Sounding like a third-rate 1950’s B movie, Transfil’s flying snakes are in fact, high performance weather sealed cable systems and as close to fit and forget, as you’re likely to get. However, costing around fiver more than comparable brands they’re not cheap and trickier to fit.
Transfil are no strangers to high stress applications supplying cable systems to the French car industry. Thanks to a combination of stainless steel inners, Teflon linings and UV and compression resistant carbon fibre/Kevlar composite outers they’re almost a third lighter than common or garden cablesets. Superb quality inner wires slide effortlessly through the Teflon sleeves but razor sharp cutters and perseverance are essential ingredients in persuading the inflexible housing to adopt graceful, flowing lines-especially where it enters the rear mech.
Fitted to my crosser, perseverance was rewarded with buttery smooth, dependable all-weather shifting and I can well believe reports of them performing faultlessly for several seasons in demanding coastal conditions without attention-just the ticket on a crosser, mtb or all seasons commuter. So, where’s the rub? Well, in the literal sense where the outers make contact with the frame, ours threatening to munch through thick polyester lacquer within days and would’ve made inroads into the paint were it not for carbon look patches and sections of electrical tape.
£22 is a lot for gear cables and I’ve had common or garden types run just fine in the worst of weathers with periodic blasts of Teflon based lube. However, riders short on time and needing their winter trainer or commu-tourer to soldier on through the seasons might find them a welcome addition to their armoury.
As close to maintenance free cables as you’ll find, but at a price
road.cc test report
Make and model: Transfil Flying Snakes
Size tested: std
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?
The intended market are bikes used in demanding conditions e.g. mtbs, cyclo cross, rough stuff tourists and all weather commuters.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Claimed 30% lighter than conventional cables thanks to kevlar/composite outers. Very well sealed against the elements-near to maintenance free as you'll get.
Generally very good but have heard some complain of outers spliting in very demanding contexts.
Very slick in all conditions-even submerged in muddy water.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These certainly deliver what they promise on all fronts and while gear changes are certainly slick, I have enjoyed comparable performance, albeit periodicly flushed through with teflon based lube.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Low weight and weather sealing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Price. Outers have the potential to chew through unprotected paintwork fast. Could also prove trickier to fit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes- for working bikes in daily service, cyclo crossers and mtbs
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb 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, mtb,
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)