December 1, 2007

I heart M571

Is it just me, or is the LX M571 front derailleur the best thing Shimano has ever made? Consider, if you will:
#1: It works really well. I’m not a big gearie, but I’d put this derailleur up against anything out there. I mean, if you’re cranking 20rpm up a climb and try to shift, of course it’s not going to work. But neither will your $100 XTR front derailleur, which brings me to…
#2: It’s cheap. Even when it was new, I don’t think these sold for much over $20.
#3: It’s light. I don’t really care much about this, but the best you’ll do with even a really high end offering is break even with these suckers. They’re somewhere around 130 grams soaking wet. Which is something they can get without gumming up and requiring replacement…
#4: You can’t impress anyone with it. Is there anything more hateful than someone showing up on a ride just to deliberately point out to everyone their newest high-dollar gimmick part, just like they did last week, and the week before? The kind of person who will drag the subject of their new part and its perceived benefits into ANY conversation? The LX M571 will only draw howls of derision if you attempt to draw attention to it. This is a good thing. Better yet, it’s greyish hue will fool the casual observer into thinking it’s XTR.

As an aside, I once saw a Huffy equipped with several XTR bits, which either means someone has a great sense of humor, or that they had the worst case of small-part upgraditis I’ve ever seen. My friends Feldman, Jake, and Ned were in a college van driving to Moab at one time and, upon seeing a cheap Haro with a similar problem, made a sign to hold up in the window when passing the unfortunate vehicle that was carrying the bike that read “XTR on a Haro?” Anyway, back to my obsessive front derailleur list:

(Author’s note: if you read the comments, you’ll see that I sort of amalgamated an experience I had and a story that was told to me in the original version of this little anecdote. Does this mean I’m getting senile, or just less honest in my old age? You be the judge.)

#5: The omniscient giant brain that runs Shimano knew about 29ers when this derailleur was introduced, in about 1848. At least that’s what it seems like to me. Maybe I’m getting old. Exhibit A:

That’s a 29er wheel with a 2.25″ Kenda Nevegal. A big meaty tire. And the 29er in question here has 430mm chainstays, yet there’s plenty of room for the clamp, cage, and even the cable, thanks to the side-mounted arm. Sweet! Admittedly, this frame has some custom tweaks to get more tire clearance with the short stays that help quite a bit, but even without ’em, the M571 would work. I use this derailleur (I’ve got a little stash) on almost every geared 29er I build, assuming I can talk the owner of the frame into using such a low-pedigree part.

And yes, for those of you who must know, I wrote this because it’s 15 degrees outside right now, and about 5 degrees warmer in the shop, and I want to go get smashed instead of huddling over the welder on my Friday night, but I’m waiting for Sarah to call me to meet up at Efrain’s. Don’t expect this kind of obsessive crap from me every night.