Perception is one thing. Reality is another. In the mid-70's the top French stuff was superior to all else. In the early 80's Mavic was. In the mid 80's Zeus 2000 was the best. But the market perception was something different.
Jerry Moos Big Spring, Tx
Gary Watts <email@example.com> wrote: My own perception of the French components like Simplex was low to medium quality and mass market usage. Campy was strictly high end and gained the brand perception quickly. Branding is all about mind share and Campy was good at that for whatever reasons.
Shimano and Suntour, while making excellent components, had a difficult time (my opinion) getting that high end perception. I worked in 3 shops from 1975-1980. As a mechanic, all the Simplex I ever saw (none of the metal derailleurs) was that it was poorly made. Suntour did succeed at making some great high end components (Superbe Pro) but got swallowed by market shifts.
Campy nearly got swallowed as well but thankfully didn't. I notice that they are coming out with groups now for bikes other than traditional racing bikes. We'll see how that goes as it hasn't worked for them in the past to my knowledge.
Gary Watts Vancouver, Washington(currently in Singapore however)
"One wonders why, with stuff this good, these French companies are now disappeared. Probably their marketing wasn't as good as their manufacturing. Also, in the case of Simplex, their cheap Prestige plastic derailleurs and shifters continued to appear on low end bikes and undermined the reputation of the whole marque. In a broader way, perhaps Campy survived because they always focused on the top end of the market, where it was at least possible to compete with the Japanese. The French, much more than Campy, were trying to compete in every price range, and at the lower price points Shimano, and for several years SunTour, simply blew them away on quality and price."
Big Spring, TX