29 April 2018

The Shimano Dance?

Today's Shimano Ultegra components trace their lineage to the "600" derailleurs introduced in 1975.  The following year, a complete "600" groupset was introduced.  Two years later, an iteration of them appeared with some fancy scrolls and engravings.

Shimano offered this groupset, called the "600 EX Arabesque" until 1984.  It was good stuff, especially for its time, except for one thing:  the headset required a special tool to adjust it.  Apparently, some Shimano marketing person thought the lace and filigree engraved into the other components would be difficult to replicate on a headset.  So, that person figured the best way to distinguish the headset was to shape the locknut like those scrolls. Still, it was a good headset: At least, the one I had served me well.

(Can you imagine Dee-Lilah, my fancy-lugged Mercian Vincitore Special, with an Arabesque groupset?  Maybe that would be a bit much, aesthetically.)

Anyway, even with all those fancy scrolls engraved into the parts, I have always thought "Arabesque" was an odd name for a line of bike components.  I wonder who their intended audience was.  Perhaps it included someone like her:

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