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Fresh Produce: Alligator i-Link Cables

17:05 15th March 2013 by Ed Haythornthwaite
7 Comments
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It’s not often that cables deserve a mention, but these definitely do…

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Rather than use a traditional cable outer these cables use precision made aluminium links which clip together to form the outer. You might have seen Nokon cables in the past which use a similar design, but unlike those these Alligator i-Link’s actually clip together, which makes them easier to work with. You simply add or remove links until you get the length of outer that you need.

These cables are also even lighter than the already light Nokon cables. In fact compared to regular gear cable outer these weigh 15g per metre, compared with 33g/m, which makes them ideal for any weight weenies. This particular set is the 4mm gear kit which is the lightest that Alligator make. In fact we’re pretty sure they must be the lightest cables out there.

Of course they wouldn’t be much use if they didn’t work, but with a polymer liner that runs continuously even if you have cable stops this is a well sealed system, plus the solid aluminium sections should be impervious to compression (which affects your gears indexing). These cables can also form surprisingly tight bends without any increase in cable friction, which means they’re ideally suited to bikes with problematic cable routing.

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Each kit comes complete with two gear cables, two liners, 1.8m of the outer, and of course all the other little bits and bobs to fit on the ends. It’s good to find a couple of rubber frame savers included too because these could almost certainly cause some damage if left to rub. If your frame uses continuous outer and you also use a front mech then you might find yourself a bit short on outer, but you can buy this separately should you need to. that leads me to the fact that although these might on the surface seem pretty damn expensive I reckon they could actually work out to be fairly cheap in the long run. How come? Simply because the polymer liner for these can be bought separately for just a few quid, as can the inner cable, and so if your cables get grotty those are all you need to replace. The fancy outer should in theory at least last for years. With conventional cables you’d need to replace the inner and the whole outer, which isn’t cheap itself these days. And yes I know some of you pikeys probably just replace the inner cable, but after all my years of being a mechanic I reckon that’s a false economy as it’s the shredded inner part of the outer (if that makes sense) which I reckon is the real culprit of increased cable friction.

So, overall then these are very light and very pimp looking cables which might well set you back a fair bit to start with but in the long run they could save you money.

Price: £52.99
Colours: Black, Silver, Blue, Gold, Red
www.clee-cycles.co.uk
www.alligatorcables.com

Photos: Ben Winder

  1. jess

    Total turd, used them, they scratched the crap out of my frame and did no better job than any other £20.00 sealed gearset.

    Went in the bin.

    1. Nick Hamilton

      I have to disagree, I’ve had them on my bike for over a year and they havent needed any attention and have worked faultlessly. No frame scratching as I protected it where necessary.

      Brilliant and look pimp.

  2. jess

    Suit yourself, you must run a lot of bike tape then! – Mud plus these = a big scratched mess.

    Other than looks, what do these do better than the alligator fully sealed cableset at under 1/2 the price?

    I went back to shimano outer at a few quid a go and replace when needed :-)

    1. Ed

      They’re also less than half the weight of regular cables (yes i did say that was for weight weenies) and once you have spent the initial outlay these are actually the cheapest cables to run as you can buy the liner and inner cable separately for just a few quid.
      As for scratching your frame, personally I find that any cables combined with mud scratch your frame. It’s the grit in the mud that does the dammage, not the cable.

      1. Hancock

        Serious question, do the creak and click the way the Nokon ones tend to? Could be the new thing for building up tt bikes with, not so sure about mtbs.

  3. ben

    These are crap, honestly. They break apart into lots of little bits the moment there is no tension through it e.g. when changing cables.

    It then takes forever clicking them all back together – any part that has been bent a bit too much they don’t stay together either, you need about 8 hands to do it.

    And the anodising wears off. And they’re expensive.

  4. chris-m

    Not sure what to make of them to be honest, Ed. I’ve experienced Nokon cables in the past and wasn’t too impressed, so I hope these have improved on them.
    .
    I prefer Shimano PTFE inner cables and SP41 outer with their sealed ferrules and gaiters. If you need full outer, then I suppose these make sense, as long as they are well sealed and feel slick. They have to go some way to feel better than Shimano’s offering though, which is £20 less and last very well.

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