11/04/2013 | 7 comments
It’s not often that cables deserve a mention, but these definitely do…
Rather than use a traditional cable outer these cables use precision made aluminium links which clip together to form the outer. You might have seen Nokon cables in the past which use a similar design, but unlike those these Alligator i-Link’s actually clip together, which makes them easier to work with. You simply add or remove links until you get the length of outer that you need.
These cables are also even lighter than the already light Nokon cables. In fact compared to regular gear cable outer these weigh 15g per metre, compared with 33g/m, which makes them ideal for any weight weenies. This particular set is the 4mm gear kit which is the lightest that Alligator make. In fact we’re pretty sure they must be the lightest cables out there.
Of course they wouldn’t be much use if they didn’t work, but with a polymer liner that runs continuously even if you have cable stops this is a well sealed system, plus the solid aluminium sections should be impervious to compression (which affects your gears indexing). These cables can also form surprisingly tight bends without any increase in cable friction, which means they’re ideally suited to bikes with problematic cable routing.
Each kit comes complete with two gear cables, two liners, 1.8m of the outer, and of course all the other little bits and bobs to fit on the ends. It’s good to find a couple of rubber frame savers included too because these could almost certainly cause some damage if left to rub. If your frame uses continuous outer and you also use a front mech then you might find yourself a bit short on outer, but you can buy this separately should you need to. that leads me to the fact that although these might on the surface seem pretty damn expensive I reckon they could actually work out to be fairly cheap in the long run. How come? Simply because the polymer liner for these can be bought separately for just a few quid, as can the inner cable, and so if your cables get grotty those are all you need to replace. The fancy outer should in theory at least last for years. With conventional cables you’d need to replace the inner and the whole outer, which isn’t cheap itself these days. And yes I know some of you pikeys probably just replace the inner cable, but after all my years of being a mechanic I reckon that’s a false economy as it’s the shredded inner part of the outer (if that makes sense) which I reckon is the real culprit of increased cable friction.
So, overall then these are very light and very pimp looking cables which might well set you back a fair bit to start with but in the long run they could save you money.
Photos: Ben Winder