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VINTAGE DERAILLEURS: Campagnolo 50s-80s
#1
Finally getting some time off; was too tired to be riding or building, but now jumping back into gear.

I am getting ready to build-up a couple older frames (50s-70s), and was going through my parts supplies trying to determine what I had and what I might use. In doing so I am finding I have more than I thought or completely forgot about, and what I have varies a bit between like models so I figured I would start to document a few of them here for reference purposes before they get mounted, traded, or sold. Parts range from never mounted, to well used but perfectly functional; to "for parts only", or for the sake of curiosity (either given to me, or salvaged).
I will start with some Campagnolo stuff since I plan on knocking out a couple bikes with these items; right now just deciding on which particular units to fit the need in no particular order of year or quality. I am not a historian on this stuff just providing what bit of info I can; with Campy stuff I have found that official documentation is not always accurate relating both to dates of introduction and cessation, and also relating to specific details (incorrect diagrams and photos). Someone always seems to have something before it was officially introduced, and somebody always has a variant that was not documented in any company catalog so take everything I put forth will a grain of salt except the actual photos which are of units I have. Furthermore, if you can add anything to the mix it would be welcome by myself, and I am sure by others; be it anecdotal or firsthand knowledge, as well as more photographic documentation (please try to use only your own photos, or credit photos to their proper origin).

NUOVO GRAN SPORT REAR DERAILLEUR (1973?-1984?)
Starting with the "NUOVO GRAN SPORT" which was probably entry to mid level below "NUOVO RECORD" (1968?-1987?, approx. 195g) and "SUPER RECORD" (1973?-1987?, approx. 185g) equipment, and I would assume it was meant to replace the old "GRAN SPORT" (1951?-1973?; 290g) and "RECORD" (1963-early 70s?; 325g) units. It certainly was better than the VALENTINO and VELOX units which were still made around the same time frame, and it is much lighter than previous models aside from the top end "NUOVO RECORD" from the late 60s which even then only weighed about 15g lighter. I should modify one with alloy cage plates in place of the steel ones just to see the weight difference; I believe it may be lighter than the "NUOVO" unit at that point. I believe "NUOVO GRAN SPORT" came into use in the early to mid 70s and stopped being manufactured in the mid 80s. I know have 2 specific variants. The changes were made in the very early 80s from what I can tell from having stripped a few off of bikes as original equipment.
The early version weighs approx. 217g complete (with limit screw "knobs"); the later variant weighs approx. 220g (unit w/o limit screw "knobs"). I am not sure why the later version weighs more with less parts ("knobs") on it other than differences in milling and slightly different knuckle castings, but I use an old balance scale which has about a +/-1g tolerance. I have a couple examples of both the early and later variants and they are identical (per variant) except as noted and those having had replacement pulleys installed.
The early version differs from the later variant in the following details: "B" &"P" pivot bolts as well as the cable clamp bolt have flat heads with "PATENT CAMPAGNOLO" (later variant has concave headed bolts w/o any lettering); both limit adjustment screws have plastic "knobs" (which to me serve no real purpose except to add weight and prevent dirt and debris intrusion) (l have 2 later variants; one has these, the other has none) (these knobs may have been an option; as they are also found on various year "NUOVO RECORD" units I have); the pulley cage outer plate has 4 holes for cage tension setting and is slightly different in looks in that it has a somewhat sharper edge to the "lip" on the outer and inner cut-out edges (later variant has only 2 tension holes, and flatter "lip" edges); "P" knuckle casting is slightly different at the groove between pivot pins (one later variant looks the same, it also has "knobs; there other one looks different); the "B" knuckle casting at the cable stop is about 1mm shorter than the later variant; the milling for the pivot bolt head at the "B" knuckle ends with rather distinctly sharp edges (one later variant, again the one with the knobs, is similar; whereas the other one has a rounded concave edged milling); the milling for the pivot bolt head at the "P" knuckle extends further out from the bolt head approximately 4mm (the later variant is milled just beyond the edges of the bolt head approximately 1.5mm).
All units have the same pulley cage inner plate design. Identical features of early and later variant: aluminum parallelogram plates, knuckles and pivot pins (solid); steel pulley cage plates, springs, spring housing, and hardware; high limit screw anti-rotation spring is longer than that for low limit screw (screws are the same length); original pulleys are plastic 10T without any markings. Plastic "knobs" removed from limit screws reduce weight about 1.5g.

Opinion: this is a decent and reliable unit with similar performance to Campagnolo's higher level models less the weight difference. It can readily be upgraded with aluminum pulley cage plates and some nice sealed bearing pulleys. Perfect for 70s and 80s era vintage bikes, or a very good upgrade for earlier bikes using lesser equipment.

Value: as of 2021 this unit, in good to excellent condition, will sell around $40-$60; maybe $75-$100 if a "new-old-stock" unit. If you need one just wait, they are regularly on sale somewhere at a reasonable price. I have seen folks asking well over $100 for a used unit, and it wasn't gold plated!

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#2
Glad you are doing well!

I had one of those RDs on a 79/80 Raleigh "Gran Sport" (go figure!). The whole bike was a Campy Nouvo Gran Sport gruppo. I really like the NGS shifters with the thumb wheel tension nuts.
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
  Reply
#3
(10-09-2021, 04:35 PM)Criminal Wrote:  I had one of those RDs on a 79/80 Raleigh "Gran Sport" (go figure!). The whole bike was a Campy Nouvo Gran Sport gruppo. I really like the NGS shifters with the thumb wheel tension nuts.

NUOVO GRAN SPORT Shifters (1972?-1984?)
Since you brought it up, here are a set of NUOVO GRAN SPORT shifters in clamp-on form. These were shown in a Campagnolo catalogue as part of the "GRAN SPORT GROUP 2240" (part # 1014/1A). A fairly simple design with the only non-fixed hardware from the clamp assembly being the shift lever, pressure plate, thrust washer, and adjustment nut (or "thumbwheel"). The adjustment nut is quite attractive and well made having a somewhat of a UFO saucer shape. Unlike the RECORD series of shifters, this unit employs a threaded stud protruding from the clamp band instead of a threaded boss.

Opinion: I find that these shifters tend to hold the friction adjustment quite well. They would pair well with any RECORD (SUPER or NUOVO) components giving a bike a nice vintage look while also having a distinctly unique look.

Value: as of 2012 this shifter set can be obtained for about $35-$50 in good to excellent condition. Again, you can buy them at up to $100 for the same thing you can get at half of that price.

   
   
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#4
Wow, these look ... beautiful. I don't know much about vintage bicycles but these shapes and looks are aesthetically pleasing Smile
  Reply
#5
(10-13-2021, 04:47 PM)Lemon Wrote:  Wow, these look ... beautiful. I don't know much about vintage bicycles but these shapes and looks are aesthetically pleasing Smile

They didn't call it bike jewelry for nothing; and that was before the gold plating!
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#6
(10-15-2021, 12:52 AM)Jesper Wrote:  
(10-13-2021, 04:47 PM)Lemon Wrote:  Wow, these look ... beautiful. I don't know much about vintage bicycles but these shapes and looks are aesthetically pleasing Smile

They didn't call it bike jewelry for nothing; and that was before the gold plating!

+1

What other 'bike jewelry' comes to your mind in terms of derailleurs?
Merida Scultura 5000 (2015)
Merida Big Nine 400 (2019)
  Reply
#7
@Zviedrs hope you are well, and your "new" government serves you well.

In reference to your query it is an interesting thought. Early shifting systems (1910s-1930s) were very utilitarian and were focused on function over aesthetics. In the 1940s (primarily post-War) with Campagnolo introducing the "Cambio Corsa" system is when artistic design really started to be incorporated into the aethetics of derailleurs even though that particular system was outdated functionally before it even came into being, but Campagnolo's "Gran Sport" derailleurs and shifters successfully combined aesthetics and function to a degree where they essentially didn't change much for decades except to include weight reducing materials into their make up; from bronze, to steel, to aluminum, and to titanium subcomponents. No one really went to the degree of designing highly aesthetic components other than Campagnolo (with the exception of a few unabashed imitators; e.g. Triplex, etc.).
I really like Shimano's 600EX "Arabesque", and earlier "Golden Arrow" groups. Amazingly, Campagnolo never really made non-drivetrain components with fancy designs. Early chainwheels from the 30s and earlier had some really cool designs which disappeared throughout the decades except on steel chainwheels found on roadsters. Most "jewelry" on bikes other than conponents were the fancy cut lugs used and modified by builders (chromed or not).

1930s chainwheel:
   
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply


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