Thanks for the entertainment.
No seriously...this has been a strangely entertaining read.
Back to is shimano cool .....
Shimano is very good functionally and some of it looks good, but it doesn't look spectacular in my opinion. It all looks the same. I am afraid I am probably being quite narrow minded, but for me cool equates to desirable ...and my idea of desirable is a) appearance being both different and attractive and/or b) function and reliability being so much beyond anything else available c) both.
Shimano's prevalence in the market does not preclude it from being cool...but it does make it harder (see below about its standard). I think other manufacturers could appear cool to me more easily because they are less prevalent and should find it easy to appear different. Yet Sram is also functional but I don't desire that either. I think that is because, for the most part, it doesn't look different enough to shimano kit. Strangely I do think the x0 chainset looks good and I can't say exactly why, maybe it just looks different enough from other kit.
Shimano has set a good standard that would require it to better itself significantly in order to be cool, and it doesn't seem to me to be doing that in either appearance or function. It seems to progress in very small steps of innovation. Possibly steps that are too "safe" to be cool. Innovations from shimano seem to usually (but not always) be fairly small steps to me. Big Japanese companies seem to work likes this (brings to mind something said about toyota in formula1 about their cars being compromised by being designed in meetings by too many participants).
I can't think of a current shimano part that is cool, but I do appreciate that shimano makes good bike parts and without some of its innovations cycling would be a worse place.
The innovations that I think really made a difference and which I think came from shimano are:
underbar thumbies (once they had got beyond some of the early clunky sti anyway).
I feel these innovations were cool because they made significant leaps forward in function. However I have come to expect this level of function now, so just because the modern shimano equipment I have offers this function doesn't mean it is cool now.
So I find myself sitting on the fence. I can't vote current
shimano parts cool because I don't desire them and they don't seem to offer significant leaps forward in function. To be uncool they would have to be poor (or below current standards) in function or appearance. I can't vote them uncool because I use them and appreciate they work well enough.
I now vote myself uncool for thinking so hard about this and not being able to choose between the two options. Good night