Would I be able to have a local framebuilder retrofit an existing steel mountain bike frame to install internally routed cable guides on the top tube without disassembling the frame? I would probably prefer to install lugged guides for this.

Why? Certainly not for performance reasons. I just like internal routing, which I have on a couple different bikes already. Less external stuff to get caught on while riding and easier to accommodate frame packs for bikepacking.

  • I doubt you could install even the sheathing without pulling the headset.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 29, 2015 at 19:16
  • I would assume headset and bottom bracket and most parts would be removed prior to frame modifications.
    – Benzo
    Jul 29, 2015 at 20:22
  • Would I be able to have a local framebuilder... If we say yes, and the local framebuilder says no, are you going to correct him?
    – jqning
    Aug 30, 2015 at 3:30
  • No, but I would consider asking another framebuilder.
    – Benzo
    Aug 30, 2015 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


No. If nothing else you'd need to strip the frame to have it repainted after the guides are brazed into place.

  • I think he is asking disassemble the frame not just strip.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 29, 2015 at 19:57
  • I understand the frame would need stripped (at least around the mount points) and repainted or touched up. I figured that's what they do when installing retrofitted s&s couplers. I'm fine with that, I'd probably have the old external cable guides filed off too.
    – Benzo
    Jul 29, 2015 at 20:20
  • @Benzo trying to do local touch-ups is hard to do without looking awful, and often has cracking problems round the edges. Better to strip the frame and repaint it properly (heat treated, and you can't heat treat half a frame). Plus if you're brazing the head tube you really want the headset out and all the cables gone, and same at the BB exit. so you're more than half way to stripping the frame already.
    – Móż
    Sep 27, 2015 at 21:52
  • I don't care about the paint. The bike frame is 10+ year old karate monkey. It's black and I'd probably be fine with a rattle can spray paint job to be honest. I assume I need to remove the headset anyway to avoid damage. However, do I need to break existing welds or can the framebuilder just drill some slots, and braze on a few lugs to route the cable internally through the top tube? Yeah, it's going to be a pain to install and remove the cabling without an internal guide. I'm was thinking a similar setup to what's on my all-city nature boy.
    – Benzo
    Sep 28, 2015 at 17:22

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