I always find that when my shifting deteriorates on the rear that it is a cable/housing issue. Specifically the rear loop gets the most action and simply putting new housing on the rear loop will improve the shifting to near perfect without changing everything. My question has to do with end caps on the housing. I normally use all jagwire L3 housing but they do use plastic/nylon end caps, are metal better? Also, end caps that are hooded, are these better? I am not looking for the best protection but the most precise shifting. It seems that the hooded end caps might not sit down all the way on the final rear loop at each end. I have two regular ferrules on each end but would the shifting be better if I use hooded end caps.
Now another question. Do you find Jagwire L3 housing and better/worse than Shimano housing. My reason behind all this detail is my bike is a Wilier GT with internal cable routing and it shifts fine but you really need to be neat and smooth with cables and housing. While I am at it is seems to me over the years that brake cables and housing last a long time but derailleur housing and cable need more attention. Mostly the rear loop that takes the most wear.
+1 on rear loop, particularly with shifters where the cable isn't routed under the bar tape. I often used to just replace the rd housing loop. It's the tight radius and length of the bend that makes it wear faster and contribute more to poor shifting. Cables that exit front of the shifter have only a single large radius 90 degree bend to the frame stops so there's little drag or wear compared to cables that make two tight bends under the tape, so now I find this as critical as replacing the rear loop.
I have not found any shifting difference between metal, plastic, or noodled ferules. I'll use metal if I have them but plastic if not. After cutting housings, I square the ends with a grinding wheel or Dremel and trim the outer casing to ensure the housing wires bottom uniformly in the ferules. Pro racer mechs don't do this so I doubt it helps significantly, but I do it anyway.
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+1 to looigi's reply. I've found little difference between the various housing end caps excepting the plastic's ability to allow the casing winding strands to punch through and the tendency to take a bend. But a metal cap (usually Alu if the housing is 4mm) can corrode to the stop/adjuster and only transfers the bend to the housing.
I don't bother with hooded end caps or their umbrellas, same with end caps that have a seal (that only increases friction all the time). But I do take care as to how I route and string up my cables for ease of cleaning, lubing and periodic service (but as I make my own frames I can choose the stop style and locations) and just do a clean install and service as needed. Andy.