Dave N. wrote, in part:
The ride and = response was matchless for it time, and the Sun Tour bar ends were = easily the finest system, coupled with what I recall was a VGT or VGLuxe = that could be had in what was then a contemporary bike.
You know, up until fairly recently, I would have agreed with this. But since I started riding the Masi Special I mentioned in my post about my solitary Sunday ride down in North San Diego County, I've come to a different conclusion about shifting systems.
I set this Masi up in what I understand to be--based on
examination of similar original bikes of the
period--period-correct style. Campagnolo steel Record rear,
Record front with the built-in cable stop, and Campagnolo
bar-end shifters, with original Campagnolo NOS braided
derailleur cables (I love all this insider mumbo-jumbo...
The drivetrain also includes a Regina Extra freewheel (14-24) and a brand new Regina Corsa black chain. All typical of the early/mid 60s on a top road bike.
Cranks are the older 151 bcd Record cranks.
I'm quite sure that the fact that I set everything up well within the operating tolerances of the gear doesn't hurt at all. What problems I've had with Campagnolo's best stuff have always cropped up when I push the gear past its operating ranges (like using a 14-28 freewheel. It can be done, but it's hardly ideal)...of course, this means going up hills is a bit more of an authentic experience than I prefer...but, hey, builds character, ya know?
I gotta tell ya, set up carefully, within tolerances, as on the Special, this is about the smoothest shifting I've ever experienced. The only thing better, and then only marginally, is a Suntour cyclone on a close-ratio freewheel, with dt shifters. And the Cyclone should be brand new. Cyclones do get a little loose with use, and then don't work quite so well (I stand corrected on this one... mea culpa, Stevan)
The shifting set-up on the Special is really remarkable. Nope, not quite as good as Ergo index...but not all that far away from it, either. As friction shifting systems go, the system on the Special is the best I've ever experienced. Very solid, positive, delicate, smooth, quiet, and precise.
Stevan was right awhile back--again, I stand corrected--when he said that, properly set-up, Campagnolo bar-ends are very, very fine shifting instruments..
I strongly urge anyone with an interest to get the appropriate frame and set it up with this system, and see what you think. The stuff is all out there and not all that expensive, either. Just make sure everything's very clean, straight, and well-oiled and greased. A new chain and freewheel make a huge difference too...of course! Put it all together though, and that shifting system made by Campagnolo nearly 40 years ago now, gives just about anything else a good run.
Charles "the older the better...where's my Vittoria Marguerita!! NOS only please!" Andrews SoCal