Thankfully, bicycle components meet all of my criteria above, and today I'm going to tell you a little about one of Shimano's mountain bike lines, Deore DX. Shimano's top of the line system was Deore XT, and DX was the step below that from 1990-1993. I've tried to find the differences in the two designations but don't find anything significant in the derailleurs; the XT having ceramic pulley bearings and gold lettering is the only difference I could find between "top" level and DX. There are some finish and weight differences in brakes and some other parts of the group, but all I have are the derailleurs and shift levers, and I don't think any of the small differences make one (DX vs XT) better than the other.
|Original catalog page 1991 This doesn't show the thumbshifters.|
DX was only sold 1990 through 1993, when it was phased out and essentially became XT; XTR had been introduced and Shimano must have felt that three high end groups were too many. Because of its short run, I'd hazard a guess that good examples of this group are fairly rare eighteen years after it was discontinued. This most likely would have been on a second tier bike, probably mixed in with the other components to give the bike some Deore "flash". I look on eBay now and again (gotta keep an eye on my retirement accounts) and I only see the quantity of auctions going down while prices are gradually moving up. Not by leaps and bounds, but the front derailleur has gone from a $15 item (NOS) to a $30 item. I question how much of that is people actually looking for this stuff, as I did, and how much is just part of the general inflation of prices we are seeing lately on eBay. It's the economy, you know.
|Rear Derailluer Deore DX|
When I built the High Sierra, I actually started with the Deore DX front derailleur, and went out of my way to find the rear and the shifters. Luckily there was one on eBay right after I made the decision to "curate" the bike with a DX drivetrain, so I picked it up for a reasonable bid and was soon shifting without worries. DX is solid stuff, and if you are reading this trying to decide whether you want to pull the trigger on an auction for a DX component or buy a bike with DX on it, I vote yes. This setup on my bike started with a 5 speed rear freewheel and mountain triple up front, and now runs a 8 speed rear cassette and a road triple up front with no problems. I'm a big fan of the thumb shifters, as I'm able to run them in friction mode now because of the wider range I have added in back. DX was speced on several touring road bikes as well, so it is suitable for just about anything you want to throw at it. Even though I have a collector's crazybrain I do actually ride this stuff, and have never had any sort of mechanical problems. Setting these up was a breeze, and I have had to make zero adjustments after everything was dialed in. Installation and adjustment is all done with the same size Allen wrench (5mm) and I appreciate the thought that went into that. Fit and finish is very nice, and in my opinion the look is very classic.
|Deore DX Shift Levers|
I am interested in curating a couple of other mountain groups in addition to my DX setup. Campagnolo made a few "offroad" sets in the eighties and early nineties, and I would love to put together an Elucid set and then find an Italian MTB frame to hang it on; the only problem with doing that is that it leans away from one of my principal tenets, which is that no one else must want it. Since it is branded Campagnolo, there is obviously some desire out there for it, which also makes it expensive. The other group that Id like to put together is a set of Shimano Deerhead stuff for the Ross Mt. Whitney. I'm not to familiar with the ins and outs in Deerhead derailleurs but I will learn and be able to relay it to you in another post AFTER I put the group together. I don't want to queer my market by creating a competition for pieces, so my preliminary research needs to stay under wraps.
I hope you have enjoyed your walk through what my Rain Man brain thinks is worth wasting hundreds of nano bites of storage and hours of painstaking research on.