Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Beer it does a body good!
Joined
·
250 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need the help of my fellow enlightened brothers and sisters in the faith. I am starting the build on my new brown KM SS and I am thinking of a higher level of braking performance with out the extreme cost of hydraulics. What are your experiences with Nokon, Powerlines and some of the other compression less cable housings? I might use cable discs but am leaning heavy to the cane creek v-brakes and better cables.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,491 Posts
Don't bother.

I've had several versions of these (Nokon, the IRD knockoff before they got sued and stopped making them, the Aztek version) and never found that they were worth the money. Retail price is something like $50 for a brake cable/housing setup - for that kind of money, you could buy probably 10 bikes worth of standard housing and brake cables.

That's not to say that money is the problem. I've spent more on far sillier things. But there are some other downsides:
-Annoying to install (all those little aluminum ferrule things suck!)
-Nearly impossible to adjust - if you decide to move your bars up/down or your brake levers outboard, or whatever, they won't be happy with being removed and reinstalled - these are definitely not a good item for people to like to change parts and adjust things.
-Didn't seem to change brake performance in any noticeable way. I'm sure in the lab, you can do tests that show that the decreased housing compression is significant, but I just couldn't feel any difference on the trail. Then again, I could never feel the difference with those silly brake boosters either, and lots of people used to swear by them. So maybe I'm crazy.

I've been told that the setup is slightly lighter than conventional (steel) housing, but it can't be all that much. And you can get kevlar housing for a reasonable price which is quite light if you want to.

Basically, it seems like a lot of money for something of relatively little (if any) benefit to me. YMMV.

-Walt

cronometro said:
I need the help of my fellow enlightened brothers and sisters in the faith. I am starting the build on my new brown KM SS and I am thinking of a higher level of braking performance with out the extreme cost of hydraulics. What are your experiences with Nokon, Powerlines and some of the other compression less cable housings? I might use cable discs but am leaning heavy to the cane creek v-brakes and better cables.
 

·
Harmonius Wrench
Joined
·
8,254 Posts
Walt said:
I've had several versions of these (Nokon, the IRD knockoff before they got sued and stopped making them, the Aztek version) and never found that they were worth the money. Retail price is something like $50 for a brake cable/housing setup - for that kind of money, you could buy probably 10 bikes worth of standard housing and brake cables.
Yes, these are silly expensive, but mine have lasted through three Midwestern winters commuting, several gravel road epics, and offroad rides- still functioning beautifully.

That's not to say that money is the problem. I've spent more on far sillier things. But there are some other downsides:
-Annoying to install (all those little aluminum ferrule things suck!)
Yes, I agree
-Nearly impossible to adjust - if you decide to move your bars up/down or your brake levers outboard, or whatever, they won't be happy with being removed and reinstalled - these are definitely not a good item for people to like to change parts and adjust things.
Agree again, although it is possible to "splice" the inner liner and make it work. Total PITA though!:p
-Didn't seem to change brake performance in any noticeable way. I'm sure in the lab, you can do tests that show that the decreased housing compression is significant, but I just couldn't feel any difference on the trail. Then again, I could never feel the difference with those silly brake boosters either, and lots of people used to swear by them. So maybe I'm crazy.
Crazy? You ride the Canyonero? Certifiable! ;)

I've been told that the setup is slightly lighter than conventional (steel) housing, but it can't be all that much. And you can get kevlar housing for a reasonable price which is quite light if you want to.
I think QBP sells a version of this which is much less expensive and works just about as well. I can highly recommend it

Basically, it seems like a lot of money for something of relatively little (if any) benefit to me. YMMV.

-Walt
Ahh......but you left out the "bling" factor! :D
 

·
Recovering couch patato
Joined
·
14,017 Posts
I used to love gore full-length teflon housing. Incredible brake smoothness, power and precision. For about a month, then the whole teflon tube got contanimated with dirt, and it was the worst setup imaginable. I got a second set, and then stopped investing big cash in cables. Maybe again when I'm positively convinced a system is 100% dirt proof. I did love how a fresh set of Gores performed.
 

·
The Voice of Reason
Joined
·
523 Posts
I always thought the Gore Ride-on cables were the shiznit. They lasted for about a year and were smooth and easy to install. Plus they were sealed pretty well from dirt and water. Can't find them anymore. I tried the powerlines but they were a pain in the arse to install and don't work any better than cheap cables.
 

·
Appalachian Singletrack'n
Joined
·
1,444 Posts
I am a big fan of Avid’s cable systems. They seem to last a long time and don’t kink at ferrule ends as bad as regular housings. You can usually pick up Avid kits for a about the same price as Dura-Ace or XTR kits at mail order places. The absolute worst cables I have ever tried where Nokans though. I was building a road bike a couple years ago and thought I would put a little extra icing on the build with the Nokans. Within a month the chrome coating had flaked off all the housing sections my sweat could get to and the ends that went into cable stops corroded into the cable stops so badly it was a serious effort with a multitude of tools to extract them (TI frame). I really didn’t think the Nokans where as smooth as regular cables either.
 
Joined
·
703 Posts
winter

Big G - ditto the thoughts above. The Azteks don't improve response in my opinion, but they are nearly a 'sealed' system that lasts a lot longer in lousy-weather exposures. I'm not as big as you, but I've found the Avid Arch Rival V's to be the best stopping power for the money, usually about $50-60 a set. I was just messing with a set of Aztek powerlines this weekend, and I was cursing them for their difficulty to install - I won't go there again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
Tried shifter housing for brakes?

Has anyone tried using shifter housing for brakes? I thought I read somewhere here on mtbr that people where doing this and it offered better braking. Thoughts?
 

·
Who turned out the lights
Joined
·
1,127 Posts
I have tried a variety of the "premium" cable and housing setups, and now I by the QBP house brand cables and housing. I actually try (on purpose) to buy the non-stainless cables, b/c you can solder the ends with acid-core solder, making removal/reinstallation easy (no frayed cable ends.

For my trials bike, I am using Avid Flak Jacket housing on my front brake b/c it is super stiff and has very little compression (Avid Mech front brake, Magura hydraulic rear). I don't normally like it, but on the trials bike, it works quite well.

I've never had any stopping power problems with the Avid mechanicals. Once they are broken in, they stop on a dime, and I can modulate nose wheelies fairly well (not like Jeff Jones, mind you).
 

·
HIKE!
Joined
·
1,657 Posts
KonaSS, don't do that!

KonaSS said:
Has anyone tried using shifter housing for brakes? I thought I read somewhere here on mtbr that people where doing this and it offered better braking. Thoughts?
SIS housing will explode and leave you brake-less! 29er or not. Don't use SIS shifting housing for brakes, period.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
321 Posts
Skip them...

Cloxxki said:
I used to love gore full-length teflon housing. Incredible brake smoothness, power and precision. For about a month, then the whole teflon tube got contanimated with dirt, and it was the worst setup imaginable. I got a second set, and then stopped investing big cash in cables. Maybe again when I'm positively convinced a system is 100% dirt proof. I did love how a fresh set of Gores performed.
Same deal here. I used to love Gore and recommended them to my riding buddies. Then I discovered that as soon as you get a small hole in the liner, it lets water and gunk in but doesn't urge it out. Felt kinda bad after my buddies made the investment, then started having the same problem. Gores are okay on road bikes as they're less likely to develop the holes in the inner lining.

No experience with Nokons, but tried the Aztec powerlines recently. Same ultimate result, except with the plastic outer cover on the aztecs, the water got in there and the little aluminum sections started corroding. Oh yeah, that looked *REALLY* good - aluminum corrosion sealed inside a clear plastic housing. :| Good initial performance (which was really no better than conventional housing) which quickly went away.

Currently running el-cheapo non-stainless cable on my bike with generic housings. No problems at all except the exposed sections are white. (the zinc galvanizing) Shifting and braking -- still *flawless*. Haven't even bothered with any maintenance.

Want to get all spendy on your cables? Get Shimano XTR. I run it on my wife's race bike and no problems at all, with *very* smooth action. Otherwise, generic cable and housing (although Shimano housing does seem to be a little better) with routine maintenance is all you need.

Speaking of routine maintenance... do NOT use Ice Wax on cables! Tried it - seemed like a good idea - on several bikes. (always test something on one bike at a time in case it doesn't work out!) Every single bike developed shifting issues. The Ice Wax gummed up the cables. A light oil works fine, but I usually install cables dry.

I did find a use for the Aztec Powerlines -- I run the sections that didn't get all corroded without the outer liner on the brake cables of my wife's 14lb road singlespeed. Ever so slightly lighter, and excellent bling factor. She barely rides that bike, though, so it really doesn't make much difference. :p
 

·
Cold. Blue. Steel.
Joined
·
1,709 Posts
Walt get's my vote (again) with his reply. He is a very good 29er Man of the Year!! :cool:

Two quick points:

1. No one has mentioned routing; no matter what system you use, the way your cables are routed (combined with proper length) makes all the difference.

2. I used full cable housings with my BB-7's and never had any issues throuhout a season of wet, crazy riding and marathon races. There are only two points of possible entry for the elements with this setup, and they are the least penetrable due to being at the lever and then at the caliper, where there's extra protection of the rubber boot. Just use quality cables and housing (I don't lube them because the tiny bit of extra smoothness you might acheive doesn't offset the dirt attracting nature, IMO) and route them well. I believe I was using some "Jet Lubed" housings and stainless cables.

OGG
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
321 Posts
Linear housing vs. wound...

KonaSS said:
Has anyone tried using shifter housing for brakes? I thought I read somewhere here on mtbr that people where doing this and it offered better braking. Thoughts?
Jagwire makes a linear brake cable housing -- looks like shifter housing with the linear wires running parallel to the cable, (vs a single wound wire) but has a braided outer layer to keep the housing from "exploding" under cable tension. I tried it. It worked, but I noticed no difference in lever feel or stopping power. As sparrow said, I wouldn't run plain shift cable as it's got no provision for keeping the linear housing together. The Jagwire had special housing ends that you're supposed to use as well. Again, not worth it.
 

·
Compulsive Bike Builder
Joined
·
1,512 Posts
Simple but effective

I have a few rules.

1) Plain uncoateed stainless rounded cables. That rules out the super cheap ones that do not have a round cross section. And no teflon, schmeklon, grylon, etc.

2) 4mm housings. That leaves room for #3

3) 4mm Alloy ferrule ends. Wheels Manufacturing offers them. Not brass, not plastic, not Shimano's with tiny little parts, not the kind with built in noodles to keep out dirt. They are the only ferrules that keep the cable housing wire from pushing through them in the long run. Ever remove your ferrules to see exposed housing wire? I used to think it was outer housing shrinkage or someting like that. It is the housing wire pushing through the ferrule. Brass ferrules do not stop that. And I figure if the housing wire is being pushed through, there must be some compression happening.

4) As a side note, I use canned air like I use to clean my computer to blow housing clean. I use the little red tube. Then I can decide to lube or not, or replace the cable or not, but I get a little more use out of the housing that way.
 

·
Recovering Weight Weenie
Joined
·
8,821 Posts
cronometro said:
I need the help of my fellow enlightened brothers and sisters in the faith. I am starting the build on my new brown KM SS and I am thinking of a higher level of braking performance with out the extreme cost of hydraulics. What are your experiences with Nokon, Powerlines and some of the other compression less cable housings? I might use cable discs but am leaning heavy to the cane creek v-brakes and better cables.
V-brakes? Are you teasing us?

Please do your new ride up right with some Avid Mech's....
 

·
Beer it does a body good!
Joined
·
250 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Why would I tease you

Padre said:
V-brakes? Are you teasing us?

Please do your new ride up right with some Avid Mech's....
I realy can not find any real advantage to discs for the ridding I do. I don't ride in the wet because it damages the trails. I don't have any long down hills on any of the trails in a 200 mile radius arround where I live. The addtional dish for disc brakes weaken the wheels and the addtional cost is not an advantage either. So why do I need them? For the bling bling factor? Bling bling is not why I ride. I don't mean to be a smart a$$ but what did I miss?
 

·
Recovering Weight Weenie
Joined
·
8,821 Posts
cronometro said:
I realy can not find any real advantage to discs for the ridding I do. I don't ride in the wet because it damages the trails. I don't have any long down hills on any of the trails in a 200 mile radius arround where I live. The addtional dish for disc brakes weaken the wheels and the addtional cost is not an advantage either. So why do I need them? For the bling bling factor? Bling bling is not why I ride. I don't mean to be a smart a$$ but what did I miss?
Advantage #1: They stop quicker, longer, and in more conditions.
Advantage #2: Your wheels will not die out permaturely due to rim wall deterioration.
Advantage #3: Did I mention the stopping better part?

You speak of "weak" wheels. In my 2 years of 29er riding, I have yet to even damage a wheel. (riding 5 days a week at 240lbs)

You speak of the additional cost of disc brakes. A set of Avid Mechs can be had for $120 if you look hard enough.

You speak of the bling-bling factor. Yet, I'm reccomending the most humble (yet effective) disc brake on the market. It's not about fashion, it's about function.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top