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Shimano Light Action group-sets. What's the consensus?

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Shimano Light Action group-sets. What's the consensus?

Old 02-05-21, 11:23 AM
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Shimano Light Action group-sets. What's the consensus?

What's the the general opinion of Shimano's Light Action shifters ands derailleurs. I ended up with 3 bikes with Light Action groups, and am planning on putting a lot of miles on one of them this summer, training towards a century ride, so I'm a little concerned about reliability. Any thoughts? thanks.
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Old 02-05-21, 11:29 AM
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My first road bike was a Centurion Le Mans RS with Shimano Light action components. I put thousands of miles on it and had not one single issue with the components. Nada.
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Old 02-05-21, 12:06 PM
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Light Action is a highly underrated groupset in my opinion. I love the simple, all-silver design of them with the mix of soft-ano aluminum and chrome steel highlights. The shifters are the equal of their contemporaries by Suntour or Simplex. I've used Light Action sets on multiple vintage restorations over the years because it's inexpensive, handsome and reliable.

I haven't personally put a ton of miles on a Light Action group but never had a problem with it in the commuting and city riding I did. There's nothing about Light Action components that would give me pause, and I've never read any complaints about them.
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Old 02-05-21, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Catnap View Post
Light Action is a highly underrated groupset in my opinion. I love the simple, all-silver design of them with the mix of soft-ano aluminum and chrome steel highlights.
This is true, they are quite handsome and understated. Here's mine:

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Old 02-05-21, 12:38 PM
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Light Action was a bit heavy, but pretty much bulletproof.

I'd trust their longevity over anything Shimano has put out in the last 10-15 years.
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Old 02-05-21, 12:57 PM
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I had a panasonic that I got for my son with the light action (he never rode it....fixie boy and it is now a neighbors who has never road it ) I was really impressed with how well it worked, was easy to setup, and apparent quality. I clearly did not put miles on it, but I also would have no qualms about using it for lot's of riding
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Old 02-05-21, 02:07 PM
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I had it on my '86 panasonic dx3000 that I bought new. I put thousands of miles on it and no issues. Nothing wrong with light action.
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Old 02-05-21, 03:28 PM
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affordable, reliable, durable, and available. It's nothing special, which is special in its own right. Ride it and trust it.
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Old 02-05-21, 03:46 PM
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The Light Action group set came on my '89 Voyageur, long cage rear derailer. The rear shifter had friction & index modes.
Always worked well for the couple thousand miles I put on them. I switched to Cyclone for purely aesthetic reasons, but don't plan on getting rid of the LA & won't hesitate to put them on a different bike.
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Old 02-05-21, 05:03 PM
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I always likes the LA shifters and RDs. The indexed shifter/FD combo, not so much. If @T-Mar sees this he'll comment on the design of the RD that can can cause failures at the sprung cable mount, but I've never had an issue with any of the several LA RDs I've encountered.
FWIW, also a fan of the various Exage groups that Light Action morphed into, especially Exage 500 LX/CX/EX.

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Old 02-05-21, 07:08 PM
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I have a set of Light Action L-422 shifters. They're very good and appear to be a retrofriction design similar to the Simplex. So far I've tried them for only a few weeks on my Ironman with the original Suntour GPX RD and a Shimano 600 Tricolor RD. Friction mode only, so no problems. The shifters were nominally 6-speed but appear to pull enough cable for up to 8 speeds.

I've since put the original Suntour GPX Accushift components back on the Ironman, but I'm saving the Light Action L-422 shifters for another steel frame project, probably a bike that I'll mostly use on the indoor trainer but keep a spare rear wheel for outdoor rides.
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Old 02-05-21, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
What's the the general opinion of Shimano's Light Action shifters ands derailleurs. I ended up with 3 bikes with Light Action groups, and am planning on putting a lot of miles on one of them this summer, training towards a century ride, so I'm a little concerned about reliability. Any thoughts? thanks.
Honestly, one of my favorite budget sets money can buy. I've bought several front/rear/levers $25 or less in recent years, I'll snatch them up when I see them.
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Old 02-06-21, 08:56 AM
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Thanks for the feed back. I'll give them a go. They look good and have been on the frame for 35 years, so best not break up the band.

I've got a couple of questions.

First ones technical: Would I be able to swap the rear derailleur cage for a longer one? There are a couple on Ebay that have road rash on the body but the cages look good. I'd like to run a compact double on the bike and a long cage would give more options.

Second ones for style points: What other component's will look good with this group? My plan is to use a Sugino 110 bcd double of some flavor, probably a AT, but I haven't found one yet. I'd like to avoid the Mountain crank on a road bike look and I don't know of anything "lighter" looking.

The third for extra credit: What brakes? Shimano put the BR-L490 calipers and BL- L330 and BL-L331 Levers in the Light Action Group, but I'm going to need more reach on the calipers.

https://si.shimano.com/pdfs/si/SI-P-39-000-00-ENG.pdf

Thanks.
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Old 02-06-21, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
I've got a couple of questions.

First ones technical: Would I be able to swap the rear derailleur cage for a longer one? There are a couple on Ebay that have road rash on the body but the cages look good. I'd like to run a compact double on the bike and a long cage would give more options.

Second ones for style points: What other component's will look good with this group? My plan is to use a Sugino 110 bcd double of some flavor, probably a AT, but I haven't found one yet. I'd like to avoid the Mountain crank on a road bike look and I don't know of anything "lighter" looking.

The third for extra credit: What brakes? Shimano put the BR-L490 calipers and BL- L330 and BL-L331 Levers in the Light Action Group, but I'm going to need more reach on the calipers.

Thanks.
First- I like the Light Action/Z series stuff- it's nice looking stuff- it's just heavier than the "name" groups. It fell into that notch under Deore, (but I *think* above AL) and just under and sometimes a part of 105/Golden Arrow. But it kept the cost down and it allowed nice equipment to be put on lower midrange bikes.

About the cage swap... I damaged a part on my XTR derailleur- I thought I'd be able to cannibalize a LA derailleur- but the parts didn't match up and I had to cannibalize a 6400 Tricolor. So there ARE differences- not like parts can be swapped across the entire line- but I don't really know what all parts are proprietary.

As far as a lighter looking triple- IMO- the lighter looking classy triples are the Sugino AT and the Shimano FC-6206. You're absolutely right even when you get to the cold forged stuff- the Mountain triples have a much robust look to them compared to the gracile AT and 6206. (or the ultra gracile Avocet/Ofmega triple)

And as far as longer reach brakes to match LA stuff- My 86 Trek 400 Elance (which was LA equipped) came with Z57 brakes. It looks like there were Z57 with Golden Arrow branding and some without. I'm assuming the reach is 57- I could not get 600 brakes to reach on the bike these were on.

As far as brake levers, if you're into the slotted non-aero look- the Z306 levers are really cool-

BTW- as an added bonus- with the 6206, Z57 and Z306 pieces- they're only branded "Shimano"- so it doesn't look exactly like a mutt- mixing and matching across groups or advertising one group or whatever... just "Shimano."
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Old 02-06-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by top506 View Post
I always likes the LA shifters and RDs. The indexed shifter/FD combo, not so much. If @T-Mar sees this he'll comment on the design of the RD that can can cause failures at the sprung cable mount, but I've never had an issue with any of the several LA RDs I've encountered.
FWIW, also a fan of the various Exage groups that Light Action morphed into, especially Exage 500 LX/CX/EX.

Top
Shimano's Light Action rear derailleurs and SIS shift levers offered excellent performance and value at their price point. However, they were not without their faults. The tabs on the indexing mechanism for the rear shift lever could be quite brittle, especially on earlier units and were known to break, particularly if you were not careful with alignment during installation. Also, the rear parallelogram arm had an Achilles Heel in the form of a large cut-out to accommodate the pivot for the pre-select lever. I've seen several units with rear parallelogram arms broken at the cut-out. I wouldn't say that these failures are common and inevitable but they are also not unknown.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Shimano's Light Action rear derailleurs and SIS shift levers offered excellent performance and value at their price point. However, they were not without their faults. The tabs on the indexing mechanism for the rear shift lever could be quite brittle, especially on earlier units and were known to break, particularly if you were not careful with alignment during installation. Also, the rear parallelogram arm had an Achilles Heel in the form of a large cut-out to accommodate the pivot for the pre-select lever. I've seen several units with rear parallelogram arms broken at the cut-out. I wouldn't say that these failures are common and inevitable but they are also not unknown.
So I'll be putting a dork disk on my $800 wheelset.....
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