Yokozuna Reaction cable and housing set£50.00

Absolutely awesome – a total no-brainer upgrade

BikeRadar score5/5

We've said before that cables and housing are the lifelines of your bike. A good set can almost telepathically translate inputs at the shifter and brake levers to their respective derailleurs and callipers while a bad set can muddy the signal like a bad game of Chinese Whispers. No other complete kit has impressed us with its signal clarity as much as the Yokozuna Reaction has.

Gore Ride-On announced last year that it would be discontinuing production of its much-loved derailleur cable and housing sets, so we've been scrambling to find a suitable replacement ever since. Though the Reaction setup isn't fully sealed like Gore Ride-On, its fully lubricated casing somehow still matches the latter's incredibly low-friction characteristics for noticeably improved shift performance with any component group we've used it on.

Shifts – spring-driven upshifts, in particular – are markedly faster with a more direct lever feel coming as an added bonus, even when compared to Shimano's venerable SP41 casing or stock Campagnolo stuff (SRAM is thankfully still able to source non-sealed Gore low-friction stuff). While the lack of proper end-to-end sealing is a disappointment for cyclocross, winter training or heavy-duty commuting applications, it's worth noting nonetheless that we've been running one of our Reaction setups continuously for two years (albeit mostly in good conditions) and it still feels like new.

  • Pros: Incredibly low friction and awesome compressionless brake housing that improves the performance of any bike on which it's installed
  • Cons: Stiffer brake housing can be tricky to route, expensive

As good as the derailleur cable and housing is, it's the similarly slippery brake setup that is truly astounding. Unlike conventional brake housing (whose spiral-like construction is designed primarily for flexibility) or derailleur housing (whose lengthwise strands are designed primarily to fight compression), Yokozuna's is a unique hybrid of both. Save for segmented solid aluminium housing such as Nokon's, Reaction is the only truly compressionless option we've come across and it's impossible to fathom how detrimental housing compression actually is until you've gotten rid of it.

The uniquely constructed yokozuna reaction brake housing (left) gets its compressionless feel by using longitudinal wires similar to standard derailleur housing (right). an additional spiral metal wrap keeps it from blowing out under extreme load, though:

Yokozuna uses a hybrid construction for its Reaction brake housing (left), featuring the compression-resistant longitudinal strands of typical derailleur housing (right) but with an additional metal overwrap to prevent blow-outs

Lever feedback is boosted to truly incredible levels with the rear feeling better than the front once did, and the front now feeling as if it's directly bolted to the calliper. Though power is improved, that direct feel has an even bigger impact on modulation and predictability. Those benefits only increase with the amount of housing used too, and we consider the Reaction housing practically a mandatory requirement for anyone using cable-actuated disc brakes.

Unfortunately, Yokozuna does charge a pretty penny for a complete Reaction brake and derailleur setup. That said, we can't think of any other bits that provide as much of a real-world boost in function for such little money so in that sense, they're absolutely worth it. 

Though most brake housing features a plastic jacket on the outside, the one on yokozuna's reaction compressionless housing is actually bonded to the metal substrate. it's stiffer and a little more difficult to route but no other non-segmented casing can produce the same directly connected feel:

The outer jacketing isn't just shrink-wrapped around the metal innards. It's all bonded together for incredible responsiveness

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Age: 40
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 70kg / 154lb
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
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