Asian miracle of Shimano: the history of the legendary manufacturer of bicycle equipment
The names of major bicycle manufacturers are heard by many. Less often people remember brands that produce components for these bicycles. Even more rarely they manage to remember some facts about them, except for the name. To fix this, we decided to talk about one of the largest companies in this niche - Japanese Shimano, which three years ago belonged to half of the market of components and equipment of which brings the victory the best cyclists on the planet.
We offer to recall how the company and its technologies developed, which lasted almost a century from the production of couplers to the production of complex systems for mountain electric bicycles.
/Flickr / Glory Cycles / CC
Evolution of Shimanoequipment.
In 192? 26-year-old Shozaburo Shimano (Shozaburo Shimano) rented a space of 40 square meters. m in the Japanese Sakai. Here he launched the production of overtaking couplings.
By that time in the country already worked Large companies that produced bicycles for the local market and for export. Now it's hard to say which of these companies supplied their first details to Shimano Iron Works and what decisions Shozaburo took as a leader. However, we know for sure that production has grown and hired new employees.
The founder of the company managed production until his death in 1958. The year before, Shimano released its first three-speed hub, which launched a series of innovations. His distant descendant from our time can be called a planetary bushing Nexus Inter-3.
In 196? Shimano went beyond Asia and opened an office in New York. This happened shortly before bike boom in USA. High demand gave a chance Asian manufacturers in the new market. This opportunity was also used by Shimano.
At that time, the company and its "compatriots" did not release their own kits - their details complemented the equipment of other manufacturers. Agreements with them did not give Asian companies complete control over the product line and did not allow them to update them as often as they deemed necessary. Some companies, such as SunTour, preferred to keep their narrow niche in those years, and Shimano chose to compete with former partners. The manufacturer significantly expanded the internal development staff and already in 1973 presented its first set - Dura-Ace. Its name simultaneously refers to the alloy duralumin and the strength of the system (from English durability).
Then the leader of the European market of parts for racing bicycles was Italian manufacturer Campagnolo. The first set of Dura-Ace came out in one year with Campagnolo Super Record, which is the heat took thanks to past merits brand and characteristics of new equipment. Despite the presence of a strong competitor, Shimano managed to gain a foothold in the market. In three years the company released an updated Dura-Ace. Since then, Shimano has been supporting this series for 40 years.
In 198? Shimano unveiled the first ever Shimano Index System on the Dura-Ace 7400. Before that, cyclists had to choose the position of the handle to control the transmission. The index system allows you to do this one click. In 199? Shimano introduced an important addition to it - a dual system. In it, the manet is combined with the brake handles.
In 198? Andy Hampsten (Andy Hampsten) won the Grand Prix of the cycling race of Giro d'Italia. On his bike was installed a set of Dura-Ace. This victory was the first major sporting achievement on the equipment of Shimano. In 199? the victory in the Tour de France on Dura-Ace was added to this list. By the way, now most of the athletes in this race use Shimano, including the winner is Chris Froome.
Shimano released the first ever MTB-kit - Deore XT - back in 1982. And in 199? the first details of the XTR series - components for mountain bikes - appeared on the market. Along with XTR, Shimano has other mountain sets - for example, SLX. The brakes and switches of this system are equipped with Twitter MANTIS-E1 .
During the following years, along with MTB-kits, the flagship line Dura-Ace continued to develop, and along with it other groups of road kits. A significant technological breakthrough for all subsequent models occurred in 2009 with the release of the Dura-Ace 7970. It was equipped with an electronic switching system called Digital Integrated Intelligence (or Di2).
On the transmission of the new generation immediately collapsed criticism - in the media, Di2 was called a "marketing ploy" and "a solution to a problem that does not exist." Years passed, and now the electronic switching system has become an industry standard for bicycle racing. Despite the recognition, high-end sets from Shimano often come in a mechanical and electronic version for the choice of a bicyclist.
In 201? the first Shimano set for electric bicycles appeared on the market - Steps. He is is based on on Di2 technology. The launch of the kit coincided with a new wave of interest in electric transport in Europe and the US. Elements of the Steps system, which along with a "standard" set of components includes a motor and a battery, are mounted on bicycles from brands such as Kenzel, Panther, Superior.
The Steps kit has a dedicated branch - a series of electronic systems for mountain bikes. Switches with different modes of transport can be found on bicycles from Kelly's, Bergamont, Wisper.
Classification of modern sets of Shimano
Shimano kits are divided into two large groups: highway and mountain. Electric drives can be identified in a separate category, but they are already firmly entrenched in both the first and second groups.
To road sets refer to the already mentioned Dura-Ace - the most expensive in the group - Ultegra, 10? Tiagra, Sora, Claris, 2300. Claris - budget line Shimano. This equipment, as a rule, is installed on the most accessible bicycles. In the transmission Claris 8 stars. Sora and Tiagra are close in class to Claris. The Tiagra has much in common with the 105 sets, but they still remain a more budget option. Tiagra, as a rule, equip city walking bicycles.
105 sets open the next class of equipment Shimano. In 201? the R7000 series received a major update, which brought it closer to Ultegra in terms of design features. The 105 still does not have Di? but there are disc brakes. This set is positioned as an affordable offer, the quality is not much inferior to high-end equipment.
For 105th follows Ultegra. In a sense, this is the "younger brother" of Dura-Ace. As with the Dura-Ace, electronic switches and hydraulic brakes are available at Ultegra. In 201? the upgrade of the R8000 from this line even more brought it closer to the flagship road product. Ultegra is a versatile product that is also suitable for driving on uneven surfaces thanks to the rear switch, which helps to keep the chain in extreme conditions. Ultegra is also supplied with mechanical switches.
Dura-Ace is a premium road kit, which has been improving for almost half a century. It is used by professional athletes who appreciate light weight and comfort in the equipment from smooth switching both on mechanics and on Di2. Recently, the version with the electronic switch has got a new function - Synchronized Shift. In fact, it allows you to "program" the ride - to establish simultaneous switching of the rear stars by clicking the scrambler. A cyclist can abandon this mode and switch in the usual way.
This technology is borrowed from the company's MTB-line. In general, between the flagship highway kit and the equipment for mountain driving Shimano more and more in common - for example, technology Shadow. Shadow switches have a smaller profile compared to other models - this protects against damage - and ensures the direct position of the cable - so it does not get unnecessary bends. Such switches are found in the mountain SLX series, including the electric bike. Twitter AM26-E???r3r3262. .
In mountain range Shimano, over the last 35 years, there have been even more complete groups than in the road - XTR, Saint, Deore XT, SLX, Zee, Hone, Deore LX, Deore, Alivio, Acera, Altus, Tourney. Like road kits, mountain ranges are divided into classes - from premium (XTR) to the most affordable. Along with classes there is also a division according to application.
The most expensive equipment - XTR - is preferred by professional athletes. Saint, Zee and Hone are suitable for extreme driving and freeriding, SLX and all the rest for amateur mountain walks.
Shimano refused production of some sets. It's about the Hone family. Other companies launched recently - for example, Tourney. All the current series receive regular updates. Mountain sets also adopt the design features of racing - new generations of 9-speed transmissions Alivio, Acera and Altus have recently adopted the design of their high-speed analogs, as well as MEGA9 LITE technology, which provides improved maneuverability while riding.
Among the basic models is the Alivio kit. By analogy with the 105th highway, it belongs to the "transitional kind". The set is close in characteristics to its more expensive counterparts, and at a price - to "neighbors" in the class. 9-speed transmission due to price and reliability is considered a universal solution - it is used not only for mountain climbing. Recently Trek released updated model of his classic hiking bike, in which the elements of the Alivio are combined with the details of the highway Sora. To mountain electric bicycles with switches Alivio is Twitter VS7.0-EM 17 .
The new 11-speed SLX has all the important Shimano developments of recent years, including rear switches made using Shadow Plus technology and disc brakes. In this case, the kit is simply customized for your own preferences in driving. The SLX system is installed on mountain electric bikes like Yamaha YDX Torc and Twitter AM26-E???r3r3262. .
And among the mountain kits there are models supporting Di2 technology. These are professional components of the Deore XT family (XT M8050) and XTR.
/Flickr / Floris Oosterveld / CC
The "highlight" is Shimano
The variety of modern sets of Shimano demonstrates the company's integrated approach to the bicycle market. This is a characteristic style of the manufacturer, which emerged back in the 1960s, when Shimano ceased to be a supplier of individual components.
It is interesting that the company for many long years of evolution has not lost interest in narrow niches. An example of this approach is the Coasting project for the American market. Shimano in the 2000s, along with several bicycle manufacturers, studied the preferences of US residents - what bicycles are needed by most consumers.
It turned out that this should be simple models, reminiscent of children's impressions of classic bicycles. While Shimano was already producing innovative kits for leading athletes and was close to releasing the first Di2 systems, the company's designers and recruited consultants developed a series of simplest components for the mass market. Coasting kits were equipped with a 3-speed automatic transmission transmission and a "classic" foot brake system instead of a handbrake.
Although the project existed not at all long, at one time he was awarded awards and recognition. Shimano followed its principle of continuous development and went on to develop kits for a wide variety of consumer groups. Perhaps the key to the success of the company has always been this desire - to please not only professional athletes, but also ordinary cyclists.
Several reviews of electric bikes Twitter:
Twitter VS7.0-EM: in the mountains, in the forests
Twitter AM26-E1: a two-pendant with a motor
Twitter Mantis E1: when to go far
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