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Cable general question
#1
I've seen bikes where the housing runs the length of the cable, and bikes where there are stops on the frame and the inner cable is exposed. Which, if either, is better? If one has a frame with stops, could you just run new housing and zip tie them to the frame?

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#2
The exposed cables have less friction and therefore work smoother, but, they can collect dirt easier. Cables with full-length housing are better protected but not as smooth, so you'll have to make sure to <a href="http://bikeride.com/lube-brake-shift-cables/">keep them lubricated</a>.

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#3
More housing also can mean lower performance breaking and shifting. When you pull on your break lever, part of your force goes to compressing the housing. When the housing can't compress anymore, the remaining force applies the brake at the wheel. Long pieces of housing (especially cheaper housing) compress quite a bit and will make your brakes feel mushier and will require longer travel at the lever to get the same breaking force. The same effect can give you some problems on shifting, although it is less common as most decent shifter housing has wires embedded in it parallel to the housing so it resists compression. (The internal reinforcement in brake housing spirals around like a spring which allows the compression.)

This effect (and the added weight & friction) are one reason higher end bikes tend to have cable stops and don't run housing all the way. You get better performance the less housing you have. Of course, don't go so short that it interferes with your steering.
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