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  1. #1
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    New-ish to cables and housing

    I've installed cables and housing before, but only in the context of installing a new shifter or whatever that came with its own matched housing and cable. Now I would like to buy rolls of shifter and brake housing and buy high-quality cables individually for whatever bikes I happen to be working on. It seems more cost-effective than buying the diy-type kits, and there is no chance of not having quite enough housing to do the job.

    There's an alphabet soup of manufacturers and products that makes this seem a little overwhelming at first. So far I've kind of settled on Jagwire. I'm thinking I will buy a roll of L3 (teflon) lined 5 mm brake housing: http://www.niagaracycle.com/categori...ng-25-ft-black

    And a roll of L-3 lined 4 mm derrailleur housing: http://www.niagaracycle.com/categori...-roll-25-black

    A few questions:

    1. Will this derrailleur housing paired with quality cables work well for 9 and 10-speed indexed shifting?

    2. If I mix and match between manufactures of cable and housing, will I run into trouble? I'm thinking about the fact that some shifter cables are spec'd at 1.1 vs 1.2 mm, and brake cables can be 1.5 or 1.6 mm. Is 0.1 mm at all significant?

    3. How important is teflon-lined housing for brake cables anyway? Does housing without some kind of special lining work ok?

    4. Are there better choices for housing than what I showed above? I'm not into spending big money to get the best - I hope for pretty good at a reasonable price.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Hello fellow wmass cyclist. I think you'll be fine with your choice.

    1. The housing is listed as linear which is also known as compressionless. This is what you need for index shifting.
    2. Not an issue in my experience.
    3. Definitely get the lined housing, it's way smoother feeling at the lever.
    4. There are more expensive/better cables, but I think Jagwire is pretty good stuff, and it's reasonably priced.

    Get slick, stainless inner wires and you're all set.

  3. #3
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    +1. I used to stock various vendor brands like Shimano branded housing and Suntour Accushift derailleur cable housing. And I also had bulk rolls I bought from a shop going out of biz that had no liner and they threw in separate rolls of teflon liner. Mixing and matching works fine. But over the years, I've switched to carry just the Jagwire stuff and just about 20 yds left of the Shimano in factory grey. And all new purchases in various colours are Jagwire. The stuff works well on all braking and shifting systems I've encountered, it's economical too, and I like the smaller flat bags of the stuff that comes 25 yds or so. They're great for carrying to a ride site where a big club ride will happen and you get folks from all over with families join, and some come with really bad BSOs that desparately need new housing.

    The teflon lining, I've found, serves two important purposes. When you lube the cable and slide that into the housing, the parts that don't get as much lube still slide easily and don't grind or bind over time. But more importantly, the teflon keeps the steel coated, and the sections that have sufficient grease form a sealed tube so moisture intrustion is nearly impossible. That means the bulk of that brake cable stays fresh, even those using galvanized wire ($0.95 per cable in bulk). You may want to always carry stainless, but if you work on someone else's bike and don't have the right wire handy and recycle, it's a small measure of assurance that cable material won't matter muc w.r.t longevity.

    I know you can pay more for housing, but I'm not sure if you'll get much better price-performance. While quality housing I think is essential, it's not sufficient. The key to good performance is logical cable routing. Cables must be routed (esp. for indexed derailleurs) so that we have the smoothest path to front and rear mechanisms with just enough cable to allow for complete turns to either side. I think the Park Tool website has a video on how to route cables and it reinforced what I've been doing for all these years, which was to route front shifter to the right-side (drive side) boss on the down tube, and the rear shifter cable to the left side boss. The cables criss-cross under the down tube before going into the BB. This reduces the acute bend particularly for the shifters. To deal with the bottom bracket, I had teflon noodles I slid (2 on each cable) up each cable. One noodle to deal with contact around the BB guide, and another up on the cable under the down tube where the cables would criss-cross. I wish someone would make a cheap part to maintain cable separation at the criss-cross. But my teflon noodles seem to stay there okay and it's almost like a sure fire bet that the index shifting stays crisp and accurate, even when turning the handlebars.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  4. #4
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    Teflon noodles? You mean just like regular metal V-brake noodles, but lined with Teflon?

    I've had nothing but good experiences using Jagwire stuff - even their cheapest cables/housing seem to perform well, and they always provide a little paper packet with 'doughnuts', cable caps and spare rubber 'boots' for V-Brakes as well as some other assorted odds and sods.

    I keep meaning to look into buying some cable + outers in some smallish 'bulk' quantities for myself, as I now have 3 bikes of my own to keep serviced, as well as a number of relatives' and friends' bikes.

    Edit - A lot of people do seem to rave about the 'XTR' cables/outers - I haven't tried them myself, and am sure that the are just fine, but until then I have my doubts as to whether they are *that good* as to justify the prices that they charge for them.

  5. #5
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Continuity View Post
    Teflon noodles? You mean just like regular metal V-brake noodles, but lined with Teflon?

    I've had nothing but good experiences using Jagwire stuff - even their cheapest cables/housing seem to perform well, and they always provide a little paper packet with 'doughnuts', cable caps and spare rubber 'boots' for V-Brakes as well as some other assorted odds and sods.

    I keep meaning to look into buying some cable + outers in some smallish 'bulk' quantities for myself, as I now have 3 bikes of my own to keep serviced, as well as a number of relatives' and friends' bikes.

    Edit - A lot of people do seem to rave about the 'XTR' cables/outers - I haven't tried them myself, and am sure that the are just fine, but until then I have my doubts as to whether they are *that good* as to justify the prices that they charge for them.
    Not exactly like the V-brake noodle, but the teflon liner part inside the end of that V-brake noodle, only it's flanged on both ends. I have stock from a supplier long ago that made these and they fit inside the two-part cable guide that screws to the bottom of many bottom brackets. But I found them useful for not just the BB but for sliding onto cables where I criss-cross them under the down tube. I have stock on lots of little cable donuts to keep the cables from slapping the paint on bike tubes, but this is more for reducing cable-on-cable grind.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. It's good to know I'm on the right track.

    Gyozadude - what do you use to lube cables?

    likebike23 - it's good to see another WMass denizen on BikeForums....

  7. #7
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Cables get bulk marine grease.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  8. #8
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    You definitely don't want to use marine grease or bearing grease on modern cabling.

    Not only will such grease's un-needed metallic extreme-pressure additives compromise the plastic housing liner's reduced friction characteristics against the steel wire, but bearing greases are also much too viscous for derailer cabling and will only get thicker over time as the oil fraction is absorbed into the polymer liner or evaporates.

    The lube used with derailer housing is particularly critical, and is the reason why demanding mechanics so often use "Shimano SP-41" shift housing.
    This housing is pre-lubricated along it's entire length with an optimum cable lubricant for the plastic-against-metal environment of the moving cable. There is nothing better!

    And find yourself some sealed Shimano end caps for this housing, which should extend your service interval of supreme cable performance.

    You can also use bulk housing from other sources, and I do use this quite often. I use only SRAM's Gripshift lube for dry housings and for any re-used housing's I'll be re-using. This lube is inert, won't evaporate or thicken, won't absorb it's oils into the housing liner and uses only a non-metallic, lowest-friction combination of silicone and Teflon.
    Some generic brake housing is very hard to cut squarely, the coiled metal core is too hard. Also, the housing cover is sometimes brittle, but I am more finicky about shift housing myself.

    I will sometimes resusitate cable housings with cleaning, but it's necessary to use a kinked cable wire to scrub out the housing liner with an evaporating lube that's free of petro oils or metallic additives in preparation for a minimal application of the Gripshift lube to the cable.

    And always assemble the cabling in a sequence that doesn't contaminate a lubed cable or have the sealed housing caps scraping the lube off of the cable during installation!

    The spray is for cleaning the housing, using the bent-up cable wire. The syringe is the GripShift lube (applied only to the cable during installation). Notice the spray tube's tip:

    Last edited by dddd; 04-04-13 at 07:30 PM.

  9. #9
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Jagwire L3 is high quality stuff. Non crimp end caps are excellent as well. I think the biggest mistake is cutting the cable to what you think is the exact length the first time. If you cut it a bit too long, you can trim a little off for a better fit later. Too short and you've wasted a whole length of housing.

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