Sunday, June 09, 2013

Nokon Brake Cabling and Bike Friday folding Crusoe 

I'm going to talk more about my Crusoe upgrade and more equipment recommends in another post, but for now wanted to share experiences and lessons from installing the Nokon cable set on my Bike Friday Crusoe, replacing the original brake cabling.

First important detail is that being an older build (circa 2006) the bike does not have the newer cable routing and ferrules, so this necessitated the use of a full Nokon kit and one extension kit to complete the brakes cabling.

With the Nokons the important gains are significantly better braking touch, feel and braking power; and then shedding at least three ounces in weight.  The older Bike Friday brake cabling is steel clad and unbelievably heavy.  Plus the stainless steel brake cable with the Nokon kit is super high quality and heavy duty; they look like they will last 100 years.

On the down side the Nokon housing casing beads do slide around in the old Bike Friday 5mm cable routing eyelets, but that is because the eyelets are really 6mm and designed to let the cable slip around when the bike is folded.  To solve this I used the clear plastic cable protectors that Nokon provide in the kit.  You can see this installed here (click on image to enlarge view).

Notice also two protectors, the second (far left) is for when the bike is folded (there is about 4" of cable length play needed to allow this movement during folding).  You can see an extra piece of protector behind the right cable eyelet, my attempt to prevent rattle and slap onto the frame on rough road sections.  Notice also that the entire cable run is using the casing beads.  Again because I do not have the newer cable ferrules I cannot leave the stainless steel cable run open for the section running along the frame; the whole thing has to be casing. What solved the rattling and looseness is to use two small pieces of sticky putty (the type used to put posters on walls), one on each cable eyelet.  With these in place everything is firm and totally quiet riding.

I would recommend installing the front brake cable first as it is much simpler to do and once you have mastered that, proceed to the rear one.  I of course did the reverse as the rear brake action was giving me issues and needed attention first.

Overall now I have it working I am pleased with the results.  Firmer braking is a major plus, and predictable brake operation.  I was able to leave good clearance on the Paul's brake pads on both front and back to avoid post-braking rub on wheel rims as the brake blocks settle back out and away from the rims.

The Nokon housing and cables feel and look excellent.  Others have mentioned quality issues, corrosion and squeaks.  I see none of that.

These two images show the front cable routing and then the full rear cable length routing.

The rear routing especially is much superior to the old Bike Friday provided cable.

Notice however that the gear shifters are using stock black Shimano shifter cables (which I replaced the old Friday cables with a couple of years ago).  I have found these to be excellent and have no reason to change these.  Also, having put the brake cabling on, I have my doubts that the Nokon would function with my bar end friction shifters given that I do not have the newer cable ferrules to lock the cable casing into.

Overall then I can recommend using the Nokon cabling to replace the brake cabling on your Bike Friday.  If you have the newer cable routing ferrules and indexed shifters then you could also contemplate the gear cables too.  The gear shifters will of course require a second Nokon kit to complete with so that adds some expense.  Hunt around to find the lowest prices available online.  What I paid I am happy with given the big improvement in braking performance and quality of this German solution; these should last now the lifetime of the bike.

I would have liked to have used an American made option here.  The only one that looked promising was the PowerCordz system.  They did not have the casing in green however, and also I was worried the casing is too stiff to use in folding along with being too thin to fit the Bike Friday old routing fittings.


Product Reviews - Bike Test Review and Bike Habit Blog

How to example videos - Nokon with shifters; and Nokon with brakes.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?