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Throwback Thursday: The First Ever Shimano Deore XT Groupset From 1982

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In March 1921, Shozaburo Shimano and a former co-worker rented a single lathe to begin manufacturing the 3.3.3 freewheel for bicycles. Little did he realise he was launching one of the biggest and most important cycling brands that would still be at the forefront of cycling nearly 100 years later.

His brand is now gearing up for its centennial celebrations and is dipping back into its archives to look at some of the most significant products it has released. This week the original Deore XT drivetrain that was built to capitalise on the mountain bike boom in the 1970s gets put in the spotlight. It’s a model that is approaching its own 40 year anniversary and remains one of our favourite drivetrains to this day. Check out the video above for all the details on the thumb shifters, four-finger levers and cantilever brakes with safety stopper technology that were considered the height of mtb tech at the time.

bigquotes In the latter half of the 1970s, Shimano, upon receiving news of a mountain biking boom in the west coast of the United States, assigned members from the Japan headquarters to investigate locally. Experiencing the joy of it first hand, the members were confident in the potential of mountain biking and began the development of specialized components. The most challenging aspect was meeting the firmness required. The fact that these components would be used in unforeseen harsh environments, coupled with the exposure to rainwater and mud, made shielding-effect necessary. Durability tests were repeated with mud and sand collected from across the United States and finally, the first mountain bike component, “DEORE XT” came to life. The mountain bike movement had since spread further throughout the globe and contributed to the growth of Shimano as well.Shimano

Here’s another Shimano video on the 3.3.3 freewheel that the brand started producing nearly 100 years ago.


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