Internal cable routing is slick and aero, but it can be a complete nightmare to deal with
Internal cables look clean and tidy, and they make perfect sense when you’re trying to reduce aerodynamic drag as much as possible.
Unfortunately, internal cabling often feels like a bit of an afterthought, with no proper routing built into frames. Outers are slung willy nilly into frame tubes where they rattle over every bump, or they’re directed round impossibly tight ends, which add friction, making for spongy brakes or erratic shifting.
If you’re going to route cables through a frame, they need be properly housed and secured, and accessible in such a way that hapless mechanics don’t need keyhole surgery skills for basic maintenance tasks.
You can of course fit clip-on mudguards or improvise some mounting hardware, but would it have killed them to include a boss or two?
Some brands do get this right. Trek is one of a number of makers that puts hidden mounts on its endurance models, and Whyte’s entire road range takes guards, but they’re the exception rather than the rule.
4. Random fasteners
3T makes some awesome kit, but that T30 stem bolt is a crime
Since hex bolts took over as the fastener of choice for all but the cheapest bikes, it’s been incredibly easy to work on your bike, even out on the road.
With just 4 and 5mm hex keys you can make numerous fit adjustments, tighten derailleur, headset and crank bolts, and more.
Except when you can’t, because some component makers have decided that hex bolts aren’t good enough, so they’ve started using Torx bolts instead.
They’ve got a point — hex bolts are very easy to damage, particularly if they’re not made from hard enough steel, or if your tools aren’t the best quality.
But, unfortunately, many multi-tools don’t have a Torx bit, and those that do usually only have a T25. So why would you put a T30 on a steerer clamp? Why 3T? Why??
5. Press-fit bottom brackets
Press-fit BBs are sometimes very hard to love
Ah yes, the nemesis of mechanics everywhere. Manufacturers like press-fit bottom brackets because they’re inherently simple, and on carbon frames they remove the need to bond in metal shells. Mechanics hate them because they’re a pain to install and remove, and prone to making funny noises.
Bottom brackets are subjected to tremendous forces, and if anything is even slightly out of spec then creaking is all but guaranteed.
Press-fits aren’t inherently bad, but they need to be manufactured to the highest of tolerances to work properly.
Even then, they’re far less convenient than threaded bottom brackets. Given the choice, we’d always go threaded.
Matthew is an experienced mechanic and an expert on bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. Originally a roadie, he likes bikes and kit of every stripe, and he's tested a huge variety of both over the years for BikeRadar, Cycling Plus and others. For a long time Matthew's heart belonged to the Scott Addict, but he's currently enjoying Trek's lovely aluminium Emonda ALR and having a torrid affair with a Giant Trance e-MTB. At 174cm tall and 53kg, he looks like he should be better at cycling than he actually is, and he's ok with that.