Re: [CR] Campag. Sport derailleur (vs. gear hub)

(Example: Racing:Jean Robic)

Date: Wed, 9 Dec 2009 21:47:36 -0800
From: "verktyg" <>
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Subject: Re: [CR] Campag. Sport derailleur (vs. gear hub)

Harvey et al,

"Hub gears were German or British, eh?"

There was a decades long debate over hub gears vs. derailleurs between the Brits, French and to a lesser degree the Italians.

Hub gears were not only far more popular in the UK and Germany but also Holland, Scandinavia, Japan and... the US.

For an around town commuter bike a three speed hub was much easier to shift than most of the early derailleurs.

Another argument used for hub gears was the weather. It rains a lot more in the northern parts of Europe.

It wasn't until the Bike Boom era of the 70s with the growth of sporting bikes that derailleurs became the dominant shifting technology.

I got my first multiple speed bike around 1952. It was a Shelby Flyer "3 speed English racer" with a SA hub. It was a sleek beauty, shiny black with white fender tips and crisp box pin striping. When I was in Japan in 1964 I got another 3 speed. It had a Suntour or Shimano hub. Both of these bikes shared one thing in common, they were hard to keep adjusted and needed frequent service!

My first "10 speed" derailleur bike was also in Japan in 1964. It had Huret Svelto derailleurs and Weinmann center pull brakes.

It was a toss up as to which was more work to keep running, the hubs or the derailleur! ;-(

I think that there was also a bit of marketing hype involved with "3 speed bikes"! In flat terrain there was little need for a multiple speed transportation bike: look at Holland, Japan and China.

Chas. Colerich Oakland, CA USA

Harvey Sachs wrote:
> I wish I'd remember the passage that Chas. Colerich quotes, and thank
> you, sir. But, wrt his last point, if 3-speed derailleurs of the Campy
> sport type were really marketed against the 3-speed hub gears, there are
> some marketing triumphs to be considered. In particular, for "town"
> use, I'd find the gear hub preferable. The S/A AW has 4:3, 1:1, and 3:4
> ratios, or 33% up and 25% down relative to the middle gear. The Campy
> was limited to "16 a 22 denti," a total range of 1.37:1. Much closer
> ratios than the hub gear offered.
> So, I think that urban myths entered the equation, but so did national
> traditions. Hub gears were German or British, eh?
> harvey sachs
> mcLean va
> ++++++++++++++++++++++
> Chas. Colerich wrote:
> There's a very simple answer to the question about single pulley rear
> derailleurs. According to Frank Berto in his book "The Dancing Chain":
> "...there was a market prejudice against double pulleys, so Campagnolo,
> Simplex and Huret made products to meet the market demand." page 163.
> According to Frank Berto there was a long running dispute about dual
> pulleys (and pulleys in general by the hub gear crowd) causing increased
> friction and reducing efficiency.
> I imagine that 3 speed derailleur bikes were built in direct competition
> with 3 speed hub gear bikes???
> Superstition and urban mythes!