Monday, November 21, 2016

Welcome to the Future..Shimano AX/Shogun Aero

A few years ago, after reading a Shimano 
AERO dynamics brochure from 1981, 
and ogling a few Cycle magazine adds for the 
Lotus Aero with full Shimano AX Dura Ace group set, 
I was suddenly seized by a strong desire to experience 
for myself, the wonderful future that this aero bike
 and it's wind slicing component set offered us mere mortals
battling the wind on our old fashioned round tubed machines.
From the Shimano AX catalogue, actually not to far off 
what a few pommy TT riders looked like 
on race day in the early eighties.

Anyway, the chances of tying out one of these bikes
of the future seemed pretty remote as I don't believe
there where any importers bringing Japanese Aero bikes
into New Zealand during this initial aero moment.
Then out of nowhere this completely original 
Shogun Aero came my way, suddenly the future
was the to speak.
These early eighties aero bikes were made by a number of 
different Japanese frame builders, it seems that 
tubing manufacturer Tange and Shimano must have worked in
conjunction to give the local builders a lead on the market with
Tange building it's complete Aero tubing set to coincide with
the release of the full group set range of AERO dynamics
components from Shimano.

 1981 Shogun Aero with full (nearly) full
Dura AX group.
In usual Shimano thoroughness, the bottle
and cage are integrated into the package, 
it is little wonder Shimano went on to dominate
the bike component industry with the kind of
money they must have dropped on R/D
during the eighties.
 Shimano seat pin is specific for the Tange Aero tube set.
 Seat cluster was a big disappointment for me, more thought
should have gone into it's finish and execution.
Must be one of the first top mounted gear levers?
Rear derailleur is thing of beauty, 
and works well to.
Very pretty Nitto Crystem blue stem, hidden brake
cables of course.
 Unfortunately bike didn't come with AX brakes,
which is a shame as these calipers are one of 
the highlights of the AX range for me.
Love the Shogun logo.
 Here are some overall shot to give you an feel
of how the aero tubes and components look.
 The bike rides very well, Dura Ace works well, of course.
I know this sounds stupid, but the bike did actually feel..
well aero, it certainly doesn't feel light and aggressive in
the English TT manner, but definitely stiff and pretty quick.
Maybe it could have saved you a second or two over
a relatively flat course, I don't know, but maybe just the 
the morale boost to know you where riding the bike 
of the future in '81, would have made the difference.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure that Healing did do an AX bike. Keith from Cycle Trading might have a catalogue with it in. I met Ian Hooker (ex-head of Healing and co-founder of Cyclemakers) in China a few years back.Last time I caught up with him, he was working at the Polytech on the Coast. Anyhow, my faded memory of the aero Healing is that it had a similar "aero" top loading stem, and weird, forward sweeping handlebars. Whether it employed AX componentry, who knows. But Healing was the Shimano Agent at the time, so it's possible.