> I think AX really started in '80-- there was some at the New York
> show in 1980, including the wind tunnel demo. But AX and EX(late '78)
> have some crossover parts-- with minor modifications, the cranks,
> pedals and hubs of AX and EX are interchangeable. Shimano was sending
> frame kits of aero tubing to almost any team or bike shop that agreed
> to build them up so people could see the oval seatpost, AX brakes etc
> in use on team bikes. They were desperate for "respectability" as
> racing kit-- unfortunately they never achieved this with AX stuff.
> That group remains my favorite because the pieces have the feel of
> custom, high level machinery. But racers are a conservative crew, and
> probably with good reason didn't want to risk a group with so much
> modification from traditional styling.
Trek sponsored a local team around 1981 and provided Dura-Ace AX components to them. My lasting memory is of Colin O'Brien, then a Wisconsin time-trial champion (now proprietor of the Cronometro shop in Madison WI) taking a brand-new AX crank out of the box, marching out to the factory floor and taking it to the belt sander because it wasn't "aero" enough for him!
John Thompson (email@example.com)
Appleton WI USA