Power Cordz shift cables

written by J.V. Nixon

, Power Cordz shift cables

Introduction:

Tony DuPont set out to innovate in a market where most would never look, biking cables. The idea started in an old coal storage room. With a passion for bikes, and an innovative mind, the Power Cordz dream was realized. With the initial idea in place, Tony set out to create these cables to the best of his ability and the outcome is quite impressive.

About Power Cordz:

Power Cordz are manufactured with some cutting-edge fiber technology utilizing Poly(p-phenylene-2,6bezobisoxazole) (PBO). The fibers are a rigid-rod isotropic crystal polymer. Now this might not make sense to most of you but read on…

The derailleur cordz contain approximately 6,500 individual PBO fibers and the mechanical properties of PBO provide Power Cordz with the ability to outperform steel wire. The PBO (Zylon) is flexible and soft to the touch.

, Power Cordz shift cables
Many fibers inside the Power Cordz cable

Tensile strength – the force required to pull something to the point where it breaks:

  • PBO – 5.8 GPa
  • Steel cable – 2.8GPa

Tensile modulus – the ratio of stress to elastic strain where more stress is required to produce a given amount of strain:

  • PBO – 270 GPa
  • Steel – 200 GPa

Weight

  • PBO – 1.56 g/cm3
  • Steel – 7.8 g/cm3

, Power Cordz shift cables
Power Cordz full length 4g

The Power Cordz once cut measured 3g on the test bike compared to the standard 13g steel cable.

Cable Width:

, Power Cordz shift cables
Regular cable diameter (1.27mm)

, Power Cordz shift cables
Power Cordz cable diameter (1.5mm)

Pros:

  • Lighter than steel cables (3g vs. 13g)
  • Stronger than steel cables
  • Won’t corrode or rust
  • Can be run without lube
  • Will not collect/store dust like steel cables can
  • Lightweight cables and housing can drop the weight of your shift cables significantly
  • Cord won’t unravel like steel cables tend to
  • Soft to the touch

Limitations:

  • Require care and observance to make sure cable ferreuls and edges do not damage the cordz
  • Performance costs money
  • Compatibility (some Shimano shifters need modifications to the inlet hole for Power Cordz to work with)

How well they work:

After installing the Power Cordz, they work as advertised and do offer a very nice responsive feel at the shifter. Since the Power Cordz cable can not get gunk inside of it like regular steel cables, this should shift a lot nicer in the long run with less maintenance. The Power Cordz packaged set comes with almost everything you need. However, I would’ve needed more cable housing to run full housing all the way on the bike.

The Housing and Lubricant kit came with some Rock “N” Roll lube as well which was quite nice to see included. In addition, I would’ve also liked to have seen some more recessed cable ferreuls in the package as they fit better in the shifter/derailleur I was using (Sram X.9) and if I had to run a front derailleur, there wouldn’t have been enough ferreuls or cable housing to run full length housing.

In addition to that, the supplied Power Cordz housing isn’t impressively light and you’d be best off with running the Power Cordz with a lighter weight housing if you were trying to achieve some real weight savings.  The power cordz shift cable is 5mm, so comparing them to other 5mm shift housing they do save some weight but comparing them to 4mm shift housing they are going to be heavier.

, Power Cordz shift cables

Regular cable diameter (1.27mm)

The installation of the Power Cordz takes some care to make sure there aren’t any sharp edges that can damage the protective coating. If you’re running Sram shifters, you can use these without any modifications. If you’re using Shimano shifters on the other hand, depending on which you’re using, it will require a modification of the shifter to increase the inlet hole of the shifter as the Power Cordz are bigger than a standard steel cable. Cutting the Power Cordz is easily done with a razor. Re-using the cables is easy so long as the cable is not squished too badly.

The Power Cordz also have some limitations on which housing they work with so you’ll also need to verify that your housing will work with Powercordz. Teamed with a lightweight housing (IRD / Nokon / I-Link), you’ll save a lot of weight where most people usually don’t think about. You can see the compatibility chart here showing you what works with Power Cordz and if any modifications are necessary with the equipment you currently have.

Price:

Depending on options, you can get a set of Powercordz from $36.95 – $69.99

$69.99 as tested (Derailleur Cordzâ„¢, Housing and Lubricant Kit)

, Power Cordz shift cables

Conclusion:

With all the facts shown above, what can you expect to benefit out of Power Cordz on a downhill or freeride bike? It means that the end user is a going to have stronger and lighter cables, as well as more responsive control. The only factor I feel you have to consider is the price and compatibility.

Race bikes are always on the cusp of reducing weight without sacrificing durability and functionality. Power Cordz does just that and since the cables are made of PBO, more benefits can be seen as they are not only lighter than steel cables, but won’t corrode or rust. We don’t have to spell those benefits out for you I’m sure, but most downhill races aren’t exactly on paved roads free of debris and mother nature.

These cables definitely are not for everybody. They do take some care and preparation to make sure that they are installed correctly and at the price, it is going to be hard for a lot of people to justify.

Less maintenance on my downhill bike, last longer, won’t corrode, lighter weight, don’t unravel, and are stronger than conventional steel cables? Where do I sign up at?

Where to purchase:

http://www.powercordz.com

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