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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    5,845

    Why are my cables crossed??

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    I just turned my bike upside down to clean it, for the first time since I paid the usually-reliable LBS to take it apart, clean it, reassemble it and tune it up. And I find this -- the cables are crossed.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have never seen this before. WTF??

    I had to go back to the LBS twice after the clean and tune for derailleur adjustments due to massive shifting problems. It never occurred to me to inspect the cables.

    I really do not have time to go back there again and have this fixed.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,958
    Pretty sure that's not unusual. One of my bikes is like that.
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  3. #3
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Southern Maine
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    1,677
    Quote Originally Posted by maillotpois View Post
    Pretty sure that's not unusual. One of my bikes is like that.
    I don't think I've seen the bare cables crossed like that...housings, yes.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Just a guess, but if they weren't, shifting and or braking would be reversed. (Like with hydraulic brakes that have to be switched, I've heard. Though I don't think those are crossed, just set up differently).
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,845
    Well here's a coincidence. BikesnobNYC wrote today about a new bike he just received from the Milwaukee Bicycle Company, including this:

    "The bike was packed exceptionally well and there wasn't a scratch on it. It was also assembled exceptionally well before it was packed, so I didn't have to do anything except fasten a few bolts. Nevertheless, being a dunce, while installing the handlebars I managed to get confused by the shifter cables until I realized that they'd apparently been set up to cross under the downtube. (Unless I was even more confused than I thought. Either way, they cross under the downtube now, and they work, so I'm calling it good.)"

    Since crossing the cables is evidently not something he commonly does on his many bikes, I conclude that I'm not crazy for wondering WTF with my bike.

    At any rate, one of my friends did some internet searching and found that Sheldon Brown discusses crossing cables as a way to solve a problem which apparently I and BikesnobNYC have had all our lives without knowing it:

    "Most bicycles with handlebar-mounted shifters run the rear cable on the right, the front on the left. This causes some awkwardness in routing the length of housing from the shift lever to the frame stops. Due to the need to allow these housings to be long enough to permit the bars to be turned all the way back and forth, the housings often wind up making a reverse bend--for instance, the rear will go from the shifter, which is on the right, swing forward and cross over past the centerline of the bicycle, then back over to the right side of the top tube, before heading down the down tube. These extra bends increase friction, and the fairly forcible contact between the housing and the side of the top tube can damage the finish.

    A neat solution to this is to run the cables "criss-cross" style: The rear runs from the lever, (on the right) around the top tube, and to the cable stop on the left side of the downtube! The front cable crosses over similarly from the left side of the handlebar to the right side of the down tube.

    The bare cables then cross one another under the middle of the downtube, making an "X". The cables may touch where they cross, but they will do so very lightly, since they are both straight...the tiny bit of friction at this crossing is more than offset by the reduction in friction in the smoother-flowing cable housings.

    This technique does not work with over-the-bottom-bracket cable routing, but is doable with most newer bikes that have under-the-bottom-bracket cable routing and cable stops mounted toward the bottom side of the down tube."

    (from http://sheldonbrown.com/cables.html)

    It's still not clear to me why they suddenly felt the need to make this change on my bike, since as I said I've never had any problems before with the cables on this or any other bike. All I know is that the shifting was massively, hugely messed up immediately after they did it.

    I will ask them about it the next time I have my bike at the shop, though I have no idea when that will be.

    Thanks!

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,559
    That's done to smooth the housing between the shifter and cable stops. Otherwise the housing going from right shifter to right cable stop needs to bend more tightly, resulting in more friction and shifting may not be as smooth. It shouldn't adversely affect your shifting. Something else may be going on if that's the case.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    983
    Deb is right about the housing issue, although some would believe that cables rubbing on each other cause more friction. Either way, it is not something new, and although I believe most mechanics do not run cables in this manner, some still do. Did you have new cables/housing installed when the bike was serviced? If so, perhaps the issue is that something has stretched or housing has moved a tad bit. Either way, I would suggest let your LBS adjust shifting... there's nothing more frustrating than a nice bike that doesn't shift.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,845
    Yes I had to have them adjust it twice. The bike was pretty much unrideable -- chain jumping around spontaneously or landing between cogs with lots of rattling. Now that they've adjusted it correctly, it feels the same as before. I honestly never felt there was anything wrong before and don't notice any improvement now.

    Thanks.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

 

 

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