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!

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17 thoughts on “How To: Thread Internal Cables Without the Headache

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    cant understand why inventened this fail bottom cabling

  10. 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

  11. 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!!

  12. 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.

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