09 December 2010

Shimano Golden Arrow

There was a time not so long ago, when the rank order was not Dura Ace, Ultegra and 105, followed by names serious cyclists spell with the same intonation as "leg cramps" or "Daily Yamazaki". Yes, that was the time of Dura Ace, 600 and Golden Arrow. Golden Arrow was the lowest (serious) road racing group set produced by Shimano between 1983 and 1986. 

Still I believe it is one of the most beautiful designs done by Shimano ever. An arty touch, but not too much, so much nicer than the apparently pure functional parts of today. Although, while writing this I think of these ugly Hollowtec crank sets of Shimano from today.

Of course, if you really love to have pieces of art on your bike, the Shimano Arabesque series is even better. Unfortunately it is politically incorrect to use them these days. If you are more interested in such details, there is no better place to look than Velo Base , but be careful, if you like that stuff the site is highly addictive.

I was looking for some old parts to built up the Peugeot bike under the working title "The Galibier Project". I have spend thousands of Yen for bike mechanical services, mainly with Nagai-San from Positivo and given the long winters in Bremen I thought I could learn to do this as well. I think this is a habit of people lively in harsh environments and  I am just happy that I don't have to polish and paint wooden nutcrackers.

For very little money (less than 700 Yen, to be precise) I bought a pair of shifters, a front derailleur and a rear derailleur for the Galibier. The parts were anyway in good shape, but nevertheless I spend some time to de-assemble them, clean each of them thoroughly, greased and oiled them and assembled them back into shape. They still looked used, but for me they are fine enough.

The wonder word in vintage cycling is: "N.O.S", meaning New, old stock: spare parts that were never used before but produced in the seventies or eighties and kept in stock somewhere when inventory level was not equal cash flow equal financial performanace equal quarterly report for the share holders. I just bought another set of Shimano 600 AX shifters in NOS conditions. Not sure what I will do with them but they were too cheap (550 Yen) and too beautiful to be ignored.

These are racing components from the first aerodynamic-crazed wave, long before Cervelo jumped on the train and compared aerodynamic adavantages against weight advantages. 35 seconds overall on one of the hardest stages of the Tour de France for an average rider. Thank you very, convincing. Already in the eighties components were constructed in such way as to produce minimum drag. My Golden Arrow shifters, for example are located on a clamp above the lower tube instead of left and right on the lover tube for precisely that reason. 

An even better example to eighties aerodynamic design are the Dura Ace AX brake calipers which sell today in the range of 20.000 to 60.000 Yen a pair.

So I will continue for a while to buy stuff here and there and hope that I will be able to learn to fit all pieces of the puzzle together in the garage later.

I also bought a nice piece of tableware from the Edo-period while visiting the Maeda mansion in Komabatodaimae with Juliane some time ago. On the left we see a cyclist engaged in stretching exercises for the forthcoming stage of the Transalp, while his wife to the right is urging him to stay home and play with the kids. Heartwarming. 

1 comment:

Jan said...

ok, nice post about something you need for racing