stealthhell.jpeg
Beggars Would Ride

Vanity's Pricetag

Words Mike Ferrentino
Date Mar 23, 2022
Reading time

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.

It’s just a headset, right? No need to get worked up over a headset. I mean, nobody really ever gets headset spec right anyway. It’s one of the most consistently egregious areas of cost cutting when it comes to bike spec. There is probably some secret Product Manager training module that dedicates an entire chapter on how to subtly down-spec the headset while drawing attention to the rear derailleur. “Ohhh, sweet, XT. This bike’s awesome.”

Only that’s not the case with the Repeater. The Acros ICR unit on that bike is not a cheap headset. Probably a ZS56 or similar, angular contact bearings pressed into cups, replacements listed on the Acros website for about 100 euro. About 100 euro, and there are holes drilled in the cap on the top of the headset. The holes are there so that the rear brake hose and rear derailleur cable and I guess dropper cable can all get fed through the headset, snake around the steerer tube and find their way down the downtube and out the back of the bike.

Aesthetically, this looks real sharp.

Practically speaking, this is a can of worms.

kingkelly.webp

You knew I was going to do this... Sean Kelly, about to put the hurt on La Vuelta, when men were men and aero cable routing was a sign of weakness.

Internal cable routing has been the bane of bike mechanics’ collective existence ever since it was decided to hide the brake cables on road bikes by redesigning perfectly functional brake levers and concealing the brake and shift wires under a layer of bar tape. Cockpits were suddenly cleaner looking, the new bikes sold like hot cakes, and handlebar tape manufacturers saw their sales skyrocket overnight now that people had to rewrap their bars every time they swapped out any components. Aero cable routing on road handlebars is probably the real reason Sean Kelly decided to hang up his cleats. Aero cables or clipless pedals, had to be one of those…

Anyway, mountain bikers didn’t really have to worry about any of this. Which was a good thing, because mountain bikes generally need to be worked on a fair bit. Things break, things get dirty, shit happens. And being able to quickly swap out some “compromised” handlebars or slap new cable and housing on a gritty shifting rear derailleur is a beautiful thing. Or was a beautiful thing.

The past decade saw the wholesale internalization of cable routing on mountain bikes. At first, there was much gnashing of teeth as mechanics stuffed pipe insulation into downtubes to quell rattling cables, or fished elaborate zip-tie bundles of cable through frames while praying they wouldn’t ever have to unfish those same cable bundles. I recall one particular test bike that had the internal cables entering through the head tube badge, where they then rubbed against the fork steerer until either the cable abraded through its housing (oh, wait, is that a hydraulic line? Awesome!), or the cables left a nice score mark/stress riser on the steerer itself, and then clanged around maddeningly all the way down the big, resonant downtube. No biggie. It’s just the fork. Not a critical component at all. Anyway, manufacturers got up to speed and for the most part devised pretty impressive internal cable sleeves that were molded into the carbon fiber frames, making the whole cable/hose replacement ordeal much less of an ordeal. But still, compared to swapping external cables or brake lines, the task remains a pain in the ass. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t work on their own bikes.

But this is where we are at now. And the reason cables are hidden away inside the frames is because this is what consumers want. Put two bikes on the showroom floor next to each other, identical in spec and geo and price and color, one with internal cable routing, one with the cables out there for the whole world to see (“Marge, that bike has naked cabling! Cover the kids eyes!”), and it is a safe bet that the majority of tire kickers will choose the bike with hidden cables. If we had never gone down this route in the first place, consumers would be none the wiser, and we would still have easy to work on bikes, and Sean Kelly would still be racing. But noooo. That’s now how this story goes.

So, tough pills to swallow. Internal cabling, and Transition making e-bikes. Tough, but still digestible. However, we are now standing at either the dawn of a whole new stylistic era or the edge of a cliff where practicality is about to plummet into the abyss and never claw its way out. The two bellwethers of this new change are intergrated bar/stems with internal cabling and headsets with holes drilled in them. They go together like, ummm, Scott bikes and multiple lockouts.

repeatercockpit.jpeg

The smooth new now. I gotta admit, it looks pretty damn clean...

bullmoose.jpg

The crunchy old then. Note the absence of remote actuator for the Hite Rite, and ghost lockouts for the nonexistent suspension. And those old XC-Pro shifters? So. Damn. Good. But I digress. Lookit all that clutter!

Integrated bar/stems have been around for a very, very long time. Once upon a time the hip upgrade to your primordial mountain bike was a bullmoose bar, which consisted of a couple pieces of steel welded to a quill stem at one end and welded to a handlebar at the other. No idea what this had to do with the male of the moose species, but there we were. Bar rotation, bar sweep, stem length; you took what you were given. Slowly, options worked their way into the conversation. Quill stems thankfully faded to be replaced by threadless headsets and stems, and some wonderful person realized that detachable faceplates on stems made everything much easier to work on, and for the past couple decades cockpit adjustment and customization has been a straightforward and refreshingly pleasant affair. I do still lust after a modern interpretation of that really sweet titanium bullmoose bar that DeKerf was making for a hot second in the late 90s, though...

dekerfti.jpeg

This is doing absolutely nothing to support my argument, but damn, isn't it pretty? And apparently still available according to the DeKerf website. Uh oh...

That lust for a shiny, impractical, less adjustable piece of kit is part of the problem. It’s not just me. I know I’m irrational and prone to making questionable purchasing choices. But I also willingly enter into those poor decisions aware of the self-sabotage I am setting myself up for, regardless of whether they involve functionally inferior but beautiful titanium bar/stems or Italian motorcycles. I’m aware of the compromises, and can see the problems coming a mile away, and I still make these not terribly smart choices. And I am just one of a huge number people who are guided by lust instead of lucid rationale when it comes to buying things with wheels.

scott.jpeg

Lucid rationale failure threshold achieved...

Lookit this Scott. No visible cables. No visible shock. Damn that is a fine looking bike. I want one. Even though it is gonna suck to work on. Even though you can’t rotate the bars just so, and can’t swap the stem without spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars and several hours, and yes, bleeding your rear brake. Because every stem swap should involve a rear brake bleed, right?

I’ve gotta draw the line somewhere, though. And for me that line is at headsets with holes in the top of them, right where water gets in. In the brochures for these headsets, the pictures have lots of water on the bikes modeled. This, I guess, implies that these are impervious to the elements, and that everything is sealed up and it’ll all be fine. Call me a skeptic here, but I doubt that things will be fine. Is this a way to sidestep drilling holes in the downtube, which would save some money at the manufacturing end, or is this the next expression of the “make it invisible” aesthetic?

Once upon a time, back in the quill stem days, I worked at a shop that sold a lot of Bontragers. We used to build them up with Chris King headsets, because if you were spending all that money on a Bontrager you’d better put a damn good headset on it. And we had this one customer who was a glutton for punishment, who rode his Bontrager on a trainer all winter long. He was a man of a certain age, that is to say middle-aged, that is to say about a decade younger than I am now. He kept coming in and complaining about how his headsets were always failing. And they were. The bearings routinely looked like they’d been used on the outside of a submarine. He had three top nuts (for you youngsters, that’s how you used to snug down the adjustment on a threaded headset) crack in the course of a calendar year. “Just riding along.” In his basement. Sweating profusely. Galvanic corrosion. We developed a hypothesis about these failures, and dubbed it “corrosive middle aged guy syndrome,” whereby the sweat pouring down onto the headset during a winter of intense self-flagellation was proving too much for even Chris King’s admirably sealed headsets.

So maybe I’m carrying around some baggage from the past on this one. But like I said, I gotta take a stand somewhere. Much as I think all that invisible cabling sure does look sexy, I just can’t bring myself to look at it as a step forward. Much as I think that new Scott is drop dead gorgeous, that the new Transition Repeater looks like a whole mess of fun, looking at those cockpits makes me clench my jaw and mutter darkly to myself. And it doesn’t even rain very much where I live…

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Comments

kcy4130
kcy4130
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+17 Bikeryder85 bde1024 Alex Hoinville Metacomet taprider silverbansheebike shenzhe Mike Ferrentino Sandy James Oates Jonathan Friesen Velocipedestrian mrbrett cxfahrer Lynx . trumpstinyhands wizardB Tremeer023

I prefer the look of well executed external routing. Maybe it's just me, but I think it looks better in an industrial, functional sort of way. It's like when you see a beautifully organized electrical cabinet with each wire perfectly routed. Brings me back when I was a child and traced the cables with my fingers from start to finish, discovering that this doohicky controls the shifter in the back and this other one controls the front sprocket shifter. And there's two brakes? My bmx only has one brake. I loved and still love looking at mechanical objects and trying to figure out how it functions. I'll put it this way, what is more beautiful: an image of a fighter jet, or the same jet with cutaways and section views so you can see all the internals?

Reply

silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 kcy4130 Velocipedestrian wizardB

I love external when its well done for the same reason. Similar to the BCD and air hoses on a scuba diver. Almost industrial like you said.

I remember my frame came with some options for internal routing... i promptly sealed the holes with silicone goop and never looked back.

Reply

Varaxis
Dan V
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Shoreboy kcy4130 wizardB

The external routing on some Turner bikes was quite elegant.

Reply

ham-bobet
hambobet
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+14 Alex Hoinville taprider shenzhe Cam McRae Cr4w JVP Andy Eunson Karl Fitzpatrick bushtrucker mrbrett Timer Jasetheblade wizardB Tremeer023

My bike doesn't have internal routing - it just kicks everything down the underneath of the downtube and is hidden by a lovely cheap, but sturdy, piece of plastic protector. It still looks neat, the cables are protected, and it takes 30 seconds to get to any of them - this should be the future IMO.

Reply

JVP
JVP
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 hambobet

I've also mangled a frame from a rock strike on the down tube. It was literally the 2nd ride on an aluminum DH bike on Sex Girl. Landed one of those little gaps onto a pointy chunk of rock that popped up and BAM! Huge dent.

Clean looks, easy access and built in frame protection from rocks and tail gates? Yes, please!

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+11 taprider Mike Ferrentino Andrew Major Jerry Willows Cr4w bushtrucker LAT Tadpoledancer cornedbeef wizardB AndrewR

This is just a poorly disguised ploy to sell us on wireless shifting, wireless braking and wireless droppers. 

Step 1: Get people used to the ease of use and maintenance of external routing.

Step 2: Make everything internally routed and amp up the horror show each year.

Step 3: When people can't take it anymore let them know the only solution is $$$ wireless baby!

Step 4: To snag the holdouts only make amazing frames without internal or external routing.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andy Eunson wizardB

While I'm sure there are some misguided attempts at wireless braking being worked on out there, I wouldn't expect to see that anytime soon. I love AXS but it does not have a 100% record of always activating. It's rare that a missed shift will cause a crash (though certainly possible) but even on mellow rides, a single  brake failure could be catastrophic

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+10 Andy Eunson Cooper Quinn Todd Hellinga Cr4w fartymarty Mammal Mike Bergen bishopsmike bingobus slimchances57

Where's your sense of adventure, man?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino fartymarty Mammal Andrew Major

Ha! My list of responses (help me choose):

1. I'd like to live to be your age one day. 

2. I take that as an indication that you're sticking your hand up to test wireless brakes if it comes up?

3. Once upon a time, Cam tested carbon rotors. They had the decency to not explode until the last few meters of the first and only test ride. I may not be the fastest learner but I never thought they were a good idea...

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman Andrew Major wizardB AndrewR

I tried carbon rotors. For about two weeks. They did have tremendously good modulation. That’s another way of saying very little grip on the rotor. Fucking terrifying on Oil Can.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+15 Mike Ferrentino fartymarty Mammal Pete Roggeman Andrew Major bushtrucker Andy Eunson Mike Bergen mrbrett Tadpoledancer bishopsmike JT wizardB slimchances57 AndrewR

The feeling in your stomach when you realize your pistons are reaching for a rotor that no longer exists is distinctly memorable.

Onawalk
Onawalk
4 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 Primož Resman Andrew McKee Nologo bishopsmike bingobus

Can I point you in the direction of pretty much all the Shimano brakes I’ve used….

Reply

LWK
LWK
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Jerry Willows Andrew McKee

I detect a bit of sarcasm here but, aside from brakes, I dont think this is an unreasonable interpretation  of the desired end game. 

I mean, a hole in a headset has to be one of the dumbest ideas ever and I'm pretty sure Transition knows that...

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+11 Pete Roggeman kcy4130 Grif Stretch Velocipedestrian Jerry Willows eriksg trumpstinyhands Znarf Jasetheblade MTB_THETOWN slimchances57 thaaad

One wonders at the market data Transition must be working to. There’s no doubt the e-bike crowd tends to the premium end of the market. And it makes sense - a five figure motorcycle seems reasonable. And if you’re already laying out for the “e” fancy dodads like kashima are a smaller increase percentage wise. And if you’re the type of person to spend that much coin, you probably are not the guy scrounging YouTube for brake bleed tutorials so you can DIY to save a buck.

But that’s all anecdotal and heavily biased. I disapprove of e-bikes, therefore I find excuses to judge the people that ride them. Transition on the other hand is not making this decision on their biases. They are making it on cold, hard market research data. And they have a long history of releasing the right product at the right time to catch and accelerate upcoming trends.

And they are betting big that the e-bike market does not give the slightest fuck about maintainability or ease of service. That they don’t care what the labor bill is when they pick the bike up after routine service. That adjusting the bike to fit is not what interests these customers. And most likely, they are 100% correct.  

The question going forward is what percentage of the market this targets. Is it a premium niche or will everyone be doing this in 5 years?

Reply

MarcR
Marc Rossi
4 months, 1 week ago
+5 Justin White Mike Ferrentino blackhat Tremeer023 AndrewR

I agree with everything you wrote except “don’t care what the labor bill is when they pick it up”. As a long time shop mechanic I have found there is an extremely high likelihood that the high end bike customer is expecting free service and will bitch emphatically about it.

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
4 months, 1 week ago
0

True true.  Fortunately for Transition, because of that expectation it is the last thing on their mind when purchasing a bike.

Reply

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Timer Lynx .

Based on the shitshow of completely new trends that seem to take the entire industry by surprise, I'm having a hard time imagining a cycling trend savant at Transition calmly predicting exactly what we're going to be riding next year and building out some forward looking, profit focused master plan.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I think you're right, gross.

Reply

Timer
Timer
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Forward looking market research isn't magic and it's often not science either. It's a messy, rushed guess based on incomplete information. At best. At worst it's a tool used to justify preexisting beliefs and biases.

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Obviously past performance is not a guarantee of future results, and it’s possible they got this totally wrong.  Trend setting is an art, and even the best artists have misses.  

But they have a solid track record and it’s very doubtful that they just decided to go in a totally new direction on a whim. They have a reason, and I would love to know what that is and the research/data that supports it.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
4 months, 1 week ago
0

They built an electrified version of one of their best selling bikes, that seems like an absolute no-brainer.  My guess is its an absolute blast both up and down….I have a V1 Sentinel, and have a Spire on the way.  They are no-nonsense, well built bikes from a brand thats done a great job of promoting the lifestyle.  

I dont think this is a new direction, what could be more safe than a burly, 150mm, aggressive trail, Horst link, electric moped?   They’ll sell em’ by the boat load.

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
4 months, 1 week ago
0

Do either of those bikes has cables routed through the headset?  

Obviously it’s not “totally new” in the sense that it’s still a mountain bike well designed to rip.  But the design thinking that lead to this bike is clearly very different from what gave us the spire.  Or other ebikes currently on the market.

Reply

Onawalk
Onawalk
4 months, 1 week ago
0

I might be looking at it with a broader view, I wasn’t looking at individual components.  I think your opinion stands, that Acros headset does seem a departure.

I was thinking Transition coming out with an XC oriented short travel, featherweight pedelec would have been a “different direction”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’m a fan of internal cable routing, looks friggin great.  Not sure how I feel about the routing through the headset, but I do like the look.

BertBC
Albert Steward
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 lewis collins Mike Bergen Vik Banerjee taprider Tadpoledancer

Calling it now... external cable routing - 2024/5's hottest 'new' trend

Reply

alexdi
Alex D
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Andrew Major Todd Hellinga Timer Justin White makudad

I was pleasantly surprised by the internal routing approach on a recent carbon Specialized Sirrus. Rather than a frame-specific cable stop on the downtube, they ran the housing all the way to the bottom bracket into an inside-facing cable stop on the plastic bottom bracket cover. There's enough room to avoid a fishing expedition with new housing, but with it protected like this, I doubt it'll have to be replaced with any frequency, and it makes running new cables only marginally slower than an externally-routed bike.

That said, I hate, hate, hate internally routed hydraulic lines, and doubly-so when the hole is too small to fit a connecting bolt. Adjusting the fit shouldn't require three hours and $50 in hose, parts, fluid, and bar tape. It's particularly irritating when these bikes become accessible to a more cost-conscious audience on the used market that would chaff at triple-digit fitting bill and two-week turnaround times.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+13 Todd Hellinga Andy Eunson Pete Roggeman NealWood Metacomet Velocipedestrian taprider Timer Lynx . Justin White makudad Marc Rossi Tremeer023

This. Internal cables? Sure. I'll survive. 

Internal hoses where the barb/olive need to be cut? Those can all fuck right off (and that's *MOST* brands these days).

Reply

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino MTBrent

Ya.  This is crazy.  I find myself running brake cables a bit long to compensate for the few cm I will have to trim off in the event that I want to swap brakes.

I think a better solution would be some sort of slotted nut that let you pull the nut off without having to cut the barb.  I think many systems could accommodate the barb, but not the nut.  I'm sure somebody will suggest the whole point is that the olive needs a continuous surface in the form of a nut pressing on it to do what it needs to do.

The first gen Shimano brakes were the coolest (looking)!  Banjos on both ends with steel braided lines.  Heaven forbid if you get your measurements wrong though.  And good luck getting the damned banjo through your frame.

Reply

lacykemp
Lacy Kemp
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+5 Mike Ferrentino mtbman99 Pete Roggeman Metacomet Velocipedestrian

More holes in components means more water gets in places it doesn't need to be. On an uncharacteristically cold day here in the old 'Ham I had bearings in my stupidly worthless XTR hub freeze on me because, oh silly me, I'd attempted to gently wash the inches of mud off my bike the day prior and some water got in there and voila... I was essentially chainless. Fun for the eventual descent, but not so much for the climb. I like the keep it simple stupid method, but I've never been one for fashion anyway, or apparently very good at bike maintenance.

Reply

cheapondirt
cheapondirt
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Cr4w silverbansheebike Sandy James Oates Andy Eunson

Everything about this design is awful. There don't even seem to be grommets where the cables enter the headset (though I'd like to be wrong about that)!

And if you care so much about looks, doesn't it look silly to have the front brake line out in the breeze, all alone?

Reply

craw
Cr4w
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Vik Banerjee Velocipedestrian Lynx . Jasetheblade

Does anyone who has been riding for more than say, 10 years, really want a bike with internal cable routing? Is a cable-less bike a thing many experienced riders are striving for? I guess we will just wait for AXS brakes.

Reply

silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Cr4w Lynx . Jasetheblade

Maybe its because the bikes we drooled over as we grew up were externally routed bikes. I cant see why having a sleek look means having to hide little black cables.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Seb_Kemp

Tubes in tubes makes it easy for changes with internal routing.  How Transition/Scott are doing things are worse than the plus tire movement.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 bishopsmike

WeAreOne says their research indicated that tube in tube may negatively impact structural integrity. So the Arrival has internal routing without carbon structures to guide cables. I’ll be building one up in the near future so we’ll see how that goes.

Reply

joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Have you tried pulling a brake hose from a tube in tube setup after a few seasons of rain and muck?

Reply

Znarf
Znarf
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I just bought a lightly used Santa Cruz Hightower V2 frameset. 

The original owner either pulled a cable end cap into the tube in tube for the dropper cable or stopped it up with something else. I can't get a cable through there and am fiddling like a madman. 

I appreciate the external routing on my Madonna THAT much more! 

I might have to settle for an externally routed dropper :-(

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Cr4w taprider FlipSide brente

I like how it says Turd on the downtube of that Scott. Some of the aero road bikes from Cervelo and I think Cannondale have had some failures from the steering stops being damaged in not so bad crashes. Steering stops exist so that turning doesn’t damage the hidden cables. Stupid. If I put on my aluminum foil hat, internal exists to sell electronic shifting as that is the only cure for bad cable routing that internal often presents. Frog in boiling water. We are letting manufacturers sell us more and more complex shit that we really don’t need.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+4 Andy Eunson Cam McRae Pete Roggeman Vik Banerjee

As to the topic of the article, yeah, don't know WTF all the fuss is about on an MTB with external cables, for me, they afford easy access for service and they provide an easy place to help customise/add colour to your bike if you want, especially if you've got a Raw/Silver or black frame, but other colours work too. On the road bikes now, that internal routing of hydro hoses is a royal PITA, I've had to work on a few, wasn't happy when I realise the what of of it.

Got a black frame with yellow highlights/logos, maybe some matching yellow hubs and cables would help compliment it.
External cables are good 1

Got a Raw frame, the choose whatever accents colour you want for hubs, rings, grips, clamps and cables.
External cables are good 2

Mike, just name Niner damnit, so much of what they did was absolutely stupid, let's not get into the absolutely horrific QC and frame misalignment or cracked frames because their customers where their testers, horrible, horrible company, only thing they did was sort of help get the ball rolling on FS 29ers, sort of. 

This frame below made it out to a shop for a customer :-O Niners fantastic QC

Reply

silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Lynx .

Tastefully done on both of those bikes. nice!

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thanks.

Reply

TomM
TomM
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino kcy4130 bishopsmike

My wife just bought an Orbea road bike with the cables routed under the stem and through the headset like that Scott shown above.  Long story short the one piece cable shroud under the stem is cracked and needs to be replaced.  That means the handlebar tape, gear cables and brake hoses all have to be removed along with the bar and stem to replace that crummy $6 plastic part.  I had it quoted at a local shop since the seller is going to foot the bill.  $270 including new bar tape.

Orbea made 2 piece headset spacers for this system so they can be swapped without disconnecting the controls.  Big mistake not making that cable shroud in 2 pieces too.

Reply

vantanclub
vantanclub
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 bde1024 silverbansheebike Tadpoledancer

Transition’s 2022 meat bikes even have external rear brake routing.

Really a weird departure for them.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+8 Mike Ferrentino Timer kcy4130 Tadpoledancer bishopsmike Tim Lane Matt L. Marc Rossi

Maybe the designer hated e-bikes, but hated not paying his/her mortgage more so he created an e-bike in CAD, but left some surprises like the exhaust port failure point in the Death Star?

Reply

hongeorge
hongeorge
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

They're not alone - Nukeproof, who are based on the northern end of this cold, wet and permanently mud covered island in the North Atlantic, have done this too.

It just screams "we don't give a shit about our customers"

Reply

metacomet
Metacomet
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Velocipedestrian Lynx . Andy Eunson

The ¨bike industry¨ by direct influence of the consumers, seems to have lost a LOT in the translation between the things that would legitimately improve our riding experience, and always making every unreasonable and unnecessary effort to make things as light as possible along with making every unreasonable and unnecessary effort to make things as sexy looking as possible. 

Good, clean, well considered external routing can easily preserve and really even enhance the looks of a bike while making it logical, affordable, and even enjoyable to work on.  

I guess from a manufacturers standpoint, good clean well considered external routing costs a lot more development money than just deciding to shove all the cables in through a hole in the side of the frame or through some godforsaken tiny slit in a stem and headset and letting the consumers deal with the expense of both money and time, and as an extra bonus they can sell it as a feature because it looks sexy in pictures?   Logical cable routing most Definitely influences my purchasing decisions because living with and working on a bike with shitty routing is f´ing shitty. 

Wouldn't it be something wonderful if manufacturers made more conscious efforts to properly and effectively fully Seal frames and components from any water/salt/dust/sand/mud whatever intrusion, protect bearings with robust seals and shields, and use more appropriate and larger and incredibly well sealed bearings where it makes sense LIKE THE BB and HEADSET?  Wouldn't that be worth some grams?  Wouldn't it be worth having cable routing that lets you or your shop easily perform the most basic and minimal maintenance your bike will frequently require?  Instead we prioritize putting holes everywhere to seemingly guarantee that frames will invite water and salt and sand and mud to come hang out inside and rot those bearings and everything else out as rapidly as possible.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Neil Carnegie Lynx . Velocipedestrian

"And the reason cables are hidden away inside the frames is because this is what consumers want. Put two bikes on the showroom floor next to each other, identical in spec and geo and price and color [...] and it is a safe bet that the majority of tire kickers will choose the bike with hidden cables."

I refuse to believe this. And doubly so if the showroom/store/site is honest and adds the caveat that some maintenance on the internal bike will be much more expensive in both money and time, whether DIY or LSB.

I know exactly zero riders who would choose internal routing given otherwise identical bikes, excepting dropper routing and semi-internal systems like Canyon or Guerilla Gravity where hoses never need to be opened.

Internal routing is only useful for brands trying to maintain or build an image of sleek, "modern" design. It's literally form over function (at least for hoses), and that's never better for the buyer. Even brands that touted their own prioritization of maintenance ease, like YT with the Tues' suspension bolts almost all accessible from one side of the bike, have succumbed to the insanity of making maintenance harder with internal brake routing. So while you can disassemble your suspension without moving from your seat on the non-drive-side, you can't actually take all the suspension bits off until you disconnect (and maybe cut the off of) a hose.

At least Specialized went all the way and actually made true "full internal routing" where there are only 2 ports per cable/hose (only 1 for dropper), no internal to external to internal bullshit, for actual "clean lines". The trade-off of maintenance at least results in maximized visual appeal. The only other slightly acceptable option is full internal on the front triangle and full external on the rear triangle, so at least the suspension can be disassembled fully without cracking a hose. The stupidity of many brands going internal for a foot or so of the downtube only to then have the the cables come out and mess up "the clean lines" for a foot or so, before diving back into the chain-stay for 6 inches before coming out again, is mind boggling.

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BadNudes
BadNudes
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Lynx . Velocipedestrian Justin White

Run a cable thru the headset but it still can't barspin? smh...

How much does it really matter on an e-bike though? Maybe need to replace the cables 2 times before the battery has degraded to the point where the owner will be looking for a new ebike anyway? Of course repair won't be an option because the old battery unit is now out of production in favour of the new junk that is of course totally incompatible with the legacy tech of 30 minutes ago, and no one wants to start soldering LiPo cells to take the chance that the next charge might burn the house down. 

I think it's important to consider that ebikes, like all battery powered goods, have a shelf life, and it's worrying to think about the after sales support that it will take to keep an ebike running well for 5-10+ years. No batteries for me, thanks.

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TristanC
TristanC
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino cornedbeef

> ...and handlebar tape manufacturers saw their sales skyrocket overnight now that people had to rewrap their bars every time they swapped out any components...

I just bought more tape because of this. Although I do confess I like aero brake routing, aero shifter routing can leave me be.

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FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Jerry Willows

BAM, right on the nose!

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 silverbansheebike bushtrucker

Two looks : smooth ,sleek, flowing curves .

Or industrial all buisness 

I prefer both . 

Holes in frames, stems , headsets. Just say no .

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khai
khai
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman

This is my favourite piece that you've written for NSMB by far.  Any not just because I love Sean Kelly.  I also hate internally routed rear brake cabling.  I'm not so bothered by internally routed dropper or derailleur cables, but rear brakes should be easy to install/remove/work on, and shouldn't require cutting/installing a new olive/barb/bleed.  And yeah, adding holes THERE of all places is particularly asinine.

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cyclotoine
cyclotoine
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino bushtrucker

The only cable that should go in the frame is the dropper cable. Pole has some of the best routing out there on their hardtails. it's a nice straight line, fully housed. I think they could have gone one step further and just externally rooted the dropper to the seat tube, but this isn't that bad. It's the same routing on my Tagia fat bike. My privateer is also all external aside from dropper and I love it.   

Pole Taival

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bushtrucker
bushtrucker
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Andy Eunson olaa

Go custom. Get the cables exactly where you want them. Leave the shitty internal routed bikes for those who will willingly pay to have their bike serviced by professionals. I hope shops charge a premium for that!

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andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I did that once. I had a titanium Hei Hei with that ridiculous high friction noodle guide. Bought some rivet on cable guides and a clamp on rear brake guide that was a simple small guide and set it how I wanted. Worked a zillion times better.

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tashi
tashi
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 Pete Roggeman JT

External cable housing sealed the deal when I bought my RSD Wildcat.  I'll choose the externally routed frame over the internally routed one every day of the week.

Give me externally routed dropper post cables as well too please, just gotta get the actuator on the base somehow...although that would probably compromise total drop...hmmmm

I'd even choose split cable stops for shifter cables over full-length housing given the option.  Love a quick clean and lube without having to make any adjustments.  WTB used to even make little oil ports you could install on the housing so you didn't even have to pop the cable out of the stop.

On the road bike I like aero brake and shifter cables 'cause it improves hand positioning.  Not a fan of the shifter cables under the housing arrangement that's popped up in the last few years though.  Predictably, I've let my cable maintenance slip on the bike that has this setup...

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Shopton
Shopton
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Nothing to add to the cable story, its all true.   But, are those really XC PRO shifters?

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 slimchances57

Well, turns out maybe they are not. I "thought", given porosity of memory and all, that the legendary Suntour shifter with the cowling around the lever was the original XC Pro. But some google digging didn't bring it up as such. It gets referred to as Suntour XC, or XC Power, pretty regularly, and XC Pro only shows up in the context of the minimalist black indexed shifter (which was still pretty awesome, and which served as the inspiration for the current MicroShift thumbie) with that name.

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chacou
chacou
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Guerilla Gravity, best of both worlds.

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metacomet
Metacomet
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+2 SilentG Timer

Its pretty good, but I wish there were individual guides and clamps under the cover to help keep the cables organized while you route everything, and then the cover would just hide it all.  As it is now, keeping the cables sorted under the cover while you tighten it down is annoyingly finicky, and it makes replacing an individual cable/housing that much more annoying as well.  I also wish the dropper cable was routed into the other side of the headtube/downtube before entering the frame so it gives the cable a more natural radius.  GG must be one of the only manufacturers that I am aware of that routes the dropper cable into the non-drive side.  I actually have two revved GGs in the house, mine and my sons, so these obviously arent a deal breaker, but it could be better IMO.

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mtbman99
mtbman99
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 bishopsmike

The biking life everything that is old is new again. We are at the 90's Klein stage of bike design. Fixed stems/bar combos and internal cable routing. With Gravel riding and skinnies making a comeback I feel like we have come full circle.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 blackhat makudad slimchances57

Disc brakes, dual suspension, dropper posts, and alloy frames that don't rattle your fillings loose would like to have a word.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I think the point is that there are new bikes without those things (except disc brakes, those are everywhere) being made right now, and they're being touted as the next best thing, ignoring the fact that much of what gravel is was already done as part of the MTB evolution, and most of it got evolved out of the market.

Gravel bikes really are just becoming retro mountain bikes, and usually once you really get into riding trails, you want more... you often want a modern mountain bike! There is a reason mountain bikes got all the things you mentioned, it's better! The marketing machines selectively forget that, because "gravel" is a hotword and it's easy to plaster it on anything that looks or feels "gravel", even if it's been tried and faded away once before.

That's the full circle part. Discs, suspension, and droppers will never go away, at least for MTB; but internal routing, combo cockpits, and riding slightly burlier road bikes on trails, all might fade away, again.

Not saying gravel will go away, I think "all-road" bikes will become more normal, as road bikes in general slowly shift away from "race machines for everyone" to more comfortable "any road will do". As general use non-MTB bikes become more capable and comfortable, the gravel furor will fade and bikes marketed for trail use will go back being actual MTBs

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jt
JT
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Thankfully most internal routings are wayyy easier than some of Gary's designs were. Oof!

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Taiki
Taiki
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

The trainer bike story gave me unpleasant flashbacks to wrenching. Not much I dreaded more than working on crusty, sweat-soaked trainer rigs (right up there with burner bikes).

I find it ironic that Transition went with the headset cable routing option, since they have been holding out on routing brake lines internally on their people powered bikes. 

I recently put together a '22 Chamelelon, and was pretty disappointed by the cable routing. The outgoing frame had really tidy cable routing, with only the dropper going internal. The new frame now routes the brake and shift lines through the top tube, with tiny cable ports which make it a pain to install silencing foam (don't need foam with external!). The cables are still external the rest of the way so it doesn't really help aesthetics, not that I think many Chameleon shoppers care about that.

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Briain
Briain
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

Maybe they've worked out that the motor or loom will pack in before the bearings seize. So they'll replace bearings when it needs to be stripped down anyway

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flattire2
Brian Tuulos
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian kcy4130 Tadpoledancer

I dont give a F**** how my bike looks.  I want it to perform excellent and be easy to work on.  Sad this is a priority for the industry.

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retrokona
retrokona
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

This whole article made me think of my buddy who ran the local shop when I was a teen and still does some freelance building. Firstly because he still had a full XC Pro gruppo in his basement that he’s saving for the right bike. Secondly because of his/my experience with a 2011 Giant TCX Advanced SL. All internally routed and no cable stops. He scavenged parts of old BMX brakes to make his own that would actually fit in the frame. Lovely frame. Idiotic design without the slightest thought of functionality.

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bikesandbarley
bikesandbarley
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino Justin White Lynx .

Having flashbacks of following the road scene in the 80's with the image with Sean Kelly. It has a couple of interesting hidden features. Right when Look clipless pedals had begun to creep into the road scene there were a couple of alternative takes. The R.M.O. rider in the background riding first gen. Look pedals but Adidas shoes who would later produce their own version of a clipless system.

And in a bit of unfortunate but I get the sentiment in phrasing of the description of the image. The Panasonic rider Robert Miller one of the great climbers in the day, on Kelly's right, now Phillipa York, great ride/interview here.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+3 Vik Banerjee Justin White Andy Eunson Niels van Kampenhout brente

Ahh shit! I had a moment of wonder about that as I posted the image, thought it was Robert Millar, but totally failed to remember that Robert is now Phillipa when I wrote the caption. Poor form on my part. Apologies...

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
4 months, 2 weeks ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino Justin White Lynx .

Respecting people's personal identification preferences is kind if you know what they are. I wouldn't feel bad if you made a mistake Mike, but it's also nice to acknowledge the accurate information when you realize what it is.

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mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+2 Niels van Kampenhout Justin White

It's more an issue for me of being tone deaf at just the wrong time. Being a cisgendered male, I can comfortably crack a joke about "when men were men"... except when one of those men, who was legitimately badass, becomes a woman at some point later. If Robert/Phillipa had not been in that photo, I wouldn't have any qualms saying what I said. It would have been one of those male cliché self-owns. But, because Robert/Phillipa IS in the photo, then my use of those words could very easily be construed as throwing shade at the transgendered. Which I strive very hard not to do. If I didn't know that Robert had become Phillipa, I could plead ignorance, but I DID know this fact. Unfortunately, the pithy comment making part of my brain didn't check in with the extensive database of other stuff, and I failed to put two and two together there.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 1 week ago
-5 Justin White Mike Ferrentino Andy Eunson khai Andrew McKee

This comment has been removed.

just6979
Justin White
4 months, 1 week ago
+4 khai Mike Ferrentino Niels van Kampenhout Andrew McKee

There are no "laws" of biology and nature, only patterns we find in that which we can observe, especially for what I think you're trying to imply. There are numerous examples in nature of fluid gender, no gender, reproduction without sex, even reproduction by single individuals that wholly embody a multitude of genders.

I also don't think there was any forcing of opinions happening here. Mike was reminded of a fact, he recognized that he actually had prior knowledge of that fact, and that in that context his caption might cause pain for another person, so he acknowledged that of his own free will, because he seems to possess the traits of empathy and kindness. No forcing of any kind.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 1 week ago
-2 Justin White Andrew McKee

This comment has been removed.

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
4 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andy Eunson Justin White Niels van Kampenhout Andrew McKee Lynx .

We have our views and opinions. You've got yours, I've got mine. As the parent of non-binary teen whose gender alignment is neither really male or female at this point, and as a friend to some really inspiring trans people, I'm gonna state my opinion that deciding to change genders is a much deeper and more complex life change than can be contained in simple black and white "basic laws of nature" reasoning. What I try to do is be understanding and empathic and supportive, because someone else's chosen gender really isn't any of my fucking business. Or yours.

And much as I have indulged in some savage and cruel humor in my life, I am trying to be a better human in that regard these days. So, I still feel like that photo caption I posted was a poor choice of words, given the riders involved.

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Lynx
Lynx .
4 months, 2 weeks ago
-4 Justin White Vik Banerjee tashi Andrew McKee

Screw that Mike, you captioned that photo accurately.

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brente
brente
4 months, 1 week ago
+1 Lynx .

And here I was thinking I was the only one who despised internal cabling, all it is is a fix for a problem that really doesn't exist.

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BertBC
Albert Steward
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

This comment has been removed.

RAHrider
Reed Holden
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I can understand why a roadie may lust after the cockpit below, even though changing the stem height can involve having to cut housing, new cables and a brake bleed!

I do not think the mtb equivalent is nearly so elegant looking. I do think electronic shifting/dropper almost earns its keep for the cleaner cockpit, but at the end of the day batteries have no place on my bikes, so 4 cables it is for me. 

What do you all think of Internal routing on a steel hardtail? They used to just drill some holes in the frame and the mechanic would have to find some way to thread everything through. Nowadays there is a stainless steel tube inside the frame that only adds to the weight. Not sure it is a problem I want solved.

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DubC
DubC
4 months, 2 weeks ago
0

Welcome back to the future: https://www.facebook.com/CableRoutingNews 

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MarcR
Marc Rossi
4 months, 1 week ago
0

"Lucid rationale failure threshold achieved...” made me spit some coffee out. Perfection achieved.

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Ripbro
Ripbro
4 months, 2 weeks ago
-1 Konrad

This comment has been removed.

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