Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Seems Pretty Slick

Remember Gore Ride On?
A friend of mine and I were reminiscing the other day about cables for bicycle brakes and derailleurs. I know.........we're such nerds! Anyway.....

The conversation was about the old R.L. Gore company's "Ride On" sealed cable system. It was an ingenious development that took a simple cable for a bicycle, and ran it inside a sheath from front to back, essentially sealing out the elements and making the cable retain its slick, smooth operation far past that of ordinary bicycle cables and housings. This despite the many "open" cable runs that most road and mountain bikes have employed for decades.

The system worked so well that some riders were reporting that their cables were friction free and operating well past a decade of continuous usage. That's hard to imagine, and let's face it- not a good business model. I mean, how do you continue to sell cables and housings if people are using the same set they bought from you for ten plus years! Then too, the competition probably wasn't too chuffed about selling against that track record either. Or at least, one wouldn't think so.

So, why hasn't this product taken over the marketplace? Well, the story begins with a 2012 CPSC recall on R.L. Gore cables due to a few reports of Campagnolo brake cable ends breaking off, causing crashes. Okay....that's a blow to any company, but it doesn't necessarily signal the end. However; this "Bike Radar" story, published in August of 2012, indicated that, " the cables and housing proved too small of an effort to make it worthwhile". SRAM was claiming that they would be offering it through their channels, but a quick search revealed only some older sets available on e-bay and through some Amazon sellers. Probably old, NOS stuff.

Jagwire's  Elite Sealed Kit
So, that was it? No, not exactly. With a little easy digging, one could find out that the R.L.Gore cables were produced in Asia by Jagwire, a company that has a huge OE business with several bicycle brands, and was branching out to sell their own branded product in the aftermarket. Jagwire announced in July of 2013 that they were introducing a "fully sealed system" . In this "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" article, Jagwire states through a spokesperson that Jagwire's new cables were a , "similar system to Gore in that it's sealed, but there are changes to improve performance and durability.

Well, I for one was not aware that this evolution, and brand change, had happened. It would seem that due to the past popularity of the Gore Ride On system, that one would think that riders would be searching out a replacement, but for whatever reason, this seems to be an under the radar cable system. I'm sure I'll get comments regarding these being in use out there, which is great, but I'll be honest, I would have thought this would be a bigger deal than it is.

Maybe Di2 has supplanted that buzz......


Exhausted_Auk said...

I have been buying high end Jagwire cable kits for a while, rather than the basic cables and bulk housing in stock at my LBS. I can say that it does make a noticeable improvement to braking and shifting performance. However, I think it only fair to add that even the stock LBS stuff is of significantly higher quality these days than I remember from decades past. If either kind is not sealed properly (with a full housing run or seals on the housing end caps) then dirt and moisture will cause problems.

Mark L. said...

I think there are several reasons for this. First, most mountain bikes (and, increasingly, road bikes) use hydraulic disk brakes. This takes away 2 of the 4 cables. Many mountain bikes are also going 1x, removing another cable from the system. That leaves only one cable on the bike. Lastly, many newer bikes are using full length housing that accomplished pretty much the same thing as the sealed systems.

KC said...

Hmm. I never had good luck with the Gore cables - dust & grit always worked its way in after a few months and wound up with higher friction than open cables.

Landon said...

I loved the Gore Ride-on cables. Still have a couple spares when the current cables wears out.
Good to know Jag-Wire picked it up.