Shimano’s tree murdering instruction sheets

2nd UPDATE: With a new sense of calm, I got the derailleur installed, no thanks to you, Shimano instructions. The inspiration and tips came from the humans at the Passion forum. You guys rock. Shimano instructions, with all due respect to your fans on the forum, I still think you make out with crack whore butt.

UPDATE: According to the folks that the great, always super positive (seriously) MTBR.com Passion forum, it’s me that sucks, not the instructions. I can buy that. But I still think they should be more dummy friendly, dammit. Anyway, I’ll keep my original rant up because it was fun to write. Hopefully it’ll be fun to read too.

I’m a Shimano guy. Why? I don’t know. I’ve just kind of always had Shimano stuff and it worked really well. Boom. Andy Beach: Shimano guy. I guess I could have just as easily become a Sram guy if my first mountain bike had come with Sram stuff and it worked really well. Boom. Parallel universe Andy Beach: Sram guy. I do have to say, however, that Shimano makes way better looking stuff. Take rear derailleurs. Though Sram stuff is looking less clunky as fuck than it used to, next to XT or XTR gear, X-7 or X-9 stuff…I’d much rather bang the Shimano stuff. But who gives a runny turd. Both companies make really great gear that works smoooooth smooth.

And, ironically (or maybe not technically ironically. It’s tough to figure out when you’ve had a few drinks), I’m taking grease stained fingertips to keyboard right now to bitch about Shimano. But I’m going to digress a bit first. Let’s see if I get anywhere. Sometimes writing/reading is like taking a trail for the first time. You’re like, “I think this is going to get us through to that trail we want to be on.” And your buddies say, “Alright. Let’s go,” even though they probably don’t fully trust you, but they follow you anyway because hopefully it’ll be fun even if you end up out-and-backing. That was a digression of my digression. Here’s my original digression.

Prosperous and wealthy countries get to kick ass in many things lame countries don’t: Caring about stupid shit. Having poor, yet super fat people. Celebrity manufacturing. Rad food that we don’t even finish. Roller coasters. TV flatness. Now, I’m being ironic because it’s fun. But there’s also a part of me that’s saying, “Fuckin’ A. I’m glad to be first world.” And I’ve taken full advantage of being first world. I haven’t been killed by rebels. I’ve never pulled a worm out of any part of my body. I make more than a kick in the teeth per hour. I’ve been upwardly mobile. I come from a really modest background and have worked hard to be less modest (If I’m being honest, and I always am on Mt. Shredward, it makes it hard for me to relate to a lot of what the Occupy protesters are saying). I have a bike that cost about $4000. And I ride with a ton of dudes in the same boat. How crazy is that? A bike! I could by like 8000 of those bikes everyone wobbles around on in Vietnam.

Photo courtesy of whatever that watermark says

We got it good. But I think we earned it by building a relatively good society and enough of us don’t shit out kids we can’t feed. But here’s one thing that pisses me off about the gotitgood set: we get a bit careless when it comes to waste. Which brings me back to Shimano. They waste more fucking trees than bark beetles. Anyone who has put Shimano gear on their ride knows what I’m talking about. And if not, they will shortly as I go off on these knothole rapists.

The same company that provides some of the most flawlessly engineered stuff around ships their wares with the most taint licking, elephant ass wiping installation manuals ever.

Translation: bleh blotty blah blah bleeppy bleep blah blah da dee

They’ve always mystified me, but I’ve never really had to rely on them until tonight. I’ve got a couple bikes. My Blur LT that receives the majority of my love because it’s what I hit the trails with. Then I have my old Gary Fisher Tassajarra hard tail, which was the bike I bought to replace my first mountain bike when I started getting serious about mountain biking. This bike, beyond having a place in my heart, has a place in my life. Over time I’ve put some decent components on it and some Kenda slick tires, and it’s become my street/road bike. Recently the last original component on my Fisher, the front derailleur, gave up the ghost. The spring was no longer springy enough to drop me down onto the granny ring. Not that I hardly ever use the granny on this bike, but regardless, the thing was shot. So I found a good deal on a Shimano XT to replace it. It came in the mail today.

My mechanical chops are so-so, at best. But I figured I could manage to install a new front derailleur. Hell, it’s only 3 gears. Turns out, it’s actually trickier than installing its rear cousin, which I’ve pulled off. A lot trickier, actually. There’s not only horizontal stuff to deal with, but vertical. So I went for the instructions. But I quickly sagged as I was reminded, oh yeah, this is Shimano gear. Hence, it comes with a folded bed sheet of multi-lingual schematics of worthlessness not written for humans. I want to know how to put a bike together in the real world, Shimano eggheads, not see a freeze frame of what it would look like if you detonated some C4 in the bottom bracket. When I ordered my Blur, the folks at The Colorado Cyclist were good enough to ship me a whole ziplock full of these folded up maps to Frustrationville.

And I know why they did it. They didn’t want all that engineer porn around. Actually, that’s a stupid joke. Engineers whack off to youporn or redtube, like the rest of us. Sorry. No one could get hard within spitting distance of these absurd seizure-inducing posters.

So getting my new front derailleur right comes down to an endless game of trial and error. Or I walk sad Charlie Brown style into a bike shop and have them finish off the job. Either way, good grief am I’m a dipshit.

I just don’t understand who the fuck these scribblings are for. If you know your shit, then you’ve probably been trained by someone else who knows their shit, so you don’t need them. If you don’t know your shit and don’t have a great head for mechanics (read: me), then they’re as useful, practical and readable as pubic hair. They’re in four languages, but even the English may as well be enscribed in Ancient Fucktard.

Upside down. Or is it?

So, Shimano, here’s what I recommend: clean up your act, and put some human beings on the job. Do some R&D on real people trying to learn to install gear. Put Joe O. Cassional-Mechanic in a room with a naked frame and your stuff, and see where he gets stuck. Don’t forget tips on fine tuning. If you’re going to kill trees, make their sacrifices count for something. Or here’s an idea! Put videos online that explain it to me like I’m an idiot, because obviously, I kinda am. But I’m not dumb enough to know that your instructions are the shit that comes out of a dog after it eats shit.

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