The typical touring bike with drop bars and bar end shifters shoots the shift cable out the bar tape, right under the curve like so: enter image description here

My bike is like this. It would be cleaner to run those cables all the way along the bars under the tape and have them come out alongside the brake cables. What's the problem with doing it like that? Too many curves in the cable makes too much cable drag?

At some point I'll re-cable everything - what would be the downside of running the shifter cables all the way to the middle of the bars under the tape to where STI shifter cables emerge?

(FWIW the way the cables come out as it is now, dealing with those cables when riding is a minor issue. But it's still an issue - there are times when you must open your hand to move it from here to there on the handlebars. Possibly the bigger issue to me is handling the bike when not riding, locking it up, etc.)

2 Answers 2


It will work, but you will add considerably more housing and 2-3 more bends in the housing. The additional bends will introduce friction which will affect shifting performance, but it should be usable if the cable and housing are good quality and you avoid damaging the cable during installation.


As you said, the first issue with routing the cables that way would probably be the amount of friction placed on the cable due to the angles of the routing.

Another possibility is that if you were to route the cables that way, they might become too short and could inhibit the turning capacity of the handlebars.

  • If routed the cables all to the way to the stem on one of my bikes. There is no problem to this. You'll just have to make sure that the housings are not wrapped too tightly around the head tube and that the bar turns from side to side without pulling on the cables. As for the cables: the rear cable might be a bit short, get a cable for tandem if it is. For the front derailleur I used a normal rear cable.
    – Carel
    Aug 31, 2015 at 7:49

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