Nokon No More

Nokon No More

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Followers of the Keepers may remember a while back that the Head Keeper, Frank, was having a dilemna about whether or not to run Nokon cables on his steed, and indeed which colours would suit said machine.

I'd been running them on my previous Roubaix, mainly to get the 'Zabel-esque' shifter cable routing, with some degree of success.  They shifted reasonably well, no better or worse than standard cables I thought, and looked pretty unique.

All was well until my front derailleur cable started to fray at the pinch bolt, necessitating a new inner cable.


Or so you'd think.

What should have been a 5 minute job turned into an hour-long late night curse-fest, and left my bike front shifter-less and me unable to join the next day's early morning ride.

With the Nokon's multiple aluminium segments spread all over the floor, I decided to go back to good ol' Shimano SP41 outers. But I wouldn't be able to get Zabel with it.  Or would I?

Turns out that the black 4mm casing is flexible, yet stiff enough to run the bend from the lever to under the bar tape, and still shift with the precision that it's known for.

I also routed the cables around the opposite sides of the headtube, crossing over under the downtube like I'd been doing with my mountain bikes, and how I'd seen it described over at Embrocation mag.

Tidy, functional, and dare I say it, PRO.  I've still got the Nokons employed for the brakes though, because everyone knows that they hardly get used anyway.


// General // The Rules

  1. What should have been a 5 minute job turned into an hour-long late night curse-fest, and left my bike front shifter-less and me unable to join the next day’s early morning ride.

    With the Nokon’s multiple aluminium segments spread all over the floor

    I love this! It sounds like every cyclists who works on their own bikes (like me). And the end result is wicked nice. Worth the moaning and cursing, it could be a new look at the service course. Almost makes me want to ditch the Campy just so I could Zabel up, too.

  2. So they won’t fray where they cross over?

  3. No, they hardly touch, and if they do fray, by the time that happens it will be time to replace them anyway. It’s better than having the housings rubbing into the frame, too.

  4. Nicely done. I’m super impressed with the appearance, and I love the cross-over maneuver. I’m going to try this on the bikes with Shimano fo shizzle.

    Love the black, black, black look, by the way. Did that come about with the new frame or did that happen independently? Let me add that the Nokon-SP41 mix is classy as hell. All Cervelo TestTeam.

  5. Cheers. The blackness came with the new frame I guess, but I’m back to a white saddle at the moment, as the black one is on my Tricross. Going against the rules a little, but the saddle does have red on it,so it ties in with the frame somewhat.

  6. Just re-read this again and scoped the embrocation blog. New frame is arriving today and will build it up this weekend using this method of routing (the crossover, not the Zabel). What will be interesting on the BMC is internal routing on the down tube. There have been reports of cable rattle in the downtube on these frames with various fix suggestions. Perhaps the crossover will help negate the rattle. I’m not going Zabel because I’m going with Yokozuna Reaction cables (stiff) and installing Jagwire rocket STI compatible barrel adjusters as the frame doesn’t have barrel adjusters for tweaking on the fly. The Yokozunas look sweet and appear to be high quality. Cheaper than Gore or Nokon too. I’ll keep you updated.

  7. @Marko
    Awesome! I’m anxious to hear more about it! That BMC is going to look sweet. We’ll be expecting updates with photos.

  8. @frank

    This may be a dead horse but here’s an update anyway. I went for the Zabel-esque routing under the bar tape. It seemed like it would work well and surely looked cool. The problem I had, however, was not with the shifting, it was with braking. What happened was when I applied brakes the levers would not return all the way to the non-brake position. This was because the shifter cable housing tension in the tight Zabel-esque bend stronger than the brake spring. I’ve still got the double cross thing going on with no rattle but wasn’t able to pull off the under the tape trick. Maybe the shimano cable housing is more supple but the Yokozunas shift so much better it’s not worth the trade off.

  9. That cable-routing is wrong on every level. It’s like those people (of whom I might, or might not have been one) who in the late 80’s, early 90’s wanted the look of aero levers while still running non-aero levers.

  10. @Marko

    You recommend the reactions? I’m running Nokon now but have been thinking of giving the Yoko’s a shot. I didn’t notice much difference from the stock Gore cables going to Nokon on my SRAM but it sounds like the Reactions made a noticeabe improvement for you huh?

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