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Newbie Question... OPEN brake and shifter cables(4 posts)

Newbie Question... OPEN brake and shifter cablesricer_dad
Jun 13, 2003 7:33 PM
Why do todays bikes have an opening along the length of the shifter and brake cables (maybe along the down tube). It seems that not that long ago the cables were completly enclosed.
Out in the open aren't they more liable to be snagged or damaged or become dirty.
Thanks, Dave
compression...Akirasho
Jun 13, 2003 7:43 PM
... with respect to brake housings, they have two basic functions... cable routing and controlling compression when tensioned...

Without some form of housing over certain particular portions of a cable run, the cable would tend towards a straight line of force long before enough tension occured for braking. It's not quite as critical with shifters... but similar applies.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_h.html#housing

... additional housing only adds weight (albeit a small amount) and can be a source of additional friction (drag) beyond points where the cable changes direction.

Be the bike.
Ease of maintenanceKerry
Jun 14, 2003 12:43 PM
With a fully enclosed casing, if you wanted to lube the cable, you had to remove it from the casing. With the exposed section (brake or derailleur) you can just un-hook from the frame and easily slide things around for lubing without disconnecting the cable. Does save a little weight and reduce friction as well, but it's an innovation tranferred from MTB where more frequent maintenance is an issue. Still, I think it's a nice improvement over the fully enclosed casing, and I've never seen a cable snag or dirt worth worrying about. After all, derailleur cables have always been exposed, and are lower on the bike so they get more dirty, and they're not a problem.
re: Newbie Question... OPEN brake and shifter cablesricer_dad
Jun 19, 2003 8:48 PM
Thanks for the info... excellent link... so much to read, so little time!