Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shimano Polymer cables

Since using the Shimano hidden cable system, which is designed to be more aerodynamic and give a generally cleaner look, I’ve had to replace the derailleur cable and housing every 1.5 to 2 years. Due to the sharper bends it causes a little more cable resistance and any breakdown of the cable and housing increases the resistance of shifting to the point it's really a pain to modulate the shift normally. The traditional higher end Shimano cables are PTFE coated which work great initially but eventually the "coating" wears off and accumulates inside the housing and causes increased friction and hard shifting. I guess it kind of balls up. Sean at Brookfield bicycle center recommended Shimano's newer cable and housing system for Ultegra 6800 and Dura ace 9000 that has a polymer coating that will not ball up inside the housing. Shimano also coats the inside of the cable housing with a silicone grease for added "slide". I decided to change only the rear derailleur cable and housing as every else is working well.

Overall summary:
This cable system is honestly amazing, shifting modulation is better now than when the bike came new with Jag wire cables. The polymer coating ensures extremely smooth lever movement. These cables are so slick that If you use these on the braking system it's recommended you scrape off the polymer coating where the cable anchors to the brake caliper fixing bolt as it's so slick it can slide past the fixing bolt, that’s how slick it is.
The Ultegra version of the polymer cables

You can see the actual polymer coating on the cables.
The redish coating can be scraped off where the brake anchor
clamps down as to prevent the cable from slipping loose. 

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