If you are looking for a quick and easy way to improve the performance of your bike and cut the maintenance time, then you need to install a set of Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables. When I had my Surly Necromancer Pugsley custom-built this past December the local bike shop installed a pair of these cables and I liked them so much that they are now on all five of my bikes.
As the name implies, Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables are sealed cables which means that from the shifter to the derailleur the cables are inside of one continuous sealed liner, and they terminate with a tight Grub seal which means they are impervious to rain, mud, road salt and grime—and you will never have to oil or maintain your cables again (for as long as they last). In addition, these are the smoothest shifting cables you will ever find! After putting a pair of these on my Trek Madone road bike it felt like an entirely different machine—words can’t describe how easy the shifting was (and since the Madone has a Shimano Dura Ace derailleur I didn’t think there was any room for improvement to begin with).
While the local bike shop installed four sets of these cables for me, I installed the last set myself on an old Trek 4300 mountain bike I was rebuilding. Installation of the Gore cable system is fairly straightforward—if you can install a standard set of bike cables then you can easily install these. The only tools you need are a set of metric Allen wrenches, a pair of cable cutters (like the Park Tool CN-10 Cable and Housing Cutter), a new razor blade and a sharp awl (to clean out the cable ends after cutting). Gore has an instructional video on their Website if you need help with installation. In addition, Calvin Jones from Park Tool wrote an excellent article on Gore Ride-On Cable Installation.
Gore Ride-On Sealed Low Friction Derailleur Cables retail for around $55 a set and are available with either black or white cables. Gore has several similar products (with similar names), so whether you ride a road bike, mountain bike, tandem bike or full-suspension bike they have a product that can meet your needs. These cables are compatible with Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo mountain and road derailleurs and come with a one year limited warranty. After riding with these cables for a few months I no longer consider them a luxury item—they are a necessity!