Re: [CR]Simplex Derailleurs, 1960's-80's

(Example: Framebuilding:Restoration)

From: "Paul Williams" <>
To: "Jerry & Liz Moos" <>
References: <> <042b01c2e598$26849cd0$efddfea9@mooshome>
Subject: Re: [CR]Simplex Derailleurs, 1960's-80's
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 2003 13:26:28 -0500
cc: Classic Rendezvous <>
cc: Classic Rendezvous

Jerry, Eric, and list,

But were all Prestige the same? What about the Simplex Prestige 637 Luxe which is in the 1972 PX10E catalogue specs I received from Tom Jacobson? This also seems to be what came with my 1970 PX10E - it is marked "prestige" on the back of the body but definitely has forged cage plates (marked 2 and below 70), ball-bearings in the jockey wheels, mix of delrin and chrome, and a spring loaded upper pivot. Surely the top-end PX10Es would use the top-of-the-line derailleurs?

Unfortunately it is missing its badge (just out of curiosity what colour would this have been?). I haven't yet investigated the front der. - I will get back to you on that.


Paul Williams,
Ottawa, ON, Canada

----- Original Message -----
From: Jerry & Liz Moos
To: r cielec

<> Sent: Saturday, March 08, 2003 12:28 PM Subject: Re: [CR]Simplex Derailleurs, 1960's-80's

> We've had this discussion before, and there is some difference of opinion
> between us Francophiles and the Campy fanatics. In my opinion the
> part-plastic (Delrin) Simplex Criterium rear derailleur found on the early
> 70's Peugeot PX-10s and similar top French models shifts noticeably better
> than the Campy NRs found on Italian bikes at the time. One of the reasons
> that Simplex shifted better was the spring-loaded upper pivot which Campy
> lacked. The Japanese later "borrowed" this idea and combined it with the
> slant parallelogram invented by SunTour to totally outclass European
> derailleurs.
> Unfortunately, the Simplex Criterium looks very similar to to the cheap
> Delrin Simplex derailleur usually referred to as the "Prestige". The only
> noticeable difference is that while the Criterium had a proper forged jockey
> cage like the Campy NR, the Prestige had a cheap, thin, stamped jockey cage
> like the cheap Campy Valentino of that era. This cage flexed horribly
> during shifts and ruined the performance. Thus, while the Criterium shifted
> noticeably better than a Campy NR, the Prestige shifted about like a
> Valentino, meaning it was absolute crap. Unfortunately the Prestige was the
> Simplex most US buyers were familar with as it appeared on hords of Peugeot
> UO-8s and low end Raleighs which flooded into the US during the bike boom.
> I bought a UO-8 about 1972 and improved the bike's performance about 100% by
> replacing the Simplex Prestige with a Shimano Crane about 6 months later. I
> had no idea then that a Simplex Criterium would have produced a similar
> improvement.
> Another problem with Simplex's image was that they weren't very good at
> differentiating models. Both the Prestige and Criterium were often marked
> "Simplex Prestige", so if the buyer wasn't knowledgeable enough to notice
> the difference in cage design, he would conclude that the Criterium was the
> same junk as that Prestige on his UO-8. Also, I don't recall many shops
> having Criteriums for sale as an after market item, so if a buyer decided to
> upgrade his Simplex Pestige, the choices were usually Campy or Japanese.
> The pushrod Delrin Simplex front derailleurs varied much less between the
> Prestige and Criterium models, and I'm still not sure there is any real
> difference. These can shift surprisingly well if set up properly, but are
> harder to adjust than a parallelogram FD like Campy NR, and probably don't
> handle a large chainring difference as well. A little later, mid-70's
> maybe, Simplex made a part-Delrin parallelogram front derailleur and these
> shift as well as anything of the era.
> In addition to the Delrin, Simplex began some time in the mid-70's making
> all-alloy derailleurs, although they seem to have continued making the
> Delrin stuff as well. Over the next 10 or 15 years there were a large
> number of models made, but many were marked "Simplex Super LJ". These alloy
> Simplexes, in my opinion, shift better than any non-indexed derailleur
> except SunTour. They were often mated with the legendary Simplex
> Retrofriction downtube shift levers, which were spring loaded to assist
> downshifts and prevent slipping into higher gears on hills. Most collectors
> regard these as the best non-indexed shift levers ever made. In the late
> 70's even a lot of "all Campy" fanatic racers installed them.
> Simplex was eventually killed off by Japanese competition, indexed shifting,
> and their heavy reliance on OEM business from French bike manufacturers.
> The poor image created by the cheap Delrin Prestige probably didn't help
> either.
> Regards,
> Jerry Moos
> Houston, TX
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "r cielec" <>
> To: "Classic Rendezvous" <>
> Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 10:04 PM
> Subject: [CR]Simplex Derailleurs, 1960's-80's
> >
> > I have never ridden Simplex derailleurs, only have seen the circa '70's
> Delrin (?) rears and both the Delrin and metal fronts.
> >
> > Were they any good? Did Simplex make quality derailleurs? What is the SLP?
> SLR? - I'm not sure of designation.
> >
> > Richard Cielec
> >
> > Chicago, Illinois
> >
> >
> >
> > ---------------------------------
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