Cable Routing Tips:
All the latest cable operated shifting systems from SRAM, Campy, and Shimano now run the shifter cables under the handlebar tape. The first 250-300mm of shifter housing is a combination of extreme bends that if not set up properly can result in much greater friction and decreased life of the shifter housing and cables. Great care needs to be taken to make sure that the shifting is smooth and precise. Here are 3 tips to make sure your shifting is smooth, fast and precise:
- The shifters from all three companies offer alternate routing of cables as they exit the shifter. One option routes the cable housing in front of the bar and the other routes the cables straight out of the back of the shifter and towards the back of the bar. In all cases, the straight shot out the back of the shifter to the rear of the bar will be result in the least kinks and the smoothest shifting possible. Unfortunately, most bikes come assembled in the front location because it looks a little cleaner under the bar tape. In this case, it is far better to forgo the slight fashion gain for faster more precise shifting.
- Next, as the housing exists from under the handlebar to be routed to the downtube, the traditional method has been to route the right side shifter housing to the right side of the down tube. This produces a sharp bend to the housing as it exits from under the bar tape, decreased turning radius before the cables bind, and creates housing rub against the side of the bike's head tube. Route the ride side shifter housing to the left side of the downtube (It will follow the same path as the rear brake cable) and then route the left side shifter housing to the right side of the down tube. The shifter cables will need to cross each other mid way down the downtube in an X pattern in order to reach their proper location on each side of the bottom bracket. This routing will result in much smoother arcs to the housing, less friction, and no rubbing or slapping of the shifter housing on the sides of the headtube.
- Lubrication: Even though shifter housings are lined with Teflon™ and most high-end cables have some sort of friction-reducing finish, it still does not match the shifting performance that can be achieved with lubrication. In our experience, nothing works better than Buzz's Slick Honey. This is the standard for bicycle suspension rebuilds and is also the ultimate cable lubrication. It is very light, very slippery, and doesn't attract dirt like most high-tack lubricants. It's also available in a syringe, and in small or large containers at just about any high-end bike shop. It's the finishing touch in the quest for perfect shifting!