Cable rub is one of the great enemies of your frame – aluminium is actually a remarkably soft metal. Take a piece of hard plastic cable outer and coat it in abrasive UK mud and you’ve got something that’s not far off a metal file. It will quickly cut through anodising, take a bit longer to work its way through powdercoat, and then start to cut through your frame. As you can see from the photo this can get seriously expensive if not addressed.Â It makes sense to take a bit of time to protect your frame – it’s not difficult and maximises both the life of your bike and it’s resale value.
You can use anything (old inner tubes, gaffa tape, electrical tape) but it doesn’t cost much to do it properly with some form of clear ‘helicopter tape’.Â We’ve used both Bike Shield, which is stocked by most bike shops, and JRA’s Helicopter Tape but there are others that will work just as well.
The key areas to address are around the headtube and the top of the seattube where the rear brake hose and rear mech cable run (under the bottom bracket for Rohloff equipped bikes).
For the last few years we have fitted guides for continuous cables(1) to all but the XC race models.Â This means the cables are much more weatherproof but it does mean you need to make sure that your cables are not sliding in the guides as this will quickly wear them away.Â Most cables are not a problem but some narrower ones will move.Â This can usually be solved with a zip tie tightly around the cable on either side of one the guides or a bit of tape around the cable.
It’s also a good idea to protect the driveside chainstay from chainslap using inner tube, a neoprene cover, or more helicopter tape.
Finally, in what’s become a more detailed piece on this than I intended, you’re bound to miss somewhere so check again after the first couple of rides.
(1) if you do want to run cabling with ‘stops’ you can buy inserts to allow this.Â The guides are slotted to allow for easy cable removal.