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It's time to replace my shift cables on my road bike and I'm thinking of spending the extra and investing in Shimano Dura Ace 9000 polymer cables.

Has anyone experience of these? I'd appreciate your thoughts, particularly on whether the shifting is any better over standard cables and if you think they are worth the money.

I run Ultegra 6700 and can't think of any reason why they wouldn't be compatible.

Regarding installation/maintenance:

  • I understand that when you install them you need to scrape the polymer off the cable where it is clamped down upon by the rear derailleur - Is it simple enough to scrape off without making a dogs' breakfast of it?
  • They are pre-lubed with silicone grease - in the future will WD-40 suffice to keep things moving smoothly?
  • For most cables, you shouldn't be lubricating them to begin with (see this question). I'd guess these cables are the same (though you should check the documentation for them). – Batman Sep 8 '14 at 3:09
  • Thanks. I'm not going to add anything to begin with as they are pre-lubed. I was wondering what's best for them in the future as they have a polymer coating. I've had a look on the Shimano site, but I can't find the product page. I'll drop them a line - it's not urgent and I'll update this question with any info I find out. – adey_888 Sep 8 '14 at 3:21
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Couple of points:-

  • Firstly, yes they are compatible.
  • Yes they do shift better of standard cables, this is due to cable drag. Cable drag is basically the friction between the inner and the outer. This friction causes slower and less accurate shifting. The polymer on the inner decreases the coefficient of drag between the inner and outer, this increasing shift performance. Now that seems like a lot of marketing BS, but having used both, I would now always opt for the new polymer cables.
  • Next to having to scrape the polymer off, this is easy and honestly, just clamping the cable breaks it away. Its pretty fragile stuff.
  • Next to your point of using WD-40 to keep things running properly, WD-40 acts as a degreaser, this actually strips the silicone grease off, and will dramatically decrease shift performance and cable life. You would be better off not trying to lubricate the cable at all rather than using WD-40. Lubricating the cable with a touch of silicone grease however is well worth it. When I clean or service bikes, I put a touch of silicone grease where the cable exits the outer at all points. This helps two fold, firstly it stops water/dirt getting into your outer, secondly it will work its way into the outer and help keep them lubricated.
  • Thanks Henry. I took the plunge and whilst expensive I would say the shifting is better and I would buy again. From my experience you need to be careful how you handle them as dirt etc will stick to the lube on the cables – adey_888 Nov 6 '14 at 4:31

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