Shifter and brake cables should be made out of stainless steel, with no coatings on them. Coatings wear off. Think about that teflon frying pan you have that’s covered in scratches, or the leaky Goretex coat you have, or the poly on your shiny wood floor. It all wears off. Some of it faster than others. If you don’t have a coating, the coating can’t wear off. Teflon is especially evil as a cable coating. Or anything coating. It’s terrible, just awful for the environment. That’s why we don’t sell teflon lubricants, or polishes, coated pedals, etc.
No coating means you have to run the cable thru a mandrel of some sort to smooth out the strands in the cable. Standard 5 buck cables do this process once. They work fine for lots of things, but they’re not so hot for 11 speed shifting, or full length cable housing, or any other application where friction can adversely impact performance.
Jagwire Pro cables have an additional smoothing mandrel processing, and the end result is a cable that collects less dirt, runs smoother and lasts longer. Your shifting and braking will be improved with these cables, the lack of drag is noticeable. The Jagwire Ultra Slick cables take this to an extreme, they’re slicker than teflon cables, because they polish them after they run them through the mandrel. Pity the cable polisher, that cannot be a fun job.
Want a really good cable for a decent price? Let’s get you set up with Jagwire Pro cables. Want the best cables made, damn the price, get the Ultra Slicks.
These cables come in 2 lengths, long and short. Here’s our rough guide to that:
If you are running disc brakes, get one long, one short brake cable. If you are running caliper brakes, get two shorts, unless your bike is really big and you have high bars.
If you are running flat bars or drops, play it safe and get one long and one short shifter cable. The short might be long enough for the rear derailleur, but it’s 4 bucks more, and you have way more cable to play with if you like to run your housing long. Why run your housing long? It’s easier to smoosh it out of the way when you mount a bag up front. Short ‘perfect length’ cable housing tends to crimp when you jam a bag on or over load a basket. Go maybe 2-3 inches longer, and you won’t have that problem. Also if you ever end up deciding you want a taller stem, you won't have to replace all your cables n' housing if you ran it a little long in the first place.
If you have drop bars and road levers, get the road brake cables. These work with any road brake lever except Campy stuff. The shift cables work with any shifter except Rohloff and Campy. Mountain and road are the same. Pair these cables with Jagwire’s lined housing and some brass ferrules.