Great review – agree with the sentiment that somewhere deep inside fortress Shimano, there’s a cabal of engineers that wanted to make one last stab at mechanical excellence in the face of impending electronic domination. In the next few years we’re likely going to see continuing advances in technology pushed out with varying degrees of refinement – disc brakes, electronic shifting, etc. but due to their infancy they won’t be able to hold a candle to the pinnacle of mechanical-generation components. In transitional times like this it’s challenging (and expensive!) to embrace both the new ideas and the polished / refined older ideas. I’m inclined to build out a bike with Dura Ace 9000 as a shrine / homage to the best of what was possible for that era of bicycling.