Nokon Housing

Introduction:

Nokon has been in the market since the mid 90′s. Nokon is produced by a Germany based engineering company that specializes in industrial cable and housing whose owner happens to be an avid cyclist. They used their experience in industrial applications in order to create and develop the Nokon cable and housing system for the cycling market.

About Nokon Housing:

Nokon has three main components that comprise their cable system. The inner most component of the system is their shift cable. The next component of the system is a glass fiber reinforced Teflon liner. This liner is designed to offer less friction for smoother shifting and braking as well as protect the shift or brake cable inside from dirt and grime. The last piece of the system is a segmented aluminum housing that protects the liner and cable and gives the system other high performance characteristics discussed below.

To understand why Nokon may be a better choice over traditional cable systems you need to know some of the draw backs of traditional cable systems.

  • Housing compression during braking or shifting leads to less responsive performance
  • Multiple housing sizes needed for shifting and braking
  • Exposed cable from interrupted housing is left open to the elements
  • Less reusable housing due to custom length cuts
  • Corrosion and rust problems with steel cables and housing
  • Traditional housing can be difficult to route as tightly as you’d like on some bikes due to stiff housing and cable drag from tight curves

Due to its segmented aluminum housing Nokon is a modular reusable housing that prevents many of the problems of traditional housing. Nokon is able to enhance shifting and braking performance over traditional housing because as the cable is tightened during shifting or braking the housing stays stiff and rigid. This allows the cable to slide freely without flexing or deforming the housing around it unlike a traditional housing that is not as laterally stiff. Traditional housing experiences compression under cable tension and can cause less responsive shifting and loss of braking power.

Nokon housing with liner (click to enlarge)

As mentioned earlier Nokon uses a Teflon liner inside of the housing for the cable to run through. This keeps the cable sealed from the elements even on bikes that have interrupted housing as well as helps lower friction. Traditionally the cable would be exposed to the elements between the routing tabs. With Nokon the cable is protected the whole length of the run keeping it from getting loaded with dirt and grime which hinders performance.

standard housing which has an opening for dirt and grime to enter (click to enlarge)

Nokon housing with sealed liner (click to enlarge)

Another nice design aspect of the segmented housing is how well it can bend and still allow the cable to move freely. Nokon is designed with a rounded edge that allows the housing to create a very smooth radius even if it is very tight. This allows you to route the housing through much tighter areas which can be a nice feature on some suspension bikes. Those that use Shimano rear derailleurs will appreciate this feature as you are able to make a much tighter loop when routing your cable into your derailleur. A smaller loop is less prone to snagging on rocks and debris while riding.

Contents:

For our testing we used the Rohloff Speedhub kit. We used this kit because we wanted to be able to run full housing on larger full suspension bikes.

Rohloff/Full length Nokon Housing Kit includes:

  • 2 runs of Nokon housing with liner which measured 71” each (each run should provide full length housing for one bike)
  • Bag of Nokon alternate pieces and parts for varying assembly options
  • 2 extra long shifter cables
  • Instructions

Nokon Rohloff Speedhub contents (click to enlarge)

Weight Comparison:

One of the advantages of running Nokon housing has been its lighter weight. Nokon has a larger weight advantage over stock generic cable as seen below.

(left) 52″ of Nokon housing with liner vs 52″ of stock generic housing

Nokon, however, doesn’t have such a large weight advantage over other cable housing options. The options below offer housing weights comparable to that of Nokon, but they don’t provide some of the benefits that Nokon offers.

  • I Link: 27g per meter (outer metal links + inner liner)
  • IRD Metawire: 30g per meter (outer only)
  • Avid Flak Jacket: 33g per meter
  • Aztec Powerlines: 33g (outer metal links + inner liner)
  • Shimano SIS : 34g per meter
  • Nokon: 35.5g per meter (outer metal links + inner liner)
  • Transfil “flying snake”: 36g per meter
  • Jagwire Ripcord: 38g per meter
  • Powercordz: 39g per meter

source: Nino and WeightWeenies

How well does it work:

I have had great performance from the Nokon installed on my bike. I was able to install my rear derailleur run with little to no problem. The system has been functioning smoothly with only a little bit of creaking starting to happen after about a month.

Nokon can be ran between interrupted housing tabs if a non-interrupted housing look is wanted (click to enlarge)

I was able to run a relatively tight curve at the back of my bike for my rear derailleur. The curve could actually be smaller but I feel that the loop is tight enough to stay out of danger. Shifting performance has been great while using the Nokon housing. It is highly responsive with a smooth feel when shifting and offers no problems even while changing gears during a sprint or over rough terrain.

rear derailleur loop detail (click to enlarge)

Nokon works great for those that are looking to use this product for cable actuated braking as well. Due to its compressionless design Nokon gives you a firm feel under braking without having to worry about the cable stretching or flexing, degrading your braking performance. After installing Nokon braking has much more modulation and increased stopping power.

If you are interested in saving more weight Nokon can also be used with Power Cordz shifting and braking cables with Power Cordz Nokon compatible liner. We’ve previously reviewed the Power Cordz cables which work really well and compliment the high performance attributes of the Nokon housing.

Pro’s:

  • Aluminum and Teflon construction – Since Nokon housing is made from aluminum and the liner is made of Teflon it won’t rust or corrode unlike steel.
  • Reusable – Nokon can easily be transferred from bike to bike due to its modular design.
  • Compressionless design – Nokon’s housing is designed to offer kink free cable runs that are able to transfer shifting and braking pressures better as well as help prevent “Ghost-Shifting” by counteracting cable deformation.
  • Tighter cable runs – Nokon allows you to run your cables in tighter areas with a smaller radius due to its housing design while still offering low friction performance. Tighter cable runs also allow you to use less housing and cable for added weight savings.
  • Looks – Nokon looks sleek and can be purchased in colors for some added bling.
  • More responsive performance – The decreased friction in the system due to the Teflon liner and smooth bends offers more responsive shifting and braking.
  • Sealed construction – Nokon’s protective liner keeps the shift or brake cable from being exposed to the elements when used on bikes with interrupted housing.

Con’s:

  • Creaking – If not lightly lubed Nokon will begin to creak a little bit due to dust/dirt getting in between the aluminum pieces.
  • Cost – The cost of Nokon can be a substantial initial investment.
  • Installation – Installation can be tedious due to the beaded design on complicated bikes.
  • Frame wear – Nokon can wear on the finish of your bike if you do not protect it. Nokon comes with clear pieces of tubing to place in high wear areas in order to help protect your bike from wear.
  • Nokon finish wear – After a while the silver Nokon housing will oxidize a little and the colored finishes can start to show some signs of wear.
    * Information from Nokon regarding finish wear – “We have changed the silver color process and have gone from a PLATING to an anodized. This is for the gold and silver. This eliminates the oxidization and peeling. In fact if someone has this we will replace it.”

Price: Price varies depending on the kit you purchase. The MSRP for the Rohloff kit lists at $150 for the black and $175 for Red, Gold, or Blue and has enough housing and liner to run full housing on two bikes.

Conclusion:

The Nokon housing system offers riders better performance, reusability, and longer cable system durability. Nokon has designed their housing so that it would work well under heavy usage and eliminate many of the problems of traditional housing. Nokon is able to protect your cables from the elements and create cleaner tighter routing bends. Nokon’s Teflon liner and compressionless housing enhances performance by allowing your cables move more freely and smoothly.

Nokon does have a few draw backs such as cost, installation time, and occasional creaking but these are offset very easily by the other positive aspects of the system. If you’re in the market to upgrade your bike’s cable and housing needs Nokon should be on your list to try out.

(click to enlarge)

To find out where you can purchase you own Nokon housing or find more information you can check out their US website or for those abroad you can check out their international site.

[Nokon Housing Review Gallery]