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The Alligator i-Link cable set has little to do with weight saving and more to do with precision and longevity. On the face of it, you'd need more money than sense to fork out 40 quid on derailleur cables...Then again, the outers aren't susceptible to corrosion in the same fashion as conventional types so should last many years, thus repaying the investment several times over.
Prise open the packaging and you're presented with a beautifully finished anodised outer, Teflon-coated liner and PTFE-coated inners. The outer comes supplied as a complete piece reminiscent of those necklaces of sweets you got when you were a kid. These slot together to provide stability for the entire system.
Allow yourself a good hour or so to fit these: half of which you'll spend familiarising yourself with the system and how individual components relate to each other. Those familiar with the Nokon system will feel very much at home here but the objective is to produce a taut, seamless effect. You trim the Teflon liner(s) as usual and refit them, wiring your inner cables to the derailleurs as normal. Clearly of high quality, there's nothing particularly obscure about the inners so a bog standard stainless replacement shouldn't cause any fuss should one fail in the back of beyond.
Taking testing to the extreme I became inventive in my testing and set the Alligators a stern test, feeding one to the Ultegra front derailleur on my traditional ' cross bike and the other to my MTB-based commuter/winter/cross bike that runs an 8-spd 105 rear mech linked to an STX MTB shifter. To my surprise and their credit, both have been impeccably behaved, clicking effortlessly along the block and between ring - even under load.
The latter is particularly commendable since some of my local climbs are ripe for catching the unwary. There's a notable lack of hesitation, a certain crispness that doesn't border on revolutionary but certainly separates these cables from comparable quality Kevlar types. Some folk talk of 'chatter' when riding over variable surfaces but I can only conclude they've erred on the side of caution, leaving the housing just a fraction too long or omitting the paint-friendly rubber cuffs because I didn't hear any.
Durable precision gear cableset for higher end systems
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Make and model: Alligator i-Link Cable Kit for Derailleur
Size tested: Red
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Alligator i-Link is a precision cable kit designed for competitive riders and higher end brake/derailleur systems.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
50 percent lighter than conventional cables.
Interlink alloy housing technology for precision.
Ultraglide predex PTFE coated cables for linear response.
Polymer liner for friction-free performance.
Compatible for both brakes and gear.
Pre-stretched Slick cable.
Enhance smooth shifting & braking, reducing friction
Looks very promising so far.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There's no doubt the Alligator i-Link cables add that extra bit of sparkle to the transmission. Shifts are crisp and fractionally faster than normal with an extra level of refinement. However, the set-up requires a more careful and considered approach so it's not something you'd attempt half an hour before a big ride.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Precision and potential longevity compared with traditional systems.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given its design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but only for use with a high end groupset like Ultegra or higher
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)