Review: Alligator Cable’s Ultra Smooth 31-Strand Stainless Steel Shift Cables
Normally, when we’re talking about Alligator, we’re showing you some wild brake parts (here and here) or showcasing an insane project bike. Their 31-Strand Slick Stainless Steel cables are a bit more tame, but still worth a look.
Aftermarket cables are a weird sort of afterthought these days, most often being a purchase of last minute need with choice being made by whatever your local bike shop has in stock. Alligator cables might not be the first name you’ll find hanging on the wall pegs, but they bring quite a few options to the table.
These eschew any outer coating but use thinner cable strands to pack more into the same space, then smooth the outer edges to make them slick. Since there are no special coatings to wear off, and they’re stainless, they should maintain their luster and performance for a long time.
These made their way onto my bike build for the TS Epic, connecting the XX1 group (reviewed here) along the Niner Jet9 RDO’s frame. Route past the break to see what makes them special…
The 31 individual strands of the Alligator cable (left) are thinner than the 19 strands from a standard cable (right). This makes the entire cable much more supple so it bends more easily in tight spaces. For frames (like the original Jet9 RDO) that have tight corners or multiple short bends in the cable runs, it helps everything run smoother. When I flexed and wiggled the 31-strand and a standard cable, the Alligator was noticeably more pliable.
It’s also light at just 15g for a full length cable with both shifter nubs still intact. Notice how small the coil is and how few wraps I had to do with the end to keep it all together? It’s just one small example of how flexible the cable is.
I’ve had these on the bike now for two months and ridden in rain, heavy (heavy!!!) humidity and dry dirt and had no problems. The bike’s even been on the back of a car through some highway rain, and it’s still running smooth as the day it was installed. Granted, the new Jet9 RDO’s running full length housing, but water will get anywhere and often one crud-filled ride can gunk up shifting. Also, I’ve only had to make a couple small twists to the shifter’s barrel adjuster during that time, so cable stretch has been minimal. It’s a little thing, but sometimes little things make all the difference.
Check ’em out at AlligatorCables.com.