Ask A Mechanic: Improving Shifting For Pro Performance

Welcome to our Ask a Mechanic column where our expert mechanic Daniel Slusser answers your bike maintenance questions. If you have a question for Daniel, please post it on our Facebook Wall or e-mail Daniel directly at 

Cables are cables right? Wrong. In addition to wide variances in the quality of available cables, housings, and ferrules that affect shifting performance; how you set up the cables will also have a big effect on how well your bike shifts. In this video I go over my preferred cable setup for light, fast, and positive shifts.

My favorite derailleur cables are Teflon/PTFE or Tefzel coated like SRAM Pit-Stop Slickwire cables. For housing I tend to like the inexpensive housings that are Teflon/PTFE lined but are ungreased. However, Shimano SP-41 housing (stock equipment in nearly all of Shimano’s cable kits) is the one greased housing that I do like. When these wires and housing are assembled with unsealed ferrules, shifting feels amazingly light and fast. Just remember that if you ride where it is wet, sealed ferrules will keep your cables lasting far longer, so my cable configuration is more a racer’s setup.

Daniel Slusser is a professional bicycle mechanic with over ten years of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from HSU and a master’s degree in history from Cal Poly. When he is not riding, wrenching, or writing he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.