I does seem that cycle touring is mostly a French, and to a slightly lesser extent, a British tradition, while it hardly seems to exist in Italy. No surprise, then, that the great touring bikes and equipment came from from France and UK. I suppose one could engage in all sorts of speculation on the social differences between France and Italy that created this situation. It seems that Campy was slow to shake off the exclusively Italian mindset and understand what foreign markets wanted in terms of touring and later mountain bike equipment. The French companies , of course, had an equally hard time looking beyond French attitudes and traditions.
The Japanese, on the other hand, being an island nation with few natural resources, had long depended on export of manufactured goods to allow them to pay for essential raw materials, (overlooking for a moment the 30's and early 40's when they secured resources by conquering the rest of East Asia) so they had become more astute at understanding what foreigners wanted and giving it to them, even when there was no demand for such goods in Japan. We Americans have lately, it seems, actually taken advantage of our lack of cycling tradition, at least as compared to the Europeans. This may have aided us in pioneering mountain bikes and aluminum road bikes with oversized tubes, as we had less traditon to break with. At some point, of course, the lack of adaptability by the French and Italians sort of becomes an asset again, as Campy is seen as retaining a certain Italian mystique and tradition, and TA the same for French mystique and tradition, in contrast to the mass marketed Japanese and American goods. Of course, to make tradition into an asset, Campy and TA first had to adapt enough to actually survive, which most other Italian and French manufacturers didn't manage to do.
> Jerry wrote:
> "But even the Titlist would have been an immense inprovement on
> the Gran Turisimo boat anchor, both in weight and performance. Amazing that
> Campy for decades could not figure out how to make decent touring equipment
> or lower cost racing stuff. Their stuff was either top of the line or crap."
> If you had been to Italy at the time, the answer to this point would have been
> immediately visible. Drive for a week in any part of Italy and you would see
> the following: Italians on nice high-quality racing bikes, Italians on
> incredibly functional city bikes, foreigners riding overloaded,
> overequipped 'touring' bikes. Beyond that, no other bikes would be seen.
> Campagnolo knew their market and followed it well. A market for touring bikes
> in Italy is and was non-existent.
> Jerry also wrote:
> "The original Rally was Campy's first good touring derailleur and it wasn't
> until Victory/Triomphe in the C-Record era that Campy made a good lower cost
> gruppo. Campy seems to have learned the lesson form the Japanese about
> covering the entire market price range, as today's Veloce and Mirage (or
> whatever names they are called this year) are functionally almost identical
> to Record, give or take one gear on the cassette."
> The fact that Campagnolo made no 'touring' derailleur makes perfect sense when
> you look at the common rides of the collective Italian ridership. City bikes
> needed no enormous gear range and the racing bikes got by very well with their
> then 42/26 low gear. As one of my 70 year-old riding friends in Italy rightly
> pointed out: If you need a smaller gear, you can just as easily get off and
> walk the bike at the same speed.
> As for Campagnolo covering the entire market price range, this is news to me.
> To me they have never touched the true low end.
> Steven Maasland
> Moorestown, NJ