santa Cruz Nomad 4 is a great example - beautiful internal cabling, with the rear brake running externally. Why???

2. Fully guided cables are super nice to work on, a la Santa Cruz, but as you say, for us English it creates a messy cockpit/head tube area, which I hate.

3. You can have too much of a good thing - for example on road bikes, the Trek Madone, or Specialized Tarmac SL7. I can forgive a couple of cables at the head tube if it doesn't mean spending 5 hours and stripping the entire bike just to swap the handlebars. I'll be happy if mountain bikes never go in this direction.

4. High end bikes should not feature a SINGLE zip tie anywhere on them. If Santa Cruz can do it, everyone can do it. Gone should be the days of bikes needing to have double digits worth of zip ties on them just to keep things where they should be
  • 7 1
 I quite like on my Bronson being able to. Cut the zip ties and drop the caliper lower for bleeding. Quite happy with this setup.
  • 3 1
 The fancy road bikes use those setups for aero benefits. Probably minuscule, but if you’re riding at that level, paying a [miserable] guy to swap your cables is an unfortunate part of the process.
  • 5 1
 If I'm not getting paid to deal with it, no internally routed rear brake hose.
  • 8 1
 Love me some zip ties.
Ya’ll too picky.
  • 22 3
 Well that’s just like your opinion, man
  • 15 0
 Internal routing is cool if it's tube in tube and you can pass your rear brake cable without cutting the pin and olive Smile
  • 13 0
 What brand allows you to pass brake line with pin and olive? I know of none.
  • 2 0
 @tcmtnbikr: yeti's holes looks big enough
  • 15 0
 @Noeserd: my Yeti’s rear triangle opened in two allowing easy access for cable routing.
  • 15 0
 I'll admit it, internal routing isn't as much of an issue since getting AXS.
  • 15 5
 I WORK ON BIKES FOR A LIVING... F@CK internal cable routing. There is NO benefit other than aesthetics. Its harder to maintain, its noisy, it compromises serviceability. I build aero rode bikes on a daily basis, it is an utter nightmare running hydro hoses and shift cables through stems and headtubes, downtubes and seatstays. Anyone who promotes this trend clearly has never had to build a bike with internal cables.
  • 4 0
 This is mtb, not road bikes.
  • 2 0
 But isn't that his argument, it is purely for aesthetic reasons but that matters to him. Let's be honest we all want a pretty bike, some just care more than others about achieving it.
  • 7 0
 But at the same time, the horrible process you describe is why the rest of us pay you to do it Smile
  • 2 0
 Yep, and further, Tri and TT bikes are the worst. They're painful to look at or ride, but they're even more painful to assemble or repair.
  • 11 2
 Internal routing is cool in theory but as with all thing it comes down to flawless execution. My two biggest gripes:

1) Not allowing passage of brake line with olive

2) Articulating brake line at an entry/exit. In 20 years with disc I've never had a line fail. Recently I chaffed a pinhole in my line at the CS entry near the BB. This is a no-BS serious liability. Any lawyer that got his mitts on this would burn said brand to the ground for flawed execution.
  • 5 0
 My 11 speed shimano derailleur snapped a cable, dropped my shifting and i slammed my knee on my bars. Can I sue too?
  • 2 1
 @bananowy: He needs to send me a dm. This injury/ incident would be a great addition to the class action lawsuit.
  • 12 4
 Internal cable routing might be all well and good for those who run their brakes US style, but for us who run moto style (left hand rear brake) it makes for a sloppy looking cockpit cable setup, as the big companies (Yeti, Santa Cruz etc) only optimize their internal routing for the former.

My personal preference is well thought out fully external routing that can cater for all cockpit combo's.
  • 8 3
 What's "US-style" routing? Do you mean most-of-the-world-style routing? Wink
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: wouldn't it make sense to run the brakes the same on bikes and motorcycles? Right hand front, and clutch/rear brake on the left?
  • 2 0
 @andrewmtbfreak: Wouldn't it make sense to run the rear brake on the same side as the rear derailleur shifter?

I only referenced the naming, not the layout in my comment because both "US-style" and "moto-style" are inaccurate. But here goes the essay:

Motorbikes have a completely different layout with the rear brake and gears at your feet so literally only one part can be transferred: front brake. I find it funny when people call front brake on the right "moto-style" on pushbikes. More like "moped/scooter-style".

In reality it has exactly zero to do with motorcycles and all to do with the side of the road a given country drives on. Motorcyclists all over the world are perfectly happy to have the front brake on the left on their pushbikes and switch without giving it a thought.

Traffic layout is irrelevant for mountain bikes, but they just use what other bicycles traditionally use in an area. You only think it's "better" because that's what you have traditionally had on bikes since you were little and you got used to it. I was raised with my front brake on the left and that's what works for me (and it also doesn't bother me in left side traffic in the UK for the record).

I agree on one thing, we could finally standardise it worldwide. I just think front-left would make more sense as a standard because a) it aligns with shifters so it's one change instead of two and b) more of the world uses it already so it's easier to get done.

I might be weird though because I also think the world should finally agree on one damn side of the road to drive on and stop this nonsense of having to make cars incompatible with one region or another. And I think it should be the right. We don't ride horses for transportation anymore, we don't joust, we don't carry swords. We drive cars and LHD cars are better suited to the majority of human population (right handed).
  • 1 0
 @Wamprat: Why are you tagging me? I wasn't replying to you.
  • 8 0
 That GT Fury is the way to do it!

Tidy, out of the way, accessible without breaking hoses.

I could give 2 f*cks if my bike looks as aero as your lamborghini that you don't even know how to drive. Its a mtn bike.

Do you internal cables show through your skinny jeans?
  • 9 1
 There are quite good reasons for accommodating the "most mechanically inept". A bicycle is a machine that can be self maintained by its users. The more things you add that need professional maintenance the sooner a bike is financially inviable to keep running.

It would nice if cycling journalists understood this
  • 11 2
 I'm concerned this article won't generate enough comment traffic, better to assert that all bikes should become wireless ebikes with abs braking.
  • 9 1
 Internal routing with integrated tubes for me. I've thrown many expletives at bikes with just open holes in the frame that required fishing cables using a light, magnet, picks, etc.
  • 12 3
 "Quieter, cleaner, and looks better" Well... that's just like, your opinion man. Can you swap out your brakes with a multi-tool and a handful of zip ties in a parking lot?
  • 11 1
 Outstanding article Henry!
  • 6 0
 Already been said I’m sure but some people dont have a bleed kit and want to take their brake off. Or have to service a brake on a trip. Or just hate dealing with internal roughy when 4 ziptiea work way faster. Then again some people spend time looking at their bike instead of riding it. So I guess to each his own. Just as a mechanic and rider, I’ll go external all day
  • 5 0
 #itlookedgoodincad

Internal cable routing can get in the sea, joining poorly routed external cable routing.

It's not difficult bike industry, bit of time, patience and common sense in routing cables. My Geometron G1 is ace, my smuggler is a dog's dinner for the gear cable routing around the bb.
  • 1 0
 I'm with you on the Smuggler rear der cable. My all time favorite bike, but I fought that fight (getting the housing through the chainstay) exactly one time. Now I run the front half internally through the downtube, but run it externally along the right seatstay back to the derailleur. So much easier.
  • 2 0
 @rollingdip:
It's more the cluster f*ck around the bb and threading it past the chain guide. Won't be routing it through the chainstay next time, have a specialized levo chainstay guard, so can stick the cable underneath it.
  • 10 0
 This was a joy to read
  • 8 1
 This is the most offensive thing iver ever read on pinkbike including all of waki dca comments. I almost threw my phone across the room after the first paragraph.
  • 6 1
 I've said this before and got downvoted to oblivion.

I love internal routing, have had multiple bikes with internal and maybe I've just been lucky but maybe it's taken 5-10 mins longer to install than external. For something that looks so much nicer and is done once a year at most this just doesn't bother me.

In addition, the other day a brake failed on one bike so was removed for servicing. I have another bike with external routing. "Ah ha! Pinkbike commenters win on this one I thought"

However the external routing ran under the shock and through a brace, so I had to remove the shock, and then neither the caliper or lever would fit through the brace, meaning a rebleed AND I had to remove the shock.

External routing. Never hurt me again.
  • 5 0
 Every internal routing i have done proved to be a proper pita with a high risk of cables rattling inside the frame. Just do it like GT or even better Guerillia Gravity -done. I agree that no modern mtb should have zipties. But i guess there are not many people bothered by this. One should think there is a solution to substitute zipties on your mtb, i searched a whole day and there is not. (at least if you dont count those pointless clips that only work in the showroom)
  • 3 0
 My Ripmo AF has a few burrs on the inside of the frame and will often strip the cable housing if I am not extremely careful running the dropper cable. Additionally, the exit port on the seat tube is far too high and does not allow for a fully slammed post. I solved both of those issues with AXS.
  • 13 0
 the AXS dropper is waaaaaaaaay too expensive though. come on, other dropper manufacturers, make a wireless dropper godammit!
  • 2 0
 Ibis completely f’ed up the AF when it comes to the internal routing ports, the hardware rattles and nothing really makes much sense location wise. I’ve already done axs shifting, dropper up next.
  • 5 0
 @imnotdanny: I agree. I usually but Bikeyoke droppers and I found those outrageous. So I replaced three droppers with one to justify the cost. Also my old man arthritis really likes the AXS paddle.
  • 1 0
 duplicate
  • 3 0
 I usually agree with Henry, and have even started fitting tyres as per his suggestion (manufacturer logo opposite the valve). However as a fellow Brit, I prefer to have my cables/hoses crossing in front of the headtube, and again at the rear. And for that reason I would prefer to have internal cable routing to avoid the crossing of cables in front of the seat tube.
  • 6 0
 Anyone have strong feelings on canyon’s covered tunnel? Seemed like a decent compromise to me.
  • 1 0
 This! I'm more of a fan of external than internal but canyons system, and others are the best. Looks tidy but super easy to get immediate access. Wish more brands did it this way.
  • 2 0
 Yes! I don´t get why they dropped this for the Spectral 29. This should become an industry standard.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15433896
  • 5 2
 Along the lines of arbitrary rules, I raise this point because this article hinges on the differentiation of which hand operates the rear brake on your bicycle in your geographical position.

Many people do not know that this is actually written law in different countries. In the US, bicycles MUST have the front brake on the right side.

In the EU, bicyucles MUST have the front brake on the left side.

If you think this is asinine, you are correct.

The US goes even further as to require all children's bike to use a coaster brake, whereas the EU requires all children's bikes to use hand brakes (with the front brake on the wrong size.

I don't know how it works in the EU, but here in the states, it takes a literal act of congress to change these rules, and our congress can barely pass budget bills, let alone agree on the best methods for a child to stop their bicycle.

I forgot what my point is but it is ridiculous that we all have to work around these arbitrary rules set by people who have never even considered riding a bicycle for pleasure.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and I love you.
  • 3 0
 Hate to debunk you dude, but this info is incorrect.
While it may be that some EU countries specify a side for the brakes, it is not a general rule.
Here in Belgium for instance, law dictates a correctly functioning front brake and a correctly functioning rear brake. No mention of sides whatsoever.
There is a DIN (and probably ISO and EU) standard, but unlike directives, standards are not law and thus not mandatory.
  • 3 0
 (Although we are no longer in the EU, I can assure you we haven’t changed our brakes in the last 5 years)
The UK and Germany use opposite sides. See the whole Rose bikes shipping fiasco. No EU rule exists. As Henry states, it is based on (fairly odd logic and) which side of the road you drive on.
  • 1 0
 @hubertje-ryu: Yeah sorry, should have specified I was mostly referring to kid's bike standards. The adult bike standards (ISO, CPSC)are a bit more lenient but manufacturers still have to account for both.

My point was, as long as manufactureers have to account for both, there will always be a compromise.
  • 1 0
 @hardcore-hardtail: not if we let go of this ridiculous idea of having our cables threaded through our frame and just put them on the outside Wink
  • 3 0
 I wonder why some head tube porting is so heinous. Big, hood scoop looking ports are ugly and can dominate the whole front-end aesthetic, and the further forward they are the more you end up with pronounced compound bends in the cables and hoses (ugly as well as draggy) unless trimmed short enough to pull out when crashing (x up position).
  • 4 1
 It's not quieter, and the cleaner and looks better is an opinion so this article is a fail. I like being able to cut a zip tie or two and take the rear end of the bike off for maintenance without having to bleed my brakes or prop up half the bike with some wonky setup. Bikes are meant to be ridden and maintained by some of us who don't have time to massage our bakes for an hour each day. Too each their own, but if all other things are equal I'll take external cable routing all day long (except when it comes to seatposts).
  • 4 0
 My brain can switch from dirt bikes and MTBs with front brake on the other side, but for some reason I think I'd have a hard time switching my MTB to match despite that. Our brains are strange.
  • 3 0
 I disagree with nearly everything you said but by God this is the single best written article I've read since "Down and out on a hardtail" by Billy Trailstar in Dirt magazine. Please continue to share your thoughts (even if they are wrong).
  • 7 0
 I love lamp
  • 2 0
 I love wall
  • 4 0
 That black frame beneath the blue GT makes me think of The Matrix when they zoom out and see all them bodies in the bathtubs. Pull the cables out Neo!
  • 5 0
 No mention of water entering the frame at the internal routing ports? Is there such a thing as water tight internal system?
  • 1 0
 Any decent frame will have rubber gaskets of some kind.
  • 5 1
 Is there such a thing as a water tight bike frame? I assumed it was a given that it would find its way in through the headset and seat post clamp at the least.
  • 2 0
 Bikes usually have a drain port at the BB.
  • 1 0
 @hmstuna: Yes, I have experience with many decent frames and their rubber gaskets. I also ride in the rain frequently and need to empty the water from the bike.
  • 1 0
 @dirtpedaler: that water likely also enters via other means like between the seat tube and seatpost. I too ride in the rain frequently and I just make sure to service things. And to answer your question from earlier tube in tube routing can be water tight because the tube is welded or bonded on at the entrance and exit and is sealed all the way through.
  • 6 1
 Imagine emerging from the fog of global lockdown with strong opinions about bike cables. Good for you!
  • 5 3
 Just wanted to mention re: right/left brake lever, since the author mentioned it.

I'm in the US but bought a bike built in the UK, which came with the brakes cabled UK-style. I rode that way for a few months before swapping them. It took me over a year to rewire my brain. On my road bikes I never had a problem, and it's less of a problem on the road because unless you're emergency braking (which I seldom do when riding on the shoulder of a road), either brake will do.

But on a mountain bike I seem to emergency brake all the time. And grabbing the wrong brake either means you don't stop in time, or alternately you go over the bars when you'd really rather not. There's one particular root on a trail that I ride all the time. It's right before a nasty bend so ideally you'll use the rear brake to slow while dropping your front wheel over. More than once after my switcher-oo I'd grab the front brake instead, bury the wheel when it hit the ground, and end up on my butt.

Pilot error, yes. But my point is, I'll agree to use metric if the UK will just agree to the brake routing that most everyone else uses.
  • 9 1
 You will need pry my front brake lever from my cold dead right hand...
  • 4 1
 Right front is the way. Motorcycles agreed to international standardisation of controls half a century ago. Why do bikes try to be different?
  • 3 1
 @AyJayDoubleyou:
Because bikes don’t have a clutch and throttle?
  • 1 2
 @fewnofrwgijn: they've standardised the 5 controls (2 brakes, throttle, clutch, shifter). While the levers arent reversible it would be fairly easy for them to swap the handlebar controls over just by making mirror image parts. But they dont.
The bike world has agreed that rear mech is right hand, front mech left hand, droppers are new in the timescales we are talking about, but they are prettly much left thumb these days; but bizarrely brakes switch by country and personal preference.
  • 1 1
 @AyJayDoubleyou: Because standards. We have two standards already, I'm sure SRAM are trying to think of a third...
  • 2 0
 I used to ride flatland bmx in the 90's and to learn one particular trick it was beneficial to have rear brake right hand (this was way before brakeless bmx was a thing). I'm right handed and generally use the rear brake more so it always made sense to me. 25 years on and every bike I've had has been rear brake right hand!
  • 1 0
 As a Brit, I would take that deal.
  • 5 1
 I purposefully never upgrade my rear brake due to internal routing. The next bike I buy will be one with an externally routed rear brake.
  • 1 0
 Buy the same brand, so you can upgrade the lever and caliper but leave the hose in place.
  • 8 0
 I purposefully never 'upgrade' my rear brake because the one I already have still works just fine.
  • 1 0
 @MaplePanda: I don't think i can share hoses between a non series shimano and xtr calliper/lever without at least changing the fitting/banjo..
  • 1 0
 @dsut4392:

That too. Hahahahaha.
  • 7 2
 As a steel HT rider.... You mean you guys don't just use electrician tape? Just me? Weird.....
  • 1 0
 I do for my rear brake because it turns out my norco's (external) routing only works fine for the style of banjo used on something like a deore/slx/xt caliper (hose enters from the side), but not with zee/saint style (hose port on the top). I had to use the existing routing+tape on the chainstay so the hose doesn't rub the spokes.
  • 3 1
 I just want tubes that run through bikes like atleast that I know of yeti and Evil bikes have( I know tons of others have it also). I just want to put it in and coke right back out. No fighting with getting to come out and it rattling in frame. That being said I hate the looks of external routed. Cables are ugly
  • 2 0
 I like oatmeal cookies with raisins. Upon should be spelled apon. Cats over dogs. Wine over beer. Chunky peanut butter over creamy. Coke over Pepsi, Starbucks over Tim Hortons. Pie over cake. Samoas are the best Girl Scout Cookie and thin crust pizza over deep dish.
  • 3 0
 I may differ with you on a few details, but that’s the kind of clear-eyed leadership we need around here!
  • 2 0
 The only time I care (or think) about cable routing is if there's some mechanical penalty for the way it's currently setup on a bike. Having an opinion on whether one is "better" than the other seems unnecessary (it doesn't matter who decided this was a worth of a debate)
  • 2 0
 I too ride moto, but then the also spend a good bit of time on motorbikes. I could probably retrain my brain but why bother? As for the subject of the post: I agree on many points. I would also like to add that cable rub has chewed the new off of numerous frames in record time! Internal routing not only looks sano, it keeps the bike looking fresh and makes it easier to clean! Double bonus!! Although I can change the entire brake system (and drive train) on my V-10 and Habit without spilling a drop or cutting a cable, internal routing would have kept both bikes looking pristine a heck of a lot longer. Also, for the crashers in the house: internal routing protects your brake and cable systems. It’s a good thing.
  • 4 0
 " I admit it - I love internal cable routing + My current main bike, a Specialized Enduro" all you need to know in one sentence.

The only sensible I.R is for dropper post.
  • 2 0
 Am I the only person on here that can ride a motorcycle (clutch on the left, front brake on the right, transmission left foot, rear brake right foot), ride a mountain/roadbike (front brake on the left, road bike has brifters) and drive a car (brake with your foot)? Keep this guy away from my motorcycle, the clutch line would run on the same side of the head tube and through the frame.

How does he set up a DJ without a loop or two of brake line for barspins? Is he looking forward to trying to track down some special grommet thingy specific to a particular bike years from now?

I dropped the lowers on a fork yesterday to change seals and oil, I'm glad I didn't have to disconnect and bleed the front brake line to do it.

The only internal cable I have on any of my bikes is the dropper line thru a hole in the seat tube, but even the rest of that is external and easy to swap out for a normal post for bikepark use.

I had one bike once with internal routing, I hope it was the last one.
  • 1 0
 For me, all went wrong when I started riding motorcycle trials. They trigger my mtb reflexes.
  • 3 0
 And my wife thinks I’m the only mad man in the entire world who meticulously maintains their bike and wants it to look and ride the best it possibly can EVERY ride. Ya I’m the crazy one. She likes bird watching. WTF.
  • 2 0
 My 2014 Salsa Horsthief uses mostly external routing (and zip ties) and I have had zero issues with it (no dropper post).

I am curious to see the upcoming review of the Devinci Marshall which also has a bit of internal, but mostly external (www.devinci.com/media/wm0j5rom/marshall_pg_kfc_eng.pdf). I like the price point and the made in Canada aspect too.
  • 2 0
 Cars and motorbike have the brake line on the outside of the chassis not the inside. Mistake... I think not. I will stomach internal on my road and my trail bike but my enduro/dh race bikes need external routing so you can swap out a broken brake between runs without bleeding. that's it. done.
  • 1 0
 "Not too bad although it seems somewhat bizarre to go to all that trouble with putting a brake inside a handlebar to then have a cable doing a loop-the-loop out of the steerer."

This is where you draw the line? Dangerholm's bendy bit sticking out from the fork leg upon compression is fine, but a reasonable little curl to allow for more fork travel is "bizarre"?
  • 1 0
 The curl is going the wrong way, and IMO front brake hose should be behind the stanchion.
  • 3 0
 Yes. Because at least Dangerholm put some thought into how to attach it well. The Magura Bike is just dangling out there. It looks like it would rub on your stanchion and then your tire on compression.
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: Dangerholm's solution will be sticking out as well when the bike is actually in use. That little bit of hose will flex and the only place to go is "out" away from the fork. At least the curl keeps it mostly within the silhouette of the fork.

"Looks like" does not mean it does...

They're both reasonable solutions, I just find it silly that everyone cheers for one and shits on the other just because of where they came from.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: True, it would take some testing to see if it would rub or not. I have just dealt with enough front brake hoses that seem to have a mind of their own. Dangerholm addressed that by adding a cable guide onto the backside of the fork crown to guide the hose to where he wanted it. That's why it is a better solution. A purposeful choice, instead of just letting the from brake hose decide.
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: you know you can control where the brake hose goes by intentionally twisting it? Put a twist in as you're tightening the fitting and it'll try to curl one way or the other. As was done on the Magura bike. If it was just shoved through it would just need outward, but the curl shows it was twisted and that there is also some intent to it.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: oh really? I've never tried that. I'm sure that works every single time. and it takes so little effort to get right. That would be soooo much easier than a guide to zip tie the housing to. /S (uppercase s incase you didn't catch the sarcasm)
  • 2 0
 Does anyone else remember how fun it was fishing cables and housing through Klein Adroit and Attitude frames?
Whoever pioneered ‘tube in tube’ deserves a modicum of recognition.
  • 4 1
 I have had some low moments in my life after spending a lot of time and failing to get the internal cable routing to work. Those were some dark times in my life.
  • 1 0
 Have two Santa Cruz bikes in the house with the full internal frame and swingarm routing. Actually, the brake I had to cut and bleed feels better than the factory bled front. The Focus system is too much when the internal routing makes more trouble, such as replacing the upper bearing on the headset
  • 2 0
 I am curious how often people replace their upper headset bearings? Can we get a @Pinkbike Poll?
  • 3 2
 I reject this on so many levels. My bare bones aluminum frame is fully external except for my dropper which enters at the bottom of the seat tube, i spent 10 minutes trying to catch my new housing and prevent it from curling into the intersecting tubes. Total nonsense.
  • 3 0
 Internal cable routing is one thing, integrated routing is another. I would avoid that Focus specifically because of that integration.
  • 3 0
 Henry you forgot to post your phone number, then we can call YOU every time we need to deal with that bullshit of replacing cables and brake lines. There I said THAT.
  • 3 0
 I used to love how the rotor on my BMX bike use to route cables and generally just how the rotor worked. It was fascinating and kinda like industrial porn.
  • 3 0
 For those crying for a fuzz of the visible cables, go Single Speed, with coaster brake. Done, no cable. And stop complaining!!!
  • 1 0
 so... TITS Question: Anyone have tips for getting a really sticky internal tube routing cleaned out? 2017 Transition scout carbon; I can muscle the current housing out, but in order to get a new one in, I'm wondering what's worked well for people scouring desert grit out of internal tubes?
  • 2 0
 Just reading this made my my left eye start twitching. And I could sleep all night, since this resurfaced the nightmare of routing the Dominion A4's brake hose through the 2020 Enduro's chainstay. F@!#$:%k!
  • 1 0
 Haha, I'm pretty fussy about my cable routing too, and I also don't understand why internal routing seems to be such a dark art. Me and @henryquinney should be friends, clearly. hehe. I enjoyed reading this in your voice Henry (having seen you explaining things on that interwebtube thing) .

The ultimate solution for untidy cables though (especially if you own a SCOTT bike with Twinloc) is to get RS/Sram AXS Reverb and GX derailleur. My cockpit set up is joyously uncluttered since I did that (arguably that IS cheating though).
  • 2 1
 Henry is spot on. Internal cabling is way better but, and its a very big but, it should work properly for moto setups. It cant be that hard to design. Also where frames have the port entry points moulded into the frame can they please supply grommets to neatly block off the ones you don’t need so they don’t let water and mud into the frame
  • 1 0
 I'm with Henry.
Way back when, only Klein and Cannondale had internal routing, never had a problem with my Klein.
The Magura set-up is fine. If the hose were cut shorter, it may kink. As it is, it will "compress" like a spring.
  • 2 0
 GG has the best system, in my worthless opinion. It is external and internal, at the same time. That is the way it should be done. I hate purely internal routing. Smart external routing is just fine.
  • 1 0
 Every brand does their own thing with internal routing. Sometimes it's clean and intelligent, with cable channels, accessible cutouts, spare covers, and protection against knocking. With some brands, it's a fishing nightmare. And regardless of how well it's done, it always adds time and frequently requires special tools or new parts. If I want to pull a brake, I need to clip the end. Now I need an olive, insert, the tool to install them, and potentially even a new hose if it was already a little short. And then I get to bleed the whole thing again with all the faff that entails. For shift cables, the housing interruption significantly reduces lifespan in dirty conditions. Some internal setups allow a full-length outer, some don't.
  • 1 0
 well made internal routing is faster imo. no zip ties, no gasket, cable goes exactly where it needs to be. so it really takes seconds. my hightower2 is like that. now ive a 2013 internally routed specialized too which has none if the smart stuff and it takes about 20min to 1h depending in sheer luck lol
  • 1 0
 Great article and I agree. Yeah the bike I had in 1995 with V Brakes was simpler to work on then my current 2020 one. I will live. Things evolve, they get better and will continue to evolve. If you want a real challenge deal with the cable situation on a modern aero road bike, where everything goes internal at the bars.
  • 1 0
 On my bike changing the derailleur cable is a nightmarish task. From the chain stay to the down tube there is a near 90 degree bend that the housing can only make with luck and a lot of force. The last time I did it I tried to use a waterproof housing, to increase the time between between changes. It was a slightly bigger diameter and stiffer and could not be forced around the bend. Shifting is never as good as it could be because of the friction generated at that sharp bend. Next cable change I'm going with stick on cable guides and external routing. It will look awful but it will be easier and without the sharp bend my shifting will improve.
  • 1 0
 The thing is, a bike frame is, as the name implies... a frame.
So structurally a bike is closer to say, an excavator, than to a car where cables are under the body panels, but not inside the frame.
And just like you would not run hydraulic hoses inside the arm of an excavator, you supposedly would not want to run the cables inside the frame of a bike, just place it so that they don't get damaged (I like the GT solution, though maybe not ideal for cleaning). But I agree, the constraints are very different between a bike and an excavator.
  • 1 0
 If internal cables are clearly superior, why has no one made a suspension fork with internal routing? I mean if consumers want clean modern looks sooo much, why has no one at Big Suspension spent the R&D to make it happen? If it actually had a functional advantage someone would have made it happen by now.
Internal routing is a cosmetic exercise and it can be well done or poorly executed, just like external routing. It’s fine if you prefer internal but don’t act like it’s necessary or better. Looks sell bikes so it’s definitely part of new bike design but external is not inferior. For most it’s functionally better.
  • 1 0
 I just wonder. Has anybody ever worried about deep scratches to the fork steerer from rubbing mechanical and hydraulic cables. I just think of RT and Rocker Links with constant sratching of cables. Or shocks with contact to dropper cables on some suspension systems. Of course, this depends on the frame and on the Headset System, but this could cause some serious wear over time. If you are the kind of guy to disassemble your fork every now and then to check, that should be under control. But if you are the install and forget kind of guy (applies propably 90% of riders), oh boy...
  • 2 0
 Cable routing is something reasonable people can disagree upon but Piers Morgan is not, he is the Walmart full suspension bike of TV talking heads and their is no apologizing for him Henry.
  • 1 0
 Internal routing sucks! compromise a frame strength for a visual useless fantasy. Somebody decided cables were not good-looking like your hairy armpits and claim that internal routing is more 'functional. That's what I call brain malfunction! Soon will add frame boots because stanchions are judges ugly. What's about some fairing to hide everything and make your bike look like a walmart spaceship replica. I want my bike to designed only for function, the form will follow. i don't want to pay extra engineering for more weight, less reliabilty because somebody decide how a bike should look like. If you like so much a 'clean look', just ride a brakeless singlespeed....or a strider..
  • 1 0
 It's never been that big of a deal on mountain bikes. Not a fan of having to bleed my brakes when the line is inside the frame and harder to manipulate, but that's less of a problem than it used to be now that every brake bleed system works well.

Tri bikes, TT bikes, and a lot of aero road bikes can be complete nightmares to cable. My favorite were the madones which would ship with the pre-routed liners wrapped around themselves and the speed concepts that you had to have the housing cut to a mm or two accuracy or it didn't shift/brake properly and you had to run everything using electricians fishing tape. On many bikes like these you just aren't going to get high performance shifting or braking unless you're using an electronic or hydraulic system.

Plenty of road bike examples of cabling that just caused needlessly poor shifting on 10 speed shimano drivetrains. The roubaix was god awful for a number of years.
  • 1 0
 Wow Henry! Way to start an internet flame war! Nicely written article though and one I enjoyed reading.

And for all the haters out there, I respectfully submit that it's ok to value (and even enjoy) someone's opinion, even if you don't agree with it.
  • 1 0
 Who ever decided that Internal routing on the Focus was a good idea, needs a kick in the Backside The radius on the stem face plate is so sharp, that it cuts through your cables in 3 months Oh I love taking a file to a 3 month old bike LOL
  • 6 4
 Literally hate it. Bought a ns define and axs to double make sure i never deal with it again. Never buying internal routed frame again.
  • 5 1
 this routing is more restrictive than dual crowns on a slopestyle bike...
  • 7 11
flag dexterfawkes (Apr 26, 2021 at 14:24) (Below Threshold)
 Yet less restrictive than pinkbikes policy on offensive jokes
  • 2 0
 Henry you should try a commencal they have rubber grommets that you can flip and change to suit different countries and they look super clean
  • 3 1
 I thought @henryquinney lives in Portugal. I hope that he does indeed drive on the right unless what he states in the text. Time to switch the brakes too!
  • 4 1
 Bikes are fun. It doesn't matter if they are externally or internally cables or no cables at all. I don't discriminate.
  • 3 1
 This article was hilarious! Well done Henry... but you have bigger fish to fish like dealing with Boris and still driving on the left Wink
  • 4 1
 In other news, cars are too easy to work on these days and need more electronics under the hood.
  • 4 2
 it is the new trend dude...... run the buried cables taped out of the way of the brake or dropper cable.
Why so much hate on external? that is like hating 26
  • 4 0
 Love my external routing integrated in a plastic shield on the downtube
  • 3 1
 Internal for anything but brakes, ultra dumb having to cut a line, shortening it every time and get a new barb/olive/thingamajig.
  • 1 0
 You have to do that every time anyway to get the hose the right length for your bike
  • 4 1
 Nothing worst than see than a Scott bike with like 20 cables running in front of the handlebar
  • 4 1
 Stir the shit. Stir the shit Henry............ keep the opinions up! Ps. You are wrong.
  • 3 0
 GT has the best internally routed cables because it is external. I will die on this hill.
  • 3 0
 NEXT>>>>>> Wireless battery operated hydro disc brakes made by Sram
  • 3 0
 my favorite is canyon’s design. Cables run against the down tube with a protective cover fastened over them.
  • 4 0
 Great job Henry. I really like you writing and use of words.
  • 1 0
 thinking about switching my brakes to moto, it would just make sense to have my left hand for the rear brake in case I need my right hand to get stabby with any hikers on the trails while enduroing
  • 3 0
 Seriously, normal people hardly ever have to change internal cables. For how neat it looks, internal all day, everyday!
  • 2 0
 So weird that they keep calling it "Moto" style brakes when it's actually "Scooter" style brakes, unless you guys have some clutch lever system you're not talking about?
  • 2 0
 "Clean-looking bike" vs being able to swap a rear brake over and get back on the gondola / uplift van having only missed one run?
  • 1 0
 Err'one knows wireless brakes are coming. Ebikes will develop into having a cpu to monitor/control brakes, dropper and suspension, in addition to the motor. The future is so bright I gotta...
  • 1 0
 This is above and beyond the worst article I've read on here or almost any bike website/magazine. It's oozing ignorant, arrogant and insulting verbage to mechanics everywhere.
  • 1 0
 Piers Morgan is cool. To Hell with you, Henry Quinney. May the Piers Morgans of the world stomp your face in with a hard boot heel! I bet you are a malicious social justice freak.
  • 1 0
 Summary: no advantages aside from aesthetics, and the author doesn’t mind the extra effort involved.

Cool story bro. Some of us just wanna ride and the extra effort is just a waste of our limited time.
  • 2 0
 It seems I am one of the few people who think that internal routing looks good and is an awesome feature if done right
  • 3 0
 I'll be needing your address please Henry......
  • 1 0
 Before I got my Enduro with its fully sleeved internal cable routing I was a "put it on the outside, just make it cleanish". Now yeah full sleeved.. This is the way...
  • 4 2
 Quick @henryquinney your rear brake is toast and we have to be at the trail head in 15min!
  • 1 0
 @JockoJones A former world cup mechanic might just be able to pull that off ...
  • 6 2
 Opinion: you are wrong.
  • 3 0
 Oh Hello! I rides Chromag! Chromag use zip tie! Zip tie number one!
  • 2 0
 Guys, super easy solve. AXS BRAKES! But really, electric brakes could totally work. I think...
  • 1 2
 easily work as well as any Shimano brake
  • 3 3
 Pick a style of cable routing.......and be a dick about it. Seriously, like press fit bottom brackets, internally routed cables are fine. Once you learn how to thread them through it's a pretty easy job.
  • 3 0
 Cables on the inside are fine, but hoses on the outside. Transition knows.
  • 5 3
 Your opinion is wrong, you run your brakes on the wrong side, and the second sentence of your article is worded wrong.
  • 2 0
 Your sentence is worded wrong. Now mine is too.
  • 1 0
 @OldDert: See? Proofreading is easy!
  • 6 6
 So basically:
- obsessed with looks
- rides moto brake mounting and doesn’t know why it exists
- prefers road bikes
Sounds like your opinion is completely valid, now don’t ever speak to me again
  • 3 0
 Brakes external... Shifting internal..all internal.
  • 3 1
 For making me click this article, i will not click another article in pinkbike until saturday.
  • 3 0
 I enjoyed this one immensely.
  • 2 0
 Shout out to Canfield bikes making left and right side ports interchangeable. THANK YOU!
  • 2 1
 Dude mentions Pole as being one of the better brands for external routing.... bruh they literally just run the cable along the downtube with zip ties, GTFO
  • 2 0
 I politely disagree with most of this article other than what I want. There I said it. Also - Dick Pound
  • 1 0
 I always felt that having your derailleur cable routed on the opposite side of the bike gave a gentler curve and less friction? What's so bad about that?
  • 1 0
 How you managed to put in some bashing about doping in road cycling in a piece about cable routing is beyond me. But you did. Kudos @henryquinney
  • 4 0
 Get in the sea
  • 1 0
 Tube in tube, yes. Unguided internal, get f*cked. Having to remove cranks and bottom bracket for seatpost outer cable, get double f*cked. I'm looking at you Whyte bikes.
  • 1 0
 Who at Magura thought it's a good idea to route the front brake hose where it gets sheared between the fork arch and crown at bottom out - or buzzed by the tire?
  • 1 0
 Amen, I’m on the internal routing is better side. We shouldn’t be held hostage by ham handed riders who can’t bleed a brake.
  • 3 0
 I enjoyed Henry’s writing so much I forgot I disagree with him.
  • 1 2
 Henry - I'm glad you're part of the PinkBike team now and I enjoyed reading your perspective on cable routing, but could you please leave politics completely unmentioned? This site is a welcome refuge from the raging partisanship in so many other corners of the internet and I'd be sad to see that change. Moreover, expressing contempt for another human seems inimical to the spirit of mountain biking: we're all just fans of riding our fancy toys outdoors and love sharing the stoke, right? Maybe Piers Morgan is actually short on redeeming qualities (I don't know much about him) but so what? Let's just forget about that here.

Looking forward to reading more from you!
  • 6 0
 How is making fun of Piers Morgan "political"? He's a TV clown, not a politician.
  • 2 0
 @bananowy: Shows you how much I don't know! I assumed he was deemed regrettable based on his politics - that's the usual reason for people to attract disdain.
  • 1 0
 @ABhardtail: I think people don't like him more for generally being a dick than his politics Wink A trait which, paradoxically, could be put to good use when holding actual politicians to account. His political interviews on GMB were fierce regardless of him being on the same side of the political spectrum as the gov. It's when he tries to tell others how to live their private lives that people get annoyed. Pretty sure he'd get more love if he did more political journalism and less entertainment/lifestyle/social stuff.
  • 2 0
 I thought about pulling that line, but then decided that poking fun at Piers Morgan is a truly bipartisan activity, one that all of the political spectrum can get behind.
  • 1 0
 Here's hoping I never have enough time in my life to form such stong opinions on such trivial topics. The only thing worse than that article was the amount of comments on it.
  • 1 0
 I believe the worst thing I saw was a felt that had cable enter the head tube and sawed the steer tube nearly in half. F internal routing!!’
  • 1 0
 It's all fun and games until you have to spend 6 years routing that stupid shimano shift housing through your friend's focus jam 2017
  • 1 0
 I'm with you Henry. Internal routing is good. And if I can't get the cable to go where I need it to myself, I'm totally fine paying my LBS to do it.
  • 2 0
 that magura bike looks like someone forgot to finish building it.
  • 2 1
 Also, Switched to using formula brakes for the cam-lock, for everyone that hates routing the rear brake. Look into it.
  • 1 0
 I tought they discontinued that option, I remember I looked for it but it wasn't available or marketed anymore
  • 2 0
 @Code98: No, in fact Formula is now selling the speedlock kits to make it work on shimano and sram brakesets as well.
  • 7 9
 Internal cable routing is MUCH better than external cable routing. I can see it sometimes being a problem, but I don't have to mess with cables very often because I do a good job building bikes and I'm not a parts tester who has to swap them out all the time.
  • 2 0
 Unpopular opinion: everything is horrible.
  • 2 2
 i love love love fully internal routing. i really hope more company's see how sick cables inside bars are! when ppl have a mess of routing it drives me nuts
  • 1 0
 I love my internal cable routing, but I’ve never needed to change cable housing yet.
  • 1 0
 “Without irredeemable traits”?

I think you mean without redeemable traits.
  • 1 1
 Great catch. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney: “self-affixation”. Really? I’m trying to visualize Buddy nailing himself to a cross.

Asphyxiation — have a Google at that one.
  • 1 0
 @0Larrabee: Ha! Yeah, now you say it. As you can guess, I really struggle with some aspects of writing, particularly spelling, and I am always grateful for a tag with a typo. Cheers.
  • 2 1
 Internal routing done right:
- brakes with quick connector (aka formula cura)
- tubes in tubes frame through
  • 5 3
 I agree. Cleaner, simpler lines are always worth a little more work!
  • 1 0
 Wow Magura, using Conti Mountain Kings on the front of a trail bike? It has like 3mm high knobs!
  • 1 0
 I ride a mountain king on the front of my trail bike in the legendary belgian slop. I have litterally no idea what you are complaining about?
  • 2 0
 i hate dirty cockpits. i need my wires to be internally cabled.
  • 1 1
 I got not even through the second paragraph and felt like i was going to have an aneurism... how the f*ck did this end on here?
  • 1 0
 I will never even consider buying that Focus strictly because of one small proprietary part
  • 1 0
 How is the specialized in 2nd pic moto? Is the pic flipped? Moto is front brake to right side, yeah?
  • 1 0
 Oops, never mind I misread. the author wants clean cable routing, like the pic. Unacceptable faceplate gap though
  • 4 1
 Oh, fuck off
  • 3 0
 Duran Duran kicks ass.
  • 1 0
 Hoover and string Never let me down Internal is awesome for muddy conditions
  • 2 0
 Just switch your brakes back to normal and it wont be a problem lmao
  • 2 0
 GT’s Groove Tube was a great design.
  • 1 0
 Dangerholm builds are always unbelievably clean. I would love having a clean cockpit like this.
  • 3 0
 @evildos perhaps check out www.manscaped.com then, gigitty
  • 1 0
 @Corbanblamp: Clever boy ! Wink
  • 1 0
 “Why internal cable are superior”

No, it isn’t
Maybe it looks cute but I ll pass whenever I can
  • 1 0
 At least being British is a better excuse for running the rear brake on the left than the standard “I ride motorcycles”
  • 2 0
 My scott genius cockpit is a conversation piece
  • 1 0
 I didn't read it but I hate it. There are no good reasons for internal cable routing You can't change my mind.
  • 1 0
 Didn't read! Don't Care! Fuck internal cable routing for anything other than seatposts and derailleurs!
  • 1 0
 It doesn't even look any better than external cables
  • 1 0
 The ability to install internal cable routing really serves as an IQ test of sorts...
  • 1 0
 I love building my bikes with internal cables. Tubing inside the frame to guide AND keep water/debris out of the frame.
  • 1 0
 Never had a problem with internally routed, but I only ride premium bikes. Sucks for all you proles out there.
  • 2 0
 Pivot mountain bikes have the best internal routing, period.
  • 7 8
 Sorry mate, you completely lost me there. As if your strange reviews weren‘t enough, now this. Is there a filter to ignore certain staff members and their articles?
  • 6 2
 There is! It’s called your clicking finger.
  • 5 7
 "it’s just putting a bit of foam in a tyre or pushing oil through a system."

Maybe you're being facetious, but neither of those is "just". Just as internal routing is never "just" putting cables through holes.
  • 8 2
 But if you really think about it, it is, isn’t it?
  • 4 3
 @VtVolk: no, it isn't
  • 1 0
 Wireless brakes are coming soon...
  • 2 0
 Never. That has not even happened in the automotive/ moto sphere. You can deal with a failure of electronics in shifting. You cannot deal with the liability of an electronics failure of the brakes.
  • 1 0
 MTBers could take a page out of BMX and run brakeless and single speed.
  • 1 0
 SS DH is awesome ! All natural pump and flow. Getting speed from the terrain. Searching out every little root an bump to pop off. I can compre it to when I used to ride BMX trails an pedalling was a no no. So much fun
  • 1 1
 My top fuel 9 you would hate then. All external... brakes, shifter, dropper, and a fork and shock lockout cable. Its busy
  • 2 1
 Internal down tube. Zip tie under chain stay. Boom. Done
  • 3 2
 ok fire this new writer now
  • 1 0
 Stem look like snek No step on snek
  • 4 3
 This article was such a bad idea.
  • 1 0
 Don't know what to say. Not even wrong.
  • 1 0
 I also like internal routing
  • 1 0
 The 1st image looks like Spongebob's pal Fred. Ouch... my leg...
  • 1 0
 Henry just loves smell of napalm in the morning.
  • 1 1
 It's not subject matter worthy of a thesis, so only got so far. There, I said it.
  • 2 1
 We don't really care. There I said it
  • 1 0
 I like big loopy loops around my headtube, nothing else matters.
  • 1 0
 I believe the word you were looking for is syncophant*
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike content is trash
  • 3 2
 Just get some AXS!
  • 9 8
 Fuck off, straight up
  • 1 0
 haha no man, youre wrong
  • 1 0
 SAUSAGE FINGERS!?!?
  • 3 0
 I accidentally liked this instead of disliking it
  • 1 1
 
  • 1 3
 Yes yes yes, yeah boi yes
  • 5 8
 This dude loves big words
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