Help Internal or External cable frames

TimeTraveler

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Feb 6, 2012
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#1
Hi TCC!

It has been a while since I have posted, so I figured it was time to put an end to my dormant state.

I am in the market for a new bike frame. After looking at many different models, I have narrowed it down to a few; the 2012 Time RXRS, the 2012 Pinarello Dogma2 and the 2013 Phantom. I really like the styling and paint schemes of the Time, but it doesn’t have internal cabling like the two other models I have mentioned.​
Therefore, I ask for your input to aid me with my frame purchase. Internal or external cabling…which do you prefer? Please give an explanation, in as much detail as possible, of your preference for one over the other."It’s a PITA”…by itself…would not be helpful in this dialog. Please expound on the negative and positive experiences that have influenced your opinions.​

Thanks,
Kevin
 

j-sworks

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Feb 5, 2012
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#2
Hey Kevin,

I'm not sure what "PITA" means but are you buying a complete bike or just the frame? Whether you are moving the old drivetrain over or not is the first consideration.

My new bike has internal cabling and an electronic drivetrain so it's a good match as you want to avoid the electronic bits hanging out, but if you go mechanical then either internal or external is probably fine.

Esthetically internal is very nice, and unless you plan to pull apart the cabling often, electronic or mechanical, then internal cabling will give you no issues.
 

GSAstuto

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#4
Internal cabling is only a PITA when:

1) You can't route a new cable easily. I.E. no internal straw or the straw itself becomes disconnected or damaged. (Pretty common on carbon frames that use plastic straws)

2) The cable routing has more friction resulting in sluggish or heavy shifting. Anytime you run cable through or around something it generates drag. External cabling can minimize the contact area of the cable and also the cable is generally routed through optimum housing.

Internal Cabling is nice when/because:

1) Less chance of snagging cables on things. (Including your kit)
2) May be more esthetically pleasing.
3) Less prone to environmental issues.
4) Less friction when done properly (less use of external housing).

Just one annoying factor - if the rear derailler cable exits centerline of the dropout (front of axle) it may interfere with mounting on common bike stands and some fixed trainers.

I have bikes with both and I do prefer external shift cable because I can manually adjust it or check if an adjustment is required 'on the fly'. Also - if you have an incident (sometimes known as a crash) , and bugger the brifter, external cable can be easier to MacGyver.
 

TimeTraveler

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#5
Hey Josh,

It is a bit difficult for me to keep track of all the acronyms out there, as well. To my knowledge, “PITA” means Pain In The Ast. At the moment, I am thinking of changing the frame only. Thank you for the input.

At Owen,

I am thinking of a bike that has internal cabling for the drive-train and the rear brake. I am not sure if I would ever upgrade to a Di2, but if there are any benefits of having internal over external cabling, then I would like to know before making a decision of which to purchase.
 

TimeTraveler

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Feb 6, 2012
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#6
Tim, thanks for sounding in. I truly appreciate your informative and expert opinions.

In reading your post, it seems that the pros and cons are about equal with internal cabling. I will definitely take this into consideration before making a final decision.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#7
Well, my Evo has internal routing on the rear brake, and external shifter routing on the down tube and chainstay. I have had no problems with this config at all. The internal rear brake is a good touch, and the external shifter cables mean everything is easy to set up. It is not entirely Di2 compatible though, and there is a Di2 version of the same frame available that I would get if I was interested in electronic.

There is nothing wrong with external cabling, as the top frames in the world still use it on their mechanical versions to perfect effect.
 

j-sworks

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#8
if you have the ability to do so then I would go for the Pina "My-way" frames that allow you to do either a mechanical or electronic drivetrain, and on the resale end these frames fetch a higher price as they are obviously more appealing to any drivetrain.
 

TimeTraveler

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Feb 6, 2012
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#9
Thanks everyone for your input. I still have a few weeks to make up my mind and your opinions have been very helpful. Now it is just a matter of which esthetics I prefer better, smooth flowing unimpeded lines or sharp lines with an aggressive stance, terrific colors and markings.

Cheers,
Kevin
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#10
Really it's about esthetics so basically it all comes to which one makes your heart sing :D

I've never heard of anyone getting stuff snagged on external cables on a road bike.
 
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TimeTraveler

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#11
James, thanks for the input! Yeah, esthetics are very important, which narrows it down to 2 of the three bikes I'm considering. The great thing is, I cannot go wrong with either choice.:D
 

joewein

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#12
I've never heard of anyone getting stuff snagged on external cables on a road bike.
On the ride from Tokyo to Norikura Eric had a problem with his external Di2 cable and temporarily lost the use of his derailleur. I think he said the electronic cable got damaged by a stone thrown up by a car that hit the frame. Such incidents seem to be rare though.
 

FarEast

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#14
On the ride from Tokyo to Norikura Eric had a problem with his external Di2 cable and temporarily lost the use of his derailleur. I think he said the electronic cable got damaged by a stone thrown up by a car that hit the frame. Such incidents seem to be rare though.
Eric has had several issues with his Di2, not sure if its the tool or the tradesman. Let's face it a stone hitting the cables is like:

 

GSAstuto

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#15
It wasn't a stone - it was a branch on the road.(I was riding behind him) The external Di2 routing is very poor design from all aspects.

@FE - I guess you've never ridden in snow /mud that get mucked and frozen into your shift cables? Nor have you carried a bike on your shoulder and had the brake cable stop rip through your jersey and slice your shoulder? Or been in a crash in a race and had other rider's brake lever snag your cables and rip your mech off? Or conversely had an incident and need to replace a brake cable only to find out that the builder neglected to use an internal straw and so you spend 2 or 3 hrs alongside the road trying to fit a new one?


Each method of routing has its pros and cons - just up to the rider to weigh them and choose accordingly.
 
Likes: Musashi13

FarEast

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#16
It wasn't a stone - it was a branch on the road.(I was riding behind him) The external Di2 routing is very poor design from all aspects.

@FE - I guess you've never ridden in snow /mud that get mucked and frozen into your shift cables?

Nor have you carried a bike on your shoulder and had the brake cable stop rip through your jersey and slice your shoulder? .
No because my Mtb had top routed cabling and so does pretty much every serious CX bike since they started build CX specific bikes.

Or been in a crash in a race and had other rider's brake lever snag your cables and rip your mech off? .
As for crashing - well that's crashing isn't it and a snapped rear mech is the least of my worries!

conversely had an incident and need to replace a brake cable only to find out that the builder neglected to use an internal straw and so you spend 2 or 3 hrs alongside the road trying to fit a new one?.
Never in all my years of riding have I ever needed to replace a mech or brake cable on the road and if you have then I guess you need to readdress your bike maintainance schedules.

Each method of routing has its pros and cons - just up to the rider to weigh them and choose accordingly.
Again it all comes down to chosing a bike that makes your heart sing.
 

GSAstuto

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#19
Ayako also is PAID to ride Di2. And I would ride it too - especially with a team of Shimano / Panasonic engineers at my beck and call to service ANY issue , plus 2 or 3 (at least) spares in the pits. She also puts out abut 25% of the power someone like FE does - and I'm sure he'd be very sorely tempted to snag some seriously chainbusting shifts 'just because'. Yeah , the wet sand is a killer - you can't 'feel' the derailler - so you have no way of knowing what's going on back there. And no matter how environmentally 'proof' electronics are - they aren't! Failure on these units is very low - but if THAT failure buys you some farmland or a lost podium how good was it? 'History of reliability' - those are my general catchwords. I saw some guy commuting into Tokyo the other day on a concept Papa Chari Louis Garnieu (whatever the spelling is ) complete with Di2 . I cringed at every gear change he did - clicking, clacking, grinding away. obviously they have some bugs to deal with. I have to ask myself - why aren't they using some kind of reverse induction sensing routine to self-center the derailler? Or at least modulate it? Woo hoo - they wrote stepper motor driver and you can calibrate it . Where is the 'magic' in this system??? Someone should opensource this project and let it be written by real engineers.