deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 28
EDITORIAL

Internal Routing: Will Sanity Prevail?

Words Andrew Major
Photos As Noted
Date Sep 29, 2022
Reading time

The Anti E-Bike Evil Genius?

There's only one King or Queen of my list of evil geniuses, and I have no idea who they are, where they live, or if they even ride mountain bikes. However, I want to meet the nihilist who willed through-the-headset cable routing into existence and then sold the idea to a pile of mountain bike companies - companies that presumably have employees who've actually worked on a bike before. I picture Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate, strutting, impassioned and angsty, explaining the clean look and cost savings to a collection of bike company honchos. Just have to act fast before riders or your staff figure it out. "Don't get too cocky... No matter how good you are don't ever let them see you coming."

There are plenty of rigs already rolling around that are going to require a brake bleed next time they need a headset bearing. And from the quality of a lot of the OE headsets rolling around - even on premium bikes - that can be 3-6 months or less, particularly if you're riding the North Shore in the off season. But in this case the devil did not quite manage to pull off his best trick, because an ever increasing number of riders are aware of this bullshit and it's exorcising any desire for a rig with a couple of holes in the bearing cap.

*Cover photo: Deniz Merdano

scott.jpeg

Form over function at all costs has many adherents. But what about the "more true-to-self" core brands signing up? Check out Vanity's Pricetag by Mike Ferrentino for an excellent and entertaining look at the subject. Photo: Scott Bikes

Why stop there? Route the rear brake line through the main pivot bearings. Route the dropper post through the bottom bracket cups. Have the front brake line run up the hollow center of the air system shaft, through the crown, out a port in the steerer tube, through the stem, into a port in the handlebar, and exit at the brake lever. Okay, that last one is almost cheating since, basically, the product already exists.

magura-in-bar-brakes_4.jpg

Wait, where are the brake lines - are those wireless too, now? That's another four batteries to charge! Photo: Cam McRae

magura_in_bar_brakes_2.jpg

Don't worry, don't stress, they're not wireless brakes. The lines are integrated with the cockpit instead. Photo: Cam McRae

Transition Back To Better

I'll take BSA bottom brackets and zip-tying cables to my frame, or yours, any day of the week. But I'm under no illusions. The steady return of the threaded BSA is an example of function eating form for lunch, and of bike companies actually listening to their customers. Folks either want a BSA bottom bracket or don't care; in this case abstention is a vote to have your bottom bracket bearings in two threaded aluminum cups. But the much cleaner lines of internally routed cable systems, not to mention the much lower costs for many internal versus external setups, aren't going anywhere.

Whether it's tube-in-tube internal routing or the simpler, less expensive way, with cables floating in the void and rubber grommets sealing out the elements, it's a win for rationality if we can get back there. And there's hope! Why would Transition have released photos of their Spring 2023 Relay model in June 2022, a full year early, if not to say: "sorry, we f*cked up, but here, look - we won't do it again." Most importantly, it's a stem and root declaration that they won't be weeding the rest of their model lineup with ported bearing protectors.


"The announcement heralding Transition’s new Repeater e-bike made me sad. Seeing what I consider to be one of the more true-to-self core brands succumb to the inevitable survival pressures that dictate terms here in consumerville was a tough pill to swallow. But I understood the “why” of it. However, choosing to spec headsets with holes drilled in them, a decision made by a company based in Bellingham, for cryin’ out loud, that’s what really broke my heart." Mike Ferrentino, Vanity's Pricetag
DSC00156

The 2023 Transition Relay, announced a year early. They're calling this "the Biker's E-Bike" presumably because you can change the headset bearing without disconnecting the brake. Photo: Transition Bikes

Transition Repeater 2022

The 2022 Transition Repeater with the offending lack of cable exit ports on the frame. Integration is not salvation. I'm glad Transition took the medicine before the disease spread to their non-plug-in rides. Photo: Transition Bikes

The Relay seems like it'll be a huge improvement over the Repeater and an indication that through-the-headset routing isn't coming to the rest of their bikes. The absence of extra faff and potential steerer tube wear on their meat-powered rigs is a cause for celebration. Will other brands follow? At this point I have to think that any brand not routing cables through holes in their headsets has been warned away from this particular standard. And yet, driven by the aesthetics over everything integration of the road bike world it's hard to imagine brands like Scott taking a step back towards ugly utilitarianism when they can pass four cockpit cables through a stem integrated with your handlebar. Just the effort spent making the rebound knob and air valve on a rear shock less accessible is astounding.

Integration Is Not Salvation

It's not as if turning our collective backs on ported bearing caps is rendering any bicycle obsolete. Bearing caps almost never need to be replaced and it's also easy enough to drill some holes in a fresh one if required. Acros, the headset company equipping a lot of these bikes, probably has enough of them in a warehouse to support every bike that's been shipped with a drilled bearing cap from now until they're placed on the garbage heap.

deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 28

Who cares about BroPed cable routing? If you can afford a 16K bike you can afford to pay someone to take it halfway apart to change a headset bearing, right? Photo: Deniz Merdano

deniz merdano canyon spectral on cfr ltd 48

But if companies don't hear loud and clear that this is bullshit, the combination of sleeker looks and cost savings could infect their whole lineup. Photo: Deniz Merdano

So, let's all do our part to kill this with fire before it spreads any further. If you would have bought a new bike, but for the through-the-headset routing, then take a minute to let the company know. Maybe they don't care this year when everything's selling but they know in two years, inventory woes will be over and holes in a headset bearing cap are a silly reason to lose sales. If you own or work at a shop, remember that one day you're going to have to explain to a customer why replacing a headset bearing comes with a hundred dollar labour charge and they might as well get a brake bleed, new cable housing, and a fork service at the same time. If you work at a bike brand, relay the fact that Transition used this dumb system on one model of bike for one year, and now saner minds are prevailing.

And if you're the Anti E-Bike Evil Genius, working at Acros or otherwise, who managed to convince mountain bicycle brands to push this unholy frame concept for their blender bikes, hell... nice try. Slow clap for you. I'd love to hear how you pulled it off. E-bike sales aren't going anywhere but up, so I hope you understand why we have to cut it out before it spreads to purely-person-powered machines as well.

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Comments

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 1 week ago
+28 Lynx . kcy4130 DadStillRides Andrew Major Allen Lloyd Andy Eunson Sandy James Oates Pete Roggeman bishopsmike Todd Hellinga Zombo Blofeld Karl Fitzpatrick mnihiser taprider rg-nw IslandLife fartymarty Dr.Flow imnotdanny Deniz Merdano Tjaard Breeuwer Velocipedestrian Timer mrbrett capnron Tremeer023 BarryW

I saw a SRAM test rider on a prototype bike recently. I asked him what the heck was going on and he told me they were testing a new Internal Rider Routing System [IRRS]. Looked wild. Lots of commitment there as well. They build the bike around you so you have to smash it open when you want to get out and then re-build it next ride. Said he's been riding for 2 months straight so far. Gets a little pricey, but he said market research has shown road riders will pay the big bucks to not have to look at any ugly stuff hanging off their bikes. Fair enough I guess. 

In all seriousness it's been a long time [maybe forever] that I have been less interested in buying a new bike and more satisfied in what I have. So that's been a nice unintended consequence of all the "improvements" in the bike world the last few years. It will be interesting to see if anything changes out on the trails in terms of where I sit in my usual ride groups or how much fun I am having. I suspect it won't.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+5 Mammal Vik Banerjee Tjaard Breeuwer Velocipedestrian Tremeer023

If you’re not looking for an “it’s you, only faster” setup, have a relatively recent rig, and stay on top of maintenance and replacing stuff as it wears out, you’re certainly not alone in a club of folks that are content with tweaking what they have.

I think it’s need to see all the mods popping up whether it’s after market links (Cascade), production links (We Are One) or modular bikes (Guerrilla Gravity) there’s lots of neat stuff for nerds with some disposable income but no burning desire for a new rig.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 1 week ago
+18 Niels van Kampenhout LWK finbarr Todd Hellinga Mammal taprider IslandLife Vik Banerjee Zero-cool Andrew Major Adrian Bostock Dr.Flow imnotdanny Cr4w fartymarty Tjaard Breeuwer Derek Baker Timer

i just want to hear the juicy insider stories of how these things actually saw the light of day. i want to hear a product manager defend this abomination.

Reply

LWK
LWK
2 months, 1 week ago
0

yea, thats my question too.  This is just such a weird thing to do.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Lynx . Andy Eunson Velocipedestrian

Classic case of form not following function.  Form should always follow function.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 1 week ago
+4 kcy4130 Lynx . Rick M Velocipedestrian

I blame our leg shaving, lycra wearing brethren for this abominable piece of design.

Reply

Timer
Timer
2 months, 1 week ago
0

It's not like we can really put much blame there. Remember, theirs is a world without dirt, where headset bearings can spin for decades without replacement and people are used to reapplying bar tape whenever they need to change anything about their cockpit.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 1 week ago
+9 Andrew Major Lynx . Allen Lloyd Adrian White cxfahrer imnotdanny Cr4w capnron Tremeer023

Remember when shifter cable housings (and brake cables housing too back then) were not run uninterrupted? Like along any straight section of frame tubing the housing would end in a holder and the bare cable would run without housing between the holders. I don't know when that trend started but it was ubiquitous when I got into mtb (late 90s) until the early 2000s. I didn't question it at the time, but in hindsight it didn't make sense. Sure it saved a few dollars of housing, and a tiny amount of weight, but at the cost of more labor and cables/housings got lots of mud/grit in them and thus had to be replaced far more often. Common sense and simplicity don't always prevail.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Heinous Cr4w

I still have some Magura clips that slotted into the interrupted cable stops so you could run their hydraulic rim brakes without having to get out the drill AND having to I’m disconnect and bleed the brakes anytime you removed them.

I’m addition to saving money and weight, comparing fresh setups the interrupted housing was also said to reduce friction (cable sliding in housing). Around here that would have been true until the first pedal stroke for much of the year. 

(Maybe it was the California influence back then that cause interrupted setups?)

I have done some retro builds on frames with interrupted cabling more recently, but I’d argue that the fact full length cable have been the norm for over twenty years is pretty strongly in common sense’s corner.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major bishopsmike

Yeah, at least interrupted had a some positives, however minor. Unlike thru headset.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I suppose the same folks who weren’t worried about ingress in their split housing also aren’t worried about eating through headset bearings? Although, sweat.

I think Mike captured the surprise best - hence quoting him - that a PNW brand would jump on the train though.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 1 week ago
+7 kcy4130 taprider cheapondirt Andrew Major Velocipedestrian tashi capnron

i've strung SO many 3 pc derailleur housings & 2 pc brakes in my years. all those tiny little lengths cut... and shifting performance that would degrade in short order. ugh. but the bikes with triple top tube routing had a bit of a guitar aesthetic, so that was kinda cool.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I have a few little NOS baggies of the Jagwire version of those clips, meaning to use them on my daughters shifter cable.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

I could be wrong, but I think North Shore riders started running continuous housing early on and started the move to that. Around the same time we got hydraulic brakes which required it.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andy Eunson

I dunno, not from there NS, but I do know I started MTBing properly in 2004 and by early 2007 had drilled out the cable stops on my Trance and was running uninterrupted housing - so much better,  less cable replacement.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andrew Major kcy4130 Tremeer023

I was doing the continuous housing thing in the early 90s. I drilled out stops too. As did many others.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 kcy4130

Yeah, I know shops were charging to drill out guides in the mid and late ‘90s.

Reply

heckler
Sven Luebke
2 months, 1 week ago
0

yup, my 99 GT I-drive got drilled out stops once it started riding in the rainforest.  I'd never go back to split housings.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Whatever happened to the 'derailleur pulleys that bleed lube' that were mentioned in the classic Bike Fear and Loaming issue?

Reply

WheelNut
WheelNut
2 months, 1 week ago
+9 kcy4130 Andrew Major Heinous Cr4w ZigaK Tjaard Breeuwer Timer Cam McRae Bogey

The shift feel from interrupted shift housing is unbelievably good compared to a fully housed shift cable. Great on a road bike where the cables don't get dirty fast. Anyway, that is all long gone on modern MTB and road bikes.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

So it was yet another trend that was started in road and unwisely applied to mtb. Just like thru headset... sigh. 

I just remember being ~13 and having to shift, then give my front derailleur a little push with my foot so it'd actually shift cause the cables were dirty and had so much friction. But I was young and less maintenance conscious. I wonder if improvement in materials (of the plastics in the housing) made uninterrupted viable.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

As most early mtbs were designed in SoCal interrupted cables make sense as there's less outer in contact with the inner but anywhere wet the opposite is true as you want less entry points for water.

I did recently see an interupted cable on the Breadwinner Bad Otis - strange for a bike from the PNW.

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

@FartyMarty - Yeah, I drilled mine out and went full length because back them I just wanted to ride every day, no matter the conditions, so my bike was getting washed 2-3 times a week in the rainy season, which was not good for shift quality. Also a lot of older frames had mis-shifts and crap if you didn't get the interrupted housing lengths just right because of shitty cable routing and full housing solved that issue also.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Lynx .

I remember running full length on my GT LTS due to ghost shifts.  That was mid / late 90s.  Ditto on shitty conditions (NZ winter).

Reply

bogey
Bogey
2 months ago
+1 Andrew Major

100% agree - I miss that silky, old school shift action. I’d like to see interrupted cable housing done with internal cable routing so that it’ll stay clean and we get that great shift action back. Sure, there are internal cable routing haters that will cry about this but it wouldn’t be all that hard to pull off.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months ago
0

Some Kona Process frames had a version of this actually. I was working on a Process 134 the other day, from maybe 2016, and there are housing stops where the cable sections enter and exit the internally routed downtube. The cable is in a tube (not hard to feed) but it's significantly larger than housing so there's no, or at least limited, friction. 

Any brand could do the same with their tube-in-tube or channel setup. Just have a housing stop and the entry and exit of the frame and make the channel the cable runs through straight and large enough that the cable is running free. 

Neat idea.

Reply

kperras
Kenneth Perras
2 months, 1 week ago
+6 Perry Schebel Andrew Major Mammal Cr4w Kenny DMVancouver

While I support some forms of ICR, I call for the death of headset ICR and any other variant where housing passes through hardware without cutouts. I chuckled a bit when I read that the housing passes through the MP on the Ghost(?) bikes.

At Rocky we spent quite a bit of time on our ICR solutions, and of course minimizing cable growth is very important, but not at the cost of piercing the MP hardware.

Reply

kperras
Kenneth Perras
2 months, 1 week ago
+7 Lynx . Mammal Pete Roggeman Andrew Major Mike Ferrentino dhr999 Kenny

Example for our 2020+ Slayers, and 2021+ Altitudes and Instinct BB exit panel, just below the MP and above the BB. Cutouts so that these pieces can be removed and installed without affecting the housing. The point of the rubber panel is to be a wear item for the 5mm of cable growth/shrinkage throughout the range of travel. Ignore the hardware shown in that photo haha. Not the correct bolts.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Lynx .

i love attention to detail like this. so rare to see proper thought put into interfaces like this.

Reply

finbarr
finbarr
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I really like the ICR that Rocky does. My '21 Instinct is pretty good and easy to access, other than the dropper, and I don't know how much you can do to improve it. I absolutely love the routing on my Blizzard though... It's not as tidy, as the housing actually comes out of the frame at the bottom bracket, but it was much, much easier to install than with the Instinct.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major dhr999

The test Element I've been riding has some of the most cleanly executed and easy to deal with internal routing setups I've ever dealt with. I usually approach cable and hose replacement with a combination of loathing and anger; swapping cables on the Element was almost fun!

Reply

jgshinton
John Hinton
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I have a 2020 Thunderbolt and the cable routing is terrible from my perspective. It's good that you're improving, but having the cables enter under the BB rather than over is still a sin in my book.

Reply

Heinous
Heinous
2 months, 1 week ago
+5 Andrew Major cheapondirt Zombo Cr4w Andy Eunson

Amen. You can see a massive spate of recalls in road bikes that adopted this early - fork failures and injuries, plus hugely complex basic safety checks (like inspecting steerers). 

If the customer doesn’t kill this early it will be the insurance companies and lawyers that do.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Insurance companies do rule the world… but I don’t think they’ll kill cables eating steerers. Maybe make it more expensive. 

Roadies seem to generally want/be willing to pay for the so fresh and so clean fully integrated look. I guess if your first fit is a good one…

Reply

mhaager2
Moritz Haager
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Dr.Flow Pete Roggeman cornedbeef

As a part time roadie, and former duathlete, there is in fact some merit for this cable routing in those applications, but to be clear up front, absolutely NOT in MTB. Aerodynamics are fascinating, and have a HUGE impact on speed, especially once you get above 30 km/h. The difference in speed on a flat course between my road bike,  and my time trial bike, at the same watts  is probably on the order of 5 to 8 km/h. Seemingly ridiculously small things,  like exposed cables, can add significant drag. Hell, there was even a study in the wind tunnel that showed shaved legs saved significant time ( easy to google if you don't believe me,  which I wouldn't blame you for cause it sounds so ludicrous). When you're looking for any advantage I think you're willing to take the trade off of PITA maintenance if the performance advantage is big enough. None of this applies to MTB. Even if you're racing DH or enduro, there are many lower hanging fruit to be picked before you go this.  75% of the Aerodynamic drag is the rider so you'd have to skinsuit up, get an aero helmet, and so on first.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 olaa Andy Eunson Tjaard Breeuwer

I wonder what percentage of roadies actually benefit from the aerodynamic advantages of fully internal cables versus the added costs and complexity of getting a proper bike fit. I see a lot of very expensive road bikes with very questionable fits out there.

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craw
Cr4w
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Bogey

I would love to see the test results that prove this out. It's surprising that running cables through the headset is that much more aerodynamic that running them into the down tube the traditional way. Why not just mold in an aerodynamic entry point around the headset top cap that runs straight into the down tube? Why involve the headset at all?

Reply

tdc_worm
tdc_worm
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

The big bait and switch here is that they can prove some degree (albeit small to negligible) of aero advantage of the bike, alone, in a wind tunnel.  the switch is that when you add the rider's signature and motion to the bike, it overwhelms any advantage of the bike alone.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

In the case of road the internal routing on the most integrated rigs is coming through the bar, through the stem, and then all but has to go through the headset.

On mountain bikes where they’ve drilled the bearing cap it’s absolutely just the cheapest way to do it and also looks clean.

Reply

andrewbikeguide
AndrewR
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 cheapondirt

There was a study last year that proved, that for the layman, the best aerodynamic improvement came from shoe/ sock covers. It was also the best improvement per dollar.

Reply

Heinous
Heinous
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

The Big S paid significant amounts (rumour was well in to 7 figures) after someone died on one of their bikes where the fork failed. This was pre internal routing and judging by the recent recalls I think it'll happen more. It's enough to kill it if it can't be made safe, or people stop buying the bikes because the resale is cratered.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+5 IslandLife 4Runner1 Mike Ferrentino Tjaard Breeuwer Timer

Another solution to seeing those ugly exposed housings and hoses is to mount your helmet visor to the chin bar of your helmet so you won’t have to see those abominations while you ride.

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IslandLife
IslandLife
2 months, 1 week ago
+5 Andrew Major 4Runner1 Cr4w Tremeer023 ohio

"Maybe they don't care this year when everything's selling..."

I was in two different bike shops yesterday... both were packed to the gills with bikes, tires (I'd never seen so many tires in one place!), equipment, etc.  Including a beautiful looking Arrival.  They didn't have the space to put it all... and we're on the verge of October...

Everything is not selling now.  MTB consumers haven't had access to so much since "the before times"... bikes with headset cable routing will be the ones left on the floor.... hope these companies have been saving their covid profits!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 IslandLife

Yeah, I originally wrote this piece a couple months back. Lately I’m hearing all kinds of stuff about massive inventory build ups and, what I would call, significant price reductions.

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LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 IslandLife

Kinetic just had a 30% off the entire store (minus bikes) and Steed does as well.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 IslandLife

Yep. A lot of shops are very overstocked on tires especially.

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Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Weird. We are not, and can’t get many either, at least Maxxis

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Timer
Timer
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Interesting. On the other side of the pond, I'm still having trouble getting Michelins and some Maxxis versions are also hard to source.

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 1 week ago
+4 Vik Banerjee Tjaard Breeuwer Tremeer023 danithemechanic

Personally I don't find cables any sort of an eye sore, I find them more of an opportunity if you know what you're doing and have a neutral frame colour. Then you can use coloured housing to add a touch of colour to your black/raw bike in a subtle way.

Phantom with blue cables 1

Phantom with blue cables cockpit

Phantom with blue cables drivetrain

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 1 week ago
+9 Lynx . Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout yardrec cheapondirt taprider FlipSide Tjaard Breeuwer danithemechanic

Making Chris Cocalis cry when I ignored the stupid ICR on my new [at the time] Pivot Mach 6 using some Problem Solver stick on housing/hose guides. Worked great for 4 years. Still working for my buddy who is riding that frame 4 more years later.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Those Pivots were especially bad with the shifter housing wearing out the shock body! What a nutty design!

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Don't forget Niner as well, absolute shit show with them in general of form over function in a lot of their "design".

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danithemechanic
danithemechanic
2 months ago
+3 Lynx . kcy4130 Velocipedestrian

I'd never understand the "balance bike" look some riders and companies are all about.

Maybe it's because i build bikes for a living, but i always prefer to see the cables.

Hiding them just makes me feel the bike is missing some pieces and inherently looks like a cheap bike.

If you put the technical aspects of internal routing/wireless aside for a moment and just think about the looks, i'm always going to go for the bike that looks like it has all the parts rather than the missing bits one.

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Jimothy.benson
Jimothy.benson
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 DadStillRides kcy4130

I hope Scott can appreciate the irony of the oh-so-clean lines on the bike with ~50mm of non-droppable seatpost exposed

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kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 1 week ago
+13 Andrew Major 4Runner1 Lynx . Jimothy.benson Andy Eunson LurkeR010 Dr.Flow cxfahrer fartymarty Mike Ferrentino Andeh Timer ohio

I hope scott can appreciate the irony of making a bike with seriously compromised practicality for the sake of looks then printing TURD in huge letter on the downtube. (I know it's supposed to be "tuned", but it sure doesn't look like it)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 kcy4130 fartymarty Velocipedestrian

Hahahaha I never saw that before now… and now I can’t not see it.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 kcy4130 Andrew Major

I saw that when Mike posted the picture in his article.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Oh great, they’ll be integrating that next. Thanks a bunch (hahaha).

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Lynx . Velocipedestrian

"It's as Andrew says if you work on other people's bikes and have to explain to them why the bill is so high just to change out some headset bearings."

And if you happen to have sold them said bike you have to explain why you didn't warn them about this flaw in the design.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+4 shenzhe Vik Banerjee Tjaard Breeuwer Velocipedestrian

This is a harder one for me as I sold bikes/parts for many years. One of my bosses, Rabbit, used to say “Drew, you get ONE chance to tell the customer they’re wrong and then take a deposit.”

Invariably some of them would come back and say things like “you sold me this 9-speed XTR shifter and it doesn’t work with my 9-speed SRAM derailleur” and I’d say “yes, I warned you of that” and they’d say “I don’t remember you saying anything.”

And so on…

All the retail survivor trauma is why there’s prodigious notes on any repair/transaction I do in the shop these days.

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tdc_worm
tdc_worm
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Lynx . Tjaard Breeuwer

internally routing cables on a mountain bike is a solution looking for a problem.  the need just doesn't exist.  

that said, it would be met with much less ire if a brake enginered somewhere designed a quick disconnect master cylinder/hose/caliper interface that didn't lose fluid or introduce air when disconnected/reconnected for maintenance.  of course that enginerd would need to talk to the frame enginereds to agree on routing and port dimensions that would allow said interface to pass through the frame.  

but alas, it will never happen.  we can place it on our wish list of items that only make sense but will forever be unicorns right next to something like a Universal Derailleur Hanger....oh, wait...

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 tdc_worm SomeBikeGuy

Formula makes a very, very clean pop-lock hose disconnector that can be popped with zero fluid loss and run through many frames (though notably not Yeti, and probably not SCB though I haven’t tried myself). 

It disconnects from the caliper end.

Sadly, enough people proved too dumb to use it that they don’t include it with brakes anymore. But you can still buy them last I checked.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Lynx . Tjaard Breeuwer

Photos of the Formula system from my review in 2018. I still have these brakes/lines going strong. Now on my commuter:

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SomeBikeGuy
SomeBikeGuy
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout Tremeer023

Why this isn't a thing on all hydraulic disc brakes is beyond me.

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fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 1 week ago
0

And at the lever end so you can swap levers if one of your riding buddies rides moto instead of right rear - which we all know is the correct way around (unless you are left handed)

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
-1 Lynx .

Marty, what brake worth owning needs to be disconnected from the hose to swap to RH front?

Just undo the clamps and flip them on Hayes, Magura, Formula, SRAM…

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fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Good point, I was thinking you could avoid having to remove levers.  Saying that now one ever wants to ride my bike anyway (I'm the only one I know of who runs right rear)

Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 1 week ago
0

@ Andrew Major - Wanted to say why I gave you the neg for this post... it's because it was such a bad/low dig at Shimano because of your disdain for their "resin only" rotors I'd be guessing. IMHO and yours (from reading most of your articles) makes some of, if not the best budget brakes out there and there's a LOT of happy people out their using them instead of the crap "budget" options from other brands. Are people on a budget not in the same league then as those who use "expensive" bike parts? Hugely hypocritical of you.

"Marty, what brake worth owning needs to be disconnected from the hose to swap to RH front?

Just undo the clamps and flip them on Hayes, Magura, Formula, SRAM…"

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

@Lynx

My comment is clearly in reference to premium brake systems as we’re discussing the pop-lock hose system option for Formula Cura brake systems. 

To your assumption, about my “huge hypocrisy” I don’t recommend buying bikes with Shimano budget brakes specifically because replacing ‘Resin Only’ rotors with proper discs adds a significant cost. TRP makes at least equal brakes and come with decent rotors.

After market, Magura makes better riding (feel, power) budget systems that are worth the extra investment and can easily be flipped LH/RH without unhooking lines.

Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Andrew, I guess I separated the discussion of the quick disconnect and then level of brakes as that's not how I think. Your statement, to me ignores/invalidates those who can't afford/don't want/need "proper" high end brakes as being significant, when in fact, that's probably 80%+ of the market.

Somehow, in the budget arena, when I see reviews of low end bikes and they don't have Shimano, normally the reviews aren't very favourable concerning the brakes and from my experience, for <$60 US per wheel, there's no better option out there than from Shimano, but please do enlighten me if I'm wrong on that.

FYI, I think like your bias towards low end forks and the new conclusion you came to in the Marin review, might need to be visited as far as your disdain for the Shimano "resin Only" rotors, because from my POV, I've had no issues with them, neither have others who use them or have used my bikes that had them - maybe it's a NS thing.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

@Lynx,

I’ve run out of ways to try to explain how I’m differentiating a budget bike that I think would be best for me (rigid fork | Plus tires) or other serious riders versus a casual or very new rider on a tighter budget where I think a basic (lowest possible routine maintenance/ maintenance cost) suspension fork is the best spec choice.

I’ve ridden a number of these budget-friendlier bikes with good geo and sold bikes on the North Shore for years. There’s no requirement for anyone here to agree with me, but I’m confident in my experience with bikes and mountain bikers for our market. I also regularly compare notes with friends in shops here.

I also, for the record, ride a rigid fork on janky mountain bike trails at least as much as anyone I know.

———

‘North Shore’ is right there in the name and both Uncle Dave and I have had multiple horrendous experiences on bikes with Resin-Only rotor setups. That’s 2/2 on test writers who review budget friendlier rigs.

You’re welcome to your experience but please don’t tell me mine.

———

Once again, I’ve written significantly about budget options, and min-maxing, but this is clearly a thread about pop-lock brake hoses. We can agree this is not/is not going to be a budget/friendly brake feature? Especially given how irregularly most people swap lines.

I don’t disagree that there are lots of crappy brake systems in the budget realm, and Shimano makes relatively good brakes that show up on these bikes, less the rotors. TRP makes brakes that are at least as good, use Shimano pads, and don’t come with crappy discs. Crappy discs add significantly to the $$/wheel when comparing bikes.

That all doesn’t change the fact that this is a complete aside. My comment, which was to Marty, is clearly talking about high-end systems and clearly being cheeky at the same time.

mnihiser
mnihiser
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 tashi

In my teen years I was a very hardcore motohead. When I started riding MTB in the 90s I switched brakes over to moto style and continued on. Stopped riding bikes for about 15 years and when I returned I left the brakes right rear. I have to give myself a refresher now and then at the start of a ride so I don't mess up in the heat of the moment. Old habits are hard to break.

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tdc_worm
tdc_worm
2 months, 1 week ago
0

i ride moto and i ride meat powered bikes.  i don't find myself trying to move the chain through the cassette with my left foot nor do i find myself trying to drift the rear with my right foot.  if you have braking issues switching disciplines, then it follows that you have shifting issues and rear wheel steering issues when switching disciplines.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

It’s not even a stock thing with Formula now… I’m paraphrasing extensively but people were just generally too dumb for it. 

I’d absolutely pay an extra $20/per to have it on every brake. Don’t use it often but what a time saver for (compatible) internally routed frames.

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cornedbeef
cornedbeef
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Andrew Major Lynx .

As a current bike mechanic whom worked on too many road bikes with "integrated cockpits", I really hate this purely aesthetics turn (unless you drink the marketing kool-aid. Imagine trying to explain you have to replace both brake lines to install a longer stem/replacement headsets -  because the last mechanic cut the lines just barely long enough for the current setup.

In the land of entry level road bikes, Scott sells one equipped with Claris and an integrated stem/handlebar setup. I can imagine the angry conversations I'll have to deal with.

I think very well-done external cabling up to the headtube and molded/brazed internal full routing with tubes is perfect.

I suspect the new to be released Sram Code brake is being changed to further this absurd trend.....

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

My understanding is the new Code is significantly changed from the old, but doesn’t reinvent the wheel so to speak. 

Commiserations of the bike fits where labour/parts is half the value of the bike.

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mrbrett
mrbrett
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 IslandLife

I had to do a double take - the first time I saw a bike with headset cable routing. Like, I didn't believe my eyes that any person anywhere that has worked on a headset thought this was wise. Have you ever looked at a bearing and thought about cutting a slice pizza out of the whole circle?!? 

Seems like it might be dying off - or at least I can hope. I can say I categorically would not even consider a bike with headset routing - no matter how good the rest of it looks.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
+4 sverdrup IslandLife GB 4Runner1

I don’t know if it’s dying off but I feel like the infection is on the verge of being contained.

That’s why I’m so sure it was an anti-e-bike evil genius. Trying to curtail e-bike sales by cranking up the stupidity. That bit got diluted in editing.

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Andrew, I'm hoping that this is an unnecessary piece and that the few idiots who's given this a try on MTBs soon realise how absolutely Stupid it is.

Never forget the first time I encountered this shit on a road bike with disc brakes, I was like "WTF, what idiot thought this was a good idea" and I was doing exactly what you described trying to change out the headset bearings because most roadies don't seem to realise just how much sweat goes onto their bar/stem area there and don't at least lightly give them a rinse off.

I'm with you Vik, between my Unit and Phantom, I'm covered for, as far as I'm concerned a very long time from now, with the '08 Monkey and '12 Prime as backups if the need arises. It's as Andrew says if you work on other people's bikes and have to explain to them why the bill is so high just to change out some headset bearings.

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Don’t forget you need some sort of steering stop with hoses and cables in the headtube arena. Cannondale and Cervelo and probably other road bike manufacturers have done this, and quite badly from what I’ve seen. One crash or hard bar spin and things are broken.

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finbarr
finbarr
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

The pinkbike comment section will love you! 

I completely agree with you. As someone who does most of my own bike maintenance (other than bearings, dampers, and wheels) I’ll never buy a bike with headset routing. I’d happily buy one with external routing if that was an option. Routing my dropper in my alloy Rocky Mountain Instinct is hell.

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Sethsg
Sethsg
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andrew Major

Also, a benefit of headset cable routing is dumb people will buy bikes that have it and sell them for super cheap when they find out how much of a headache it is. So you could buy the bike, 3D print external cable guides, and glue them onto the frame. Problem solved!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Yes, going external on an existing frame is always an option.

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karakoram
Ryan
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Timer

I always liked Canyon's system on the Lux(?) where they simply put a nice looking cover over the external cables. Best of both worlds. Looks tidy and is actually external.

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SomeBikeGuy
SomeBikeGuy
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Scott Bikes could solve 1/2 of their cable routing issues by simply getting rid of that idiotic TwinLoc system...

All other cable and housing routing issues are nearly as easily solved. Make it all wireless. 

You want stupid suspension lock outs and riding modes? Wireless. SRAM did it with Flight Attendant and it works well, no reason why other suspension brands can't do something similar. Shifting? Wireless. Shift cables are stupid. Dropper posts? When has a cabled dropper ever consistently worked well without regular issues? Never. Time to go wireless. Brakes? If Brake By Wire is good enough for Formula 1, and it is, it's good enough for cycling. Take that, make it wireless, problem solved. Big Bike is too lazy to make wireless braking happen, or they're going to use the "it's too expensive" excuse even though top-end disc brakes currently run $450+/end? If you can't make wireless braking happen safely for $450+/end, A- you suck at your job and B- fine, just give me a quick & lossless disconnect that fits through frame ports at either end and I can work out the rest. Or be like Transition and give me external routing for the rear brake. It's not as pretty but at least it makes some sense. Wireless stuff saves brands quite a bit in terms of assembly costs, it's cleaner for consumers, it should even result in lower pricing. Win/win/win.

Enough's enough. This idiocy of routing cables and hydraulic hoses through headset bearings and other junk that makes regular service next to impossible is yet another example of Big Bike's love of abusing its customers.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I do have to say I currently am on a boringly perfect stable of dropper posts from Manitou (BikeYoke) and > and they use cables. 

I like to joke about wireless brakes but it’s a bridge too far for me.

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Timer
Timer
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I'm pretty sure that 450$ won't even buy the griptape on the brake pedal of a Formula 1 car.

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kperras
Kenneth Perras
2 months, 1 week ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Sethsg
Sethsg
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Wouldn't it be pretty easy to design a headset routing it so that you wouldn't need to remove your brake hose? Couldn't they make an oversized straight headtube and then drop in cups that have notches (instead of holes) on the outside perimeter for the hoses, and then you would put the bearings into the cups? Another benefit of cups would be the ability to easily adjust the geo of the bike with offset cups.

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XXX_er
XXX_er
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I like  internaly routed cables but I didnt like having to fack with them,  changing them especialy  the seatriser cable on the SC product sucked big time, I will proably just change the inner cable next year

buying  a new bike will solve everything

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maximum-radness
Maximum Radness
2 months, 1 week ago
0

That scott is really gorgeous. 

And stupid. 

But I think it would look sharp with tidy regular tube in tube internal cable routing and a nice stem and some riser bars. 

Obviously i don’t race.

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Hexsense
Chavit Denninnart
2 months, 1 week ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Andeh
Andeh
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I really want to hear the explanation from the Transition guys that approved that abomination.  Like, they live in Bellingham.  It's wet up there.  I kill normal headset bearings in a year down here in California... I can't imagine how fast that shitty FSA internally routed thing dies in the PNWet.

I like Transition bikes, and am currently shopping for an ebike.  This stupid headset single-handedly eliminated the Repeater from any consideration.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Yeah, FSA needs to sort their shit with headsets. Bearing quality used to be very reasonable on FSA headsets. Enduro makes a compatible stainless-ball-bearing upgrade but it’s an expensive fix after a few months of ownership. 

One of the biggest hidden down grades in the last few years has been the number of rigs that came with Cane Creek 40 level headsets that don’t anymore.

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kos
Kos
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Seems like the crazy routing fad is fading a bit, maybe, hopefully?

W/R/T routing, I hate wireless shifting, but fell into a bike with it anyway, and it turns out I love, love, love the look of a bike with only two hydro hoses up front.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 1 week ago
0

When my buddy Toucan first got his AXS parts - before anyone else I knew - he made a big deal (and it drove me crazy) that he had one less cable on his loaded 7” travel bike than I had on my rigid single-speed.

Now, I couldn’t give a care. It’s funny how something is sweet and then once it’s everywhere… 

My personal FS bike has two more cables than the Arrival I’m testing and ditching them really isn’t an AXS selling feature to me anymore.

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rusty904
rusty904
2 months ago
-1 Lynx .

I really don't think through the headset looks cleaner than through the frame. I guess their reasoning is one less failure point near the down tube/head tube junction and a cheaper, less complicated mold. I live and work in the Southeast and though I replace BB's and hub bearings more or less annually I almost never have to replace headset bearings unless the preload has been totally neglected or a TT guy sweats all over it, stores it outside at his beach house, and never cleans it. 

I'm one of the minority of mechanics that prefers internal routing to external. Most internal routing is well done these days with tube in tube or at the very least well-executed ports. Usually the process is hose in one hole, out the other hole in 3 seconds vs. zip tie, zip, tie, zip tie, zip tie, snip, snip, snip, snip which takes longer.  Making the bend at the BB for dropper cables is the most challenging and even these usually take me 2 minutes or less to route. 

1. It looks better, I care about how mechanical objects look and am prepared to sacrifice a little convenience for a clean aesthetic.

2. External cables/hoses attract mud and the mud trapped between the frame and the cable rubs through the paint. 

3. External cables promote the use of single use zip ties which equal more plastic waste. I've also had these zip ties break on trail more than once. 

4. When you install a brake you have to shorten the hose anyway, just stick a threaded plug in the line when routing and you can usually get away with a lever bleed or no bleed at all. 

5. Internal hoses and lines are protected from trail debris, bike racks and shuttle pads. 

I think all these bad feelings toward internal routing comes from Cervelo TT bikes of the early 2000's, nowadays, to me it's superior to external in most cases at least with the brands I work with. (Trek, Cannondale, Ibis, Santa Cruz, Evil, Propain, etc). 

What brands of modern mountain bike outside of the stupid headset routing mentioned in the article have crappy difficult routing? Genuinely curious.

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months ago
0

Well, I just spent the morning working on a  friends Venge and I can tell you, this fvckery absolute sucks ballz if you are someone who has to work on them. If I ever meet a designer/engineer who admits to being one to put this forth, I honestly think I'd smack them across the head.

All I wanted/needed to do was change the bearings, had to disconnect the stupid hose from the brifters, feed them back though the bar (luckily holes were big enough) then get them through the stuupid headset "top cap" (little knife work helped), change out the bearings, then do everything in reverse and do a bleed - so fvcking annoying I cvannot even get across how Po'd I am from it.

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