Zoals beloofd: de geschiedenis van Dura-Ace. In twee delen. Deel 1 loopt vanf het begin tot aan 1993, deel 2 beschrijft de transformatie van 9 naar 10-speed. We hadden de keuze uit Japans of Engels. Dus hebben we voor Engels gekozen….


In the early seventies Shimano developed a rear derailleur for the high end road racing scene: the famous CRANE derailleur with double pantagraph (dual-spring). Like other manufacturers at that time, Shimano developed components one by one and marketed them as individual products. When Shimano first showed the CRANE derailleur to people in the bicycle industry, interest was overwhelming and customers wondered if Shimano could produce a full line of components based on the CRANE design. This was how the first DURA-ACE was developed back in 1972. “Dura” comes from the duralumin alloy which was the best available aluminium that was used for the production. “Ace” simply means – The Best.

In this first DURA-ACE year Shimano sponsored the professional Belgian road racing team Flandria. The first ever DURA-ACE victory could be celebrated already early in the season: Walter Godefroot won the 5th stage of the Ruta del Sol ion February 16th, 1973. The team achieved more great results that year, with amongst others, stage victories in the Tour de France and Freddy Maertens finishing second in the world road championships. At that time DURA-ACE already had established a great image in the road racing scene.


1978 DURA-ACE 7200 EXDura-Ace EX was introduced as the first systems component series for racing bicycles. The integration of 13 new mechanisms offered a functionality that President Shozo Shimano believed to be more than the sum of its parts. Development focused on the system created between the components rather than functional improvements made to individual parts.
The Dura-Ace EX component group was introduced with innovative features such as the Shimano freehub, 11-tooth high gear, and directional hub flanges which reducedflanges that reduced spoke stress. The freehub iwas an innovation that has since become the standard rear hub design for the entire bicycle industry.
While continuing sponsorship of the Winora team, Shimano also assumed sponsorship of the Belgian Superia, Dutch Bode-Shimano, and English Viscount-Shimano teams.

1980 DURA-ACE 7300 AX
Introduction of DURA-ACE AX. Aerodynamics series were the result of intense research and development. Focus for this group was on reducing aerodynamic resistance, which had been completely ignored in the past. Compared to previous DURA-ACE 7200 EX, the AX group reduced the air resistance of the bicycle by more than 20 percent! Shimano built the world’s first wind tunnel for use in the bicycle industry for this purpose. the development of this groupset. In addition to aerodynamic design, the group introduced other innovations such as the DynaDrive pedal which stabilized the foot by putting the shoe contact surface on the same place as the spindle center line. The AX rear derailleur featured the New Positive Mechanism, a precursor to SIS which used an index mechanism in the derailleur itself for more precise shifting. The AX Direction 6 hubs used recessed flange sections that reduced spoke stress for stronger wheels and longer spoke life.


1984 DURA-ACE 7400 (6-speed + SIS)The DURA-ACE 7400 series with the 6-speed revolutionary shifting system Shimano Index System (SIS) became an instant success. SIS was the leading feature for the DURA-ACE 7400 series and it marked a turning point in the history of gear shifting systems. Experience was required to operate traditional double lever systems but now each rider could change gears easily thanks to SIS. Indexed shifting quickly spread among the top athletes and soon became the standard everywhere. The 7400 components also offered improved weather sealing for all moving parts and this increased durability a lot.
This group also included super-low friction brakes (which would soon evolve into the Shimano Linear Response system).

1987 DURA-ACE 7400 (7-speed)
Introduction of Dura-Ace 7-speed. Shimano sponsored the famous Toshiba-Look team from France and the American 7-Eleven team.


1988 DURA-ACE 7400 (8-speed)The Dura-Ace 7400 series was upgraded with the introduction of Integrated 8; new 8-speed drive train components. American Andy Hampsten of the 7-Eleven team won the Giro d’Italia on a prototype 8-speed Dura-Ace equipped bike. This was the first Grand Tour victory for Shimano.
Shimano increased its sponsorship activities with the TVM team fromThe Netherlands, the Italian Chateau d’Ax and Carrera teams, the French Toshiba-Look team, and the American 7-Eleven team.

1990 DURA-ACE 7400 (Dual Control Levers)
After being tested intensively during the 1989 season, the new STI Dual Control Lever was introduced as a standard component of the Dura-Ace group. Recognized as setting a new standard in shifting convenience, it became the signature component of Dura-
Ace. The combination of a brake lever and a shifter operation was revolutionary and reflected the Shimano design spirit of improving the relationship interaction in between humans and bicycles.
In 1991 Gianni Bugno won the wWorld cChampionships for professionals on the road in Stuttgart riding DURA-ACE STI . In the following 7 years all road world championships were won by riders using this system (in 1992 Bugno again, 1993: Armstrong, 1994: Leblanc, 1995: Olano, 1996: Richard, 1997: Museeuw (9-speed), 1998: Brochard).



1993 The DURA-ACE group was upgraded with the addition of the FC-7410 low-profile crankset and the FD-7410 front derailleur, which offered greater rigidity for an improved shifting response.

1996 Testing DURA-ACE 9-speedDura-Ace took another leap forward with the appearance of the new 9-speed 7700-series components. 300 production prototype groups were prepared for the Mapei, Polti, TVM, Panaria, MG, and Festina teams who would beginbegan testing the components in the 79th Giro d’Italia. After three weeks of grueling racing, the 7700 components successfully completed their first test under fire.
Later in the year, when Pascal Richard won the Olympic Road Race, the top 12 places were all riding on prototype DURA-ACE 7700! Johan Museeuw succeeded several months later with the first World Professional Road Championships won on Shimano’s new ultra lightweight 9-speed. In addition to Museeuw’s win, Shimano sponsored riders took the top 9 spots riding Dura-Ace 7700 series equipped bicycles.