Bikerumor Review: Gore Ride-On Cables

bikerumor review of gore ride-on cables fully sealed derailleur shift cable system for road and mountain bikes

Normally, having a very wet Winter and Spring wouldn’t classify as a good thing.  But, if you’re reviewing Gore’s recently redesigned Ride-On cables, it’s perfect.  I’ve had the new Ride-On derailleur cable system on my mountain bike for about eight months, during which time more rides than not involved some manner of wetness, ranging from the occasional puddle to full on surprise downpours that had me riding through a solid 1″ of standing water.  Fortunately, that last ride was on some very hard packed / rocky Virginia singletrack, so no trails were harmed in the testing of this product.

For most riders, this type of riding would have meant at least one cable/housing change.  For picky, obsessive riders like me, it probably would have entailed at least two housing replacements and possibly the same number of new cables.  But, thanks to Gore’s completely sealed system, I’m still running the same set and they’re still shifting like new.  That alone justifies the $65.00 price tag, given that a new set of regular cables can run from $12 to $30, and cables from $5 to $15 each, depending on how fancy you wanna get.

So, they work well.  What else should you know about the system?  Was there anything we didn’t like about them?  Read on for the full review and rating…

WHAT’S IN THE BOX:

gore-ride-on bicycle derailleur cable6

Our box got a little beat up from being stuffed in our already over packed suitcase on the way home from Interbike.  Yours will likely be in better shape.

gore-rideon-cable4 gore-rideon-cable3

All the components of the system are well organized, and the well-conceived packing trays make a nice holding place for everything as you assemble and install it on your bike.

gore-rideon-cable5

The cables come already slipped inside the teflon sheathes, but you’ll need to slide them out in order to install.  The cables have an improved, Patented Gore  coating versus their original product that’s thinner and tougher than the original and are one of the primary improvements.  The new coating is super slick, and it adheres to the cables better, eliminating the fraying and peeling that was common on the first generation product (which I had and can verify from personal experience).

INSTALLATION:

gore-rideon-cable-install-05

If you’ve ever installed your own cables and housing, the Gore Ride-On installation should be no problem.  There are only a couple additional steps, the trickiest part being making sure you cut the inner liner to the correct length.  Cut it too short and you’re hosed.  Well, not entirely, but you won’t be able to install the little rubber “Grub seal” boots (the little black ribbed thing on the cable above) at the end of the final bit of housing before the derailleur.  This piece is what seals out the elements from that end of the cable, so messing up your cut would compromise the seal.

With the front derailleur, you’ve got plenty of clearance for the boot, and mine stayed in place pretty well, only slipping down once during the entire test period, and towards the end of the test period at that.

The rear boot, however, had a tendency to get caught up on the derailleur and be pulled down as it shifted back through the range, as illustrated in the series of photos below:

gore-rideon-cable-install-04

On the small cog immediately after installation.

gore-rideon-cable-install-02

Shifting the derailleur up to the big cog compresses the boot, and the tip of it gets rolled under the cable and stuck between it and the derailleur’s cable guide.

gore-rideon-cable-install-03

Shifting back the small cog, the boot remains stuck and pulls it toward the cable guide and off the lining.  That red rubber tip, BTW, is simply a little boot-tab that slides over the cable end you normally crimp on the cable.  It serves no real purpose other than as a decorative flourish.

gore-rideon-cable-use-08

After a while, the rear boot simply ripped along the spot where it was getting caught under the cable guide.  Sure, this could be conceived of as a design flaw, but in all honesty, it didn’t seem to affect performance at all, and there wasn’t any noticeable contamination of the liner because of it.  So, while being a minor nitpick, it’s really nothing to worry about.  Keep in mind, this is how it behaved on a 2007-ish SRAM X.O rear derailleur…your results may vary.

PERFORMANCE:

gore-rideon-cable-install-09

The liners run through from the shifter to just past the end of the last piece of housing, which is how they create a full sealed system.  The fluted end of the lining (see pics above) goes against the opening facing the shifter, and is really the biggest opportunity for contamination, but in my eight months of testing, nothing broke the seal.

Here are a few pictures that show the all-too-frequent post-ride condition of my bike during the test period:

gore-rideon-cable-use-05

gore-rideon-cable-use-04

When I edited these pictures, it was the first time I noticed that the booty on the front cable had slid down…which was about eight months after I installed the system.  Not too shabby.

gore-rideon-cable-use-01

gore-rideon-cable-use-06

gore-rideon-cable-use-03

Besides the wet/muddy conditions, the bike sat out overnight in drizzling rain and/or woke with lots of dew on it on several occasions, including some night laps with lots of moisture in the air at the BURN 24 Hour.

Despite all this, the system worked flawlessly and continues to shift very smooth.  I’ll report back when I finally have to change it out, but given the performance thus far, that could be a while.

BIKERUMOR RATING:

It’s hard to find fault with the new and improved Gore Ride-On sealed system.  Sure, the price tag’s a little steep on the front end, but they pay for themselves after just one or two normal cable swaps.  And the rear grub seal ripped a little (which is the only physical issue I had with the system during the entire test), but it didn’t seem to cause any deterioration in performance.  So, if you want the smoothest shifting around and/or you ride in less than perfect conditions, I highly recommend them.  Thus, I give them a full Five Thumbs Up!

bikerumor-thumbsup-5

NOTES:

  • I only tested the derailleur cable set.  They also make a brake cable set.  If you’re running mechanical disc brakes, they would almost certainly make a huge difference in lever feel and friction reduction.  For road bikes or V-brakes, it would probably feel better, but I’d more carefully weigh the cost versus how often I was going to be riding in generally lousy conditions.
  • Gore also offers a non-sealed system that uses their same coated cables to reduce friction, but it doesn’t include the sealed liner and other related parts.  That retails for $50.00.
  • They also offer an Extra Long Sealed Low Friction cable kit for tandems or bikes that need to run a lot of housing.  MSRP is $70.00
  • In a partnership with SRAM, they also have a partially sealed road system under SRAM’s PitStop line, but for the price, our recommendation is just to get the fully sealed system we reviewed here…it’s only a few bucks more.

Comments

[...] end-to-end tubes within the housing to completely seal the cable from lever to derailleur (which we reviewed here). The clear housing becomes visible just after the aluminum stops, and as it moves along the [...]

[...] is a semi-sealed cable set that weighs 20g to 30g less than their fully sealed system (which we reviewed here) and within a few grams of traditional housing but with the added benefit of some weather [...]

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.