August 1st, 2012
We often get sent lots of samples of new, upcoming products in the hopes that we’ll give it our endorsement and add it to our catalog. Many items get rejected before we even test them, others after we test them. Some do get a thumbs up from us and get added to our product list. The latest one to make it through is the AICAN Bungarus. Most of you are asking yourself at this point, “what the heck is that?” I had to ask the same question as well. It’s a super light segmented cable housing that runs without an additional inner liner.
If you’re like me and you hear the words super light you naturally have to wonder, how light is super light. Claimed weight is 18gr per meter, which is definitely light but isn’t beyond some others, or is it? In this case the 18 grams per meter is a bit deceptive and here’s why. The 18 grams per meter is not only the shift housing, but also the brake, and that weight is indeed impressive.
Similar in concept to Nokon or Alligator I-link, the Bungarus is a segmented housing. Unlike Nokon and Alligator it’s a 2 part segment. There are short (6mm) pieces and long (8mm pieces) The 8mm piece is the key, it has it’s own liner built in which is 13.5mm so it extends out of both ends of the segment. The smaller segments fit onto these extensions. The built in POM can be thinner than a traditional inner liner which allows for a thinner outside. The outer diameter of the cable housing is a scant 3.8mm which is not impressively small compared to 4mm shift housing, but again when compared to 5mm brake housing it is a dramatic difference.
All this talk about super light and still no real comparison of weight. Okay, here it is. Claimed at 18 grams per meter, but we measured at 17.5 grams per meter. I decided to put that into more meaningful numbers, so I pulled the cables and housing off of a bike and made several kits the same to compare. The first comparison is just cable and housing cut to length to fit my bike.
(Mini / Std)
(SIS / SLR)
Now for the real comparison. Both kits brake and shift added together and all the misc pieces included. (ferrules, cable tips, liners, seals, etc…) Basically everything you need to completely cable a bike.
|Gore UL||129.7 g|
|Gore Std||144.8 g|
That’s more than a 60 gram savings from Nokon, Shimano and Campag and almost 20 grams from Alligator. Take away the level playing field and include fiber cables, Power Cordz. A complete kit of Power Cordz Prime for my bike is 78.4 grams so that means Bungarus comes within just grams of Cordz but with metal cables. For the really weight oriented user, pull the steel cables out of Bungarus and replace them with Power Cordz and the complete bike kit weight drops to an unprecedented 51.7 grams for a full bike worth of cables, housing and all the accessories.
So we’ve probably said enough about the weight how about the other aspects, particularly the performance. I tested it on my 29er and performance is spot on. They work really well, as well as any of the other segmented housings we’ve used in the past. One nice feature that contributes to the good performance is the fact that the kit comes stock with nano-teflon cables sometimes called DLC cables. Expensive cables yes, but the coating on them is much more durable than the coating on standard Teflon cables that you find in other kits so they have the longevity advantage. Also with the nan0-teflon you don’t get coating scratching off and balling up inside the housing as is possible with some Teflon cables.
The one drawback I’ve noticed with the Bungarus is one of the selling features of some other segmented brands. They lack some of the flexibility of Nokon or Alligator. They aren’t as apt to make the really tight bends. That’s not to say they aren’t flexible enough, they make bends without a problem it’s just the tightest bends where they start to have some issue, mostly due to the length of the long segment and the rigidity of the integrated POM. This wouldn’t be my first choice for a TT bike with super tight bends. However this could be improved in the future by offering a shorter segment with the integrated POM for the really tight segments.
Price looks to be competitive, we don’t have exact pricing yet, but sets should be quite a bit under $100 which puts them right in line with Nokon and Alligator. Though considering the nano-teflon cables are usually $25 per cable the price seems more than competitive.
The anodizing is nice and the kits will come in black, silver, grey, red, gold, blue. We expect these to be available in the near future.
Overall I’m very impressed with this kit, not just the weight but the performance and value. These definitely get a thumbs up from me and will be finding a permanent home on my bikes.