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How-to: Trek Speed Concept Cable Replacement

How-to: Trek Speed Concept Cable Replacement

Most mechanics despise triathlon and time trial bikes. As a general rule, they’re difficult to set up and even harder to service if something goes wrong. I am going to cover the process of changing the shift cables/housings on a Trek Speed Concept. Not particularity exciting, but an important and necessary process to insure that this bike performs acceptably.

Below you can see the before/after pictures of the cable bend.



The top image shows how a Speed Concept arrives from the factory. The severe cable angle at the adjusting barrel pulled the front derailleur out of adjustment so much that a simple downshift became a disaster. Mr. Chain decided to leave his home and do some damage to the frame.


Time to fix ‘er up! Remove the crank.

IMG_2914Take off the “aero” bottom cover.

IMG_2927Loosen brake cable fixing bolt.IMG_2942

Remove brake stud plate.IMG_2946

Pull off the cable guide…


All off. Now just be sure you don’t mix up your Trek® puzzle pieces.


Finally! We can swap out cables and housings. I made all the necessary cuts and replacements. Time to run housing through the frame.


But wait! This isn’t just simply pushing housing down a tube; its a game. A cruel game that makes you test your patience and anger management skills. Here is my fishing kit.


And with the cables successfully routed I can finally reassemble the brake. However, adjusting the brake is a job in itself. Assemble, test, disassemble, adjust, repeat. Any simple adjustment requires a full brake removal and re-install. Even aligning a brake pad requires you to remove the crank on these bikes.

Now I would have loved to publish this blog with the sole intent of complaining but I promise; I do have a point. Accessibility and serviceability is important to a mechanic. I’ve replaced housings on other comparable TT bikes and have never experienced such a time consuming process. And when we get right down to it; my time equals your money. A cable replacement on a traditionally routed frame is normally $7. On these we charge hourly!

When you make your next bike purchase, consider asking about the bike’s engineering and what it takes to fix a simple problem. Consider what it will take to maintain a bike that is this complicated. Such a bike can be dysfunctional, spend more time in the shop, and cost more to maintain. You don’t become a better cyclist when your bike is in a repair stand.

~Jeremy Moroder

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