Jerome & Elizabeth Moos wrote:
> 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.
Even Campy had a long stretch of pretty lean years from the mid 80s to early 90s before pulling itself back together again. The Shimano juggernaut had (and has -- to their credit) hit upon a business model that allowed them to produce good quality, user friendly components across their entire product line. The high-end French component market was always pretty small, and the low-end stuff just couldn't match Shimano for price and quality. Campy pretty much abandoned their low-end market (and anything not related to road racing) in order to concentrate on the market they knew best and were best known for. SunTour was always a pretty small operation -- mostly a design house that contracted out to others for manufacturing. They made a few poor decisions in the 80s that cost them much of their market and were never able to recover. And the rest is history, as they say.
John Thompson (email@example.com)
Appleton WI USA