All right, here we go!
Product: I-Links & Mini I-Links
Period in use: ~200 km
Pros: light, nice finish, Can make really tight turns, compression less
Cons: looks, first installation can be a handfulFirst impression:
Nice packaging, very neat and sturdy plastic bags that hold the products. Delivered very complete. The anodized finish is very neatly done when compared to Nokon. The liners are nice and the inner cables that come with the I-Links are nice as well. It is quite funny that the parts interlock so you need to make 'chains' of it. They disconnect quite easy to make the segments that go onto the bike. For the Mini I-Links goes all of the above, but they are not that easy to disconnect. As a matter of fact, they are bloody hard to get apart. they often don't split at the part where you want them to split.Installation:
Let's start of with the statement that I have mounted cables to a bike before. Both standard in a wide variety of brands as well as Nokons. The first time you install I-links make sure you have plenty of time on your hands as they will test you patience.
It is always of importance to cut your cables to the correct length, with standard cables you cut the cable, 'clean' the inner cable and put a ferrule on it. With Nokons you start with the liner, slide the beads on it till you find the correct length and the correct bend and then install.
With I-Links Alligator changed the game a bit. The segments are already connected to each other and you need to 'break' them at the right length and thread the liner through. Threading the liner can be a bit hard as it constantly runs into the shape of the inside of the beads. But, once you have found the right method things get easier.
When you are installing the I-Links compress them as hard as you can. This way they take the shape they will have once they are completely set up. I use an inner cable to compress the cables, this keeps one hand occupied while the other can still tweak things. If you forget this simple step you will end up with cables that are too short. You can shorten, or make the cables longer by taking beads off, or putting some on.
The Mini I-Links Are only to be used as gear cables. Not as brake cables. Because they are smaller then the normal I-Links you can make some crazy small bends. The Mini's have a radius of 2 cm's. That means that a fool loop of minis measures 4 cm's across. They are ideal for the bars that have weird bends or bars that are notorious for their bad shifting because of friction in the cables. You can also use a shorter cable for the rear mech as the loop can be much smaller.
Do not forget to put a drop of your favourite lube to make the inner cables sliiiiide through the liners.
The regular I-Links are easy to install and behave as expected. The Minis are hard to split, but the install is as easy as the regular ones.
The hardware that comes with the package do make the installation easy. There are ferrules that you can click onto the cables and that slide nicely into a cable stop. The tubes that catch the cable again are a bit on the long side, but you would only need to use one. The rubber pieces can be slid on to protect the frame.In use:
If the installation has gone well the first thing you notice is the boost in braking power, Shifting is also smoother and more direct. The extra braking power is caused by the (near) compression less housing. All the power that you apply to the lever goes directly into the brake. The same thing happens with your shifts and therefore causes the more direct feel.Weight:
The most important factor for us is how the product scores on the scales. I have weighed everything and took a pic of the products on the scale. (take a good look at this scale, because a new more precise model is on order)Total weight before installation:
I-Links complete (liner, links, and all extras): 71 gram
Mini I-Links compl. (liner, links, and all extras): 43 gram
Brake cables (inner): 38 gram
Shift cables (inner): 25 gramInstallation leftovers:
I-Links (liner, links, and all extras): 48 gram
Mini I-Links (liner, links, and all extras): 20 gramweight per meter (outer cable and liner):
I-Links 27 gram
Mini I-Links 15,5 gram
Total weight before installation: 71 gr. + 43 gr. + 38 gr. + 25 gr. = 177 gr.
Installation leftovers: 48 gr. +20 gr. = 68 gr.
Total weight of cables: 177 gr. – 68 gr. = 109 gr.
109 gram is a very decent weight and puts the Alligator I-Links on a well deserved first spot in the modern light cable category. Alligator has set a benchmark with these cable systems. The weights per meter are proof of that. Perfect! Conclusion:
Alligator created a new benchmark on the cable market. It is quite time consuming, but easy on the first install but once set up right it is a great product!
Now it is up to the competition to make an even lighter and better system.
The looks of the outers will not be of every bodies likings, but that is the only concession you have to make to ride with the lightest modern cables.
'Tape was made to wrap your GF's gifts, NOT hold a freakin tire on.'