The standard racing Shimano Ultegra 6500 SS was a cool piece of work with its ‘smooth convex design’ (Shimano’s words - not mine) and quality detailing. But I really hoped the long cage GS version would be something special. Some of my favourite Shimano derailleurs are long cage 600 models - the New 600 EX (6207 GS) and the 600 EX GS Arabesque (6210) spring to mind. So I was more than pleased when Shimano, after 16 long years of only offering short cage 600 series models, brought out this design.
It has class - with stainless steel fittings, a full sealed bearing inside the tension pulley, ceramic bushes in the guide pulley, a fully aluminium pulley cage (no steel inner plate as used on Deore XT) etc. etc.. I can even warm to the ‘smooth convex design’.
But there was one fly in the ointment, even though it is a full blown GS long cage model it was only rated to handle a 27 tooth cog. Where in heavan do you find a 27 tooth cog anyway? What is wrong with a perfectly decent 32 tooth cog?
The answer lies somewhere in the twisted psyches of middle aged European bank managers who had once been competitive cycle racers. They seem to want to fit 27 gears on their gold plated Colnagos so that they can haul their weakening limbs up those famous cols - but their vanity won’t allow them to use a decent sized freewheel for fear of looking like a touring cyclist. I have news for them - neither Lycra, nor Oakleys, nor tiny 24 tooth freewheels can hold back the tides of time. Stick a fork in them - they’re done.
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