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Verdict: 
Top notch maintenance-free gear cables
Weight: 
241g
Jagwire Road Elite Sealed Shift Kit
8 10

The Jagwire Road Elite Sealed Shift Kit could be described as the complete package, the Holy Grail of gear cables, impervious to Mother Nature and supposedly zero maintenance. Even with my Univega's eclectic, high-mileage drivetrain, shifts are phenomenally slick and swift.

The Shift Kit works to broadly the same science as Jagwire's brake cables and, indeed, other sealed systems. A clear sleeve inside the outer cable impregnated with a permanent lubricant runs the entire length, preventing wet, gritty stuff from contaminating the inner wire and affecting shifting/braking performance.

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The stainless inner is also treated with a specialist fit 'n' forget polymer lubricant, and I've never felt the need to give them a blast of PTFE-based maintenance spray.

Sharp snips are a must for any cable guillotining, but especially where these are concerned because they fight back. If you're in any doubt about the condition of your snips, invest in a fresh set rather than risk ruining these pretty pricey cables. I accidentally pruned one with my generic workshop snips, the sort used for cutting zip ties, which resulted in a messy cut. A grinding wheel saved the day and my blushes, but you have been warned. A methodical, uninterrupted approach is best – bargain on an hour to get front and rear mechs sorted.

Jagwire Road Elite Sealed Shift Kit - on bike 2.jpg

Jagwire Road Elite Sealed Shift Kit - on bike 2.jpg

The outer is very stiff, creating graceful arcs where cables exit the frame stops and enter the rear mech, requiring some slight trial and error and trimming, which all tacks on time. It's worth the wait, though. Any new cable of decent calibre perks up shifts, but changes in every respect have become that bit more precise. Without any further dialling in, the front has skipped between 44 and 32 rings without hesitation, even when grinding up unexpectedly sharp climbs.

> Video: How to adjust your gears

Riding through wet, gritty lanes and literally running them with zero TLC has made no impression on their performance these past few weeks. Beware that the outers are also quite harsh, especially when silty contaminant gets lodged in, so remember those rubberised cable cuffs and 'helicopter' tape where they rest directly against the frame.

Jagwire Road Elite Sealed Shift Kit - on bike 1.jpg

Jagwire Road Elite Sealed Shift Kit - on bike 1.jpg

Ultimately, I love these cables and rate them above other sealed units I've run in the recent past. Time-poor riders with higher end components wanting maximum performance with fit 'n' forget simplicity will be delighted.

Verdict

Top notch maintenance-free gear cables

road.cc test report

Make and model: Jagwire Road Elite Sealed Shift Kit

Size tested: Outers 1700mm, Inners 2300mm Sts-Lf Coated

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Jagwire says: "The Elite Sealed Kit uses a continuous liner that seals the system completely protecting it against dirt, mud and debris. Available in unique frozen (matte) colors, this system offers the ultimate combination of protection and low-friction performance.

"To ensure the lowest possible friction, we developed a unique polymer-coated cable and paired it with Speed-Lube ultra-slick lubricant used throughout the liner. This combination delivers amazing performance and the precise lever feel you expect."

My feelings " Deliver truly superb, seemingly fit n' forget performance but at this price, something I would reserve for an Audax, mile-munching tourer or gravel bike with top-flight transmission."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

* The continuous liner running from the levers to the derailleur offers much more protection from dirt and debris

* Ultra-slick polymer-coated cables are paired with our Speed-Lube to reduce friction

* New lightweight XEX shift housing is nearly 30% lighter than traditional shift housing.

* XEX - lightweight, braided steel strands around a Speed-Lube liner

* Sealed, Lubricated

* Jagwire sealed systems, available only in DIY kits, include liners that run continuously from the lever to the brake or derailleur. This protects the cable and housing from dirt, mud or anything else that can cause friction. But because the liner runs the full length of the cable, a specially developed cable coating and lube are used to keep friction to a minimum.

*

* STS-LF - pre-stretched, slick stainless steel spiral-bound cables with an ultra-slick polymer coating designed for use in Jagwire Sealed Kits

* Polymer-Coated or Polished Ultra-Slick Stainless Steel

* These ultra-slick stainless cables deliver the ultimate low-friction performance. Jagwire offers two options: An ultra-slick polymer-coated cable for use in our Elite Sealed Systems with continuous housing/liners, or a highly polished, uncoated cable that can be used with any housing and lubricant. These Elite level cables deliver incredibly accurate, smooth performance.

Housing Construction XEX

Outside Diameter 5.0mm

Housing Length 1700mm

Liner Speed-Lube

Liner Length 2225mm

Cable Construction STS-LF Polymer-coated Slick Stainless

Compatibility SRAM®/Shimano® Road

Front Cable Length 2300mm

Rear Cable Length 2300mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Superb, ultra-precise shifting and, to date, seem truly impervious.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Difficult to say in the shorter term but standards of materials and construction suggest they should deliver excellent performance in the most challenging contexts with zero maintenance.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

According to Jagwire, its XEX housings are 30% lighter than 'standard' outers. An opportunity to save a few grams, if you've trimmed every last bit of "fat" elsewhere.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

These certainly deliver excellent performance, though probably best saved for a high-end groupset that racks up big mileages.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Easily the best gear cables I've used, offering truly brilliant performance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Superb shifting performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Outers were quite tricky to fit but this isn't particularly unusual by sealed system standards.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? For a mile-munching bike with top flight group, yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, though there are plenty of much cheaper but still good quality options.

Use this box to explain your score

Brilliant performance; they're a little tricky to fit and pricey, but still warrant an 8 overall.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

2 comments

Avatar
Sven Van Anders [37 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

A set of these will do the rear mech's of two bikes; far more useful than than the front and rear mech's of one bike

Avatar
OnTheRopes [175 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Bought a set of these, great quality and i would buy again but the instructions are absolute tosh.

Lots of bits that I don't wtf they are supposed to do and only half legible drawing to try and decifer.

A bit like the instructions with some flatpack furniture.