Are expensive gear cables really all that?

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Manc33
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Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Manc33 » 14 Sep 2016, 2:08am

People often say to get nice shifting back the first thing to check is gear cables, but often its never mentioned if there's much or any difference between cheap and expensive gear cables for rear shifting.

I got some really cheap ones and I think they have some sort of slight elasticity to them.

Is there much difference between say a £2 Clarks cable and a £6 one?

Surely the aim is to have a cable that "never "stretches if possible?

I am only on 9-speed and want better cables... I can't imagine 11-speed shifting properly on cheap cables.

I am not talking about cable housing... just cables.
When two cyclists get married, they should throw anodized cable crimps instead of confetti.

Brucey
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Brucey » 14 Sep 2016, 8:32am

I can't speak for all cables but often good cables are the difference between good shifting and shifting that is no good.

FWIW the cable pull per click is slightly less with shimano 9s than it is with shimano road 11s.

cheers
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Vetus Ossa
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Vetus Ossa » 14 Sep 2016, 8:41am

I have one ergo levered bike set up with cheap as chips inner and outer brake and gear cables. They work every bit as well as my campagnolo cables.

pwa
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby pwa » 14 Sep 2016, 8:46am

Firstly, check that the new cables are installed correctly. I recently changed a rear mech cable and went out to try it. It changed okay at first but then seemed reluctant to go to larger sprockets. I tensioned the cable with an adjuster and it worked, for about a minute. Then it went back to not wanting to go onto a larger sprocket. I knew what the problem was. The bolt holding the end of the cable at the mech was not holding the cable. It was pulling loose. So I put it on the smallest sprocket, undid the bolt, pulled the cable until it was straight, and did the bolt up again, with an extra half turn. Done.

The point is, if a new cable doesn't work 100% right at first, just check the obvious little installation issues before blaming the cable itself. And check the cable is not being pulled loose at the retention bolt.

mfitzy
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby mfitzy » 14 Sep 2016, 11:55am

My Surley troll was my first bike where the cables were fully enclosed in their outer cable from shifter to derailleur. It's made a massive difference to their performance. No idea why bikes have so much exposed cable to collect crud and reduce performance. Got to have a greater effect on performance than quality and price of the cable.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 14 Sep 2016, 12:06pm

Hi,
mfitzy wrote:My Surley troll was my first bike where the cables were fully enclosed in their outer cable from shifter to derailleur. It's made a massive difference to their performance. No idea why bikes have so much exposed cable to collect crud and reduce performance. Got to have a greater effect on performance than quality and price of the cable.

This is only a problem in mid winter or off road at any time, fully enclosed the Whole outer compresses too................
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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 14 Sep 2016, 12:09pm

Hi,
Don't know what year manufacturer (clarks maybe) I had a Teflon coated inner on the gear and it frayed at BB plastic guide, put the selection off a bit...........
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DaveP
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby DaveP » 14 Sep 2016, 10:46pm

Manc33 wrote:Surely the aim is to have a cable that "never "stretches if possible?

I am not talking about cable housing... just cables.

There was an indirect reference, but I thought I would make it explicit. Unless there is some sort of kink in it, inner cables don't stretch. I don't reckon I could stretch a brake cable with pressure exerted by my pink and dainties and although gear cables are thinner the forces exerted in order to change gear are certainly not enough to stretch them.
What does happen is that the outer cable can be compressed and if the ends are imperfectly squared off they can be forced deeper into their seats / ferrules. A relatively small amount of compression can make a rear brake feel spongy, especially if the cable outer is full length, or throw off indexed gear shifts.
Most modern gear specific cable outers are constructed with the steel reinforcing running along the length, not coiled as brake cable casings are. This makes them relatively free from compression. Using the proper ferrules and taking care to finish cut ends square should result in a decent job and satisfactory performance. Casings constructed like this should never be used for brakes as they could burst under the higher loads with disastrous consequences.
IMO its worth paying for stainless inners, and outers with a plastic liner for both gears and brakes. Mid range should suffice for most situations.
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Brucey
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Brucey » 14 Sep 2016, 10:57pm

Dave is correct in that spiral wound housings can move a lot, but inner cables can stretch too. The individual strands typically don't settle in next to one another properly unless the cable has been given some gyp.

That is why some gear cables are supplied 'pre-stretched'.

cheers
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Manc33
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Manc33 » 14 Sep 2016, 11:06pm

Brucey wrote:I can't speak for all cables but often good cables are the difference between good shifting and shifting that is no good.

FWIW the cable pull per click is slightly less with shimano 9s than it is with shimano road 11s.

cheers


Brucey its funny you say that because I was already trying to work out what an upgrade to 11-speed road would entail, but keeping it on a "flat bar" setup (on a MTB with a 135mm rear hub).

So let me get it straight, it would need a "11-speed 135mm road rear hub" that is taking a 11-32t 11-speed cassette like I dunno a 5800 cassette or whatever... with a Dura Ace mechanical 9000 rear mech... but then there's the flat bars... I think only one flat bar shifter exists that will work with all of that - the pricey "Shimano RS700" right shifter, that is about £40-£50. Can't have a left shifter of it because thats a 2x and the bike has a triple chainset, but who cares, it saves some money lol.

Then it would have 33 gears with a 11-32t, something like 11-12-13-15-17-19-21-23-25-28-32

Avoiding an 11-speed rear MTB shifter and the silly 42t sprocket is vital for me. The point of going to 11s would be to have 11-32 like on 9-speed with less jumps around the higher gears. Even then though it does only gain a 12t, it all seems futile lol. Its an expensive upgrade even if it was all used stuff and a used RS700 isn't likely.

Its greedy lol, because the setup I am on now (9-speed) is pretty good for not having annoying jumps with 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28-32. Whats annoying is only one 9-speed Shimano 11-32t cassette has those ratios "11-13-15" all the others that are 9-speed in 11-32t go "11-12-14" and that 12-14 jump isn't tolerable for me. Shame the only cassette that goes "11-13-15" is a ruddy Altus. :roll:

Most 11-34t cassettes start "11-13-15" but again there's a nasty gap from 17-20t, when the 11-32t goes from 17-19t.

It still seems like 9-speed is the sweet spot. Going to 10-speed would give a 12t between the 11 and 13 so... it does make 11-speed (on 11-32t at least) seem pointless. Mathematically though there is a sweet spot. :) Dropping to something like 11-25 everything changes and who knows which one is best. 9-speed seems to give a close enough ratio while still having parts available. 8-speed is dead now IMO.
Last edited by Manc33 on 14 Sep 2016, 11:11pm, edited 1 time in total.
When two cyclists get married, they should throw anodized cable crimps instead of confetti.

Manc33
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Manc33 » 14 Sep 2016, 11:10pm

quoted instead of edited sorry

Anyway cables... it seems as long as they are stainless with a name on them they will be fine. I always got Clarks ones because they are cheap but whats the point having decent equipment if it doesn't have decent cables to go with it.

I got 6 gear cables from China for about £3 posted... 2 were duffs with the cable fraying near the end that goes in the shifter and about 4 of them had the soldered end fraying a little. You get what you pay for. :roll: I am running one of those 50p cables right now though and it is been perfectly fine. I have a feeling it will just snap lol so I have already ordered some "real" cables. :mrgreen:
When two cyclists get married, they should throw anodized cable crimps instead of confetti.

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Neilo
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Neilo » 15 Sep 2016, 8:05am

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/112022321519?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&var=410959609136&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

£5 for the four cables would be good value, and it's always good to have some outer cable lying around.
They all work fine.
Makes it cheaper to experiment with different bars, shifters and brake levers as well.
If it aint broke, fix it til it is.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 15 Sep 2016, 9:29am

Hi,
Manc33 wrote:quoted instead of edited sorry

Anyway cables... it seems as long as they are stainless with a name on them they will be fine. I always got Clarks ones because they are cheap but whats the point having decent equipment if it doesn't have decent cables to go with it.

I got 6 gear cables from China for about £3 posted... 2 were duffs with the cable fraying near the end that goes in the shifter and about 4 of them had the soldered end fraying a little. You get what you pay for. :roll: I am running one of those 50p cables right now though and it is been perfectly fine. I have a feeling it will just snap lol so I have already ordered some "real" cables. :mrgreen:

Yeh st stl might be the way to go but you struggle to fix frays when cut?
Considering that most bikes and parts are made in china that was more bad luck / quality control through small suppliers will always be a problem.
Bought much stuff from overseas some good some bad but shops local are no different even when the stuff is carded?

On a side bought a chain, shimano, and when it arrived I found that it was made in India :o
read a paper on India vs China manufacture of chains and India was 20% more expensive to produce......................
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby Zanda » 15 Sep 2016, 9:36am

My girlfriend ordered some Teflon coated gear cable. Made by Jagwire. It's silky smooth to the touch and I feel sure it will sort out the shifting issues on her MTB, where the issue has been friction between the cable and the final section of housing. The section nearest the rear derailleur was getting water and grit inside it, and that was encouraging the cable to rust. This new cable should last longer. Frankly it is a league apart from the £2 ones sold by Wilko et al.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Are expensive gear cables really all that?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 15 Sep 2016, 9:50am

Hi,
I used to religiously oil my motorcycle cables for off road bike, even when my old bike had been standing in the garden exposed for several years the cables were still free.
It is the areas where the cable leave ends / BB guide where the cable can give problems, tedious to constantly maintain bike cables but necessary to constantly use preventive maintenance, like chain dry conditions even of road dry is not the same as winter use.
Not sure about the Teflon covered inners, what does using in already lined outers do :?:
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