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  1. #1
    Downhill Racer PhilThee's Avatar
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    RoadBike:What's the best shifter & brake cables to use?

    I need to replace my shifter and brake cables on my *RoadBike*.

    I've read about lots of people who used Jagwire and complained that they would never do that again.
    I also read that several people who used DuraAce cables really like them.
    There is another name that several people have used that they say are quite good, but the name escapes me....What to use..What to use indeed?.

    105 STI shifters/Brakes, 105 Derailleurs front and rear, Ultegra 6600 brakes
    Last edited by PhilThee; 06-18-06 at 04:46 PM.
    "I didn't see him/her" is a confession, not an excuse.

  2. #2
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    The generic bulk die-cut stainless cables have never disappointed me. I used a few cable "systems" and in my opinion they absolutely suck. All Shimano cables are is die cut stainless cables.
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  3. #3
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    GO stainless either for Shimano or for Clark's

    http://www.clarkscables.com/

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Most of the time I use generic slick galvanized cables from QBP.

    They're cheap, they work just fine, and I can solder the cut ends so I can slide them back through the housings if I want and I don't have to mess with end caps

  5. #5
    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Brakes
    http://www.probikekit.com/display.php?code=T1022

    Gear
    http://www.probikekit.com/display.php?code=T1023

    Two cables per package, about $2

    Free shipping and no sales tax

    I do like the cables that come with the Campagnolo kits but I just can't see spending $40 for the set.

  6. #6
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    In regard to the comment about a lot of folks swearing off Jagwire cables, keep in mind that Jagwire make about 80% of the cables out there, including Shimano cables and the QBP cables.

    I use jagwire regular brake and 5mm shifter housing along with their teflon coated inner cables and think they are fabulous. They do the job nicely with no fuss. Who could ask for more?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Just about any stainless steel "slick" inner cable works great. The "slick" cables are smoother on the outside than the regular cables and stainless is best in my opinion because they don't rust (teflon coated cables are usually just cheap carbon steel cables that have a coating on them that will wear off in short order thus allowing the cable to rust). For the outer cable, get the Shimano brand stuff. The generic cables tend to get stiff much faster than the Shimano brand stuff. Also, the outer cable for road bike shifters is smaller diameter than the off road stuff - 4mm vs. 5mm I think. The thinner cables work just fine and are less bulky which we all know makes you ride faster.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  8. #8
    cab horn
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    Yep the stainless steel ones are the best.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  9. #9
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    Power-Cordz

    Has anyone tried the Power-Cordz non-metal cables? Inquiring minds want to know
    -a

  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amacks
    Has anyone tried the Power-Cordz non-metal cables? Inquiring minds want to know
    -a
    I installed a set of shift cables on a mountain bike. They were a PITA to install at least for the first time. They are just a "teence" fatter than typical galvanized or stainless shift cables so I had to ream out the holes in the shifters by a tad. The instructions also say to loop them 180 degrees around the anchor bolt. I did that and had no trouble but another mechanic told me that not looping them is the road to failure.

    I guess they must work OK, at least the guy who owns the bike hasn't complained about the shifting.

  11. #11
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I installed a set of shift cables on a mountain bike. They were a PITA to install at least for the first time. They are just a "teence" fatter than typical galvanized or stainless shift cables so I had to ream out the holes in the shifters by a tad. The instructions also say to loop them 180 degrees around the anchor bolt. I did that and had no trouble but another mechanic told me that not looping them is the road to failure.

    I guess they must work OK, at least the guy who owns the bike hasn't complained about the shifting.
    Was it worth the work?
    Touch every 3rd person and you'll find an idiot.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Was it worth the work?
    Absolutely! It wasn't my bike and I get paid by the hour.

  13. #13
    THIS SPACE FOR RENT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Absolutely! It wasn't my bike and I get paid by the hour.
    Bwahahhahahahahahhahaaha!!!
    "I don't buy new frames, it just encourages them."

    -T.G.

  14. #14
    Junior Member elcyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
    Just about any stainless steel "slick" inner cable works great. The "slick" [PTFE, Teflon] cables are smoother on the outside than the regular cables and stainless is best in my opinion because they don't rust (teflon coated cables are usually just cheap carbon steel cables that have a coating on them that will wear off in short order thus allowing the cable to rust).
    I emboldened the important part of Nessism's quote because I have heard several horror stories about PTFE cable that snaps catastrophically (i.e., all of a sudden). One questionable brand is AZTEC, but Shimano also sells PTFE cable.
    I assume there is some explanation to the PTFE cable unreliability issue.
    If the PTFE cable does use "cheap" carbon steel (instead of SS), is this due to cost or because Teflon does not bond well with SS, so the manuf HAS to use carbon or other less-reliable/durable metal?
    Last edited by elcyc; 07-09-14 at 09:41 AM.

  15. #15
    Old. Slow. Happy. MileHighMark's Avatar
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    Stainless, die-drawn cables work well, and are cheap to replace.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  16. #16
    Junior Member elcyc's Avatar
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    Jagwire Ripcord -- aka "Bike Cable - Jagwire - Teflon Coated Stainless Steel Brake Wire" -- seems to be SS and PTFE.
    Not sure about Shimano, AZTEC, others.
    Wonder if the Teflon-coating process ITSELF weakens steel (carbon or SS)?

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Zn treated Steel cable are easier to Solder , and so I can solder where they are to be cut. die drawn slick ..


    grease them a bit before you put them in. the solder job makes pulling & re greasing them easy ..

  18. #18
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    The real reasons that so many have poor impressions of the "system" cable sets is that they are FAR more installation dependent to work well and hold up over time. That and that since they cost so much more to source and also to install the perception is that they should work better and longer.

    I've had a fair amount of experience with the first gen Gore sealed systems. My personal bikes never had the issues that the repairs I did to others who had other shops (or they themselves) install the system. I came to understand the nuances of the install very quickly and would get a number of years of service out of them. But I also learned that for my customers I would only advise them in extreme situations and qualify their performance with both higher cost and no longer a life span then traditional cables.

    But like riding sew ups, after a while the cost and hassle out weigh the neato factor. Andy.

  19. #19
    Junior Member elcyc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    grease them a bit before you put them in. the solder job makes pulling & re greasing them easy ..
    Do you mean with something like Finish Line Extreme Fluoro 100% DuPont Teflon Grease ... I assume for cables, one wants a "lifetime" grease.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilThee View Post
    I've read about lots of people who used Jagwire and complained that they would never do that again.
    I believe you've been listening to the wrong people. Jagwire's upper level die drawn stainless steel cables are among the very best. As noted, Jagwire private labels for a lot of other brand names.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Boat trailer Bearing grease is good enough for most of my usage.

    Life time ? my home tub is 20 years old , since I dont own a boat , too.

  22. #22
    Junior Member elcyc's Avatar
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    I've read from a couple of sources (incl. a few post here on BF, I think) that although die-drawn cables are smoother (= smoother shifting), they are inherently weaker (around bends, at angles)... this may not matter much on newer bikes that are designed with tighter tolerances (fewer or more carefully-chosen cable 'angling').
    But for OLDER bikes, these "newer" die-drawn types may pose potential hazards -- e.g., catastrophic snaps/breaks.
    I have an old bike (early 1993 GF mountain bike) on which I've had poor experience with newer (replacement) die-drawn cables (notably brake) . Dunno what cables that 1993 GF used, but they lasted almost 5000 miles. I can't seem to get more than 500 out of newer brake cables (AZTEC PTFE, etc.)

    On that note, might it be best -- for older bikes -- to TRY to obtain decent-condition used (old, not die-drawn) varieties ... or are old types still sold new (or even carried by some, ebay/etc., as NOS--new-old-stock)?

  23. #23
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Most of the time I use generic slick galvanized cables from QBP.

    They're cheap, they work just fine, and I can solder the cut ends so I can slide them back through the housings if I want and I don't have to mess with end caps
    Hmmm

  24. #24
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amacks View Post
    Has anyone tried the Power-Cordz non-metal cables? Inquiring minds want to know
    -a
    I've purchased some 1mm kevlar 'survival cord' - about $5 for 6m - to use in my DIY Di2 project (8mm diameter pulley required), and am considering giving it a try as normal mechanical shift cable...

    Dipping the cut end in superglue seals the end from fraying, and it's surprisingly poke-able for 1mm (more like 1.5mm x 0.7mm) cord... although probably not quite poke-able enough, in which case a single cable strand (with the free end bent over) can be coiled around it for the poking.

    I haven't done much experimenting with it yet, but friction seems a little high with the housing liner... although I can't see why it couldn't be soaked in lube.

  25. #25
    Junior Member elcyc's Avatar
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    My main issue is catastrophic snapping. This may happen even if you've done your usual routine pre-ride inspection (so, no visible corrosion; no broken strands; cables are not too old (reputable brand); cables never abused; cables installed/adjusted properly)

    But ... during emerg. braking, when one must apply immediate/hard pressure, the cable breaks cleanly at, say, an anchor bolt (like on cantilever brake).

    I've had this happen ... and have heard/read about it happening to others. Pretty unsettling -- especially in road traffic or coming to a STOP sign/light.

    This seems to occur more often when "newer" cables are installed on an older bike. Something about newer cables makes them weaker (may be some changes in modern steel formulation, and/or cable-drawing and/or "pre-stretching"). Maybe modern bikes don't need as high force to brake effectively -- older bikes may have needed more force/pressure to effectively stop (hence, cables of yesteryear, had to stronger) ... etc.

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