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How To: Thread Internal Cables Without the Headache

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Apparently a shop vac and a bit of thread is all that’s been missing from my repertoire of shop tricks. Have you tried this in the past or have another preferred method to install internally routed cables? Let us know in the comments!

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21 Comments
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Henry
Henry
8 years ago

Replacing the cables running down the down tube are usually the easy ones. The cables going along the chain stays are usually the bigger pain.

Tom B
Tom B
8 years ago

What Henry said. Just need a J bend spoke. Try doing a 1995 Klein Quantam that has two slightly larger than the gear cable holes just above the BB!

Greg @ dsw
8 years ago

Clever, I like it !

htf_up
htf_up
8 years ago

Haha! That’s the funniest thing i have ever seen on bike rumor 🙂

There is only one way to do it without being a pain.. Use a strong, not to small but not to big magnet. push the cable a little in the frame. find it with the magnet. you will hear and feel the cable in the frame. lead it with the magnet all the way down the down tube to the hole until it lies across the opening. you can move around with the magnet a bit to get the cable in the perfect position. now use a bent spoke to pull the cable out of the frame. be careful that you don’t loose the magnet in the hole. always keep it on the frame not on the hole and don’t let go of the magnet as it might ‘jump’ in the hole and attaches to the cable quite strongly. Works on the first attempt and not on steel frames.

cheers

Chad
8 years ago

Thank yo for the great trick w/ the suction for sure.
Some rigs are more of a bear than others for sure and the J bend spokes just do not do the trick (like on those Klein frames and others that the cable stop is non-removable).
Running the housing internally? A thin steel welding rod that can fit in a cable housing can also work in many situations.
Have some old Shimano Positron wire? That works extremely well. Thin but strong enough for directional control.
Some shop mechanics find success using strong magnets but that (for me) was a guessing game.
Good post and once again thank you. A good mechanic is always open to learing new tricks.

arielito72
arielito72
8 years ago

Great Idea, but god he clamped the top tube on his bike.

The Guy
The Guy
8 years ago

Why is this on Bikerumor? Glad someone mentioned the frame clampage. WTF?

Save the cable liners from Gore housing sets. Run them through backwards. Tape in place. Run cable back through. Boom. Done.

goridebikes
goridebikes
8 years ago

Cool. But… Not needed. Put a liner over the old cable before removing it, slide new cable in, done…
Unless you’re building a new bike for the first time (and now, many have liners) – this is so much extra steps… But still. Amusing. Strong magnets and a dental pick usually get the job done.

roomrys
roomrys
2 years ago
Reply to  goridebikes

Thank you! I needed a tip for getting the cable through since I hastily removed the old cable without any foresight as to what a pain it might be to thread the new cable…

suede
suede
8 years ago

If you’ve never needed this trick then you’ve never worked in an actual shop for any appreciable amount of time. For Kleins and Kestrels in particular this trick has saved many a mechanic endless frustration including myself. Magnets don’t work when the cable gets caught on a latex bladder. I would not however have published this trick, I’m much more inclined to charge exorbitant amounts of money to fix their “home shop” mistakes therefore justifying the undeserved amount of pay I receive.

MissedThePoint
MissedThePoint
8 years ago

Hmm, maybe I could’ve tried this trick. For doing a Reverb stealth that exited the top of the down tube, I had a big hole to work with, and the only challenge was making the bend above the BB shell, up the seat tube. I tied a weight to the end of a piece of floss, and turned my bike upside down and used gravity and the tension to help make it around the bend. More reliable than trying to use a magnet through the tubes, especially large diameter mtn bike tubes.

iperov
iperov
8 years ago

i dont use bottom cabels
too much friction force, and shifting feeling with “granularity”

cant understand why inventened this fail bottom cabling

GROSS
GROSS
8 years ago

Attention Bike Industry Product Managers: stop specifying internal routing. It sucks.

ivan
ivan
8 years ago

GET OFF MY LAWN

ShopMechanic
ShopMechanic
8 years ago

The thread and vacuum technique is a good trick. The only problem I see with it is getting the thread to hold onto the cable. I typically opt for the more conventional method pointed out by goridebikes and other commenters. I made a video to show the method I use. Here is a link to it if anyone is interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQU5BNpnohU

Beth Williams
6 years ago
Reply to  ShopMechanic

that’s all well and good if you have a cable still in place. this video is for installing a cable where there is none.

Beth Williams
6 years ago

I just spent 2 hours trying to feed my rear derailleur cable through the chainstay that has a tiny hole at both ends with a nearly 90 degree angle. I was about to take a drill to my frame and found this video. Thank you!! Using this method took me about 5 minutes to install the new cable. I used the thread to feed a tiny, lightweight plastic housing over the thread (used the vacuum to suck the thread through this housing too) then used that housing to feed the cable through. I don’t think the thread alone would have pulled the cable around the bend. Thank you so much!!

Michael Joseph
Michael Joseph
6 years ago

Easy way to replace any internal cabling. Go to your electronics store. Buy some heat shrink plastic tubing with really small diameter, just enough to feed in cable. Place a few inches/cms plastic over old cable end. Apply heat, small flame hair dryer etc to shrink plastic onto cable. Pull carefully through frame. Cut off end. Apply to new cable at other end and repeat process to pull through. Easy, quick and cheap. You can recycle the heat shrink for a few more sessions.

Kevin
Kevin
6 years ago

Tie cotton, or fishing line, to the end of the cables that you’re taking out and pull it through as you remove the cable. Attach it to the new cable and pull back through the bike. Fool proof.

Mark Pemburn
1 year ago

I love this—and can’t wait to give it a try with my new frame with internal routing!

Curiously, I learned about the vacuum trick a couple of months ago when we had some underground conduit run on my property. I asked the electricians how they fish the wire through, and they showed me how they suck the string through first, then attache the end to the wire and pull. Amazing!

Mick
Mick
10 days ago

Thank you so much, saved my life, Was replacing housing and cable on mtb dropper. Was pulling the new housing through with the old housing and disaster when they came apart. Used wool instead of thread and it took a few goes but it eventually worked. Put the hoover into the seat tube and taped up any exit point that i could. Stood the bike up to let gravity help

Thanks so much.

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