Internal Bike Cable Hacks | How To Replace Internal Brake & Gear Cables

Internal Bike Cable Hacks | How To Replace Internal Brake & Gear Cables

internal cables they look absolutely fantastic the reason being because they hide your cables and quite frankly there's not many cables out there which are a real joy or delight to look at there is a downside though on some components and frames they can be a real nightmare to thread through so today I'm gonna go through a few hacks and tips so you can fit yours just a little bit easier firstly then let's clear up a few things and that is that quite a lot of frames and components out there actually have internal guides if you have root through your hoses or your cables however not all frames and components are created equally hence the reason for this video so with a few different bits and pieces that you're likely to have laying around inside your own workshop this will be a piece of cake for you to be able to complete right my first tip or bit of advice for you has to be if you're using a standard Bowden style cable always use a fresh new one the reason being it's likely that one you're threading through this cable and the inside of a frame or handlebar that sort of thing it's going to end up bashing against the inside wall of those components which means if it's not new it's gonna fray a new cable they tend to be soldered very finely on the end preventing it from fraying if you're going to use an old cable well don't say I didn't warn you but a bit of advice what you could do is freshly trim it really really short and then just add a dab of superglue to try and seal it up before you start the threading process for the purpose of this video I'm actually gonna use a pair of handlebars because well it's the same as a frame let's face it we're putting the cable in and we're trying to fish it out at the other end but a pair of handlebars normally is slightly more difficult because you've got bigger bends and tighter curves if that makes sense it's not as easy to actually fit shape so first up let's imagine that we want to fit a new outer cable through the holes so we've got a insert here and exits underneath now sadly underneath these handlebars as good as they are there is no internal routing so it means if I want to fit a new outer cable if I go ahead and put it in there it's not gonna be that easy to move around inside the reason being those anchor cables aren't they're flexi so I've got myself here a normal break cable so the internal one and then I'm just gonna find its way inside gradually poke it around until it comes out or starts to try and come out at the other end no these things aren't always that easy to actually spot that's where this comes in so providing course you can spot it if not a torch is always really good or certainly aim it towards the light or Sun those things are going to make this job just a little bit easier – but this in my hand here is an old bit about a brake cable that I've stripped some of the plastic sheathing away and then I've simply grabbed onto one end and pulled it really hard so I've got this sort of corkscrew like grabber or gripper and when I see that internal cable I can try and hook it out and pull it out of the hole now will take a little while but it's a lot easier than just trying to poke around and hope for the best cuz that's not gonna get you anywhere very fast once it pops out you can then use this cable as a guide the outer cable to go through believe me it's going to make that job a lot easier there we are it's out now if you went away just poking around in there just trying to get it to come out of the other hole you're gonna take forever and ever even if you're using thin little pliers in there it's not that easy to grab the end but now we've got this in place well the outer cable is gonna be able to slide on there nice and easily and then just pop out the other end right what then if that following step for you just dismiss and you couldn't be bothered well there is another option you could try putting through the outer cable to start with and while hoping for the best it's normally ever so stiff getting it around and inside the first bend but what have I got here you may ask this is just a bit of really thin garden why the sort of thing that I hold my sunflowers upright with and well I've cut it down a little bit and hopefully I can match it into the end of the outer cable try and get it to come out again it does take quite a bit of time sometimes there's no sort of one job or one solution for all its height thing but once you hook on to it you're gonna be laughing the other the other bit of kit or just showing you then that unravel cable that won't do the job because it doesn't tend to be the opening isn't quite big enough to actually wrap around outer cable but I've got it so what then if you've got an internal cable that needs replacing but you're going to keep the outer cables well firstly I would never advise to do that I would always say replace the whole system you are gonna get better gear shifting or breaking but with all that aside we've got a problem let's try and solve it let's think that this is a frame or even a handle bar for instance but it's more likely to be a friend it's just a scaled-down version it's easier to explain it so first up we've got a bit of outer cable which comes from your shift lever stops in the frame there then you've got an inner cable which runs all the way through and it doesn't have any type of housing or anything and it comes out at the other end and then you've got little bit amount of cable then into a rear derailleur for example well what we're gonna do then because if we take out this inner cable you're not gonna be able to replace it that easily let's face it because you've got to try and find those tiny little holes entry and exit holes that either end of the frame so what we're gonna do is undo the clamp cable of the component and just well lose the component or keep it in place on the bike then the last bit of cable out the back there you're just going to remove and then you've got the inner cable reveal this is where this comes in handy it's a little bit of cable sheathing so pop down to your local bike shop they should have some it's available for both gear and brake inners it's obviously a gear inner is a little bit thinner in diameter about normally a couple of millimetres or rather a couple of fractions of a millimetre and that's not gonna fit over break so make sure you get the right stuff if in doubt just get yourself the brake because that will do both slide it over that inner cable you want it to be nice and long and it will it will find its way over it alright like you can see and just keep pushing it until it pops out at the other end normally the actual setup of this the cable went under ten it's gonna be able to slide on there nice and easily obviously my little setup here it's not under any tension at all inside of a frame or lever it's just a cable which is loosely placed inside but once that is on this inner sheath like you can see here it's just pokes out onto the cable so here's my cable from that from there you can see it's popping out off the actual handle bar there or the frame entry and exit point at which point what you want to make sure is that the the far end so the end with a sure a Leo or brake calliper Aries that doesn't go inside of the frame whatsoever you wanna make sure it stays outside so if you don't maybe tape it on to the component or the frame and I'll be alright then when it's out if both ends of the frame it's normally a frame you're doing this on sometimes a handle bar you are good to go then you can just whip out that inner cable no problem you've got a guide from one end right the way through to the other meaning you can take that cable out of your shifter and then you can simply fit a new one in and you can reuse the manky old actor cable so let's be honest just put some new ones in there because there's no point in reusing dodgy old outers and then when it goes through you simply thread back inside of that plastic sheath pops out the other end easily done now if you are really struggling with an internal cable as it goes down through the down tube and around the bottom bracket junction the best bit of advice I can actually give you there is to remove your chain set remove those cranks and maybe even the bottom bracket in some cases just so you can actually see what's going on a little bit easier as well as possibly freeing up any obstructions in there nice if you've got yourself a hydraulic brake setup for instance it goes all the way through the frame and you're finding that a bit of a struggle well the folks at Park Tool they even have a bit of kit which threads on the internals of a hydraulic hose it does also thread into the internal of a brake and gear out it's well though they don't strictly recommend that but it is possible and then with this really strong magnet you can control this all the way through a carbon or aluminium a-frame taking it from one end through to the other it's a really ingenious bit of kit and one of our colleagues here Peter he swears by it but let me know though what bits and what's hips do you use to actually get your internal cables routed nice and easy let me know down there in the comment section below mr. tom last well he uses a bit of cotton and a vacuum cleaner so get involved down there and also remember to check out the gcn shop at shop global cycling Network comm we've got a whole heap of goodies for you to check out and now for two more great videos how about clicking just down here and just down here

42 thoughts on “Internal Bike Cable Hacks | How To Replace Internal Brake & Gear Cables

  1. John, do me a large favor please, could you look into the new Campagnolo Cable Set, Try it out please. Many thanks

  2. Use a vacuum cleaner (Hoover for you poms) to suck through some dental floss/cotton thread as a tracer. (I've only read this not had to do it myself here)

  3. Great tips. It only takes once pulling everything out the frame completely to painfully learn that there must be a better way and to start looking for better options!!!!

  4. I do not like handlebars with holes in them, especially in carbon… People will go on and on about not buying cheaper carbon parts, but then they buy carbon handlebars that are pre-cracked by drilling massive holes into them in critical locations. My dentist is too expensive. I'd rather buy handlebars with no holes and route the outers below the handle bar tape…

  5. Yes! Google 3-Claw Parts Retriever – they are part of computer toolkits and AMAZING at grabbing cables and another things from small places. They grip pretty well!

  6. Is it possible to buy the cable sheath on its own without having to strip it out of a good cable housing? The ones factory fitted inside the frame get manky after 2 or 3 years and really affect shifting

  7. I will say from experience, Jon is right about removing the bottom bracket. It may seem like a hassle, but it will save you time and trouble in the long run, and give you absolute confidence the cable was routed properly.

  8. The magnets can also work on Titanium frames. Ti is weakly magnetic, but generally not enough to stop you from using that technique. However, if it's a raw Ti finish, you may want to put some paper or something between the magnet and the frame to avoid scratches.

  9. RULE #1 — Never ever ever pull the cable out of a properly routed component without running a guide tube in first. Don't put yourself back at square one when there's no need. – Nice DIY cable grabbing pick, Jon… definite hack!

  10. I found a strong magnetic will help pull the cable in the desired direction while pushing it through.
    Great video

  11. I had to replace the brake cable on my Giant Cross City. It has internal routing where the cable outer runs through the frame.
    What I did was disconnect the cabling from the V-brake caliper and removed the inner cable from the housing. Whilst the old cable outer was still in the frame I joined the new cable outer to the old end to end with some electrical tape, then gently pulled the old outer out of the front of the frame thus pulling the new housing into place at the same time.
    One thing to be mindful with this method is how thickly you layer the electrical tape, too thin and it wont hold the end to end join. Too thick and it could get jammed in the frame

  12. thank goodness for marketing departments. due to marketing departments i can no longer find a production carbon frame that DOESN'T have hideous, infuriating, entirely impractical, and anti-simplistic internal routing.
    good work marketing departments, i will never EVER buy another bike frame with ICR

  13. Fold a cable tie in half and push it through the hole. If you push it against the inside of the tube it’ll open up and make a big loop that’ll be easy to catch the cable you’re pushing down the tube. Once caught, just pull the cable tie back out and the cable will come with it..

  14. If, like me, you're a cheap skate then you can buy some neodymium magnets from Ebay which will enable you to drag a cable through the frame. Same principle as the tool mentioned at the end of the video but at a fraction of the cost.

  15. Jon – next time you are on a factory tour, can you find out how this is done on the production line? You could record a few of these things, e.g. how handlebar tape is done in a factory. There are tiers of how these things are done, bike workshop skills make it 10x quicker than the guy at home, factory production line techniques must be 10x faster and more consistent than bike shop ways. It would be good to have a show showing these ultra-ultra slick ways of doing things.

  16. Forgot the most important thing!
    Never bend the new cable while putting it in always try to run it straight in.

  17. thank you for this one. i am just about to replace my shifter cables. more of these type videos would be appreciated ! the finer details of being a cyclist… like using moisturizer after shaving, these seemingly obvious things are simple to understand in hindsight !

  18. Before you take the cable out, tie off a length of dental floss and pull it through. Use that as the leader for the replacement. Just pull gently.

  19. I’m sorry but a handlebar is not a frame, is much much easier, and you’ve got a lot of cable. What if the cable was short?

  20. I’ve got the pro vibe aero handlebars. Is there a hack to get a wahoo mount to fit. There’s not enough 31mm bar before it distorts and goes aero. I’ve had to get a sander to slim the mount down. Even tried the k edge aero mount to no joy

  21. Remove the wheels and you can then twist and turn your frame for gravity to help it towards the exit hole, also solder the last inch of cable to give it more weight, it won't then twist and turn inside as much.

  22. Top tip: Don't buy a Boardman Aero bike. As a someone who works in a bike shop they are by far the worst bikes on the market for this problem. It's like the designer didn't even think about maintenance.

    Second best tip, don't but a bike with internal cables bike, external are better for at least 7 reasons I can think of.

  23. So I'm planning to swap the stock handlebars that came on my new bike with a pair of carbon ones with internal routing. Is this the process I need to follow? I assume there is no problem reusing the outers since they are new?

  24. Personally, I manage to cope with routing my internal cables via the following method:
    Step 1 – insert cable into frame.
    Step 2 – poke around with the cable attempting to find the exit hole.
    Step 3 – swear repeatedly.
    Step 4 – give up and get a cup of tea.

    Flawless method for satisfying results every time, so long as you love a good cuppa 👌

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