Re: [CR] under b.b. cable routing

In-Reply-To: <>
References: <>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 08:24:57 -0800
To: Chuck Schmidt <>
From: Jan Heine <>
Subject: Re: [CR] under b.b. cable routing

>>Thus far only one response focused to the point was received, from John
>>Jorgensen, noting that Mario Confente routed cables under his
>>bottom brackets in
>>1976, and not with any fixed style, seemingly a design in
>>progress. Anyone else
>>... and when?
>>Mark Agree
>>Southfield MI USA
>1975 Peter Johnson with under BB cable routing:

1930s racing bikes used under-BB cable routing, when they first were equipped with derailleurs - the popular Super Champion with a shifter fork under the chainstay doesn't work with over-BB routing. See the Oscar Egg in VBQ Vol. 4, No. 3, p. 32. However, they ran cable housing all the way from the shift lever to the derailleur.

Cyclotouring bikes began to use open cable runs (with cable stops) for brake and derailleur cables in the late 1930s. With a Cycle derailleur and downtube (rather than top tube) shift levers, this meant under-BB routing. Numerous examples can be seen at, including an Hurtu tandem about half-way down the page.

So my question instead is: Who was the first to come up with _over-BB_ cable routing? And why?

Pure speculation: It probably was not that racers were concerned that brazing a loop or two onto the BB shell would weaken the lightweight tubing... Perhaps they felt on their fender-less bikes that the top of the BB shell remained cleaner and thus was a better spot?

Or was it simply a case of running the cable housing all the way from a Campy (or other) shift lever to a rear derailleur. The shortest and straightest path goes over the BB. When they then adopted open cable runs in the 1950s, they continued the path, and it took another 20 years until mavericks like Peter Johnson realized there was a more elegant solution. Just a hypothesis.

Finally, with a standard rear derailleur, over-BB routing results in a less tight curve of the cable housing in the rear, so I am not sure whether there really are advantages to under-BB routing. -- Jan Heine Editor Bicycle Quarterly 140 Lakeside Ave #C Seattle WA 98122