Park Tool's IR-1.2 Internal Cable Routing Kit is absolutely everything that you need it to be. It's super-simple to use, covers pretty much every internal routing situation that I could think of, cleans up easily, and packs away neatly.
- Pros: Super-easy to use; saves time; heads don't increase diameter cable that you're routing; covers all internal routing needs
- Cons: None really... maybe a bit expensive for some
Internal cable routing can be incredibly frustrating and I've spent far too long trying in vain to get a cable through a frame and out of a tiny, very dark hole. I've made my own DIY internal routing tools, but they're unreliable and only usable on Shimano Di2 wires. Oh, and yeah, I have tried a thread and a vacuum.
If only I'd had this to review a few years ago, I'd have a fair few hours of my life back! The kit comes with four 250mm plastic-coated magnetic wires, each with a specific purpose. New to this version of the set is the wire with a head specifically designed to fit Di2 e-Tube cable heads. But there are also heads for cable housing/brake hose, Campagnolo EPS wires and a blank wire for really small holes and extending the other cables.
I've recently built up a new cyclo-cross bike which was never meant to take internal Di2 wiring. It required threading the Di2 cables through some pretty small holes and around some tight bends. The fact that the Di2-specific head clips into the Di2 cable is brilliant. By doing this, the cable head diameter isn't increased, making it much easier to get multiple Di2 cables through one hole.
The hold that the Di2 head has is really strong, meaning that if you come to a tight spot, you won't lose the connection. I never found the cable length insufficient, but if you do come up short, the extender cable increases your reach to a whopping 5m.
Park Tool also includes a strong guide magnet that easily finds the other cables and can be used to help cables along frames with rough internal finishes. This came in especially handy when routing the rear brake inner cable on my 2014 Cannondale Supersix. The cable inner has a tendency to miss the cable exit point and, instead, heads off down the seatstay. The guide magnet makes it easy to get the cable to the exit hole, and then it simply pops out when you place the magnet over the hole. There's even a satisfying 'tick' when the cable connects with the magnet.
Routing cable housing and brake hoses is also very simple. The conical barb screws into both, allowing you to guide them through the frame.
Chances are that if you're re-wiring your bike then the cables will be passing near a greasy area. While linking the Junction B box with a seatpost battery, the IR-1.2 collected some of the bottom bracket grease. Thanks to the plastic coating, the grease is easy to remove and I can really see that this could be a tool that lasts you a lifetime.
For me, primarily using this to route Di2 cables and mechanical brake housing, to have individual routing wires for each is really useful. It means that I can grab the wire that I need quickly without having to change the heads, which is required on other systems.
The box that houses the wires is a good, compact size and I found it easy to pack the kit away after use.
With all that in mind, I'd be more than happy to pay the £59.99. We've not really tested a kit like this before on road.cc, but there are some cheaper versions out there. The X-Tools Internal Cable Routing Tool is £19.99 and the Pro Internal Routing Tool is £49.99. Both require you to change heads on the single wire. I'll have a full review of the Pro version soon.
This is simply a brilliant tool that makes one of the most fiddly jobs on your bike a doddle. The cable connections are strong, the magnet works perfectly and you can do all routing jobs with one kit.
Easy to use and amazingly effective – internal cable routing, conquered
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Park Tool IR-1.2 Internal Cable Routing Kit
Size tested: One
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
From Park Tool: "Take the guesswork out of installing cables, wires and housing inside the frame. The IR-1.2 speeds the internal frame routing of electric wires, shift cable/housing, brake cable/housing and hydraulic tubing on carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminium frames. Kit includes four plastic coated 250cm cables with attached magnets and unique fittings plus an external guide magnet to speed operation. Newly updated to include a dedicated E-tube Di2 cable connector that easily pulls through a 6mm frame hole. Opposite polarity magnets on cables seek and attach inside frame tubes, making it easy to route through frame entrances and exits. Works with any size frame including tandems. A true time and frustration saver!"
It's more expensive than both the X-Tools (£19.99) and Pro (£49.99) versions, but the lack of head-changing hassle makes it worth the extra, I'd say.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Perfectly, I couldn't fault it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's a tool that saves you lots of time.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I really can't think of anything.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We're yet to test anything like this. It's better than my Henry hoover, that's for sure.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I absolutely love this tool. It is genuinely brilliant and the Di2-specific head is excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.