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Shimano Parts History(3 posts)

Shimano Parts Historycrabeedough
Sep 20, 2002 6:38 AM
I am unclear as to how the lines of Shimano parts have developed over time. Recent Dura-Ace celebrated 25 years, but I have never seen any old Dura-Ace stuff (whereas I have seen tons of Old Campy Chorus parts). What was Shimano 600, what was it comparable too? Any info would be grand.

re: Shimano Parts HistoryWalter
Sep 20, 2002 12:46 PM
DuraAce began life as "Crane" (the bird not the construction equipment) something over 25 years ago as you noted. Shimano has been around a bit longer than that though I don't know when they appeared. They began in the US on cheap dep't store type bikes and "worked their way up." Of course they now dominate the components market at least in quantity (yes, I ride Campy).

600 has always been the Shimano #2 just under DA in quality and often quite abit less in price. I rode a 600EX group on a Cannondale ca1985 thru the early 90s and it was quite good. Nowadays 600 is referred to as Ultegra and still positioned just under DA. On older bikes 600 is usually a sign of better than avg quality if fitted OEM on a frame.

Many other Shimano labels over the years. 105 has been around for awhile now and is the beginning of Shimano's "race" quality groups. Heading down you'll find "Altus" and at the bottom was "Eagle" pretty much a dep't store group. Indexed shifting had an abortive debut with "Positron." Found on a range of bikes from dep't store to Schwinns.

This is by no means complete and is also roadbike specific.
Sep 25, 2002 8:47 AM
I bought a Dura-Ace gruppo, well parts of, in 1973 from a mail order shop in Seattle called Velocepide. Included were down tube clamp-on shifters, down tube clamp on cable guide, front derailleur, rear derailleur, brake calipers and levers, crank, BB and both LF and HF hubs. All were and are Dura-Ace except for the rear derailleur which you correctly note was the Crane. It was all marketing as Dura Ace and if I recall, included a seat post in the full gruppo.

I still have everything except the crank and BB which I traded in the late 70's. The Crane was a complete piece of crap. It didn't have the simplicity of a Campy NR nor the crisp shifting of the SunTour. In fact it broke by the forged part around the hanger bolt. Rather unusual for a forged piece which Shimano prides themselves in making. Otherwise, the stuff worked well and I still use the hubs which have a satin finish that still looks new today.

After that I went Campy and lost track of Shimano until around 1988 when I woke up to index shifting. Anyone who used Campy's Synchro system on their C Record knows what I'm talking about so it was back to Shimano.