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Verdict: 
Easy to use and amazingly effective – internal cable routing, conquered
Weight: 
142g

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.

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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.

ParkTool IR-1.2 connection.jpg

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.

> Review: Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Di2

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.

ParkTool IR-1.2 Magnet.jpg

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.

Park Tool Internal cable routing kit - box.jpg

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.

Conclusion

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.

Verdict

Easy to use and amazingly effective – internal cable routing, conquered

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

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!"

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

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.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 24  Height: 177cm  Weight: 62kg

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. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.

10 comments

Avatar
ktache [2343 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

What a wonderful tool (and review) for what I imagine to be a very frustrating job (external cable routing on all 3 bikes, with full cable outer runs on new bike), though I'm guessing that this would not be useable on a steel bicycle?  Maybe stainless?

Avatar
srchar [1664 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Or, use a hook tool (set of 4 available on Amazon for £2.50) and a few lengths of small-bore silicone hose (which cost me a coffee). I suppose you might also need some tape if the holes in the frame are really small, which they usually aren't.

It never ceases to amaze me how much Park Tool can charge for some of the stuff they put out.

Avatar
maviczap [398 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I made one for threading Di2 cables through internal routed frames and handlebars

Get an old gear cable, thread a gear cable end ferrule the wrong way all the way to the nipple end. nip the closed end off a cable end tidy, open it out and slide it down to the ferrule. Squash it in place.

Wallah, you now have something you can feed down the internal track. Some frames are easier than others, my Kinesis was a swine after I pulled their factory installed wire out of the hydraulic hose I was trying to thread through. The same gizmo was used to thread it through once I'd got the cable through the frame. The cable ferrule I used was magnetic, as was the cable. I used one of them super strong pedal cadence magnets to drag the cable toward the exit hole. Nightmare job

Total cost less than a quid, or nothing if you have these bits in your parts bin

Avatar
Liam Cahill [213 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
srchar wrote:

Or, use a hook tool (set of 4 available on Amazon for £2.50) and a few lengths of small-bore silicone hose (which cost me a coffee). I suppose you might also need some tape if the holes in the frame are really small, which they usually aren't.

It never ceases to amaze me how much Park Tool can charge for some of the stuff they put out.

I've tried the old cable sheath trick and when I remember to use it, it works well. But for friends' bikes and the CX bike it've just built up, this isn't always a possibility.
I agree that they do charge a premium, but I find that their products last well, so I'm happy to pay.

Avatar
Liam Cahill [213 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
maviczap wrote:

I made one for threading Di2 cables through internal routed frames and handlebars

Get an old gear cable, thread a gear cable end ferrule the wrong way all the way to the nipple end. nip the closed end off a cable end tidy, open it out and slide it down to the ferrule. Squash it in place.

Wallah, you now have something you can feed down the internal track. Some frames are easier than others, my Kinesis was a swine after I pulled their factory installed wire out of the hydraulic hose I was trying to thread through. The same gizmo was used to thread it through once I'd got the cable through the frame. The cable ferrule I used was magnetic, as was the cable. I used one of them super strong pedal cadence magnets to drag the cable toward the exit hole. Nightmare job

Total cost less than a quid, or nothing if you have these bits in your parts bin

This is exactly how I made my DIY Di2 routing tool. I didn't find that the hold was that good though, and the brake ferrule increased the diameter of the head. That would have meant extra drilling out of the cable stops which isn't something I love doing!
The DIY solution is good. This is just more refined and easily a better system for hoses and housing.

Avatar
CasperCCC [67 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

I've obviously been reading road.cc comments too long.

As soon as I saw the review, I knew that it was going to be a prime candidate for a "What a waste of money! I just made my own from an old shoelace, a bit of rubber that was left over from when I carved my last set of inner tubes, and a diamond drill bit that I'd inherited from my riding buddy who used to work on the Large Hadron Collider" comment... yes

I reckon the frustration of trying to recable my summer bike took about three years off my lifespan. £60 seems like a bargain by comparison.

Avatar
maviczap [398 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Liam Cahill wrote:
maviczap wrote:

I made one for threading Di2 cables through internal routed frames and handlebars

Get an old gear cable, thread a gear cable end ferrule the wrong way all the way to the nipple end. nip the closed end off a cable end tidy, open it out and slide it down to the ferrule. Squash it in place.

Wallah, you now have something you can feed down the internal track. Some frames are easier than others, my Kinesis was a swine after I pulled their factory installed wire out of the hydraulic hose I was trying to thread through. The same gizmo was used to thread it through once I'd got the cable through the frame. The cable ferrule I used was magnetic, as was the cable. I used one of them super strong pedal cadence magnets to drag the cable toward the exit hole. Nightmare job

Total cost less than a quid, or nothing if you have these bits in your parts bin

This is exactly how I made my DIY Di2 routing tool. I didn't find that the hold was that good though, and the brake ferrule increased the diameter of the head. That would have meant extra drilling out of the cable stops which isn't something I love doing! The DIY solution is good. This is just more refined and easily a better system for hoses and housing.

Maybe I was lucky with my choice of ferrule, as the Di2 connector was a tight fit in the ferrule, and I didn't have any pull out whilst threading them through the frames or handlebars, although all were designed to take Di2 so the ports were big enough

Avatar
Htc [154 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
CasperCCC wrote:

I've obviously been reading road.cc comments too long.

As soon as I saw the review, I knew that it was going to be a prime candidate for a "What a waste of money! I just made my own from an old shoelace, a bit of rubber that was left over from when I carved my last set of inner tubes, and a diamond drill bit that I'd inherited from my riding buddy who used to work on the Large Hadron Collider" comment... yes

I reckon the frustration of trying to recable my summer bike took about three years off my lifespan. £60 seems like a bargain by comparison.

Agreed, good value for simplifying something that can be such a painful process.

Avatar
srchar [1664 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Well if you're a ham-fisted oaf with the DIY skills of Daddy Pig, of course Park Tool will be happy to take your sixty quid...  1

Avatar
Jimthebikeguy.com [273 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I have one of these for the workshop, i used it a bit at first when i wasnt so experienced but now i pretty much find it redundant as a piece of plastic tubing is way easier.