easily run hydraulic brake hose through bicycle frames internally with brake cable and end cap

With hydraulic brakes poised to explode on the road bike scene, both as OEM and aftermarket, the number of bicycles with internally routed designs can be a real source of headaches. Ever one for simplified solutions, this gem of a problem solver from Dave Bethea at The Bike Shop/Extreme Cycles in Ormond Beach, FL, did the trick for our SRAM Red Hydro-RD install.

All you need is a spare brake cable, cable end crimp, a hose block to hold the hose tight, adjustable pliers, cable cutters and a small hammer. You’ll want the smaller, thinner end crimps since the inside diameter of most hydraulic brake hoses are pretty small. Here’s how it’s done:


First, run the brake cable through the frame in the reverse direction you want to pull the brake hose through, so the unfinished/cut end of the cable is at your starting point. So, if you’ve disconnected the hose from the caliper, you’ll want the end of the cable run from the back of the bike to the front so when you pull the hose through, it’s ending at the caliper. Be sure to also run the cable through any internally routed handlebars, too.

Next, cut the pre-installed barb and hardware off the brake hose. With a freshly cut brake hose end, clasp the hose inside the clamp and hold it securely with the pliers (or a vice). Simply press the closed end of cable end crimp into the end of the hose, tapping it with a hammer as necessary to get at least half way into the hose.

Double check that the cable is run through the frame properly and that there are no loops in the hose that’ll get stuck as you pull it through. Slide the cable into the end crimp and crimp it down using the cable cutters. Check the security with a slight tug. If it holds securely, slowly pull the cable out from the opposite end while feeding the hose through the frame. Once it’s all the way through, cut the end of the hose off just below the end crimp’s insertion and reinstall appropriate hardware.

Followup with a full bleed of the brake line to ensure safe, solid braking performance.

Huge thanks to Dave for the tip!


  1. Caleb on

    Another method that works well.

    You will need:
    – Tandem length derailleur cable
    – High quality electrical tape

    Run the cable from the lever end of the routing path until it has exited from the the downstream frame port. Remember to tape the front section to the frame in order to prevent the cable slipping into the frame on the next step. Using a tandem length cable should leave you with plenty of exposed cable. Overlap the hydro hose and the exposed cable a few inches and then wrap snugly in high quality electrical tape. Pull everything through the frame gently and simply unwrap the tape to separate the cable and the hose. Clean the tape adhesive from the hydro hose.

  2. Tyler (Editor) on

    Some frames have very tight hose/cable ports that won’t easily pass the extra girth of a wire with tape. Or edges can shear such external things off it snag them, making things very frustrating. This fix proved super simple, super smooth and worked like a charm. Just another option to add to your arsenal.

  3. greg on

    cervelo’s method for routing Magura rim brakes is pretty good too. instead of jamming a cable tip into the hose, you slide a 5mm housing end cap over the cable so the cable head is inside the end cap. then slide the end cap over your hydro hose. crimp. run the cable, etc.

  4. tj on

    SRAM hydros now come with these little red-anodized barb type things that are threaded at each end. Thread one end into the hydro line and the other into the plastic cable guides used for routing cables, then pull the hydro line through the frame.

  5. Tomi on

    Or simpler: route the hose externaly. If you are cheap, use electrical tape. If you want something cleaner glue some 3d printed hose guides to your frame or buy an externally routed frame.

    Internal routing is simply q bad idea with no significant benefit.

  6. Stamps Transou on

    Stealth reverbs have been coming with a red an no barn…install internal routing the same way as a reverb. Bout as simpl as it gets and no chance of barb coming off.

  7. Seraph on

    Truly the best tool for the job is the little red fitting that comes with the Reverb Stealth post. I have used it for routing various internal hydraulic and mechanical braking and shifting systems on multiple bikes in the past year.


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