This Monday’s Magnifying Glass is something pretty subtle. Cable routing is the kind of thing that’s easy to overlook in the design of a frame. But it really makes a difference if the framebuilder puts thought into what the frame will be used for, and the best way to achieve cable routing for that use.
At Myth, we use almost exclusively full-length housing in all our cable runs on our frames. There are several reasons for this. The first is the obvious reason that our mountain bikes and gravel bikes will probably get ridden in the mud at some point, and the benefit of full length housing is hard to ignore here. The next is that many of our clients want to pack their bike at some point, and that very often means using a frame bag. Frame bag straps wrap around the tubes and if the cable run was exposed at any point on the frame, the strap would interfere with the quality of shifting as it pulled on the cable. Another is that the new reality of mountain bikes is that we almost all use 1x drivetrains. When you get into the upper reaches of 1×12, the tolerances required to make sure it shifts well are extremely close, and keeping the cable in a full run of housing eliminates many of the variables that could cause missed shifts and that tick-tick-ticking coming from your rear wheel.
Basically, we design our bikes to be ridden hard, every day, by people who want their bikes to work so they can put in the miles. The last thing you need is having to deal with cable related issues.
As for how the cables are routed on the frame, we like to tuck them under the tubes, where they’re mostly out of sight and out of harm’s way. Nothing ruins a gorgeous set of S-bend seatstays like cables running right over the top of them.
For some frames, like those with Paragon Rocker dropouts, we route the cables down the downtube, and use bolt-on cable guides so that the cables don’t interfere with your triple bottle bosses.
Cable routing, while not the most exciting aspect of frame design, is one that is crucial to get right. If treated as an afterthought, cable runs can get awkward, look untidy and can affect drivetrain performance. That’s why we’re huge nerds about this stuff, and put way too much thought into exactly how you’re going to use your bike so that your cables are sleek, tidy, and keep shifting great in any conditions.