I've been upgrading my Cannondale CAAD3 road bike from 2005 step-by-step over the years as things get worn out. Now its time to upgrade the frame.

I have an eye on a Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod frame but if I understand correctly this frame is designed for electronic groupsets only.

Would it be possible to non-intrusively install a mechanical set on this frame? (that is, without drilling anything, for example, by just using tape externally or some other pieces, might not look that good though).

At some point I will get an electronic groupset (I'll need to replace that in the next year/2 years anyways), but I don't want to do it now, yet I need to replace my frame.

  • 6
    You could use clamp-on cable stops, but there's a high chance of damaging the carbon fibre with clamping too tight on sections that aren't thick for clamping. Would be cheaper to make-do with what you have, and save up for the whole bike at once.
    – Criggie
    Mar 27, 2017 at 11:42
  • Want to add your own answer saying what you did, and how it worked for you?
    – Criggie
    May 9, 2017 at 5:01
  • 2
    I actually just followed your advice and decided to wait. If you write it as an answer I will mark it as accepted.
    – gnzlbg
    May 11, 2017 at 10:20
  • Cannondale doesn't seem to sell just the frame for this bike, so I'm not sure how you plan on doing this without having an electronic groupset on hand somehow anyway. If you see just the frame sold, I'd be concerned it was a fake.
    – Batman
    Sep 25, 2018 at 2:48
  • People often sell frames on ebay, but FYI, at the end I ended up going with a CAAD12 :)
    – gnzlbg
    Sep 25, 2018 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


I have a solution for you (if you haven't got the electronic groupset already), inspired by road bikes from '70s and '80s era.

Namely, the rear brake cable on the top tube.

  • on some of those bikes runs through the large eyelets through a very lengthy outer cable (the eyelets merely hold the cable in place):
    enter image description here

    • while on others there are two cable stops near the ends of the top tube and the inner cable is visible:
      enter image description here

Now, if you do the same with your derailleur cables, namely run them through lengthy outer cables, the force required for shifting is in fact exerted only near the brifter and the derailleur itself, thus places prepared for clamping.

The only question is whether the outer cable stiffness (in length) is high enough to assure shifting accuracy.

I don't own the pictures, they are purely for illustration.

  • 1
    Full length housing derailleur cables do actually need to be securely fixed to the frame. Any flex or movement in the housing translates to error in cable pull at the derailleur. OP would need clamp on housing stops. Aug 23, 2018 at 12:57
  • Modern systems are also a lot less slop tolerant in cable/housing than in the friction shifter days due to the larger number of cogs and precision required for index shifting.
    – Batman
    Sep 25, 2018 at 2:46

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