Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Why the hate for Shimano 600 Arabesque?

Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Why the hate for Shimano 600 Arabesque?

Reply

Old 09-04-15, 11:16 AM
  #1  
plonz 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
plonz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,900
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Why the hate for Shimano 600 Arabesque?

I've seen a fair amount of negative opinions on the Shimano 600 Arabesque groupset in this forum and am wondering what's behind this? I am planning to use this group for the first time on an upcoming build and want to go into it knowing what to expect. I personally think it's one of the more aesthetically appealing groups for a vintage Asian build so maybe there are performance issues? My experience with other groups is that all down tube friction shifting systems pretty much operate the same. Maybe the "feel" of a shifter is different but I find them to be pretty comparable with getting into gear and staying there. It's also been my experience that condition, cables and adjustment are equally big, if not bigger, factors affecting proper operation.

So what's not to like about Shimano Arabesque?
plonz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 11:30 AM
  #2  
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,177
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 336 Post(s)
Doesn't shift so great because the RD isnt a slant parallelogram, but i dobt think it's worse than others from the same time. The brakes feel soft, didn't like that at all.

Sure is pretty tho

Last edited by hairnet; 09-04-15 at 11:33 AM.
hairnet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 11:35 AM
  #3  
nesteel 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,757

Bikes: See the signature....

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 371 Post(s)
If you're after aesthetics with mediocre performance, 600 Arabesque is the ticket, IMHO. It is pretty stuff, but a lot of other equipment at "lower" levels out performs it. People see Shimano 600 and automatically equate it with high quality. It didn't start out that way.
__________________
My bikes: '81 Trek 957, '83 Trek 720, '85 Trek 500, '85 Trek 770, '81 Merckx, , '85 Centurion Cinelli, '85 Raleigh Portage, '92 RB-2, '09 Bianchi
nesteel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 12:32 PM
  #4  
crank_addict
Senior Member
 
crank_addict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 6,279
Mentioned: 75 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1005 Post(s)
I liked the style but could without the cage and release button. (Allows derailleur removal without chain split)


IMHO, shifts on par with same period Campy NR rear derailleur. Which is saying just average.
crank_addict is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 12:51 PM
  #5  
RoadGuy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,334

Bikes: 89 Schwinn 754, 90 Trek 1100, 93 Trek 2300, 94 Trek 1400 (under construction), 94 Trek 930, 97 Trek 1400

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Brakes are a pretty important feature to me. Single pivot sidepull brakes from older groups (no matter which Maker, dia'compe being the worst) do not brake/cannot be compared to any of the newer (they go back over 25 years now) Shimano dual pivot brake calipers.

Personally, I prefer the newer Ultegra 600 Tricolor 6400 Series components to any of the earlier groups. Within this group series you have the choice of down tube shifters (with both friction and indexed shifting) and aero brake levers, OR STI brifters, seven speeds or eight speeds, single pivot or dual pivot brakes, there are beautifully polished crankarms and the elegantly styled chain rings.
RoadGuy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 12:51 PM
  #6  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 36,521

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 388 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5052 Post(s)
It wasn't that well made, and to my taste, it doesn't look nice, either. The hubs were good, though. Almost all Shimano hubs I have worked on have been good.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 12:54 PM
  #7  
embankmentlb
Senior Member
 
embankmentlb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North, Ga.
Posts: 2,005

Bikes: Bernard Hinault Look - 1986 tour winner, Guerciotti, Various Klein's & Panasonic's

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
My very first good bike was a Panasonic dx 4000 with all 600 ex from 1982.
I put many many 1000's of miles on that bike. I personally think the components were great for that era.
I replaced the rear mech at some point but I can't remember the specific reason.

I would put it on the same level as any second level group such as Triomphe, victory or even fiest generation Athena.

Nothing worked all that well back then.
embankmentlb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 01:00 PM
  #8  
embankmentlb
Senior Member
 
embankmentlb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: North, Ga.
Posts: 2,005

Bikes: Bernard Hinault Look - 1986 tour winner, Guerciotti, Various Klein's & Panasonic's

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Second thought, 600ex was probably a notch below Triomphe , Victory and Athena.

The group was a product of the 1970's. Many pressed metal parts that in newer groups would be made of better and lighter materials.
embankmentlb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 01:09 PM
  #9  
Lascauxcaveman 
Senior Member
 
Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Port Angeles, WA
Posts: 7,087

Bikes: A green one, "Ragleigh," or something.

Mentioned: 146 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1217 Post(s)
No 'B" screw on the RD sets some people whining.

I like the Arabesque stuff well enough, though. Like @crank_addict, I think it's about on par shifting-wise with NR, only weighs a little more.
__________________
● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix frankenbike ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie ● 1973 Nishiki Semi-Pro ● 1980 Apollo "Legnano" ● 1981 Miyata 1000 ● 1984 Bianchi Limited ● 1984 Nishiki Landau ● 1984 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Trek 600 ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1986 Univega Nuovo Sport ● 1986 Merckx Super Corsa ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1988 Schwinn Voyageur ● 1989 Trek 400 ● 1990 Cannondale ST600 ● 1993 Technium RT600 ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ● And a Bike to Be Named Later ●
Lascauxcaveman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 01:12 PM
  #10  
icepick_trotsky 
Aspiring curmudgeon
 
icepick_trotsky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Saint Louis
Posts: 2,669

Bikes: Guerciotti, Serotta, Gaulzetti

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
The later 600 (SIS era) brakes were pretty damn good. Best stopping single pivots I've used.
__________________
"Party on comrades" -- Lenin, probably
icepick_trotsky is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 01:15 PM
  #11  
3alarmer
******
 
3alarmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Tomato
Posts: 17,084

Bikes: old ones

Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13599 Post(s)
Originally Posted by plonz View Post
I've seen a fair amount of negative opinions on the Shimano 600 Arabesque groupset in this forum and am wondering what's behind this? I am planning to use this group for the first time on an upcoming build and want to go into it knowing what to expect. I personally think it's one of the more aesthetically appealing groups for a vintage Asian build so maybe there are performance issues? My experience with other groups is that all down tube friction shifting systems pretty much operate the same. Maybe the "feel" of a shifter is different but I find them to be pretty comparable with getting into gear and staying there. It's also been my experience that condition, cables and adjustment are equally big, if not bigger, factors affecting proper operation.

So what's not to like about Shimano Arabesque?
...it works fine in comparison to everything else contemporary with it, except, as already stated, probably a little harder to get it shifting crisply on the back, compared to the same years of Suntour. You can tweak that by using SIS cable housing, a ramped freewheel, and a swell KMC 8.93 chain. The brakes work better if you run new low friction smooth cables and cable housings that are lined. I have it on at least a couple of bikes, and it does OK. When first was released, it was either at or near the top of Shimano's component line. (I'd have to Google when the first year for Dura Ace was, and I'm too lazy.)
3alarmer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 01:17 PM
  #12  
icepick_trotsky 
Aspiring curmudgeon
 
icepick_trotsky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Saint Louis
Posts: 2,669

Bikes: Guerciotti, Serotta, Gaulzetti

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...it works fine in comparison to everything else contemporary with it, except, as already stated, probably a little harder to get it shifting crisply on the back, compared to the same years of Suntour. You can tweak that by using SIS cable housing, a ramped freewheel, and a swell KMC 8.93 chain. The brakes work better if you run new low friction smooth cables and cable housings that are lined. I have it on at least a couple of bikes, and it does OK. When first was released, it was either at or near the top of Shimano's component line. (I'd have to Google when the first year for Dura Ace was, and I'm too lazy.)
1977. But Crane just became Dura Ace then, right? I don't think 600 was ever the top group.
__________________
"Party on comrades" -- Lenin, probably
icepick_trotsky is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 01:43 PM
  #13  
eschlwc
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: on the beach
Posts: 4,860

Bikes: '73 falcon sr, '76 grand record, '84 davidson

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
i've only had two bikes with it, both early '80s univega gran rallys. both had brazed dt shifters that were wonderfully smooth. i had no problem with either bike. i rode the first one for a year. i really enjoyed it. the second one, i sold rather quickly as i had lots of bikes by then.





when i needed a wheelset for my '84 club fuji, i bought a shimano 600 hubset off craigs to start from. i really loved the way they looked -- really beautiful.
eschlwc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 01:50 PM
  #14  
IrishBrewer 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 304
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 79 Post(s)
I've got the Arabesque groups etc on an old Ross Professional Gran Tour and it cleaned up nice and works well. For a while I was doing a lot of riding on that bike and didn't have a lick of problems. There's not much to the friction shifters to go wrong and I like the looks of the Arabesque groupset - especially the shift levers and the cranks.
IrishBrewer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 02:09 PM
  #15  
peugeot mongrel
Senior Member
 
peugeot mongrel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 452

Bikes: 84 Coppi - 94 Hujsak - 82 Colnago Superissimo - 78 Ciöcc - 70's Galmozzi - 73 Lambert - 78 Motobecane Grand Record - 87 Peugeot Triathlon - 66 Peugeot H-40 - 78 Peugeot U08 - 85 Raleigh C-40 - 82 miyata 310 - 82 Univega - 85 Sterling SIS Mixte

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
I collect the cranks and use them often on a Shimano equiped bike because I like the way they look.
peugeot mongrel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 02:27 PM
  #16  
nlerner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 11,952
Mentioned: 216 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1019 Post(s)
Sorry, I'm too busy hating Carbolite 103 to now go and hate Shimano 600 Arabesque.
nlerner is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 02:35 PM
  #17  
cyclotoine
Senior Member
 
cyclotoine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Yukon, Canada
Posts: 8,774
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
it's the rear derailleur that bugs me. It's just a blatant wannabe with cheep pressed steel parts. It really bugs me for some reason, that and the brakes are crap.
__________________
1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear
cyclotoine is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 02:41 PM
  #18  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,842

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Why all the threads about "why all the hate?"

But seriously, I've never used this group, but my suspicion is that it works just fine for most riders. If you're racing you might want to consider something else, but given that you're posting on C&V, I doubt racing is an issue.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 02:50 PM
  #19  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 36,521

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 388 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5052 Post(s)
Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Why all the threads about "why all the hate?"

But seriously, I've never used this group, but my suspicion is that it works just fine for most riders. If you're racing you might want to consider something else, but given that you're posting on C&V, I doubt racing is an issue.
Absolutely. If I got a good price on a bike that came with it, I would leave it on. My take on it was that this thread was inviting the picky little complaints, so I offered mine.

Componentry really doesn't matter much, if we're honest.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 03:02 PM
  #20  
Dave Mayer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,738
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 551 Post(s)
Originally Posted by plonz View Post
I've seen a fair amount of negative opinions on the Shimano 600 Arabesque groupset in this forum and am wondering what's behind this? So what's not to like about Shimano Arabesque?
Here:

Up to 1984, Suntour had the patent on the slant parallelogram rear derailleur. Suntour rear derailleurs shifted better than all competing brands, mostly because of the superior slant design.

Shimano, being in a bind, in the late 70's to 1984 modified their derailleur designs to superficially look like the Suntour slant design, but without the slant. 600 Arabesque is one of these.

So to let that sink in, for no benefit other than marketing to confused customers, Shimano modified their product to look like a superior product, but without any of the underlying benefits. Shimano marketed these as: slant-pantograph, basically a made-up silly phrase designed to confuse consumers. If anything, the modifications only added weight because of unnecessary extra material. Then as soon as the patent expired, Shimano rolled out Dura-Ace 7400, which adopted the slant parallelogram design. So Shimano demonstrated that they were willing to wait out 20 years with an inferior design rather than pay royalties.


More:
  • The brakes are flimsy, weak stoppers with flexy arms and cheap hardware.
  • The cranksets look lovely, but they are noticeably flexy. I am not heavy or a masher, but even I notice the flex.
  • The hubs are decent . Not Record or Dura-Ace level, but good enough
Dave Mayer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 03:29 PM
  #21  
plonz 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
plonz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Northampton, MA
Posts: 1,900
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 374 Post(s)
Well well... Now I'm anxious to get this bike built just to see how comparably bad this group really is. Most of my friction shift experience is with Suntour Cyclone and Mountech, both which regularly perform well under heavy effort. According to many of the replies, I've effectively avoided experiencing poor derailleur performance because I've been using Suntour. It'll be interesting to see how much difference I notice.

And thanks to @3alarmer for his tips on how to build the group for optimal performance. I intend to follow his advice.
plonz is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 03:30 PM
  #22  
Grand Bois
Senior Member
 
Grand Bois's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pinole, CA, USA
Posts: 17,421
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 427 Post(s)
The rear derailleur looks cheap to me.

My wife has never complained about crank flex on her Fuji, but she's no masher for sure.
Grand Bois is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 03:35 PM
  #23  
zukahn1
Senior Member
 
zukahn1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Fairplay Co
Posts: 7,053

Bikes: Current 79 Nishiki Custum Sport, Jeunet 620, notable previous bikes P.K. Ripper loop tail, Kawahara Laser Lite, Paramount Track full chrome, Raliegh Internatioanl, Motobecan Super Mirage. 59 Crown royak 3 speed

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 239 Post(s)
I think the stuff is fine no real hate for it. It is just that it is pretty basic just ok groupo that often times sells for silly high prices for the price there is just a lot of better vintage stuff out there.
zukahn1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 03:40 PM
  #24  
3alarmer
******
 
3alarmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Tomato
Posts: 17,084

Bikes: old ones

Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13599 Post(s)
Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky View Post
1977. But Crane just became Dura Ace then, right? I don't think 600 was ever the top group.
...Ok, one down then. Still relatively OK compared to everything else at the time, with the exception of the crisper shifting performance of a slant par rear de.

I mean, we're talking about years when a lot of stuff was still built with Delrin Simplex. So it's a low bar.
3alarmer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-15, 03:42 PM
  #25  
3alarmer
******
 
3alarmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Tomato
Posts: 17,084

Bikes: old ones

Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13599 Post(s)
Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Sorry, I'm too busy hating Carbolite 103 to now go and hate Shimano 600 Arabesque.
3alarmer is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service