CABLESETS – Part 3: YOKOZUNA Cable System Reviewed

YOKOZUNA – WHATS IN THE PACKAGE:

Premium Cables & Housing Cable Set

Premium Cables & Housing Cable Set

Reaction Cable System

Reaction Cable System


Reaction

YOKOZUNA REACTION CABLE SYSTEM

Yokozuna sells brake shoes and disc brake pads, but are best known for their Shift and Brake cable systems and high quality replacement stainless steel cables. The makers behind the Yokozuna brand have decades of experience subcontracting to the largest drivetrain makers in the cycling industry, providing cables and housing for these manufacturers pro-level groups. Currently, Yokozuna manufactures 2 models of cable systems (Premium and Reaction). For this test, I have chosen the Reaction Cable System. Here are the differences in these two systems:

  1. Premium Cable & Housing Kit – an OE replacement cable system
    • SHIFT kits (Shimano/SRAM; Campagnolo)
    • BRAKE kits (Shimano/SRAM; Campagnolo)
    • Jet-Lubed housing that is grease filled end-to-end, not just filled at the tips which offers a claimed 10% less cable drag than with conventional housing.
    • Two different diameter shifter housings are now available (4mm, and 5mm)
    • All housing is lead and dioxin free
    • Premium Quality Stainless Steel cables
  2. Reaction Cable System – a premium compression-less cable set consisting of both brake system and shift system featuring
    • Rapidwire Technology which is a compression-free (compression-less) proprietary housing design offering a claimed 14% boost in braking performance over conventional housings.
    • Jet-Lubed housing that is grease filled end-to-end, not just filled at the tips which offers a claimed 10% less cable drag than with conventional housing
    • Premium Quality Stainless Steel cables

Available are kits for ROAD bike, TT (Internal Routing), MTB, and Disc CX/Road. I tested the Reaction ‘Shimano road’ package which contains

  • Brake Housing (spiral casing): 1 x 5mm x 4000mm (157.5”)
  • 2 stainless steel Brake cables
    • 1.6mm x 1000mm (39.4”)
    • 1.6mm x 1700mm (67.0”)
  • 8 Step Down Alloy End Caps (BRAKE)
  • Shifter Housing: 1 x 4mm x 3000mm (118”)
  • 2 stainless steel Derailleur/shift cables
    • 1.2 x 2100mm (82.5”)
    • 1.2 x 2100mm (82.5)
  • 6 Plastic End Caps (4mm)
  • 4 cable end tips for crimping

INSTALLATION OBSERVATIONS:


It is very apparent that Yokozuna wanted to design a system that would not stretch nor flex, even under severe usage, so they went BIG. Bigger is better and it don’t get any bigger than these cables and housing. In fact, the brake housing is as big as it can get and still work with road brake caliper cable barrel adjusting bolt units (the thing that you insert the end of the housing into the caliper- see picture to the right).

In fact, using Shimano Dura Ace 7900 calipers, I had to lightly grease the outside of the housing as well as the inside of the caliper bolt unit and still had to tap it on a workbench to seat the housing completely.

A call in to Yokozuna USA yielded another solution which I tried on a small piece of spare brake housing. Their solution was to remove the outer plastic sheathing. The thought is to reduce the outside diameter of the housing so that it will more easily slip into the caliper adjusting bolt unit. You can see the disaster that this led to. The sheath is molded on very securely and not really meant to be removed. If you do get the sheath off, the outer metal braiding of the housing starts to unravel (see picture to the right).

In my opinion, the grease works fine. Just apply a thin layer of grease to the plastic sheath, then either tap the housing into the bolt unit, or twist the housing into the barrel adjuster. Measuring – Since the housing is very stiff, it will want to fight you as you try and bend it. It might take several tries for you to get the length just right. You want to look for smooth cable runs with no sharp angles, and, housing that runs straight into the ferrules and barrel adjusters.

If the housing is too short or too long, it will want to undershoot or overshoot the ferules which will force the cables to bind. Again, it might take several tries to get the length just right. It is definitely worth the extra time to get the lengths just right.

In my opinion, DO NOT remove the plastic sheathing. It will lead to unraveling of the housing.

In general, this is a standard cableset installation.

  1. Remove the old cables completely from the bike and throw in the trash. Do not remove housing yet.
  2. Mark each housing piece with a permanent marker as to where it fits (left handlebar shift, right handlebar brake, rear caliper housing, etc.) then place each piece flat on a workbench and measure out. Make sure to account for ferrules.
  3. Lay out new housing, measure once, measure twice, double check one more time, and then cut. This is your opportunity to make small adjustments in the housing length; a little shorter or a little longer.
  4. Place on bike where it will go
  5. Run cables, tighten, etc.
  • Note: the Yokozuna Reaction housing is HEAVY-DUTY and does not like to bend. Take extra care and time to make the housing the perfect length so you will only need to install once.

For this particular housing, you will need to use a high-quality cable and housing cutter such as the Part Tool CN-10. The Yokozuna Reaction brake housing is so large and TOUGH that I had to place the housing in the cutter, place one side of the cutter on the workbench, then lay on it with my weight to cut the housing…now that’s tough housing!

After cutting the brake housing, there is a metal coil wound around the internal compression-less wires which will go out of round slightly and it is VERY SHARP. Make sure to use a good pair of wire cutters, such as the Park Tool Side Cutter Pliers SP-7, to cut this sharp piece off. Then use a small ice pick tool to re-round the inside of the housing end – the hole where the cable fits. After this prep-work is complete, remount the housing and cables back onto the bike.

ADVANTAGES OF YOKOZUNA:

  • A Complete Compression-less system, both brake and shifter for a boost in performance
  • Can be used for Road, MTB, CX bikes
  • Pre-lubed housing end-to-end (jet-lubed)
  • Extra tightly wound premium quality stainless steel cables (The tighter the wind, the less the stretch).
  • Very stiff cable system, especially the brake housing at a whopping 5.15mm (0.203”) vs. standard brake housing at 4.8mm (0.189”). That’s 0.35mm larger!

HOW DO THEY PERFORM?

So far, I have put over 1,000 miles on this compression-less cable set. For the first two rides, the cables did stretch slightly, but far less than other cable sets. A quick adjust was all that it needed. After that, no more stretch. The adjustments were so minimal that I was able to easily accomplish this during a rest stop during the ride.

No need to take the bike back to the workshop, nor give it a thorough tune up. From this point on, the rides were uneventful and the bike continues to shift crisply and precisely and brake perfectly!

HITS:

Unlike the Nokon housing, the Yokozuna cable set is quiet. But like the Nokon and Shimano systems, both the braking and shifting response is greatly improved over the stock DA-7900 cables. The lever pull is buttery-smooth and the shifting is quicker than with the DA-7900.

So far, I am very impressed as to how easy it is to pull the brake levers as well as shift the derailleurs, especially since there is no PTFE coating on the cables (i.e., GORE RideOn). The cables are very high quality tightly wound stainless steel which results in smooth lever action and minimal cable drag inside the housing.

MISSES:

The initial setup is a little more time consuming than I originally thought due to the ‘oversized and tough’ housing. It took extra time to get the housing lengths perfect.

Since the housings are a little larger and tougher than standard OEM housing, it takes a little more brute force to get everything installed and fit correctly.

These are my only small nit-picks on this high quality cable set.

OVERALL SUMMARY:

A MSRP of $$ (check price here) might seem a little high at first, but, both Brake AND Shift systems are included in this single kit. That is only $32.50 for a Brake system and $32.50 for a Shift system – a bargain for a HIGH-QUALITY complete cable replacement kit!

I am very satisfied with the fit, finish, high quality and high performance of this system. The YOKOZUNA system continues to shift smoothly. The bike shifts and brakes very smoothly and gives you much more modulation than stock OEM for a safer and more enjoyable ride…Plus, the LARGE diameter see through housing looks so COOL!

POST TEST REPORT:

I originally gave this cable set a 5/5 rating, that is, until I tested the brand new Shimano Dura 9000…WOW!

RATING: 4.8/5