Much to my surprise, the cables came with the levers/shifters. Which kind of makes sense if you think about it, but I was unaware and the levers were not advertised as including them. So a surprise, but a nice surprise. Initially, I had priced the Campagnolo cables separately at approximately £35.
Campagnolo Centaur Red levers/shifters and brake/gear cables
Rather than trying to fudge the installation with pliers or scissors I decided to invest in some proper cable cutters. I opted for some X-Tools cutters from Chain Reaction Cycles, approx £15.
X-Tools cable cutter
Before undertaking the job in hand I did plenty of reading. This guide on Bike Radar was particularly useful.
The inner cable for the gears came already attached to the levers. Before cutting any outer cable housing I installed the inner cable for the brakes. This was a case of pulling the brakes open and then feeding the cable through a hole inside. The idea is that you push through and the cable emerges from a designated hole on the main hood. This was quite fiddly, but I eventually got each brake cable threaded.
All guides offered the same advice when measuring the cutting the cable housing. Size the cable housing, size it again, then cut. When sizing, feed the inner cable through, position the outer housing, then mark with electrical tape. When you’re happy, you can then make the cut where the electrical tape is.
The Campagnolo cable housing set comes with three pieces for brakes and three pieces for the gearing. The brake cable housing is slightly thicker than the gear cable housing, so distinguishing between the two is straightforward.
The brake cable housing comprises:
- section from right lever to front brake
- section from left lever to top tube
- section from top tube to rear brake (very short)
The gear cable housing comprises:
- section from left lever to down tube (for front derailleur)
- section from right lever to down tube (for rear derailleur)
- section from chain stay to rear derailleur (very short)
When sizing the housing, remember to take into consideration a full turn (left and right) of the handlebars. Make sure there is enough “give” in the length to accommodate this.
The final consideration, once the cable housing sizing was correct, was to position the cables in a comfortable position on the handlebars. There will be a brake and gear cable running under the handlebar tape on each side of the handlebar. It’s important to position these correctly so it’s comfortable.
Some handlebars have internal routing or grooves fitted to accommodate these cables on the handlebars. The 3T Ergosum does not come with such features.
I opted to run the cable and brake cable on each alongside each other (so they are touching). Also, position them on the handlebar so they would sit under my middle knuckles on my hands if I was holding the bars squarely on the tops. This felt the most comfortable option for me.
The cables were taped (again, using the electrical tape) firmly in position on the handlebars ready for the handlebar tape itself.
Token downtube cable adjusters
The inner cables were fed through their housing around the bike frame, affixed to their component (brake or derailleur) then cut. I obviously did a test to see if the brakes and gears were working as they should. Thankfully everything seemed to be operating fine. Not perfect, but fine tuning could come later.
Black inner cable end caps
To finish the job off I had purchased some black downtube cable adjusters and black anodised inner cable end caps. These gave the installation that final bit of polish.