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Brake & Gear cables

Col1253Col1253 Posts: 17
edited March 2013 in Road beginners
Hi all,

New member, first post!!

I am in the process of rebuilding a road bike from frame up and am trying to equip it with mid range components to get a nice balance of quality at affordable prices!! I am generally sticking to Shimano Ultegra for most things.

I have reached the point of needing to get new cables for brakes and gears and was after some advice please.

I have been told by my local Specialized dealer that they use “Clarks” cables in their workshop but that if I want to install a decent set of cables to look for the Teflon coated “Shimano Dura Ace” cables. There seems to be quite a considerable difference in price with these and I was wondering if I am really going to notice the difference or if I am just paying for a gimmick/name??

Is there anything in the middle anyone can recommend?


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    any that are stainless steel for the inners and the outers.

    they just last longer.

    teflon coating is nice but does ware off in certain areas.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Col1253 wrote:
    I have been told by my local Specialized dealer that they use “Clarks” cables in their workshop but that if I want to install a decent set of cables to look for the Teflon coated “Shimano Dura Ace” cables.

    Interesting attitude from the dealer. Translation - we put cheap censored cables on bikes in the workshop because our customers are stupid. Or, translation - Clarks cables are great and we use them all the time but you look stupid so go and buy some really expensive cables!

    FWIW, I think the Clarks ones are probably OK - I don't recall reading any horror stories about them on here. I replaced the gear cables on my Ribble recently - just the inners. The originals were Campag and the new ones unbranded in a poly bag. They work perfectly well but the magnet test shows they are a bit more ferrous than the originals (new ones magnetic, old not) - so probably they won't last as long. I will probably try to source Campag again next time.

    I'd either get the standard Shimano ones or seek out the Gore Ride On ones which can still be found. I think gear cables are more sensitive than brake cables so maybe spend more on the former if you must.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • djm501djm501 Posts: 378
    Is it just me or are Ultegra and Dura-Ace not 'mid range''? Looks like top of the range to my, perhaps untrained, eye.
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Jagwire "Racer" cables are what I use. Equal or better in quality and durability than the Shimano Dura-Ace, cheaper and can be found in different colours. They also use a slightly different brake housing which gives a noticably more firm feel. These also come with the ferrules and rubber frame protectors and you can get complete kits for brake and shifters. Shop around for best prices, Amazon, Ebay, etc. Never tried the Clarks so can't compare.
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    djm501 wrote:
    Is it just me or are Ultegra and Dura-Ace not 'mid range''? Looks like top of the range to my, perhaps untrained, eye.


    Anyway - FWIW, I use Jagwire kits as well on all of the bikes (except the tandem). Very good indeed and the price is pretty good as well. Lots of pretty colours as well.
  • Thanks for all the above. I am only managing to go with Ultegra by buying 2nd is certainly not in my budget!!!

    I will take a look at the Jagwire ones then.
  • imsimonimsimon Posts: 181
    What did u go for in the end? im in the same position as u! what bike are building?
  • Col1253Col1253 Posts: 17
    I've not bought them yet but have a found the Jagwire kit (Brakes & Gears cables) on eBay for a good price so am going to go with that.

    I am building an old "Guess RB1" bike. They are about 10 years old and are from an independent shop up in Nottingham ( It got quite good reviews when they were released, all be it ten years ago!! Anyway, a friend of mine was getting rid of one so it cost me £30 and it comes with Carbon forks. When I weighed the bike with all its original components it weighed less than my current Specialized Allez triple which has a smaller frame size!! The current RB1 is retailing at £500 although the spec is not great.

    I have stripped the RB1 down to its frame and bought all new components to spec it up given that the starting weight was already low. With a bit of carbon here and there and maybe even a spray job......I should have a pretty nice bike for not too much money!! My main aim is to learn how to fix and maintain bikes so I can try and avoid paying for shops to do the servicing.

    Are you doing a re-build or just looking at a change of cables?
  • imsimonimsimon Posts: 181
    sounds like im in same sort of position as you! ive got a 2010 allez
    see here: viewtopic.php?f=40044&t=12881002&p=17899943#p17899943

    ive just bought (hopefully delievered tomorrow) a kuota Kharma frame and looking to build it up, i'll be using the wheels that are on the spesh and then ive already managed to get ultegra mechs, brakes and shifters from here/ebay along with a dura ace 7800 chainset from here, all I need is cables, bottom bracket, stem, bars and pedals, then hoping to keep the allez as a winter hack

    I might do a build thread in the members bike area just for fun

    good luck, I had never heard of guess but the frame looks really nice and £30 is a bargin! I paid slightly more for my frame (well my credit card did!)
  • Col1253Col1253 Posts: 17
    To be honest, I never planned on doing a project bike but this one has sort of taken off simply because I got the RB1 so cheap!!

    So far I have got (all 10 speed spec) Ultegra Cassette, Ultegra derailleur’s, Ultegra crank set, Tiagra STI double shifters, Look pedals, Cannondale carbon seat post, carbon handlebar stem, some lightweight handlebars (cant recall make), new wheels (cant recall make) so I just need to get cables, tyres and tubes now and then I’m pretty much good ready to build.

    Looking at the Schwalbe Lugano 700 tyres (black/White) to fit the look of the bike. Not sure if they are any good but the reviews seem to be mixed with no horror stories!!

    Also toying with the idea of a re-spray before I start........
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