Introduction: Internal Cable on Any Bike Frame

I bought this bike for 40 bucks, which is next to nothing, so I decided to personalize it:

1. Reproduction of the spoke lock key, which I described here: Reproduce spoke lock key

2. Replacement of the front hub because the flange was broken. The new flange has a smaller diameter, so I had to lace it 2 cross.

and 3. Some of the cable mounts were broken off so I decided to lay the cables into the frame.
Which I will show you in the next steps.

Frame material and durability:
My frame is an old steel frame.
A friend told me that he is doing the same with a real cheap aluminium frame and with bigger holes for cable stops, and his frame is still in good conditions.

The holes could be weak spotsbut there haven´t been any problems this far, even on bikes with a lot more holes drilled into.

Step 1: What You Need

I used a vernier caliper to measure the diameter of the cable housing.

The drill for the holes and the dremel to round off the edges and to grind off the old cable mounts.

And the safety goggles for SAFETY.

Step 2: The Frame

Here you can see how the cables were layed before.
Doesn't look pretty...

Step 3: Measure Your Cable Housings

Measure your cable housings so you know which drill diameter you will end with.

Step 4: Mark the In- and Outlets

The position is completely your choice.

But remember some points:

1. a short look on the internet gives you an idea of the different in-, outlet positions and could save you from drilling wrong holes (like I did with the rear break cable).

2. You can't go through your steering & head tube and seatpost
(seatpost: eventually you could make a slotted hole so that it's possible to adjust your seat height while the cable is running trough. But think about the stability!!!)

3. the cable bends shouldn´t be too tight or too wide..
(too tight causes friction while too wide doesn't cause too many problems but we want a clean look)

If you want to know more about cables, cable routing and anything about bicycles then have a look at

sheldon brown's website: LINK

Step 5: Drill the Holes

A drill press would be the best tool to prevent from slipping when you drill the first holes.

I used the dremel to get the "punch"-marks.

Start with a small drill, I used 4 different drill sizes to widen the hole up step by step.
When the hole was widened up with drill Nr.3, I slowly turned it sideways to get the hole into the right shape.

*Your drill gives you a very good preview of the entry/exit angle.
*this way you can adjust whether the cable should go slightly up or down OR if the cable should touch the frame.
*For instance the rear brake cable on the steering side could stay away from the frame to prevent paint scratches.

The same with the last drill which should be slightly bigger than the cable housing.
If the cable housing is slightly bigger than the closest drill size or the housing doesn´t fit easily just (carefully) wiggle the hole bigger with your drill.

Step 6: Round Off Sharp Edges

Round off all sharp edges, it will prevent cutting into your cable housing and it looks way better.

Step 7: How to Thread the Cable Through the Out Hole

After your finished drilling the holes it is time to get the cables through the frame.

How to get the cable out of the frame?- I think the easiest way is to get a piece of pliable wire, I used fence- and garden-wire.
Bend one side into a "U" shape.

Step 8: Details

My front derailleur and my rear brake cable are laid through the bottom bracket.
I rode my bike around 150 miles since I laid the cables through the BB, without any problems.

Step 9: The Whole Bike

I think it looks very clean.


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