When perusing the Unno models available for order through WBC.ca and our retail showroom in Cumberland, one unique design feature likely stands out: the internal headset cable routing.

Unno is part of the forward-thinking trajectory of bike manufacturers who are implementing this elegant innovation. Some will call it controversial, so let’s dive into why companies are moving to headset cable routing (ICR) and how it elevates form without sacrificing function.

axs all the way

Though a mechanical derailleur can still be run on all their bikes, as Unno transitions to AXS electronic shifting on all their stock build kits, frame routing ports begin to feel superfluous. For bikes that emphasize great design and high performance equally, these details matter. By routing brake cables through the headset, the need for frame ports is eliminated altogether.

SRAM AXS Drivetrain

Cleaner cockpit

Excessively long cables are messy and distracting. Headset routing allows for shorter cables fed through the center of the cockpit, which gives a tight and tidy look. It also stops cables from rattling against the frame and each other while riding, reduces the chance of housing damage and lightens system weights by 50-100g.

Maintenance concerns

Skeptics argue that headset routing is finicky when it comes to tasks like bearing replacement and headset upkeep. However, this kind of maintenance is needed infrequently, typically every 2-3 seasons for the average rider. On the flip side, cable routing is a breeze with ICR, as the space inside the head tube is much wider and easier to feed cables through than tiny frame ports. Having the cables protected within the headset can also increase longevity.

Unno Mith Headset Close-Up

As for compatible parts, brands like Unno have tailor-made components for headset routing systems to keep cables aligned and undamaged inside the head tube. This includes bearings, compression rings, headsets and spacers. They can all be widely found on the market, with frequent new launches from brands adopting ICR (integrated cable routing).

is headset cable routing ahead of the curve?

In the mountain bike industry, new design ideas are often criticized before they’re popularized. Think hydraulic brakes, long and low geometry, and short crank arms. Headset cable routing is another innovation that’s gaining traction, and it’s been improved and refined by manufacturers like Unno. Unno attracts riders who value cutting-edge bikes that turn heads on the trail, and headset cable routing is part of that appeal.

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