Re: [CR] Rare Simplex Juy 53 front derailleur

(Example: Framebuilding:Norris Lockley)

In-Reply-To: <DC004E71FA034F5AB41083FF4BFC45D4@PC11364>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 2009 21:22:23 -0800
To: Peter Brueggeman <>, <>
From: "Jan Heine" <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Rare Simplex Juy 53 front derailleur

At 2:04 PM -0800 11/14/09, Peter Brueggeman wrote:
>Simon Bird opined "The thing I find interesting is that front
>clanger, rod or suicide derailleurs stayed in use on racing bikes
>for so long. Why was that? Surely their weight was greater and the
>cost of the Simplex and Huret gears wasn't so great...."

It was the other way around. First came cable-operated front derailleurs, like the Rosa. One problem with wide-range chainring setups (as used by cyclotourists) is that you can throw the chain off the rings when shifting to the small ring. Rod-operated derailleurs were seen as an advance, because they offered better control of the shifting. And they were lighter, of course - no cables, no shift lever, just a simple aluminum rod.

Racers probably followed cyclotouring practice when they first started using front derailleurs. The rod-operated front derailleurs worked quite well for the small gaps between chainrings used by racers, so why change them?

Jan Heine
Bicycle Quarterly
2116 Western Ave.
Seattle WA 98121