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.
Take off the “aero” bottom cover.
Loosen brake cable fixing bolt.
Remove brake stud plate.
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.