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Thread: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

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    Default Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    I have a road bike and S&S couplers being fabricated. Cables are routed under the toptube x1 and the downtube x2. This is a painted steel bike.

    It's a travel bike and I'm not necessarily seeking to be super precious with it, but I wanted to ask if people had strong opinions on where I should be placing the cable splitters, such that a) it is relatively convenient to re- / disassemble; and b) there is the minimum chance of clinking noise and paint wear from the splitters against the frame.

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonJW View Post
    I have a road bike and S&S couplers being fabricated. Cables are routed under the toptube x1 and the downtube x2. This is a painted steel bike.

    It's a travel bike and I'm not necessarily seeking to be super precious with it, but I wanted to ask if people had strong opinions on where I should be placing the cable splitters, such that a) it is relatively convenient to re- / disassemble; and b) there is the minimum chance of clinking noise and paint wear from the splitters against the frame.
    The splitters I use have rubber grommets. They won't make too much noise or mar the paint. I keep mine pretty far down the downtube, almost tucked behind the crank, but that's just for aesthetics. On the toptube I keep it pretty much in the middle between the cable stops. Of all the little nicks and dings you'll get from packing, the "damage" from the splitters won't even register.

    If your frame hasn't been fabricated yet, I'd advise you to request open cable stops without adjusters so you can pop the cable house completely out of the stops. My first S&S was this way and I used inline adjusters for the front derailleur. My current frame has regular stops with cable tension adjusters and it makes packing a bit tougher. Not impossible, but tougher. At some point when I'm ready for a repaint I'll get the stops swapped out.

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    What Matthew said. I keep them near the BB or as close to a stop as practical in order to reduce "ting ting ting ting".

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    I am a big fan of putting downtube shifter bosses either under or over the toptube which gives the brake cable a little more clearance. Using the Shimano guides it gives a bunch of brake adjustment even on the fly. Matthew an TT have it right with the downtube splitters being close to the BB as comfortable.

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Doesn't sound like the kind of solution you're looking for, and it doesn't solve the gear cable question, but I'm going to share it anyway: The 'old' EE Brakes are perfect for S&S / Breakaway bikes as a 4mm allen bolt allows you to pop the caliper off of the mounting post (the bit that bolts into the frame) without needing to split the cable.

    If I ever went for an S&S frame - which has been on my mind lately - I'd solve the gear cable connection issue with Di2. Extravagant, but much easier to manage the electronic wire connection than the cable splitters, and (importantly) without noise whilst riding or damage in packing IMO.

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    I've done a few trips with my Ritchey Break Away and while it's not identical to the S&S it's similar-enough. You want to try and keep the connectors as close to a cable stop as practical, and ensure they're NOT going to contact the coupler (which is a larger diameter) throughout their range of motion.

    My shift cables don't rattle but my rear brake does and the stock o-rings weren't enough to keep it quiet so I wrapped a layer of sticky foam tape around the connector. Solved.

    You 100% need slotted cable stops at every point (including the rear derailleur)

    If you're travelling in the first-world then Di2 would really be worth looking at like Rich says. There would be significant time-savings. This stuff is so common-place now that I wouldn't have any fear of travelling through NA or Europe with it, however it probably wouldn't be my first choice for a Mongolian adventure or African safari. Just make sure the battery is cleverly put in the frame, not the seatpost.

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Thanks everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Strongin View Post
    .... My current frame has regular stops with cable tension adjusters and it makes packing a bit tougher. Not impossible, but tougher. At some point when I'm ready for a repaint I'll get the stops swapped out.
    Matthew, could you elaborate on "not impossible but tougher?" How screwed am I if I don't have slotted cable stops?

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    When working on bikes with SS couplers or Moultons, I've found that slotted cable stops don't keep the cabling in place, close cable stops leave everything in place and ready for re-fitting
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi cos col dove si puote
    ci che si vuole, e pi non dimandare"

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonJW View Post
    Thanks everyone.



    Matthew, could you elaborate on "not impossible but tougher?" How screwed am I if I don't have slotted cable stops?
    You're not screwed. It just means that you won't be able to take the bar/lever/front brake assembly completely off the front half the frame. It makes packing tougher, but not impossible. I've done it plenty. You do have to be more careful when planning your attack for loading up the case.

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    I run the shifter cables with the splitters low on the downtube. I added a second rubber washer (get at any hardware store) to each splitter to keep the noise to a minimum.

    Decided to not use splitters for the brake cables. It just made me a little uneasy, considering safety issues. So instead, I unbolt the brakes from the frame and pack that way. It takes about as long to bolt the brakes back into the frame as it does to re-attach the split cables. But you do need slotted cable mounts - and it's sounding like you don't have these - maybe worth getting...

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    I strongly recommend Di2 as well. When you've spent all that money for couplers anyway, Di2 is just so much easier. You can use the small junction boxes and if you're running the cable inside the down tube, just have it split with a junction box right at the coupler. Easy to pull apart. You can pop all the eTubes apart and you're only dealing with one rear brake cable that's really in the way.

    If you are doing cabled shifting, I'd also recommend you bring spare cables and potentially reuse existing cables but even better, just pull new cables through. Unless you're doing it thirty times a year, for that special Euro trip or wherever, it's worth it to have the efficiency and reliability of a regular cable on the bike. It only takes a few minutes and everything simply works better. First time you have a splitter fail on you, you learn this lesson. I can unpack a bike with cables already pulled and coiled and install new cables (2 shifter, 1 brake at a minimum, potentially 2 brake) inside 20 minutes. Just have a few allen keys and a small pair of jewelers' needle nose pliers with a cutter.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    I think a coupled bike is one of the places where Di2 makes sense but my own coupled bike is a bit older fashioned. Probably got in on the thing at the end of mechanical. I travelled with mine three times last year I think. I had another coupled bike about ten years ago so this isn't my first. But the experiences have been nearly the same.

    You've heard the rest, now let's look at the best....

    These pictures are less than 10 minutes old. That's not rust, BTW, it's dirty grease. And yes, the bike is dirty. That means it is ridden. Now the nitty gritty.... The cables are in the taut position, meaning big chain ring and a fairly large sprocket in the rear. The couplers don't interfere with the splitters and the splitters won't get close to the BB when in the loose position, meaning the small ring and a small cog. They will rattle against the coupler if you position them too high and you shift into the big ring and the coupler overlaps the splitter.



    Lane mentioned coupler issues. I've never had any but it's not impossible, especially if you travel a lot. They're definitely worth inspecting often and I can see the point of having none and just attaching at the derailleur each time you travel. Of course it's a good idea in this case to have cables of exactly the right length and have the ends soldered properly, something that is easier said than done. I use a tiny drop of oil on the couplers each time and I only tighten them by hand. Check them before each ride. If you use tools to tighten them, bring the tools along to loosen them when re-packing the bike. Any step of the disassembly and repacking process can ruin the experience if it doesn't work as expected. There's not much room for error.

    The brake cable is harder for me to get dogmatic about. I think it would be totally legit to just leave it attached at the brake and remove the whole brake. Just make sure you don't lose any hardware in the process. I use the splitters and you can see here that one of the o-rings is loose. I'll have to check that next. The housing was also crushed a bit by carelessness in the process on my part, but it doesn't affect the the cable friction so I haven't worried about it. The proportions of both pictures are a bit off so don't pay too much attention to that.

    The splitters work for me but I can see the point of leaving the brake splitter out of the equation. And I can see Di2 as well. TooTall uses Di2 on his coupled bike to great effect. We've ridden together with this bike several times and it looks clean. He says it's easy to deal with and I believe it.

    I may not have as much experience with this as some but I do have a fair amount of experience with coupled bikes and traveling with them. Feel free to ask more questions. I'm not sorry I did this but with a blank sheet of paper and a bit more money I'd probably do it differently today. That said, this Serotta was ridden this morning and it was awesome. It rides as well as it ever did, which means it is an excellent bicycle.

    One more thing..... Those rings aren't gold in real life... They're white but I guess enough gold pigment is in the paint and they appear gold in the pics. Bilenky knocked it out of the park with this conversion - it looks like it was built this way and the paint is excellent and the pads they supplied are fitted perfectly.


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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    @Saab2000, those photos are great. Thanks. Do you have open cable stops for your derailleur cables?

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonJW View Post
    @Saab2000, those photos are great. Thanks. Do you have open cable stops for your derailleur cables?
    Yes. The Serotta has all open cable stops. This is a fairly critical thing for a mechanical setup. If you have a custom made make sure you ask for them and make sure you use a bit of oil between metal ferules and the metal cable stops. Rust at that junction can bring the whole process to a halt.

    As mentioned though, Di2 has probably come of age and an Ultregra Di2 setup might be worth considering, meaning you only have to consider the rear brake and even then you probably don't need a splitter.

    There are options now. Ten years ago there were very few options except what I have depicted. The world has moved forward. Mine is no longer the only option.

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Saab's photo of his S&S retro-fit points out some really interesting details which a builder with S&S experience would take into account if starting from scratch (rather than retrofitting an existing frame.) The rear brake housing stops place the cable very close to the frame - normally this would be fine but you can see the cable splitter's radius is actually bigger than the cable spacing and causes the splitter to rub against the toptube. This will cause a bit of extra brake friction and is probably the reason why that o-ring has popped off.

    Also, the housing stop is on the front half of the frame, whereas on an S&S-designed frame it would likely be on the back half of the frame. This means the brake's housing loop will stay in place when the frame is decoupled making the job a little easier.

    I'm not picking on your bike Saab - it was just a really interesting couple of details resulting from the retrofit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saab2000 View Post

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    That's why on Moultons the cable-splitters are kept away from the tubing
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi cos col dove si puote
    ci che si vuole, e pi non dimandare"

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Here's another picture of the coupler placement on the Serotta. I will admit that I sort of wish the cable stop was behind the coupler but it's not a huge deal and the fact is that all this stuff is invisible when riding. The kinked cable housing looks bad in pictures but you don't notice it when riding because it doesn't seem to affect the cable inside the housing. Same with the placement of the cable stop close to the top tube. The coupler touches the frame but it's not noticeable when riding. There's no rattling with the rubber o-rings in place.

    Just for the OP to consider.


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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gattonero View Post
    That's why on Moultons the cable-splitters are kept away from the tubing
    On the Moulton it looks almost as if the cable splitters are placed right up at the nearest mechanical device i.e the brake, the derailleur. Is that the case?

    I remember, one at least one road bike, seeing the placement of the rear brake's cable splitter between the end of the down tube and the rear brake. I'm a novice, but I would think that on the cable there would not be ideal for the cable splitter. Is that a correct assumption?

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    If one is really going to be using the S&S couplers frequently, that positioning for the rear brake cable stop on the Serotta is actually useful. It means you simply unbolt the rear caliper from the frame and are ready to go.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Road bike and S&S Couplers: where is the ideal location for cable splitters?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonJW View Post
    On the Moulton it looks almost as if the cable splitters are placed right up at the nearest mechanical device i.e the brake, the derailleur. Is that the case?

    ...
    Nope






    (if willing to drool, have a look: Alex Moulton New Series Double Pylon-B-折叠车|小轮车-骑行之家 - )
    Andrea "Gattonero" Cattolico, head mechanic @Condor Cycles London


    "Caron, non ti crucciare:
    vuolsi cos col dove si puote
    ci che si vuole, e pi non dimandare"

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