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What kind of cables do I need?

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What kind of cables do I need?

Old 10-15-06, 02:17 PM
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guruguhan
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What kind of cables do I need?

Hello,

I'm building a bike and just wanted to clarify which cables I should go for. It is a touring bike, shimano FD (ultegra), RD (xt), cassette and xtr v-brakes. I have't decided on if I'll use barcons/STI shifters yet. I'd like to know if I get the XTR SIS shift cable set, and XTR brake cable set if I'm ok, or if I should get something else instead.

Thanks
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Old 10-15-06, 02:19 PM
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They'll work fine. Any quality set of shifter and brake cables will work.
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Old 10-15-06, 02:24 PM
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The only way the XTR cable set wouldn't work is if the housings provided are too short to work with the shifters and/or brakes you settle on. As to quality, any Shimano housing and cables will be fine.
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Old 10-15-06, 02:27 PM
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Thats good - thanks guys!
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Old 10-15-06, 02:31 PM
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What are you planning to use for brake levers? XTR brake cables have the wrong ends to work with road style brake levers.

If you get new STI brifters, they'll already come with new cables and housings but you'll need a cable pull device, like a Travel Agent, to operate the V-brakes.
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Old 10-15-06, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
What are you planning to use for brake levers? XTR brake cables have the wrong ends to work with road style brake levers.

If you get new STI brifters, they'll already come with new cables and housings.
Very good point. I should have picked it up too.

Also, the OP is planning to use V-brakes so if he uses STI levers he will need Travel Agents to make them work or Dia Compe's V-brake specific road brake levers if he decides on Barcons.
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Old 10-15-06, 02:43 PM
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I know all about travel agents, the question is about cables. Thanks for throwing it in though.

Primarily just interested in knowing if I should get dura-ace, xtr or something else. Thanks again
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Old 10-15-06, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by guruguhan
I know all about travel agents, the question is about cables. Thanks for throwing it in though.

Primarily just interested in knowing if I should get dura-ace, xtr or something else. Thanks again
I don't think Shimano really has quality levels for it's cable sets. That is I think the same quality cables come with 105 as with Dura Ace and with LX as with XTR. They are all good.
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Old 10-15-06, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
What are you planning to use for brake levers? XTR brake cables have the wrong ends to work with road style brake levers.
Erf! I totally missed that too. I saw the OP mention V-brakes and my mind went into MTB brake levers.
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Old 10-15-06, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
I don't think Shimano really has quality levels for it's cable sets. That is I think the same quality cables come with 105 as with Dura Ace and with LX as with XTR. They are all good.
Great - I wanted to be certain because I know some say that Dura Ace (referring to components, not the cables) might sacrifice in some areas to keep the weight down.

Should I get an extra set of both to keep on hand?
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Old 10-15-06, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by khuon
Erf! I totally missed that too. I saw the OP mention V-brakes and my mind went into MTB brake levers.
I was happy you and Hillrider simply answered the question (and within seconds I think ), nothing more, nothing less!
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Old 10-15-06, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
I don't think Shimano really has quality levels for it's cable sets. That is I think the same quality cables come with 105 as with Dura Ace and with LX as with XTR. They are all good.
I believe they have different quality levels but they're very limited and the differences between them are pretty slight. It's kind of like their chains. They have around three different "popular" types that they distribute amongst the groups where one is for budget/entry-level, another is for recreational-performance and the third is for the top-tier groups. The differences are that the higher level ones include things like stainless steel cables and teflon lined housings. LX, XT and XTR I think share the same cable sets as does 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace while Deore and below (Tiagra and below) use a lower quality set. And then there's the bottum-rung stuff meant for groups like Tourney.
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Old 10-15-06, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by khuon
I believe they have different quality levels but they're very limited and the differences between them are pretty slight. It's kind of like their chains. They have around three different "popular" types that they distribute amongst the groups where one is for budget/entry-level, another is for recreational-performance and the third is for the top-tier groups. The differences are that the higher level ones include things like stainless steel cables and teflon lined housings. LX, XT and XTR I think share the same cable sets as does 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace while Deore and below (Tiagra and below) use a lower quality set. And then there's the bottum-rung stuff meant for groups like Tourney.
Or, you can get "generic" teflon-lined cables and housing for a whole heck of a lot less at any LBS I just bought a couple of generic teflon-lined cables for $4/each at Performance Bike, and they sell cut housing for like $2/foot, or you can buy 25 ft packs of good quality housing for $15-25.

In my experience, the way to get good performance from your cables is not to buy fancy sets, but to buy decent cheap cables and replace them when they get dirty and worn (depends a lot on riding conditions).

Also, as others have pointed out you'll need Travel Agents to operate your V-brakes with drop bar levers. They're annoyingly expensive, which has kept me using canti brakes for a while... And FWIW, Sheldon Brown thinks that V-brakes with Travel Agents are no better than traditional cantis:
If you want to use Ergo or STI brifters with direct-pull cantis, there are two workarounds available:

* You can use a pulley-device, such as the QBP Travel Agent. These are a bit of a hassle to set up, but do work.
* If you have a bike with skinny tires and no fenders, there are "shorty" direct-pull cantis that are more-or-less compatible with drop bar levers.

Neither of these systems is ideal, and neither is really any better than traditional center-pull cantilevers.
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Old 10-15-06, 04:48 PM
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I just use generic "slick" cables from QBP. I don't even get the stainless ones because I solder the ends.
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Old 10-15-06, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by khuon
LX, XT and XTR I think share the same cable sets as does 105, Ultegra and Dura-Ace
Yeah, my experience has been with 105 and Ultegra and Dura Ace and the cable sets that came with the brifters all seemed to be the same quality, differing only in color. Some were black and some were grey. I'm sure you're right that the X-Mart level components don't have the same high quality cable sets.
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Old 10-15-06, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
I just use generic "slick" cables from QBP. I don't even get the stainless ones because I solder the ends.
Does soldering have any advantages over capping? I have a soldering iron handy, but it seems like a pain compared to just crimping a few caps on the cable ends...
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Old 10-15-06, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by moxfyre
Does soldering have any advantages over capping? I have a soldering iron handy, but it seems like a pain compared to just crimping a few caps on the cable ends...
Solder doesn't fall off. Personally, I just cap mine too. I'm just too lazy to solder and all my cables are stainless steel.
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Old 10-15-06, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by khuon
Solder doesn't fall off. Personally, I just cap mine too. I'm just too lazy to solder and all my cables are stainless steel.
Caps don't fall off either if you do 'em right Use needlenose pliers or a crimping tool with narrow jaws (= lots of pressure at the edges) and long handles (= lots of leverage). Don't think I've had a cap fall off in a year or two.
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Old 10-15-06, 07:48 PM
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The one thing I do like about caps is that you can throw in a little bit of accent colour if you want.
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Old 10-16-06, 04:23 AM
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Originally Posted by moxfyre
Does soldering have any advantages over capping? I have a soldering iron handy, but it seems like a pain compared to just crimping a few caps on the cable ends...
If you do a neat job of soldering you can slide the cables in and out of the cable housing if you need to for maintenance. It is a little more time consuming to do but I don't charge myself labor.
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Old 10-16-06, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
If you do a neat job of soldering you can slide the cables in and out of the cable housing if you need to for maintenance. It is a little more time consuming to do but I don't charge myself labor.
You don't? I do. But then I buy myself a beer and call it even.
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Old 10-16-06, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
If you do a neat job of soldering you can slide the cables in and out of the cable housing if you need to for maintenance. It is a little more time consuming to do but I don't charge myself labor.
That is a nice advantage! I've destroyed two perfectly good derailer cables recently by getting them frayed while reinserting them
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