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brake cable quality???

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brake cable quality???

Old 12-17-10, 05:55 PM
  #1  
tgrssn
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brake cable quality???

is the quality of brake cable/housing an important factor? for the last couple of years i've been buying these cheap 4 dollar cable/housing kits from my lbs. it's always worked fine. but recently i've been using it to cable this drop bar cross check w/ v-brakes and it seems like i've had to troubleshoot and replace pieces of housing multiple times to get the cables to run smooth. i'm 99% sure i'm cabling correctly. the bends are perfect.
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Old 12-17-10, 06:47 PM
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reptilezs
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good cables and housing makes a difference
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Old 12-17-10, 07:13 PM
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I've never had troubles with cheap brake housing, but cheap brake cables do seem to sprout meat hooks much sooner than more expensive ones. Swap cheap ones every 18 months or get better ones and likely enjoy a longer maintenance interval.
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Old 12-17-10, 07:13 PM
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HillRider
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Originally Posted by tgrssn View Post
.... but recently i've been using it to cable this drop bar cross check w/ v-brakes
Are your brake levers compatible with V-brakes? Levers designed to work with sidepull calipers and cantilevers pull the wrong amount of cable to work properly with V-brakes. Maybe that's your problem.

And, yes, within reason, cable and housing quality do matter. Good quality lined housing and smooth die drawn cables will make any brake system work better.
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Old 12-18-10, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Are your brake levers compatible with V-brakes? Levers designed to work with sidepull calipers and cantilevers pull the wrong amount of cable to work properly with V-brakes. Maybe that's your problem.

And, yes, within reason, cable and housing quality do matter. Good quality lined housing and smooth die drawn cables will make any brake system work better.
+1 I would personally rather get better lined housing and good quality cables (I prefer stainless steel, but you may not), than take a chance on problems with braking. I figure whatever extra I spend on this stuff is 'cheap insurance'!
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Old 12-18-10, 11:55 AM
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If you step up from the cheap $4 kits to a solid good grade of mid priced housing and cables you'll get good Jagwire or equivalent lined housing that doesn't feel spongy and stainless die drawn smooth surface cables. The difference in feel and life of these cables and housing is light years ahead of the cheap $4 kit stuff. And it's not like it costs the world either. Die drawn cables are only about $3 each and good quality mid line Jagwire housing is a buck a foot at my local bike shop. So all in all I can do a whole bike for about $12'ish and have solid long lasting performance that FEELS really good as well. Using the better products will greatly reduce the spongyness felt at the brake levers because the cables don't stretch as much and the housing doesn't squish as much. The stuff won't stop you any better but it'll FEEL so much better and last a lot longer.
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Old 12-18-10, 03:49 PM
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IMO, there isn't a significant difference as far a brake cables are concerned. Any decent standard cable and housing will work fine.

For shifting cables, cheap works well too, except shifting performance degrades sooner with cheap cables and housing. IMO, it's cheaper and better to replace cheap cables and housing more often (it's really the housings that make the difference but it's difficult to run used cables with smooshed ends trough new housings) than it is to go with high-dollar cables for a longer period of time.
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Old 12-18-10, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Any decent standard cable and housing will work fine.
The operative word there is "decent". I've found no real benefit to using the high-dollar boutique cable sets but good quality cables and housing aren't expensive and do give better brake feel and shifting action than Wal-Mart quality items.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
The operative word there is "decent". I've found no real benefit to using the high-dollar boutique cable sets but good quality cables and housing aren't expensive and do give better brake feel and shifting action than Wal-Mart quality items.
This hit's it on the head. Like so many bike parts (and things in general). Quality improves with price up to a point, beyond which further improvement is very marginal. The biggest quality improvements per dollar are concentrated at the low end.

Look for the least expensive cables with die drawn wires for smooth running, and decent lined housings. You can spend more and get somewhat better performance, but don't need to.
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Old 12-18-10, 05:19 PM
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I concur.

The $1.00 galvanized cables at the LBS don't last me very long at all. Strands will break quite easily.

The $1.75 stainless ones are good for quite a bit longer.

Never tried any of the Gore stuff or other magic cables.
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Old 05-10-22, 10:40 AM
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Sorry to bring up a dead thread but I'm curious if I'm riding an older road bike (Peugeot) with the shifter cables exposed, does the quality matter much? I just invested in some good Jagwire brake and derailleur housing so am wondering is it worth putting something a little better especially since the cable will be exposed to the elements.
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Old 05-10-22, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by tairy View Post
Sorry to bring up a dead thread but I'm curious if I'm riding an older road bike (Peugeot) with the shifter cables exposed, does the quality matter much? I just invested in some good Jagwire brake and derailleur housing so am wondering is it worth putting something a little better especially since the cable will be exposed to the elements.
I find a quality housing has much more influence on braking and shifting than the actual cable, but I still prefer stainless. Even with most of the cable exposed, a cheap housing is too flexible and squishy and has an impact on performance. Jagwire is usually fine enough for most.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:02 AM
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There's no hurt in using good-quality shift cables, even with downtube shifters. Is the rear derailleur indexed? You will need to use the proper cable housing for that bit near the rear derailleur--and it sounds like you are. Out of an abundance of caution, I also run my cables under the BB through short pieces of teflon tubing, into which I dribble a few drops of cable oil. Since the cables are exposed, I'd of course suggest stainless steel. I think your choice of Jagwire is great, since it meets all these parameters.
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