DISRAELI GEARS

Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style)

Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur main image

Having chosen to take the fight to Campagnolo with the Shimano Dura-Ace (7100), Shimano then (justifiably) decided that Campagnolo’s soft underbelly was technology.

The Dura-Ace EX (7200) introduced Shimano’s EX concept which I understood as being a design optimised for the (then radical) idea of using 6 speeds, particularly with the new Freehubs. It has virtually no inner pulley cage plate and a clever ‘Hatch-Plate Mechanism’ that allows the chain to be removed and inserted into the derailleur without tools. Campagnolo’s Nuovo Record was famously bad at handling 6 speed cogs (with the change into top gear, just before a sprint for the line, requiring faith, hope and charity) - and Shimano aimed to do the job properly - using science rather than religion.

Despite all of this, I found the Dura-Ace EX (7200) slightly unconvincing in its claims to be the ultimate derailleur. It lacked the clean, lightweight, minimalism of the Dura-Ace (7100), the true, bomb-proof, design of the Campagnolo Nuovo Record and the slant parallelogram of the SunTour Cyclone. Any dropped parallelogram gear will wear more quickly than the traditional Campagnolo design - because it loads the parallelogram pivots with some torsion. Any design without a slant parallelogram will not change as well as a SunTour. Any derailleur with two springs working against each other will be prone to one of the springs suffering exhaustion and going out of balance with the other.

I once heard a story of how Enzo Ferrari came upon Audi testing the original Quattro at Imola. The Audi engineers showed the great man their five cylinder engine, their weird engine bay layout with the in-line block almost in front of the front wheels and their radical four-wheel-drive system. Enzo Ferrari asked if he could take it for a test ride - and the Audi engineers agreed. Afterwards they eagerly asked him what he thought, and he is supposed to have replied that he could not congratulate them enough on the brilliant way that they had solved all the problems that they had caused for themselves. There is something of the Audi Quattro about the Dura-Ace EX (7200).

The Dura-Ace EX (7200) went through 4 generations:

  • The first version (1978) had a Hatch Plate with a squarish inner plate. It had pins in two parallelogram pivots to keep the cable adjuster and cable clamp bolt aligned. And it had no spoke protector at the tension pulley. and it had basic, one-part, plastic seals around the heads of the main b-pivot and p-pivot Allen bolts.
  • For the second version (1980) the Hatch Plate was improved with a curvaceous inner plate.
  • The third version (1982) introduced a spoke protector at the tension pulley.
  • The fourth version (1983) saw the removal of the two pins in the parallelogram pivots to keep the cable adjuster and cable clamp bolt aligned. Also the seals around the heads of the main b-pivot and p-pivot Allen bolts were improved to be a two-part design.


This is a used, but rather lovely, black, example of the very first version described above. Some key features are:

  • The parallelogram has pins in two pivots to keep the cable adjuster and cable clamp bolt aligned.
  • The Hatch-Plate on the pulley cage has a squarish inner plate.
  • The partial inner cage plate at the tension pulley does NOT have a built in plastic spoke protector.
  • The seals around the heads of the main b-pivot and p-pivot Allen bolts are a basic, one-part, plastic design.

As with many derailleurs, this first version is the lightest of the various variants. Why is it that seemingly similar derailleurs gain weight over time? They can't easily blame chips and beer.


  • Derailleur brands: Shimano
  • Categories: Shimano - the Dura-Ace story
  • Country: Japan
  • Date of introduction: 1978
  • Date of this example: 1979 (two letter date code DB)
  • Model no.: DA-200 or 7200
  • Weight: 191g
  • Maximum cog: 26 teeth (source: Shimano)
  • Total capacity: 26 teeth (source: Shimano)
  • Pulley centre to centre: 46mm
  • Index compatibility: friction
  • Chain width: 3/32”
  • Logic: top normal
  • B pivot: sprung
  • P pivot: sprung
  • Materials: aluminium, with stainless steel teeth on the guide pulley wheel
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 01
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 02
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 03
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 04
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 05
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 06
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 07
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 08
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 09
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 10
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 11
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 12
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 13
Shimano Dura-Ace EX black (7200 1st style) derailleur additional image 14
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