The FFR rod linkage is like shifting with a giant spring. There is a ton of lost motion between the shifter and trans. As a result, you lose all of your "feel" in the shift linkage. A cable shifter pretty much eliminates all of that lost motion so that you can feel what gear you're shifting into instead of hoping and guessing. There are a couple of options for shifters. One is what everyone refers to as the "Brandwood" shifter.
I've installed a ton of these and they work well. I have had a few customers who broke theirs. There is a small shoulder bolt that holds the pivot point of the shifter together, and that bolt seems to be the weak link and can break over time.
The other option is Numeric. This is a very high quality billet aluminum shifter. More expensive than the Brandwood, but seems pretty bullet-proof and much more rigid.
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