How To: Thread Internal Cables Without the Headache

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!


Henry - 03/10/14 - 5:56pm

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 - 03/10/14 - 6:01pm

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 - 03/10/14 - 6:17pm

Clever, I like it !

htf_up - 03/10/14 - 6:28pm

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.


Chad - 03/10/14 - 7:17pm

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 - 03/10/14 - 9:29pm

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

The Guy - 03/10/14 - 9:42pm

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 - 03/10/14 - 11:42pm

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.

suede - 03/11/14 - 12:03am

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 - 03/11/14 - 12:07am

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 - 03/11/14 - 12:23am

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

cant understand why inventened this fail bottom cabling

GROSS - 03/11/14 - 1:30am

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

ivan - 03/11/14 - 9:50am


ShopMechanic - 03/11/14 - 6:37pm

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:

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