Jagwire Ripcord DIY Derailleur Kit
There are a few items on a bike we consider to be consumables: Tires, Chains and Cables/Housing. Any professional mechanic will tell you that replacing these items as often as possible will keep your bike running like new, prevent breakdowns and unnecessary wear on components. So when it comes to cable and housing, there are a few criteria that we judge by: how well it shifts, ease of installation, and affordability (being a consumable item, it’s often best to buy cheap and replace often to maximize performance).
But enough of the mechanic soapbox, we have to admit that what caught our eye initially about the Jagwire Ripcord DIY Derailleur Kits were the awesome, and vivid color options. Being fans of bright Ano parts and hot rod paint jobs, adding a little pop to the bike is always a good thing by our book. Housing is a perfect way to add a color accent to your ride. The good old reliable Shimano XTR/Dura Ace Grey does not exactly scream Pimptastic! However, rolling up to the trail with Hot Pink, Neon Green or Bright Orange cable housing can do nothing but up your game.
For the new Spider FRO test rig we chose a tasteful white Jagwire Ripcord DIY Derailleur Kit to tie in the white aesthetic of the fork and saddle. We expected to get a some flashy good looks out of the this stuff, but did not know what to expect on the performance end. Upon ripping open the package we were excited to see what looks to be a very well though out cable system with very nice Teflon coated stainless cable, reinforced housing and a mostly sealable system. The contents of the kit are as follows: 18cm of housing, 15cm front shift cable, 21cm rear shift cable, 3 lined ferrules, 7 nosed ferrules, 6 cable donuts, 1 raincoat boot, 2 cable tips and 21cm of sealing liner.
Installation was as simple as to be expected from a quality cable and housing set. We did find that the hose at the end of the nosed ferrules was wider than what you get from Shimano and most others we have seen. We had to squeeze the noses through the cable stops on our frame. After the install, we were happy to see that the cable ran through the nosed ferrules smoothly and friction free. You can remove the hose on the nosed ferrules, but then you run the risk of exposing the Teflon coating to rubbing against the frames cable stops and causing pre-mature cable were as well as scraping off the pretty Teflon coat.
Surprisingly we had very little housing (less than 10cm) left after the install on our medium Intense Spider FRO frame. This leaves little room for mistakes, and may not be quite enough housing for larger 29er frames or frames that have few stops and require long, solid sections of housing. The amount of ferrules and tips was sufficient for our application, but we always wonder, "why no extras?" Small tiny pieces are inevitably dropped on the shop floor during installation, and we end up on hand and knees combing the floor for the elusive Campy chain pin, micro-cosmic, itty-bitty screw for a STI shifter cover or runaway c-clip on our Formula disc brakes. For the record, Shimano, Campy and everything else we have tried is stingy with extra ferrules and cable tips as well so we will not point the finger solely at Jagwire. Nonetheless, we were in great shape after install and the cable ran smooth without noticeable friction through the housing. It provided crisp and precise shifting with our SRAM X.0 twist shifters
Overall we felt the quality and performance was on par with the Shimano set we are used to buying and the price is spot on at $30. The numerous props we got around the shop like, 'that white housing is sa-weeet', etc. made the kit worth well more than $30. We will definitely choose the Jagwire Ripcord DIY Derailleur Kit over the boring Shimano grey stuff when it is time to replace. In fact, all the available color option gives us yet another perplexing combination of bike jewelry alongside Chris King headsets, Industry Nine Wheels, Twenty6 pedals etc., to make us toss and turn at night when dreaming up our next bike.