Take the pain out of tricky internal frame routing with these three techniques


Internal cable and hose routing is great until you have to work on it. The clean, sleek lines are all but forgotten after a wrestling session trying to guide a small tube out of a small, dark hole. It doesn’t have to be this way. We have picked up a few tricks over the years that make servicing any bike with internal routing far easier and almost a joy to work on—almost.



Pick or sharpened spoke
Threaded barb
Park Tool IR-1.3
Old piece of 4mm derailleur housing



If you are just replacing an already existing and routed cable or brake hose in a frame, the hard work has already been done for you. Follow these steps for replacement.
For this procedure, you will need a barbed connector (we like RockShox’s Stealth Barbed connector) and a long piece of old shift housing.


If you’re replacing a brake line, remove it from the lever. For derailleur cables, unscrew the cable anchor bolt. Cut the hose just past the barbed insert and remove both the dust cover and compression fitting. For derailleur cables remove the ferrule.


Remove cable port covers if you’re lucky enough to have them.


Use your barbed connector to attach your old piece of derailleur cable housing to the brake hose or housing.


Tighten the barbed connector lightly using a tool inserted through its hole. One side of the barbed connector has reverse threads so it tightens both sides at the same time.


Gently pull your hose or housing out of the frame while lightly pushing on the other end until you see the barbed fitting exit the frame. Stop here leaving the old piece of housing in the frame. Unscrew the barbed fitting and remove the hose or housing that you’re replacing.


Prepare your new hose or housing by removing any ferrules or compression fittings and hardware.


Slide on anti-rattle foam covers. If your bike didn’t have these we recommend adding them.


Attach the barbed connector to the new piece of housing or hose like you did in the 4th and 5th steps.


Gently pull on the old piece of housing while lightly pushing the new piece in from the bottom.


The anti-rattle foam may make entry tougher so take your time working it through the lower port. Do not pull hard on the top housing piece or you will pull the barbed connector out. If this happens, see the techniques below.


As soon as you see the barbed connector, you can dissconnect it, pull the housing or hose completely through, attach the hose to the lever or cable to the deraillur and shifter. Install your port covers last. To prevent rattle you can either put tension on the hose/housing or compression by pushing it in and agains the frame tube wall.



If you’re starting with a bare frame without any sort of plastic tubing or guides going through the ports, you’ll have to route the cables and hoses yourself. It’s typically best to route your lines with as little installed on the frame as possible to make it easier to orient the frame and use any available openings to help guide things. Here are two of our favorite techniques and tools:




Park Tool’s IR-1.3 comes with four different line end options for pulling different things throug the frame. Since we are dealing with housing and hoses here, use the taper threaded end version like this.



Insert the metal tipped end in the port.


Place the magnetic tool at the edge of the port and manipulate the wire until you feel the two connect.


Guide the magnetic tool along the frame tube with one hand while gently feeding the wire through the port.


Continue guiding the tool along the frame tube while avoiding any obstructions such as bottle bolt bosses that obtrude into the inner frame surface.


Guide the tool to the exit port.


Care should be taken when you reach the opposite port to not break the magnetic connection. Gently guide the tool across the edge. If you lose connection and the port is big enough, simply insert the tool inside the port hole and reattach it to the metal end of the wire. If it’s not, start over at step 3.


Guide the metal end of the wire through the exit port.


Gently pull on the wire while feeding the hose or housing through the opposite port.




This is the technique we use most often because we are too lazy to get out the Park tool but only if there are large easy to access ports – if not, we use the Park tool. The smaller the ports, the harder this technique is. Start by inserting the hose or housing in the port.


Push the housing or hose through the frame tube until you can see it in the light of your headlamp. This may take a few attempts. If you can’t see it, twist the housing while pushing it in and out until you do. Manipulate the housing or hose with a pick to better align it with the port.


Try to lift the housing or hose to the port with the pick. We have also used the head of a J-bend spoke to grab it and pull it up. Push the other end of the hose or housing in the frame while lifting to get it through the port.


If the hose or housing does not want to go through the port or is hanging up on something internally, bend the last centimeter slightly. This is often enough to get it to pass through – sometimes without the assistance of a pick.


If none of the above works, try to insert the end of the pick into the end of the hose or housing. Then while pushing lightly on the pick and housing or hose, guide the end through the port. Attach your hose or housing, bleed or adjust and go ride!


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