I just have to chime in and agree with Doug Fattic, that since I myself come from the midwest (Champaign-Urbana, Illinois), in the 1970's I highly identified with the British Cycling "ethic", e.g. use the affordable stuff that works - you don't have to have an Italian sex machine to win a race on a bicycle. Get a bike with French parts and replace the simplex rear mech with suntour, and you're all set. I think this was done about 6 times out of 10 in the midwest (the other 4 times out of 10 we bought japanese machines.)
In my hometown I think I saw campagnolo on a bicycle only once - on a Pink Colnago - which again, I only ever saw a colnago once, at a race. Campagnolo was something we drooled at in magazines. Sugino Mighty cranks were what we found in local shops. In my town you could buy Schwinn (2 shops), Raleigh (2 best shops), Motobecane (1 shop), Dawes (sporting goods store), and some japanese brands. As for campagnolo, I never saw a Raleigh Pro or International on a club ride. And I only saw 2 paramounts - one owned by a poser, the other was errrrrrr, mine, after I got one cheap ($300) in 1980.
If you visit the small towns in the midwest, you will see why "Value for Money" is still the motto, and that's one thing i love the most about today's "Cycling+" magazine - that it seems that half of the rating on a bicycling part or bicycle is "Value for money" - as it should be. We used to look at each other's bikes and we WEREN'T IMPRESSED by campy because any idiot can spray money at a problem, but it takes someone really smart to select each part with the best combo of price and performance in bicycling.
Anyway, I agree with Doug Fattic, that value for money was and probably still IS the cycling ethic in most of Britain, just like it's the cycling ethic in most of America, just not in California, where there is altogether too much money floating around, looking for a reason to be spent ...
- Don Gillies
San Diego, CA