JAGWIRE PRO ROAD BRAKE KIT
147g (10 week test period) £29.99
The Jagwire Road Pro Brake Kit is, as the name suggests, a high performance, low friction brake cableset designed to offer smooth, powerful braking. They’ve certainly lived up to their hype and are much easier to fit, especially compared with sealed models.
Available in a choice of 13 colours to compliment of contrast most liveries (dare I say, tastes) the housings are Kevlar reinforced and compression-less. In lay-speak, this means they eliminate flex, maximising power, while optimising feel at the lever. These can gnaw through lacquer and painted surfaces, especially when wet, gritty stuff collects in between, hence silicone cuffs are included among the fitting kit.
The same goes for other brand’s systems, so I’ve been inclined to put some “helicopter” tape at key points, to rule out anything nasty, especially on a cyclo-cross, gravel, or pretty winter bike. There’s a wealth of anodised alloy end caps, catering for most frames and cable doughnuts will prevent exposed wires from leaving their calling cards.
PTFE impregnated “Slick lube” liners continue this theme and are, theoretically maintenance free. Save for flushing them through with a lightweight maintenance sprays when the weather’s been really harsh, this has panned out with sibling cablesets.
Looking at the lever end, you’ll notice a metal concertina type housing.
This is their EZ (easy) bend housing designed to ensure sweeping, efficient runs where cables exit the lever and run along the bar. The front are 850mm long, the rear 1650mm, which should cater for most solo builds but worth checking if you’ve a tandem, or similarly specialist build in mind. Stainless steel inner wires are impregnated with PTFE at the factory, so similarly maintenance and indeed, stretch-free.
Fitting is a whole heap easier than sealed variants. The housings are very compliant and achieving graceful, flowing arcs proved a doddle. Nonetheless, razor sharp, good quality cutters, such as Jagwire Pro or Super B TB are a must - and add the cable cuffs and/or helicopter tape where outers rest, or brush against paintwork.
My beloved cross inspired, fixed gear winter/trainer had been running a Jagwire CSX, with good effect for a good eighteenth months, or so but the inner was beginning to show signs of fatigue around the pinch bolt.
The marriage of TRP Spyre and Cane Creek SC5 has always been an excellent one but the pro road raised it a couple of notches higher. Their inner wires, though highly stretch resistant, will relax very slightly after 10 very firm and successive pumps of the brake lever.
Other than double checking the pinch bolt was snugged down and a drop of super glue on the inner wire to prevent fraying, a single squirt of Muc-Off Bike Spray is all they’ve needed.
Given I run a single disc brake on my fixed gear winter/trainer and my Univega often does trailer-tugging duties, not to mention 1 in 7 hills, I need top-drawer braking performance that can haul me up on the proverbial sixpence and with slick, refined action.
Modulation and feel, though already good, were instantly improved, delivering progressive, refined and predictable stopping power, whatever the circumstances. True, replacing tired, frayed and gritty cables with perk up any brakeset …
However, this transformation has lasted. Engaging the lever progressively, rewards with buttery smooth deceleration. Not in the same league as a decent hydraulic system, obviously but that lack of friction is tangible, especially during emergency stops.
This has encouraged faster descending, especially in the wet. I go to great lengths to avoid pad and rotor contamination in any case. A diet of wet, gritty back roads hasn’t impaired their performance one iota.
The pro road are an excellent upgrade for mid and higher end brakesets. Sure, they’d cheer up budget models no end too but in that instance, I’d save a tenner and go for their CSX cousins. I’ve also seen their totally impervious elite models offered for similar money online. These might have the edge if you wanted something truly fit ’n’ forget. That said, in my experienced and road biased riding, there’s little separating them performance-wise.