Yokozuna Reaction cable and housing set review
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 calipers while a bad set can muddy the signal like a bad game of Telephone. 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 aluminum 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: James Huang/Future Publishing
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 caliper. 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 and a little bit of sticker shock is to be expected. That being 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: James Huang/Future Publishing
The outer jacketing isn’t just shrink-wrapped around the metal innards. It’s all bonded together for incredible responsiveness
Update: For those of you concerned about housing length, Yokozuna will soon offer a ‘universal’ kit with brake housing “long enough for large CX disc bikes” and double ends for road or mountain bike levers. The kit will also be offered in an optional brake-only setup that will be roughly 30 percent cheaper.