How to tidy up your cables

Quick ideas for fixing untidy and rattly bike cables

Whether you have internal or external routed cables on your bike, untidy cabling can not only ruin the look of your ride but also rattle or rub, which can be annoying.

So here are a few quick fix tips for tidying up the cables on your bike and ensuring that everything still works as it should.

1. Sort out your routing

Try not to unnecessarily cross over cables
Try not to unnecessarily cross over cables

If your gear cables and brake hoses are fouling one another, rattling or looking a mess, the first thing to do is to work out the ideal cable routing for your bike.

Make sure the cables/hoses take the most sensible route to the handlebar and don’t cross over one another unnecessarily.

2. Trim cables

Be careful not to cut them too short
Be careful not to cut them too short

It’s worth cutting any unnecessarily long cables/hoses down to size.

If you choose to do this, check it’s still long enough to allow your bar to turn through 180 degrees without it pulling taut.

You’ll need to re-bleed your brake or retune your gears afterwards.

3. Secure cables

Zipties are a great solution for tidying up cables
Zipties are a great solution for tidying up cables

Make sure that any externally routed cables/hoses are secured to the frame’s cable bosses tightly.

Cable fasteners or zipties will do the job. If you’re using the latter, be sure not to do them up too tight around gear cables, or the shifting will suffer.

4. Reduce cable noise

Rattly cables can be very annoying
Rattly cables can be very annoying

If the cables/hoses are able to move around in the frame’s cable guides or internal routing, you can stop the noise with a couple of small zipties.

Tie one around the cable outer/hose at each end of the routing. This will stop it moving so much, keeping everything quieter.

5. Tie cables together

Stop cables from colliding
Stop cables from colliding

Cables/hoses often bash against each other and rattle around in front of the bar. To stop this, use a ziptie to hold them together.

Leave a little slack so the cables/hoses can move when you turn the bar. If that doesn’t allow enough movement, use two interlocking zipties.

6. Two become one

Reduce two cables in to one with tape
Reduce two cables in to one with tape

If you have two cables/hoses that run parallel to each other in front of the bar, the neatest solution is to use electrical tape to lash them together.

Wrap the tape around the cables/hoses neatly and tightly, but make sure this doesn’t affect the range of movement at the bar.

7. Reduce cable rub

Avoid cable rub with a bit more tape
Avoid cable rub with a bit more tape

Finally, apply electrical tape or cable-rub patches to any areas where cables/hoses may rub your frame.

Turn the bar from side to side and cycle the suspension up and down to see where the cables/hoses are likely to rub the frame and fork as you ride.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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