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  1. #1
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    Shimano fading standards?

    Just ordered XT cranks/cassette/shifters/chain/front & rear mechs.

    I was told by the dealer that the Hollowtech II crankset comes complete with an external bottom bracket. No choice.

    Was also told that the font mech is designed to be both top-pull and bottom-pull, and comes oversized with a set of shims to pad it out to fit a 29.6 (or any other narrower) seat tube. No choice.

    Are these two statements correct? If all XT crank sets now come with bottom bracket why is there such a big market in bottom brackets?

    I don't hold any of this against the bilke dealers (providing they're not lying to me) but I'm not too impressed by a company that's gone down the "let's shave every conceivable last penny off production costs regardless of the engineering compromises involved" route just because they can, having displaced most of the rest of the competition in the world.

    I wouldn't argue too strongly with a claim for top/bottom-pull front mech being clever design, but shims bodged under your tube clamp to make it fit?!?

    Comments please. I haven't seen any of this kit yet so I hope I'm not bitc_ing too much too soon.

    (edited - don't think much censorship or political correctness either, which no one does better than our US cousins. That heinous adjective that describes a female canine for example. Shocking...)
    Last edited by banana; 11-08-2005 at 09:48 AM.

  2. #2
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    Question #1, yes and no. Yes it comes with an integrated spindle. The "bottom bracket cups" that hold the bearing are also included but you can use any other brand that suits you (offerings from RaceFace, Truvativ, FSA) Why did they do it? well, outboard bearing cranks do have benefits -stiffer, allow for the use of bigger bearings. For what is worth, this new system gives you more choice than the previous one -octalink I- where bottom brackets were made by Shimano only. I see including the bearing cups on these new cranks like including the rings, you can change them for another brand if you want to, they are just giving you a kit.

    Question #2, it is done so the shops -and Shimano- have to stock less sizes/types of front derailleurs. Have you ever gone to a shop and ask for a 29.6 to pull front der and the shop said "sorry, we only have a bottom pull left"? this way it won't happen. I know, I am not too keen on the shim method for fitting different tube sizes, but, it makes sense. And Shimano benefits too by having to make only one model.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by banana

    Are these two statements correct? If all XT crank sets now come with bottom bracket why is there such a big market in bottom brackets?
    There's a big market in BBs because of the ISIS interface. Companies like Truvative and Race Face designed the ISIS standard to compete with shimano's Octalink, except that the ISIS system was flawed from the beginning because it couldn't run very large bearings, so the BBs wore out very fast. This in itself is one reason there's a big market for the BBs. The other reason is that all the companies tried to come up with "better" ISIS bottom brackets, but only a couple were really sucessfull and had the reliability of the shimano octalink models.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    There's a big market in BBs because of the ISIS interface. Companies like Truvative and Race Face designed the ISIS standard to compete with shimano's Octalink, except that the ISIS system was flawed from the beginning because it couldn't run very large bearings, so the BBs wore out very fast. This in itself is one reason there's a big market for the BBs. The other reason is that all the companies tried to come up with "better" ISIS bottom brackets, but only a couple were really sucessfull and had the reliability of the shimano octalink models.
    The reason for ISIS was that Shimano walked out of the standards when they came with the Octalink cranks -an arguable improvement over square taper- and would not let anybody else manufacture bottom brackets for it. You can license the spline and make cranks for it, but bottom brackets -the part that wears and you replace- was to be made by Shimano only. Unlike square taper which was an "open standard"

    So, everybody else got together and tried to set up a new standard, behold ISIS. And ISIS did not work that well. Apparently Octalink wasn't the cat's meow either and we came to external bearings and people came to their senses and made the BB "standard" and interchangeable again.

    But to get things clear, ISIS came because Shimano would not license Octalink for Bottom Brackets.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK
    The reason for ISIS was that Shimano walked out of the standards when they came with the Octalink cranks -an arguable improvement over square taper- and would not let anybody else manufacture bottom brackets for it. You can license the spline and make cranks for it, but bottom brackets -the part that wears and you replace- was to be made by Shimano only. Unlike square taper which was an "open standard"

    It's this kind of world domination ethic that makes me wish such companies out of business. Shimano make quality componentry (except for the latest front mechs, it appears) but it isn't enough for them to make money on royalties from innovative design; they just want it all and for everyone else to go out of business. Somewhat akin to microsoft.

    Interesting stuff though. So will ISIS splined BBs eventually die?

    Thanks for your earlier reply also, especially regarding the cranks. As for the front mech fixing, it's still a bodge like I said, and there's no substitue for quality engineering. Of course I appreciate that shimano benefits by only having to make one model, and I'm quite sure this is the only reason it's happened. They've done it because, given their marketing position, they can. And I see no evidence of the cost savings being passed on to the consumer. All we "gain" is the prospect of farting about trying to grip a seat tube with a clamp that wasn't designed for it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by banana
    It's this kind of world domination ethic that makes me wish such companies out of business. Shimano make quality componentry (except for the latest front mechs, it appears) but it isn't enough for them to make money on royalties from innovative design; they just want it all and for everyone else to go out of business. Somewhat akin to microsoft.

    Interesting stuff though. So will ISIS splined BBs eventually die?

    Thanks for your earlier reply also, especially regarding the cranks. As for the front mech fixing, it's still a bodge like I said, and there's no substitue for quality engineering. Of course I appreciate that shimano benefits by only having to make one model, and I'm quite sure this is the only reason it's happened. They've done it because, given their marketing position, they can. And I see no evidence of the cost savings being passed on to the consumer. All we "gain" is the prospect of farting about trying to grip a seat tube with a clamp that wasn't designed for it.
    Well, on the front "mech" deal, it is not only Shimano. I think Shimano started with it in dunno, maybe 02? but SRAM's Xgen derailleur, err, front mech is also of the "one size fits all" type. Big clamp, use shims to fit and top/bottom pull. I have one, SRAM Xgen, didn't have a problem with the shim fitting. Don't like it, but it seems to work. Like I said, it benefits manufacturers and shops by reducing their inventory requirements.
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    front mech

    ...a term I see returns 44000 hits on google. Alas, 35000 of them are returned by google UK, and since this is a yank site you have my apology. Nice also to see an American gentleman not talking about "derailers" (after Sheldon) though

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK
    The reason for ISIS was that Shimano walked out of the standards when they came with the Octalink cranks -an arguable improvement over square taper- and would not let anybody else manufacture bottom brackets for it..
    Ok, so?

    That was their right.

    Octalink 1 was great, a huge improvement over square taper, and it lasted just as long as the older shimano square taper stuff in terms of BB bearings. It was (and still is to some extent) great.

    But shimano came up with something that was even much greater. You would have thought that octalink 1 would have been around longer, but the octalink 2 (integrated BB) is really that much better, so we benefit from even better cranks.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by banana
    It's this kind of world domination ethic that makes me wish such companies out of business. Shimano make quality componentry (except for the latest front mechs, it appears) but it isn't enough for them to make money on royalties from innovative design.
    Nope, because it takes huge amounts of money to improve those designs and come out with new products that are adaquately designed and tested. We'd still be riding around with thumbshifters and 5 speed freewheels if we abided by your train of thought.

    Shimano may be the "big" company, but the amount of technology that they've brought to the game is simply staggering. I'd say that sram hasn't even done 1% of what shimano has over the years. Sram is just a baby company by comparission, and most of their "innovation" was rebadging old Sachs products that were aquired when Sram bought the company.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by banana
    And I see no evidence of the cost savings being passed on to the consumer. All we "gain" is the prospect of farting about trying to grip a seat tube with a clamp that wasn't designed for it.
    Direct cost savings? Maybe, maybe not. But in the long run, when you absolutely need that new front mech, you've got that much better chance that the shop will have in stock what you need when you need it. Or when Jenson USA is blowing them out at some ridiculous price, it won't be a case of, "oh, shoot, not in my size". Or when the newbie bike mechanic is shopping around and has no clue about top vs. bottom pull or what diameter is seat tube is.

    So in the long run, the potential for consumer savings is there. And if it works well, why the quibble?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Octalink 1 was great, a huge improvement over square taper, and it lasted just as long as the older shimano square taper stuff in terms of BB bearings. It was (and still is to some extent) great.
    Lets not forget though that Shimano dicked around with Octalink so they essentially has three versions.

    First came Octalink v1, which was what -- road groups and XTR only?

    Then came Octalink v2, which trickled down to XT and LX and, overall, was a better, stiffer design than the Octalink v1 found on the XTR.

    But then when the LX Octalink setup was deemed "too good" for the pricepoint when paired with an XT-level ES-70 bottom bracket, they modified the v2 interface on the LX crankset to force the use of longer spindle lengths only found on the ES51 bottom bracket (heavier, lesser seals, lower quality bearings).

    I fully support Shimano's right to do whatever the heck they want, but they do have to worry about consumer outcry, and that whole scenario threw a lot of consumers (and shops) for a loop for the 4 seasons it played out. I still have shops trying to sell me Dura Ace bottom brackets for my LX cranks today.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Nope, because it takes huge amounts of money to improve those designs and come out with new products that are adaquately designed and tested. We'd still be riding around with thumbshifters and 5 speed freewheels if we abided by your train of thought.
    LOL
    Ok Jayem. You may know a lot about bicycles but you know little about marketing.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    Direct cost savings? Maybe, maybe not. But in the long run, when you absolutely need that new front mech, you've got that much better chance that the shop will have in stock what you need when you need it. Or when Jenson USA is blowing them out at some ridiculous price, it won't be a case of, "oh, shoot, not in my size". Or when the newbie bike mechanic is shopping around and has no clue about top vs. bottom pull or what diameter is seat tube is.

    So in the long run, the potential for consumer savings is there. And if it works well, why the quibble?
    Precisely, but its not just that. When you change frames many times its likely you will need several new components. Typically a new seat post and a new front derailleur in the proper size. Having a front derailleur that will fit any possible frame is incredibly convinient in the long run.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
    Lets not forget though that Shimano dicked around with Octalink so they essentially has three versions.

    First came Octalink v1, which was what -- road groups and XTR only?

    Then came Octalink v2, which trickled down to XT and LX and, overall, was a better, stiffer design than the Octalink v1 found on the XTR.

    But then when the LX Octalink setup was deemed "too good" for the pricepoint when paired with an XT-level ES-70 bottom bracket, they modified the v2 interface on the LX crankset to force the use of longer spindle lengths only found on the ES51 bottom bracket (heavier, lesser seals, lower quality bearings).

    I fully support Shimano's right to do whatever the heck they want, but they do have to worry about consumer outcry, and that whole scenario threw a lot of consumers (and shops) for a loop for the 4 seasons it played out. I still have shops trying to sell me Dura Ace bottom brackets for my LX cranks today.
    Technically two versions. The original V1 came out for road bikes and trickled down to XTR. It had smaller splines and was lighter. Eventually MTB groups got their own stronger version which was the V2 with 10mm long splines instead of 5mm. XTR kept the V1 since it would have been more confusing to have two different XTR versions. The LX you talk about which was fairly short lived was still V2 but required the special longer spindle because the driveside arm was so wide. That would have been the direction V2 would have most likely taken all accross if it wasn't for the standardized adoption of outboard BB's.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by banana
    It's this kind of world domination ethic that makes me wish such companies out of business. Shimano make quality componentry (except for the latest front mechs, it appears) but it isn't enough for them to make money on royalties from innovative design; they just want it all and for everyone else to go out of business. Somewhat akin to microsoft.
    Shimano developed it in house. It wasn't an industry colaboration or anything of the sort like ISIS was. They have every right to keep as much of it exclusive as they want. Nevertheless Shimano actually does license most of their standards except for a few key ones they feel are too important to let go. Stuff like their outboard standard, V2 cranks, centerlock rotors, just to name a few are licensed to other companies. Desings like V1/V2 and the hyperglide ramp design of their rings (with good reason!) are the exception. They are not the only company to keep certain standards to themselves.

    I never had much of a problem with their octalink stuff because A) it worked very well B) it was CHEAP. A high end octalink BB is like 50% to 25% the cost of a high end ISIS bottom bracket and will perform significantly better. If the situation were reversed I might have had a problem with it.

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    you haven't been riding very long have you?

    the planned obsolescence and standard-abandoning you are whining about has been standard operating procedure for shimano for at least 20 years. anyone else remember the first indexed thumbshifters that mounted onto shimano brake levers (yet was sold seperately)? hell, before indexing, there was pretty much no such thing as incompatabilitybetween bike components. how about the first rapidfire that was built into the brake levers? how about back when there was one chainring standard (before shimano decided that there needed to be at least 4) - thanfully that's shaken out. also thankfully it looks like octalink is finally dead, hopefully isis will not be far behind (dumb ideas to start with). They are still up to the same crap now: integrated brake/shifters, incompatable hubs/rotors...

    if you don't like it, i think your options are sram or singlespeed. like i said, since you don't expect this crap from shimano, it makes me think you are kind of new to the biking world.

    first, why would you not want the BB cups included with the crank? are you planning on running the crank without a bb or somthing? or are you whining that you can't buy basically the same thing for the same price from someone else (look around, all the integrated bb cups are within $3 of each other, and the only real difference between them is the color). Bottom brackets, IMO are already dead, buying a seperate BB these days is just foolish, unless you want somthing that's going to wear out after a season and cost a lot to replace, while being heavier, less reliable and with more friction.

    as for a one size fits all front derailer, who cares? it's a front derailer, either it moves the chain or it doesn't. I lived for a season back in high school with no FD, just shifting with my foot (FD broke and i couldn't afford to replace) if you can't make the shims work go back to parktool.com and read the directions again. I know the shimano indexed front shifting has stumped many a mechanic, but it's really not that hard to get right. I don't quite get top/bottom pull - who has a bottom-pull frame anymore? seems like they figured that out just in time for the issue to be moot.

    as for the censorship thing, this is a privately-owned supposedly family-friendly site. if you don't like it, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules
    I don't quite get top/bottom pull - who has a bottom-pull frame anymore? seems like they figured that out just in time for the issue to be moot.
    Cannondale and Specialized still stubornly stick to bottom pull. With they amount of bikes they sell alone it still makes sense to keep the provision for bottom pull standardized.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    Shimano developed it in house. It wasn't an industry colaboration or anything of the sort like ISIS was. They have every right to keep as much of it exclusive as they want. Nevertheless Shimano actually does license most of their standards except for a few key ones they feel are too important to let go. Stuff like their outboard standard, V2 cranks, centerlock rotors, just to name a few are licensed to other companies. Desings like V1/V2 and the hyperglide ramp design of their rings (with good reason!) are the exception. They are not the only company to keep certain standards to themselves.

    I never had much of a problem with their octalink stuff because A) it worked very well B) it was CHEAP. A high end octalink BB is like 50% to 25% the cost of a high end ISIS bottom bracket and will perform significantly better. If the situation were reversed I might have had a problem with it.
    I think that if they would have licensed the BB Octalink would have stuck. Being a Shimano only, they were very limited. ISIS was a very bad response, from a quality standpoint, but it was more popular because it was not limited to one brand. The hyperglide design of the rings is not quite like not letting everybody else make BB. The hyperglide rings can be used, as far as I know, with other cranks -provided they are 4 bolt 104mm- so they are "compatible". Muvh like now the X-type BB cups that RaceFace makes are quite different from the Shimano ones, they are still "compatible". Octalink was managed poorly by Shimano -proof is that ISIS has a much bigger market share even when it is a far inferior design- the poor management did lead to something good, Hollotech II.

    There is a reason why people develop and stick to standards. The one that comes to mind in bicycles is the threadless headset. If the developers would have kept it to themselves it wouldn't have become what it is now, IMHO.
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    I have no doubt octalink would have been far more succesful if they'd licensed it out. We would have probably never seen ISIS either. Shimano took a gamble on that one and it didn't quite pay off quite as they imagined but it was still quite popular. What I meant about the hyperglide is that while you can use shimano rings on other cranksets, only shimano can actually manufacture the rings/cogs that use that design. That has definately paid off. Their shifting quality has set that elusive standard everyone else has tried to achieve for years.

  20. #20
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    I've always had less headaches with bottom pulling front changers anyhow. I hope some companies keep them around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    Precisely, but its not just that. When you change frames many times its likely you will need several new components. Typically a new seat post and a new front derailleur in the proper size. Having a front derailleur that will fit any possible frame is incredibly convinient in the long run.

    How many common MTB seat tube sizes need to be catered for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by banana
    How many common MTB seat tube sizes need to be catered for?
    Three common diameters, not to mention E-type.

    Plus top swing vs. bottom swing.

    Plus top pull vs. bottom pull.

    In theory that could result in 13 models of front derailleur to stock, just in one component group (i.e. XT or LX).

    In theory, using the shims + switchable top/bottom pull could reduce the number of derailleurs for a shop to keep on hand to three!
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by banana
    How many common MTB seat tube sizes need to be catered for?
    26.8mm, 27.0mm, 27.2mm, 28.6mm, 30.9mm, 31.6mm, 32.4mm. And there's a lot more. There must be at least some 10 different current sizes. Fortunately most of them are fairly non sandard but of the most commonly used ones theres like 4 or 5 of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK

    There is a reason why people develop and stick to standards. The one that comes to mind in bicycles is the threadless headset. If the developers would have kept it to themselves it wouldn't have become what it is now, IMHO.
    Was that Tioga?
    I have no problem with companies protecting their design investments. If Shimano produce the greatest conceivable [whatever] then more power to their elbow. Licencing second party use of their designs would bring is revenue in itself. The way these days though seems to be the market monopolisation tactics of the type I was "whining" about earlier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules
    you haven't been riding very long have you?

    the planned obsolescence and standard-abandoning you are whining about has been standard operating procedure for shimano for at least 20 years. anyone else remember the first indexed thumbshifters that mounted onto shimano brake levers (yet was sold seperately)? hell, before indexing, there was pretty much no such thing as incompatabilitybetween bike components. how about the first rapidfire that was built into the brake levers? how about back when there was one chainring standard (before shimano decided that there needed to be at least 4) - thanfully that's shaken out. also thankfully it looks like octalink is finally dead, hopefully isis will not be far behind (dumb ideas to start with). They are still up to the same crap now: integrated brake/shifters, incompatable hubs/rotors...

    et cetera...
    There's something wrong with your SHIFT key.

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