|Probably the best mountain bike derailleur of its time, but|
looks perfectly at home on road bikes, too.
I've always been a SunTour guy, but this Deore MT60 represents a pretty great "modern" derailleur, made at just the time when Shimano was thoroughly establishing their dominance of the bicycle component market. It was nicely styled, without a lot of the typical Shimano gimmickry, and built to last under harsh conditions. Though made primarily for mountain bikes, its simple all-silver finish looked good on road bikes too.
The 1987 Deore MT60 was one of the first indexing mountain bike derailleurs (SunTour released their indexing Accushift line for both road and MTBs that same year), on the heels of Shimano's successful indexing road derailleurs, the Dura Ace 7400 and 600EX SIS of 1985 and '86 respectively. Deore had first been introduced in 1981 as a high-end touring group, but its real impact was in the burgeoning mountain bike market. The MT60 was the first in the Deore line to incorporate the slant-parallelogram design first patented by SunTour, then adopted by Shimano after SunTour's patent expired. It also used the spring-loaded upper pivot that Shimano had already been known for, which contributed to quick, crisp shifting. This derailleur brought the performance of Dura Ace to mountain/touring bikes, in a sturdier package with more seals, etc.
One of the great things about this derailleur is that it will shift crisply and smoothly over a wide range - at least as well as the great old SunTour GT models. But being made for mountain bike duties, it should also prove very durable. Ironically, for a long time, it was SunTour that had simple, functional derailleur designs, and Shimano that seemed to go for gimmicks and "innovations" that were like answers to questions nobody asked. But after SunTour had a string of early '80s mis-steps, like the self-destructing Mountech, or other overly complex "Tech"-series derailleurs, such as the Superbe Tech, or the weird 3-pulley LeTech, suddenly it was Shimano that seemed like the solid, stable choice. This Deore just epitomized that.
So, do I care that this derailleur can index-shift? Not a bit - but in general, a derailleur that works well with indexing levers will also shift beautifully with friction levers. I plan to use it with some old SunTour ratcheting bar-end shifters.
Compared with what would come later, this old Deore is a classic-looking piece of equipment. And while it was only designed for 6-speed gearing (it would probably work fine on 7 or even 8-speeds - not that it matters) its performance should be as good as anything made currently.
Just for laughs, let's take a look at what the Deore looks like today:
|The current-generation Deore looks like it was designed by a Japanese Animé cartoonist. Can anyone imagine bolting this thing onto a road bike today?|