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What's the deal with Shimano model branding?

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What's the deal with Shimano model branding?

Old 06-10-16, 08:30 AM
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What's the deal with Shimano model branding?

I've been searching for the correct LeTour GT300 r/d for my Paramount. eBay has three at Campy prices, and no luck anywhere else. This morning I was at a small bike shop digging through the parts bin and found one. But when I double checked its branded titlist gs. It's identical to the LeTour. It will do for now especially for the $10 I paid for it. It will look better than the Deerhead that's on there now. I never realized Shimano rebranded the same models.
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Old 06-10-16, 08:32 AM
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With Schwinn's one time market dominance, I'm sure the makers branded their hardware according to Schwinn's demands.
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Old 06-10-16, 08:37 AM
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This isn't a Shimano issue, it's a Schwinn issue. Schwinn often had manufacturers rename components which they "approved" for use on their bicycles. It was Schwinn's way of attempting to disguise the fact that the components they used were no better than what could be found on a competitor's model. They wanted you to think that 'Schwinn Approved" components were something superior and tacked proprietary names on them. Early on, manufacturers would do this just to get Schwinn's business, but then they started charging Schwinn for this option, which resulted in Schwinn passing the cost onto the customer. As they lost market share and tried to maintain competitive pricing, this practice cut into profits and Schwinn eventually dropped it.

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Old 06-10-16, 08:44 AM
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Great explanation ^^^^, thanks.
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Old 06-10-16, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
I've been searching for the correct LeTour GT300 r/d for my Paramount. eBay has three at Campy prices, and no luck anywhere else. This morning I was at a small bike shop digging through the parts bin and found one. But when I double checked its branded titlist gs. It's identical to the LeTour.
The Crane/Crane GS were the top-end models at the time. The Titlist/Titlist GS were a cheaper version, otherwise the same as the Crane except for a steel jockey cage:



Shimano became a major supplier to Schwinn in the early '70s. By 1972 Shimano was making Schwinn branded freewheels as well as the Schwinn Approved GT-100 rear and GT-150 front derailleurs. Schwinn began using the Crane GS in '72 on the World Voyageur, but being more sensitive to branding on domestic models Schwinn had Shimano produce the GT-300 for '73 and later, which was identical to the Crane GS except for the branding.
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Old 06-10-16, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Schwinn often had manufacturers rename components which they "approved" for use on their bicycles. It was Schwinn's way of attempting to disguise the fact that the components they used were no better than what could be found on a competitor's model. They wanted you to think that 'Schwinn Approved" components were something superior and tacked proprietary names on them.
It is true that "Schwinn Approved" often meant only branding changes on otherwise identical components, however in the '60s and '70s Schwinn engineers did indeed work closely with engineers at companies like Shimano to design improvements to components that would later appear as "Schwinn Approved". For example this collaboration with Shimano resulted in several features found in the GT-100 derailleur as well as freewheels with dust seals and an outer chain guard: Bicycling Magazine 03-1970 --> Schwinn GT-100 Rear Derailleur Reliability

Last edited by Metacortex; 06-10-16 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 06-10-16, 12:22 PM
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I forgot, when I bought the Paramount the seller sent the body of the original r/d. I think he said it broke, easy change over. I now have my correct LeTour.

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Old 06-10-16, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex View Post
It is true that "Schwinn Approved" often meant only branding changes on otherwise identical components, however in the '60s and '70s Schwinn engineers did indeed work closely with engineers at companies like Shimano to design improvements to components that would later appear as "Schwinn Approved". For example this collaboration with Shimano resulted in several features found in the GT-100 derailleur as well as freewheels with dust seals and an outer chain guard: Bicycling Magazine 03-1970 --> Schwinn GT-100 Rear Derailleur Reliability
Yes, I'm aware of about a handful of Schwinn prompted engineering designs, though it's arguable that these were all improvements. My response was directed at answering the OP's specific situation.

Reportedly, Shimano's original inroad with Schwinn was when they agreed to incorporate a freewheel seal. Schwinn was having a considerable amount of freewheel failures with the Atom freewheel that were related to foreign material entering the body. When Maillard refused to change the design, Schwinn approached hungrier Shimano, who was more than happy to oblige. It was a step up the American bicycle industry's ladder for Shimano, who up until that time had been primarily supplying 3 three hubs to lesser USA brands, notably Columbia.
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Old 06-10-16, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
...I now have my correct LeTour.
...except for the steel (vs. aluminum) jockey cage and the missing cable adjuster.

In fact that may be one of the component changes Shimano made that were inspired if not insisted on by Schwinn. When the Crane GS was first introduced it has no cable adjustment provisions. Back in '68 Schwinn had Huret change the cable adjusters on its Schwinn Approved derailleurs from a small adjuster with a locknut to a large spring loaded adjuster so that they could be easily turned by hand and set without tools (another example of a Schwinn Approved component differing from the non-Schwinn version). Before Schwinn would use the Crane GS (and GT-300) Shimano added a similar cable adjuster:

Original:



2nd ed. w/cable adjuster:

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Old 06-10-16, 02:45 PM
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Way to poop on my parade! Joking, unless you have a GT300 you want to send me I'm fine with the steel cages. I have the derailleur on and it has a cable adjuster with a spring. Looks great.
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Old 06-10-16, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Reportedly, Shimano's original inroad with Schwinn was when they agreed to incorporate a freewheel seal. Schwinn was having a considerable amount of freewheel failures with the Atom freewheel that were related to foreign material entering the body. When Maillard refused to change the design, Schwinn approached hungrier Shimano, who was more than happy to oblige.
Schwinn introduced the Schwinn Approved Model J (Japan = Shimano) freewheel in 1970 with both seals and an outer chain guard. Shimano did indeed patent the seal design: https://www.google.com/patents/US3554340

At the same time in 1970 Schwinn introduced the Schwinn Approved Model F (France = Maillard) which had the same type of seals, however it did take until 1971 for the Model F to get the outer chain guard feature. It appears that Schwinn must have forced Shimano to license these designs to Maillard as Schwinn wanted all of its freewheels to have the same features. Another design change prompted by Schwinn was that the Schwinn Approved Model J freewheels used the Atom/Maillard spline design (and not Shimano's own design) as Schwinn wanted them all to use the same removal tool.
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