Comparing Bicycle Cable Routing Options
Spring has officially arrived, though winter has left some baggage behind on the way out. While the roads and trails might still be littered with potholes and laden with snow and ice, die-hard cyclists are beginning to pepper the landscape once again. A true rite of spring and harbinger of warmer weather and more pleasant riding conditions to come, we thought we’d get our heads into the cycling game and provide a comparison of cable management options to help you prepare for the cycling season ahead.
Being in the biz, we’ve done our share of research here at Cobra Products, Inc., trying to figure out the best way to harness a bicycle brake cable or keep the sleek look of a custom bike looking just that—custom and sleek. What better time than now to share it with you.
Bicycle Cable Clamp Comparison
Plastic C Clips
These handy little c clips can come either stock on low- to mid-range bicycles, or are available by the pack at local bike shops. They are prone to falling off on any bumpy ride—not optimal if you are trying to harness your bicycle brake cable. You can even break them trying to get them around the frame as you apply them, but typically you’re getting what you pay for as these are the cheapest kind of c clips around. They do come in many colors, so you may be able to find one that accents your frame nicely. Overall, though, they’re cheap and an ineffective way to route any kind of cables on your bike.
Metal C Clips
A big step up in quality from their plastic counterparts also means they’re a big step up in price, too. The quality ranges from really nice to rather shoddy depending on the manufacturer. That disparity can have some considerable consequences—sometimes the cheap metals don’t perfectly contour to your frame as much as you’d like and can slide, scratching the heck out of your bike. They come in many different styles for different-sized frames, so you can usually find one for your specific bike. The downside of this is that there is not much of a selection for custom bikes or higher end bikes. They come in many different colors and some have neat designs, and if you find one for your bike then you’ll be happy having it until you retire your ride. Definitely worth a purchase if there’s one specifically designed for your bike.
Bolted Cable Guides
Quite simply: your Grandaddy’s approach to securing his cables to his bike. Every old bike had a big clamp on it that required a small Allen® wrench to apply, and if left uncovered in the elements for too long, would rust and need to be replaced. Also, the edges always seemed to have a sharp side to them and you’d be leaving dead skin on it if you rubbed on it the wrong way. The price for this hellish device? Between 2 to 4 dollars, with hardware. Hey, retro works for some; does give your bike a rustic look, which may be desired on an old classic. For the rest of us, a better option might be to steer clear away.
This is a very common type of cable mount that leaves a hole for a cable tie to loop through. It’s a two-part construction: one being the adhesive backing that attaches to the bike frame, the other being small clips that come up from the backing to support the tie. Most of the backs are curved which means: on flat or square frames, the back needs to be bent (which is doable; they’re typically made out of aluminum) to conform to the frame properly. It keeps a very low profile as the backing is just high enough to secure the cable tie which holds the cable, so it’s not obtrusive on any bike. The only real issues are having to thoroughly clean the frame with alcohol before attaching the mount, as well as allowing time for the glue to bond before going out and fully testing its holding strength (and ensuring you don’t glue your fingers together in the process!). As well, the clips that come up from the backing can shear off and would need to be replaced. These earn a solid recommendation for any cyclist.
FLEXROUTE® Universal Cable Guide
The new kid on the block (and bike) takes all the concepts of existing clips and bring the materials together in a different, innovative way. Made out of a rubber compound that’s highly resistant to the elements, sticking to the frame with a cable tie (we recommend the Cobra® low profile cable tie for best results), the Flexroute is flexible enough to conform to any size or shape of frame. The flexibility of the Flexroute allows it to fit snugly with no slippages, also freeing your frame from scratches. When used with the barb-free, snag-proof Cobra low profile cable tie, your skin also stays out of harm’s way. The sleek, low-profile design of the Flexroute pairs exceptionally well with the tie. It is, in fact, designed as a cable management system, providing an efficient solution for cables and frames of variable sizes. Cables are installed and removed easily with a pair of cutters. At $1.50 to $2 per piece (tie included), they’re priced very competitively with the rest of the products, being a bit cheaper than similar products. A top cable management contender, providing multiple options for the cable routing needs of any cyclist—and one we trust our bicycle brake cable to.
You cycle because you like to be out on your bike, not spending time inside fixing it. Choosing the right bicycle cable clamp is as important as finding the best trail. Try out the Flexroute cable routing system and find out how well it works for you. Click below and we’ll send you a free sample pack.