Shimano Bicycle System Components (May 1978)

Shimano Bicycle System Components (1978) front cover main image

Shimano catalogues from the early 1970s have a certain naive charm. They appear to be the products of simple, honest folk with a basic, functional product to sell. This is not an accusation that you could level at this 1978 catalogue. It is powerful, sophisticated, comprehensive, beautifully produced and, for Shimano’s competitors, terrifyingly impressive.

I particularly note:

  • The fantastic photograph on page 3. It’s reminds me of one of those school photos of the period - you know, the ones where your own mother spends ten minutes peering at the sea of grimacing faces and then wrongly identify you as someone two years younger with buck teeth.
  • The sheer inventiveness. Five pages at the start (page 4 to page 8) are completely devoted to ‘special innovations’.
  • The picture on page 10 promoting the weight benefits of Dura-Ace 10, which shows a prototype road groupset (including derailleur) that uses 10mm pitch chain.
  • The well-groomed, smiling, slightly uncomfortable, couple promoting the FF System on page 23. Are they waving or drowning?
  • The inclusion of the Eagle II and Lark II derailleurs in the FF System (page 24). The ‘cable saver’ design had morphed into a ‘pre-select’ feature.
  • The appearance of the names ‘Freehub’ (page 35) and ‘V brake’ (page 39) although they are not used for the products that we know by these names today. Funky white plastic eagles though.
  • The pages of corporate history (page 49 and page 50) that even boasts about Shimano’s ‘strict control over finances’. Probably not a big draw in the Greek market...


  • Publisher: Shimano
  • Country: Japan
  • Date: May 1978
  • Derailleur brands: Shimano
  • Derailleurs: too numerous to mention - see individual pages