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New Cables - Which ones?

JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
edited April 2017 in Road buying advice
Hi all,

I am about to strip down my bike after a winter of abuse and rebuild it ready for the season ahead and as part of the rebuild I need to change the brake and gear cables. I am running Shimano 5800 and have found the standard cables to be fine, however as I am going to be using the bike as my race bike this year I am thinking that for better braking and shifting that upgrading the cables may be a good idea?

What I am unsure of is if chucking on more expensive cables necessarily a good upgrade or will I not notice the difference?

Will I notice the difference between a cheap set of cables and a £30 set, or do I have to jump to expensive cables to get a measurable/noticeable increase in performance?

I suspect that with more expensive cables the shifting/braking will be marginally better, but the main benefit will be better build quality and less cable stretch over time?

I have seen a complete set of Jagwire Road Pro cables on the dreaded eBay for around £27 and from what I gather they are pretty good, are these worth it over standard Shimano cables or are there better cables for a similar price I should consider?
Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
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  • flasherflasher Posts: 1,733
    As with everything cycling there's a lot of smoke and mirrors involved, it's a steel wire, if you want to spend 99p or £30 on one, it's your money.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Standard Shimano inners and outers from the big box at the LBS (all my bikes except the best bike) work just as well and the ridiculously expensive Goodridge ones on the best bike in my experience.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Flasher - Don't want to spend £30 if cheaper ones do the job just as well, but as I haven't used more expensive cables thought I would ask the question to get advice from those who have.

    Matthewfalle - Thanks for your answer, this was my concern, if there is no noticeable difference then why pay more?

    Cheapest I found Jagwire Road Pro cable set for is £25 posted, and Wiggle will do Shimano ones for around £20, so no real difference in price or performance then.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Don't automatically assume the Jagwire stuff is better than the Shimano OEM stuff; I've heard the reverse.

    I thought the Shimano 11 speed stuff required the use of the polymer coated gear cables for optimum shifting?
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Keef66 - I am not, I am keen to understand which will give me the best shifting and braking performance without spending silly money, I have read the blurb from most manufacturers and to be honest its actual reviews from those who use them I am more interested in.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Last cables I got from my LBS, the mech there cut them to length and pre lubed them for me. No lengths of extra cable I didnt need. Just the amount I required and all for £15 (2 x brake 2 x gear cable inners and outers & cable end grommits). Might be worth getting similar instead of buying online.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    keef66 wrote:
    Don't automatically assume the Jagwire stuff is better than the Shimano OEM stuff; I've heard the reverse.

    I thought the Shimano 11 speed stuff required the use of the polymer coated gear cables for optimum shifting?

    Bit like Currys selling HDMI cables for £100 just cos they have gold end for better signal - on digital!! Cables are cables. you pull one end it actions at the other end of the cable. all inbetween is a bit or wire rope inside a plastic sheath. All I can see cheaper cables doing is failing at the lever ie the cable end snapping off the end as happened to a mate on his Cube peloton a few weeks ago which is still very unlikely.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Last cables I got from my LBS, the mech there cut them to length and pre lubed them for me. No lengths of extra cable I didnt need. Just the amount I required and all for £15 (2 x brake 2 x gear cable inners and outers & cable end grommits). Might be worth getting similar instead of buying online.

    That's cheap, where is your LBS???

    I had to buy some inners for another bike and they wanted £8 just for the gear cables, hence my looking about!

    I am comfortable fitting myself and indexing the gears so its just down to performance v price, the Shimano full set including outers are around £20 which is fine so unless there is a reason I should be forking out £5 - £10 more for a different brand with better performance then its the Japanese fishing wire I will go for :D
    All I can see cheaper cables doing is failing at the lever ie the cable end snapping off the end as happened to a mate on his Cube peloton a few weeks ago which is still very unlikely.

    Funnily enough this is exactly what prompted the change on the other bike, it frayed then snapped.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • JesseD wrote:
    I am comfortable fitting myself and indexing the gears so its just down to performance v price, the Shimano full set including outers are around £20 which is fine so unless there is a reason I should be forking out £5 - £10 more for a different brand with better performance then its the Japanese fishing wire I will go for :D

    Is the Shimano full set really a full set, or just outers and inners for the gears (or brakes, depending on which set you buy)?

    I thought the Jagwire ones were a better deal, from that perspective.
    Although at the end of the day, it is just wire cable....
  • The new Shimano polymer ones are 'slightly' lower friction than good quality stainless inners and decent outers. However, unless you've got some horribly convoluted internal cable run then you'd be hard pushed to notice the difference.

    It's more important to make sure the outers are properly lubricated (few drops of oil/wet lube in there unless they come pre-greased, like some full kits) and that when you cut the outers that the end is squared off nicely and the internal bore has been opened properly with a sharp point.

    Also, don't cut the outer that feeds the rear mech too short. You want a nice curve, not a super-tight one where the outer is being forced into the mech adjuster at an angle.
  • There seems to be a lot of talk about 'compressionless brake housing' for cable to mechanical discs - and, whilst Jagwire make a lot of their housings achieving this, I can't find any mention in Shimano's spec that they do. Is this more smoke and mirrors? Will Shimano do the job just as well?
  • In my experience the difference between high end and normal cables is tiny. The difference between knackered & dirty old cables and new can be massive. Same for poorly installed new cables vs well installed ones (eg outers poorly cut & not opened up etc). I just get Wiggle's Lifeline Performance cables these days and change once a year.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    Wotnoshoeseh – No I would have to buy a set of gear cables and outers and a set of brake cables and outers separately, I had a quick look on Wiggle and it came to about £20 in total. I also thought the Jagwire ones were a good deal, however just wanted to know if they were any good and if there were anything better out there for around the same price.

    Mikenetic – I do that as a matter of course, I’m tight so try to look after my kit to make it last longer. There is no fancy routing or tights curves/bends, all pretty standard to be honest.

    Horizon – I read this as well, apparently its more to do with gear housing than brake housing as it affects the indexing, I can’t imagine any manufacturer would produce anything but compression-less housing for indexed gears nowadays especially with the night tolerances with 11 speed etc.

    Super-davo – Thanks, I was sort of wondering this after the responses above, so will look for the best deal on a set and not worry about the brand
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,584
    I recommend the Shimano ones that were made for your group-set.
  • I have used them, in red(fastest color of course!) but like said above its all down to maintenance, if its well maintained it will shift like new all the time(I like those Teflon coated inner cables, less maintenance.
    I have however switched to the Jagwire link elite outers, these are very nice, flexible, light(That weight saving is real when you compare it side to side), it also help us lazy folks with internal routed frames, the plastic sleeve extends all the way from the outer to the derailleur- NO MORE FISHING. hurray!
    however feedback from couple other friends said the Dura-ace 9000 cables are smooth as silk as well.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    So the upshot is that cables are cables and differences in performance will be negligible in the real world, just keep them well maintained and you will be golden, that is unless you want something fancy in which case it will give a marginal performance gain but you will pay for it.

    Cheap and cheerful it is then.
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • You can get the jagwire road pro sets for £23 on ebay - I've got them on my winter bike and my race bike and they seem to be pretty good value for money and come with everything you need.
  • JesseD wrote:
    So the upshot is that cables are cables and differences in performance will be negligible in the real world, just keep them well maintained and you will be golden, that is unless you want something fancy in which case it will give a marginal performance gain but you will pay for it.

    Cheap and cheerful it is then.
    Pretty much, any more you pay than mid range ones is more for Bling and weight rather than actual performance *cough*Nokon*cough*. Mind you cutting the outer to optimal length to save weight is much more satisfying than buying your way up the weight weenie tree. :twisted:
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    852Kompol wrote:
    JesseD wrote:
    So the upshot is that cables are cables and differences in performance will be negligible in the real world, just keep them well maintained and you will be golden, that is unless you want something fancy in which case it will give a marginal performance gain but you will pay for it.

    Cheap and cheerful it is then.
    Pretty much, any more you pay than mid range ones is more for Bling and weight rather than actual performance *cough*Nokon*cough*. Mind you cutting the outer to optimal length to save weight is much more satisfying than buying your way up the weight weenie tree. :twisted:

    with the size of my belly there is no point in being a weenie, plus I am tight and paying for a wedding so there is no way I am paying lots of £££ to save some grams here and there, be cheaper to have a dump and shave my censored . :lol:
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
  • mr_evilmr_evil Posts: 234
    Horizon wrote:
    There seems to be a lot of talk about 'compressionless brake housing' for cable to mechanical discs - and, whilst Jagwire make a lot of their housings achieving this, I can't find any mention in Shimano's spec that they do. Is this more smoke and mirrors? Will Shimano do the job just as well?
    It makes a real difference. Normal brake cable outers feel squishy compared to compressionless ones.
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,584
    Mr Evil wrote:
    Horizon wrote:
    There seems to be a lot of talk about 'compressionless brake housing' for cable to mechanical discs - and, whilst Jagwire make a lot of their housings achieving this, I can't find any mention in Shimano's spec that they do. Is this more smoke and mirrors? Will Shimano do the job just as well?
    It makes a real difference. Normal brake cable outers feel squishy compared to compressionless ones.

    Squishy in what way? Lengthwise? Also what science did you use to determine "squishy"?
  • mr_evilmr_evil Posts: 234
    dennisn wrote:
    Squishy in what way? Lengthwise? Also what science did you use to determine "squishy"?
    Squishy as in the brake levers feel like they travel further for a given amount of applied force. And no, I can't provide a figure in N/m, so feel free to disbelieve me.
  • Anyone had experience of Dura-Ace 9000 cables, fantastic, till worn, after 3 months the so called polymer wears off/breaks down, this then clog,s the outer, and so, because the action is so light, creates drag,
    Its an easy fix, but starts to get a bit pricey when a good quality one will do the same job, this is not new, there were cables years age with PTFE covering, they were censored as well.

    For me, you can't beat Flying Snake cables & carbon outer,s.

    Also Shimano never made much noise of the fact, the first 9000 STi snapped the cables, they just brought out the 9001 which is better,,

    In some instances the 9000 mechanical set is better than Di2, especially with thick gloves.

    Other Than the cable issue, its a superb system

    One tip, Squirt car silicon shine spray down the outer,s before putting inner in, careful where you spray, you'll be sliding off the controls, silicon will not help road rash.
  • Compression less, the outer cable housing core has reinforced cables in it running length wise, normal outers are coiled reinforced which can act like a spring, making the action feel squishy.
  • white91white91 Posts: 431
    I went for some Yokozuna I got for a great price, can't say they are any better but they certainly look good
  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,584
    You're making way, way too much of this. If you're running Shimano then buy Shimano. Believe it or not they are made to actually work with your setup. For all the hype of all the "other" stuff, you won't find anything that works better than than original equipment.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,862
    Don't want to start a new thread, so I'll tag my silly/lazy q onto this one...

    The rear mech cable snapped on my Cube Attain GTC over the weekend. When it snapped last time, I bought a full (9000?) kit and only replaced the rear mech inner. Any chance the 1700mm unused cable will work, or do I need to buy a 2100mm?

    I vaguely recall a bit of excess last time 2/3 summers ago, but not convinced there was 400mm+.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 945
    Can't you just pull out the old cable and measure it?
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,795
    Old thread I know but re. the advice above to oil new cables - this is something I don't do - should I be? What about the rest of you ?
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,862
    monkimark said:

    Can't you just pull out the old cable and measure it?

    I could, but I was being lazy, hoping someone who does this often knows straight up that 1700mm will only work for the front mech on a road bike. ;)

    It makes sense in some ways that a complete set would have one cable in the ballpark for each mech, but at the same time, it's kind of infuriating if ~2100mm is needed for the rear mech... Preventing you from using both cables to replace the rear twice and forcing you to buy another cable for the second replacement.

    I didn't oil the cable I did 2/3 years ago, the (9000?) cable had some "fancy" coating on it.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
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