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Ceramic upgrades from Vertebrae
Sep 20th, 10. New bike bling - ceramic brake and gear cables. Ben from RoadCycling.co.nz checks out the latest offering from Vertebrae.
After using these ceramic cables for a while now, I don't want to go back to normal cables again.
The combination of great looks and better braking performance is a winner for me.
When Vertebrae offered a set of their latest ceramic brake and gear cables for review, I jumped at the chance.
Ceramic cables qualify as new bling for the race bike, but they also promise increased performance with stronger braking and easier gear shifting.
To put them through the test I chose a self-assembly kit, picked my colours and componentry match, and within days a small package arrived from the US.
The kit included the ceramic pieces, teflon liners, cables, spinal wrap, and detailed instructions.
The spinal wrap, or outer plastic tube, comes in many different colours, including clear. This clear version makes the ceramics easily visible once installed. New bling needs to be shown off in my opinion!
While Vertebrae offer pre built cables to any length you need, the kit I had was the self assembly version.
I threaded each individual ceramic bead onto the teflon liner, making each piece long enough for the section of the bike that it was needed on. It was a fun project for a wet day.
The instructions were very clear about what had to be done, and how to correct any mistakes along the way.
I made the long brake and gear cables for the front, and the shorter rear gear and brake lengths for the back.
While this threading process did take a while it was pretty simple.
Once the ceramics were threaded, next came the fun part - installing the spinal wrap to hold it all together.
After a quick trip to the hardware store for a $29.95 heat gun, I was ready.
The heat from the heat gun shrank the spinal wrap tightly around the ceramics, forming the perfect looking brake and gear lines. After some small trimming with a craft knife, the cables were ready to put on my bike.
The ceramic cables come in a few different types, Campagnolo, Shimano or SRAM. I installed the cables on my 2008 Campagnolo groupset.
Vertebrae claim their system provides smooth and efficient braking, and easy shifting.
While I am not a mechanic, nor an expert in the performances of brake and gear lines, these did feel good.
The braking was as Vertebrae claim - very direct . Every pull on the lever felt like it was grabbing harder and harder.
When I pulled hard on my old cables, I would almost never get the lever flat on the bars.
The gear shifts also felt smoother and easier to make, in part due to the compressionless ceramics, and to the qualities of the teflon liner.
Teflon has one of the lowest coefficients of friction, making this lubrication free liner a great choice for brake and gear lines.
Visually, the Vertebrae lines look stunning. White ceramics covered in a clear outer looked sharp on my black bike, but never fear, Vertebrae have colours to match any frame or colour scheme you require.
I don't want to go back to normal cables again. The combination of great looks and better braking performance is a winner for me.
Vertebrae can be purchased as pre made cables, self assembly kits, or in any combination of parts should you ever need to rebuild a line, or replace due to a crash.
Vertebrae brake and gear lines are available for Shimano, Sram, Campagnolo and FSA. These are not just for road bikes either. They are also suitable for other bikes too – BMX, MTB, or fixie.
The self assembly kit I tested is available online at www.vertebr.ae for a price of 195 euros. (approximately NZ$400)
If it helps, you could even justify this to your non-cycling partner as a "safety device".
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