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Old 08-03-14, 07:05 PM
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bicyclridr4life
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Confused

When I first started cycling, back in the 1960's, the "top" drive line components were Campy, Suntour, Simplex, and Huret.

Shimano, was considered garbage (like the 'Falcon' brand is today)

I got back into cycling in the early 1990's. The French brands were history. Suntour was on its way out. SACHS/SRAM were on the way in.

WHEN did Shimano become one of the "good" parts?!? HOW did Shimano become one of the "good brands? A friend's Trek had Shimano LX trigger shifters. The bike sat for years, was rarely used; the shifters quit working while it was sitting. To me, if it breaks from non-use, how is it going to stand up to everyday use?

I am not trying to troll. I want to know when Shimano started making reliable and durable bicycle components.
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Old 08-03-14, 07:17 PM
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Yo, where you been? Sleeper?

Shimano began a very serious commitment to the top end, and full spectrum quality components back around 1970, with the introduction of the first Dura Ace group. Within a few years, they achieved par (or better depending on who you ask) with Campagnolo, while the others one by one fell to the wayside.

SunTour was possibly the last contender, and their demise was partly because both Shimano and Campagnolo were offering "groups" under a single label to OEM bike companies, while SunTour was tied to marketing alliances with Sugino, Diacompe and others.

The coordinated group approach became the norm, and these days you can't play at anything above the bottom end unless you can offer ranked groups, to make selling new bikes easier for dealers, ie. a C-record, or Dure Ace, or Ultegra, etc. spec.d model.
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Old 08-03-14, 07:28 PM
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Come on. Shimano's been making great stuff at least since I started using it in the eighties.

Sure, in the early sixties "made in Japan" meant junk. Nowadays, Japanese cars, cameras, and bike parts mean quality.
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Old 08-03-14, 07:57 PM
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They still make all kinds of stuff though. You can buy Shimano on a bike of almost any price range.
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Old 08-03-14, 08:31 PM
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Your friend's LX shifters were the victim of neglect and dried out lube, not low quality. Let your car sit untouched for several years and see how well it works.

Shimano has been making good components since the beginning but "Japanese" used to mean junk even when it wasn't true.
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Old 08-03-14, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post

Shimano has been making good components since the beginning but "Japanese" used to mean junk even when it wasn't true.
Depends on whose beginning. Shimano was focused on the 333 IGH 3-speed, and low end derailleurs until their move after the upper end starting about 1969 or 70 (or so). Prior to that high end road stuff (mtn biking came later) for racing was just about the private domain of Campagnolo, with some competition from Simplex and Huret. Like with what happened to SunTour, these companies were partly the victims of aliance marketing (Stronglight, Mafac, Normandy, etc.) when the world was moving to the single label group concept.

The Dancing Chain is good read, that gives a sense of then history (history means before 1st hand experience) of the ups and downs of the various companies. It's a bit instructive to look at the TDF summary, which shows the rider and the drivetrain used in each year.
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Old 08-03-14, 08:53 PM
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Shimano started out serving the Japanese home market after WWII which was primarily based on IGH drivetrains and not interested in racing or expensive components. It was only after they started to sell in the European and US market that the good stuff was needed and developed. And yes, I've read Frank Berto's "Sunset for Sun Tour" article.
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Old 08-03-14, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Shimano started out serving the Japanese home market after WWII which was primarily based on IGH drivetrains and not interested in racing or expensive components. It was only after they started to sell in the European and US market that the good stuff was needed and developed. And yes, I've read Frank Berto's "Sunset for Sun Tour" article.
I think I've read that article, I should look it up again.

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Old 08-03-14, 09:48 PM
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FB, I enjoyed your insight.

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Old 08-03-14, 09:54 PM
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What I can't fathom is how the OP managed to not trip over Shimano during the 90s. That's like going to Las Vegas and wondering when they started installing slots.
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Old 08-03-14, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Yo, where you been? Sleeper?

Shimano began a very serious commitment to the top end, and full spectrum quality components back around 1970, with the introduction of the first Dura Ace group. Within a few years, they achieved par (or better depending on who you ask) with Campagnolo, while the others one by one fell to the wayside.
Shimano made some interesting mis-steps along the way (Dyna-Drive pedals, anyone?), but their development of good, reliable index shifting in the '80's (and their competitors lack thereof) pushed the other companies aside.

Many years ago, I worked for Bob Hansing at Euro-Asia Imports. I never new he was a pioneer for both Campagnolo and Shimano: https://www.euroasiaimports.com/aboutus.asp
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Old 08-03-14, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
What I can't fathom is how the OP managed to not trip over Shimano during the 90s. That's like going to Las Vegas and wondering when they started installing slots.
I know.

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