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Opinions on cables & housing?

Old 09-04-15, 03:43 PM
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Opinions on cables & housing?

Hi,

I'd be grateful for a few opinions. I'm thinking of buying some inexpensive, yet serviceable cables & housing. The idea is to try and move towards a regimen of just swapping out components more frequently rather than buying on the higher-end and trying to make 'em last forever...

So,

1. Does anyone happen to know whether Sunlite SIS housing is lined or unlined? Does the cable actually run on the metal stands of the housing?

2. Any opinions on Sunlite slick stainless cables?

3. I'm also considering Jagwire LEX housing. Apart from the issue of whether the cable will fit the housing stops, does anyone have thoughts on the pro's and con's of 4mm versus 5mm housing?

Thank you for your time, and any thoughts you may wish to share,

Hannes.
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Old 09-04-15, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by argonavis
Hi,

I'd be grateful for a few opinions. I'm thinking of buying some inexpensive, yet serviceable cables & housing. The idea is to try and move towards a regimen of just swapping out components more frequently rather than buying on the higher-end and trying to make 'em last forever...

So,

1. Does anyone happen to know whether Sunlite SIS housing is lined or unlined? Does the cable actually run on the metal stands of the housing?

2. Any opinions on Sunlite slick stainless cables?

3. I'm also considering Jagwire LEX housing. Apart from the issue of whether the cable will fit the housing stops, does anyone have thoughts on the pro's and con's of 4mm versus 5mm housing?

Thank you for your time, and any thoughts you may wish to share,

Hannes.
It is extremely important that you include information about the bicycle and the components you will be installing these cables on. The very latest components with 10 and 11 speed rear derailleurs and shift cables that run under the bar tape on road bikes require very high quality cables if you want shifters to work properly. It doesn't matter how often you change them, cheap cables will not work very well. The cables on my road bikes are at least 4 years old and despite the fact that they run under the bar tape, shifting is still very precise.
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Old 09-04-15, 04:18 PM
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As someone on this forum once said "there are only two kinds of cables, Jagwire, and not Jagwire.
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Old 09-04-15, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
It is extremely important that you include information about the bicycle and the components you will be installing these cables on.
Quite right, I apologize. I'm so accustomed to thinking only of my particular biking situation that forget that others often ride in a very different context.

The bikes for which I'm considering these cables are 90's vintage steel-frame 3x7 hybrids with thumb-shifters and cantilever brakes. Nothing fancy.

I'm looking to find a balance between acceptable and serviceable quality without the high cost of some of the more contemporary bike components.

Hannes.
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Old 09-04-15, 06:14 PM
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I have 10 speed 6700 on my Wilier and it shifted ok for sure but decided to try the new Shimano polymer coat cables and housing they use for the 11 speed. I did that in mid May and since that time and about 2000 miles of riding I have not missed a shift up or down. The new coated derailleur cables and housing are beyond even Jagwire, which I always use and like. Sure it is a lot more cash but frankly worth every penny consider how many times I shift. Most of the internal cable routing and buried under the bar cables require precision work to shift perfect. My understanding is the new 11 speed stuff is really better but right now my 6700 is golden with the new cables.
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Old 09-04-15, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by wedgeSG
As someone on this forum once said "there are only two kinds of cables, Jagwire, and not Jagwire.

This. Superfluous bonus points to Jagwire for offering like 20 colors.
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Old 09-04-15, 07:21 PM
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Given the bikes you have, sunlite cables and housing will be great.
The sis housing is lined and plenty consistent for every indexed bike I've put it on over the last couple years. Come to think of it, that's only 5 or 6 bikes. All the others are friction. Either way, it works fine.
The stainless cables, both brake and shift, will be fine to use. They are smooth.
Sublime brake housing is a little soft, but it works well. It's lined too. When I say soft, I mean the exterior. It performs fine and without issue.


I use Sunlite lined housing and cables on anything I refurbish to sell and probably half my bikes.
The other bikes have jagwire because of specific colors.

I wouldn't hesitate to use Sunlite housing and cables in any 7 speed setup. It's way cheaper than most anything else while still being lined.
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Old 09-07-15, 01:38 PM
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My thanks go to everyone who took the time to reply to my original questions.

One observation has become increasingly obvious to me. The Intertubes are a world of strong opinions on almost every conceivable subject. While I have been reading many such opinions on the superiority of high-end cables (eg, coated, or sealed systems), or the differences between mid-range cables (eg, stainless) versus lower-end cables (eg, galvanized), there seems to be very little strong opinion within these general classes. There are definitely an abundance of personal preferences based on varying experience, but that seems to be about all. The only inference I can make is that the quality and performance of these products are basically equivalent between manufacturers within any particular product class.

So, perhaps I should start climbing out of this particular Rabbit Hole and find a new one to inhabit...

Nevertheless, I'm still quite interested in any other opinions that folks may have. Particularly on the matter of the 4mm versus 5mm housing... :-)

Thanks again.

Hannes.
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Old 09-07-15, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil
It is extremely important that you include information about the bicycle and the components you will be installing these cables on. The very latest components with 10 and 11 speed rear derailleurs and shift cables that run under the bar tape on road bikes require very high quality cables if you want shifters to work properly.
Unlined 4.5mm housing worked great with under-bar tape routing (which Campagnolo has used since 1992) and at least 9 cogs. Lifetime was almost indefinite except for the rear loop which took a few years to gunk up.

They've since monkeyed with return spring tension and switched to 4.1mm shift housing which may dictate the lined housings they now sell.

It doesn't matter how often you change them, cheap cables will not work very well. The cables on my road bikes are at least 4 years old and despite the fact that they run under the bar tape, shifting is still very precise.
With a decent training schedule and the 90 degree bend inside the shifter housing as used with current production controls I can wear out OEM Campagnolo rear shift cables in 2.5-3 months. Steel shift cables wear a groove in the lined housing causing it to go high-friction in 4.5-5 months.

Die-drawn cables are great, although I don't think lined housings are an improvement and would keep using unlined housing every place it's worked.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 09-07-15 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 09-07-15, 01:57 PM
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from my Mechanics perspective ; Zn treated steel is simple to solder around the portion I Will cut so It wont, Fray there .
Easy to pull add grease and put back in again,

Die slicked cables are a big improvement .. the wound cable wires are made flat on the outsides

'sunlite' is a name made up by an Importing distributor .

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-08-15 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 09-08-15, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt
I don't think lined housings are an improvement and would keep using unlined housing every place it's worked.
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Old 09-08-15, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by argonavis
. . . just swapping out components more frequently . . .
Friendly suggestion: Replace functional parts less often and ride more often.
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Old 09-08-15, 09:52 AM
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My front Shimano polymer coated cables lasted around 3,600 miles but the rear is still going strong on my 6800 setup, go figure. The polymer coating peels off and jammed up everywhere the cable encounters a transition. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Jagwire Teflon coated cable that replaced the Shimano crap. If the Teflon stuff goes out with the same regularity as polymer, I going to give plain cable and healthy grease a try. I have a feeling all this is marketing bs, initially tailored solution for unique conditions but extrapolated to the masses for quick cash.
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Old 09-08-15, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kcjc
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Jagwire Teflon coated cable that replaced the Shimano crap. If the Teflon stuff goes out with the same regularity as polymer, I going to give plain cable and healthy grease a try.
In my experience Teflon coated cables are even worse than the polymer as far as the Teflon coming off and farking things up. A good lined housing shouldn't need any grease either and eventually turns to goo which causes sticky cables.
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Old 09-08-15, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
I use Sunlite lined housing and cables on anything I refurbish to sell and probably half my bikes.
The other bikes have jagwire because of specific colors.

I wouldn't hesitate to use Sunlite housing and cables in any 7 speed setup. It's way cheaper than most anything else while still being lined.
Originally Posted by fietsbob
Die slicked cables are a big improvement .. the wound cable wires are made flat on the outsides

'sunlite' is a name made up by an Importing distributor .
I'm assuming you're referring to JB Importers. Wasn't "Pyramid" a branding they once also used for these same "Sunlite" cables?

Leaving any issues of the global economy aside, I have no fundamental qualms about Chinese products. The Chinese are clearly capable of high-quality manufacturing. However, it's equally clear that we don't tend to import their highest quality products since it's not cost effective, and I also firmly believe that Chinese industry has some serious issues in terms of quality control. I realize that many of the less expensive cables available today are of Chinese manufacture, but my hope was that by buying a "brand name", albeit a lower-end brand, there would be more attention paid to an acceptable standard of quality control.

In any event, I just learned from Someone Who Should Know(TM) that the Sunlite "slick" cables are NOT, in fact, die-drawn. I was told that in the case of these cables the term "slick" means that they are coated in some fashion. Can anyone shed any additional light on this information? Any first-hand experience out there?

Originally Posted by AnkleWork
Friendly suggestion: Replace functional parts less often and ride more often.
I completely agree. I definitely have no interest in frivolously replacing any parts. It's just that I depend on my bikes, and they often see some fairly harsh conditions. When the shifting force becomes excessive, the brake cables become problematic, or cables start to corrode or fray, I'd like to simply replace the offending components without agonizing over the cost. In my world, while I do enjoy the wrenching, these bikes are meant for riding, and that's just what they'll do... ;-)

Hannes.
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Old 09-08-15, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank
A good lined housing shouldn't need any grease ...
Light lube though? Whenever my shifting gets spotty, I pull the housing out of the brazeons and send a dozen drop of TriFlow down and then it shifts great.

My latest housing change was only so I could switch my accent color from lime green to red. Got a cheap jagwire lex kit off fleabay, it's been fine.
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