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Brake and derailleur cables

Old 02-24-14, 12:01 AM
  #1  
tjcough 
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Brake and derailleur cables

I don't know if this is the right section to ask this question, but I need some advice.

I'm building my 88 Centurion Ironman with Shimano 600 Tri-Color (6400) and I don't know what type of brake and derailleur cables/housings to get. I don't think I should get generic ones, but if I don't get generic, what should I get? I'm not trying to break the bank on cables and housings, but I would like decent quality.

Also, is there a "feelable" difference between generic and non-generic cables/housings?

Thanks.
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Old 02-24-14, 02:03 AM
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dabac
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The two main differences to keep track of are:
- brake(tight wound spiral) vs shifter (near parallel strands) cable housing.

Get this wrong - shifter housing used as brake housing - and you are flirting with a critical failure.
The other way around - brake housing used as shifter housing may mess with your shifting, but that's it.

A secondary difference is between brake housings, which are available both with and without lining. Never seen unlined shifter(near-parallel) cable housing, but I guess it's possible.
At the extreme low end of the scale, department-store spare parts, a bag with both housing and cable, you can still find unlined housing. But I'd recommend against using it. Lined housing gives a definitely smoother feel.

Then there's cables. Apart from brake vs shifter, with different heads and diameters, cables come in two main variations:
- stainless
- galvanized

On top of that they may be die drawn(smoother surface) or not, and may be surface treated for slickness or not.

When it's new, and properly installed - anything works. I can tell the difference between lined and unlined brake housing, but that's it. Galvanized vs stainless, I wouldn't be able to guess.
But when things start to get grimy, then the difference begins to tell, particularly for high-index derailer systems. Good quality shifter cables(die-drawn, stainless and/or slick treated are much more abuse tolerant than a rougher galvanized cable.

A downside of stainless is that it's a bit harder to service the system. Galvanized can be easily solder-sealed, pulled out of the housing, cleaned and(lightly) lubed and reinstalled. Stainless needs a special solder.

As long as the material requirements are there - lined, smooth etc - I've never noticed any difference between the blingy brands or the generic brands. BBB housing vs Jagwire vs Shimano vs unlabelled housing with the same features - I'll use them all interchangeably without any concern.
If you buy a cable kit, sometimes there's a difference in how useful the accessories are, ferrules etc.

Then it's always possible to go overboard with Kevlar wires and Nokon housing, of you feel the spending urge coming on....
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Old 02-24-14, 04:04 AM
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Mr_Wrench
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Go stainless steel cables for the longest life. I'm inclined to agree with Dabac about the housing. Shimano has served me well.

Although that Nokon housing seems to be in a league of it's own. (never used it though)
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Old 02-24-14, 05:19 AM
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TJ...I use Jagwire Road Pro Kits with success. Top notch quality in a kit with everything you need - also comes in a nice variety of colors. I pick the
kit up for about $35 - I also use the Parks cable/housing cutters.

https://jagwire.com/products/v/road_pro

Last edited by Shepp30; 02-24-14 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 02-24-14, 06:04 AM
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Tjcough, I've used upper level Jagwire cables and housings and I can't tell any difference to upper level Shimano cables and housings.

Brad
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Old 02-24-14, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Shepp30 View Post
TJ...I use Jagwire Road Pro Kits with success. Top notch quality in a kit with everything you need - also comes in a nice variety of colors. I pick the
kit up for about $35 - I also use the Parks cable/housing cutters.

https://jagwire.com/products/v/road_pro
This is the definitive answer to your question. Nothing can match the price/performance value of Jagwire Road Pro kits. Shimano will nickel and dime you to death to get what comes for one low price from Jagwire. Ulitmate performance at a bargain price. Available everywhere on line, including ebay.

Yes you can feel the difference that top notch cables make. Don't settle for less. The Pro Road are fully back-compatible with older model brakes and dearailleurs.
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Old 02-24-14, 06:36 AM
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I don't know what dollar amount "breaks the bank" for the OP, but it's simplest to buy a higher end jagwire or equivalent kit. They're a good enough value, and they give you excellent results.

I wouldn't use low-end Bell/WalMart kits, except to harvest the cable crimp ends.

One could buy lined cable housing in bulk from eBay sellers, buy separate ferrules, and bulk buy drawn stainless inner cables from China. That takes a little more effort and might save 20% from the kit prices if done carefully and in quantities of more than one bike's worth. You also have to know exactly what you need to make a complete cable set of the correct housing types, too.

Last edited by Phil_gretz; 02-24-14 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 02-24-14, 08:44 AM
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I was eyeballing the Jagwire Road Pro kit, and this post looks like it confirmed my assumption that it would be a good lot to buy.

I guess I'm gonna go with it!
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Old 02-24-14, 09:07 AM
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Another vote for Jagwire cables and housings. I don't buy their premade kits but buy housing in 25 foot coils and the inner cables 12 or so at a time. Bought through Amazon, the shipping is free and I have a several year's supply for all of my bikes.
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Old 02-24-14, 12:10 PM
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Hey, dabac, what is "die-drawn" cable?
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Old 02-24-14, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SlimAgainSoon View Post
Hey, dabac, what is "die-drawn" cable?
After winding the strands, the cable is drawn through a small hole in a hard metal plate (the die) to form a smooth, slick exterior surface.
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