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I own a 1988 Schwinn Le Tour. It's beginning to show its age-- the original paint is chipped in many places and the frame is rusting underneath. The worst areas, by far, are around the rear brake cable housing guides on the top tube, which I believe are brazed on.

closeup photo of top tube with guide

I plan to completely strip and repaint the frame. However, I'm wondering what to do about the cable housing guides.

I don't know if the original cable housing guides are worth saving (I'm not sure it's even possible to save them), but I don't have the tools or experience necessary to braze a new set onto the frame. I would like to avoid having a shop braze on a new set for me, unless it costs me less than, say, $50. (Aside: I don't even know if any of the bike shops in my area still do braze-ons.)

Aesthetically and functionally, I think braze-ons are the best choice, but I'm open to other solutions. I have found some clip-on, clamp-on, and stick-on housing guides.

I've dealt with the plastic clamp-on variety on another bike, and I found them to be absolutely worthless (they readily move around and rotate, so the cable never stays put).

I've never tried clip-on or stick-on guides, but I'm wary of what could be a similar lack of permanence-- I don't want to have to repeatedly reposition my cables because the housing guides are wiggly.

In summary, I see these possible ways to approach this (I would welcome any additional suggestions):

  • Attempt to salvage the original guides, if there's anything left of them under the rust. I have to imagine that this would seriously complicate the stripping/painting process.
  • Use clip-on/stick-on guides, or clamp-on guides that work better than the ones I've used.
  • Suck it up, get the proper equipment, and learn to braze.
  • Try to find a bike shop or framebuilder that can re-do the braze-ons (and preferably doesn't charge exorbitant amounts of money for it).

Which should I choose, and why?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A long time ago I used some clamp on cable housing guides on a frame & I didn't have any issues with them moving. I did have a slightly larger cable housing with teflon sleeves inside, so that the clamps could be screwed down fairly tightly and still allow for easy movement of the cable inside. You might want to see if you can get perhaps another brand of clamp. From memory I had some Gran-Compe by DiaCompe. Alternatively you could try putting a thin rubber shim around the clamp to get it to grip to the frame better.

The only other alternative I would consider would be to get a local framebuilder to remove the old guides and braze on the new ones. I don't think it will be that pricey. My old LBS used to do this sort of work once a week, and a job like that would only have taken about 10 minutes to do.

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For a pricing example, R&E cycles in Seattle will add a pair of cable stops for $45. If you're already stripping the bike, finding a local frame builder to do it might be worthwhile. –  lantius Feb 19 '11 at 22:46
    
I found a shop fairly near to me that does do brazing, so I'm going to check them out. –  Jason Plank Feb 21 '11 at 3:41

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