24 October, 2007

A Few New Parts


I'm not the only one who thinks the late model Simplex were the best friction dérailleurs ever made. I wrote this post about the famed Super LJ model, but as I continue to use the dérailleurs it becomes obvious the the later drop parallelogram models are even better. We have sold many new-old-stock SX610 models since I introduced them here. Sadly our supply is running low and we've not been able to find more. We did, however, find a stash of slightly later model Simplex, the 440 in both regular and long cage versions. They are not as pretty as the SX610s, but they shift just as well.

The second photo is of the prototype new VO bell mount. It'll be nice to be able to mount classic bells on older frames.

Finally I've posted some new mixte frame photos here. This is one of Ahren Rogers' VO city bike frames.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's the max cog the 440 RD will handle?

André Citroën said...

What about modern derailleurs? Are you going to stock any acceptably ugly modern bits? What have you been using on the Randonneurs? What do you imagine using on the camping and city bikes not built with vintage parts?


I'd like to see a XT rapid rise with the finish of an Ultegra rear (are those polished or annodized silver?) but then I've been dead for decades and no one cares what I think.

Anonymous said...

Dead Andre-
The XT's are painted. Worse, the 2008 XT RD is just hideous. 2007 XT and LX RD's were some of the nicest looking MTB RD's to come down the line since the early 90's then Shimano had to go and ruin them one year later (although the LX may be unchanged - it's hard to tell from Shimano's fairly crappy website).
If you want a decent looking silver MTB RD - especially one that looks OK on a road bike - pick up a 2007 XT while they are around.
If I were to nominate some modern RD's for VO to stock, I'd suggest 9 speed era Ultegra and 105 RD's and the aforementioned 2007 XT.
It's a shame the bike industry is in full-tilt "upgrade" mode and has to "improve" their product line every single year. This means we get uglier and uglier components every spring in an industry-wide attempt to make bicycles look like they arrived on the mothership. Thank god there are still very good apples like Nitto, Tektro, MKS, Honjo etc...

Chris Kulczycki said...

Annon. I can't find a spec sheet on the 440, but the short cage will handle at least 28t. I'd guess the long cage is good for 36t because that was the capacity of the preceding model.

Andre, I still drive one of your Deux Chevauxs with the gearshift sticking out of the dash and you're asking me about modern dérailleurs ;<)

Seriously, one of the reasons that we don't stock modern dérailleurs is that I have not decided which ones to stock. I use modern Campy dérailleurs on two of my bikes and feel that their shifting and, especially, their brifters are superior to Shimano. I recommend Chorus or Centaur dérailleurs to VO customers who want index shifting.

BTW, I fixed the link to the SX610 post.

Anonymous said...

Chris,
I use modern Shimano derailleurs with friction shifting. They work perfectly, are easy to source and the models I mentioned above (105/Ultegra/07xt) are as good looking as anything made in the last 15 years. Well, maybe not the XT - it's a little too futuristic. I don't ride Campy because friction shifters shift Shimano as well as one could ask for and the Campy stuff, IMO, is both too expensive and somehow too showy. I guess I have always associated Campy with pretentious racers who wouldn't be caught dead with "Shima-no" bits. Yes, a stereotype but I've met my share. Also, I just simply have a love of Japanese stuff. Why not just bring in whats good and what you can source reasonably whether it be 105 and/or Centaur or something else?

Anonymous said...

Shimano parts have a slightly endearing tendency to look much better later than they do at first. I remember thinking, when they reinvented the crank, going to outboard bearings, that I would NEVER ever use anything so ugly, but I usually get over it and I do use the stuff and, as for the crank, it's really a better design. By better I mean simpler and stronger and better. The 10 spd shifters are really, really great. Up thru 9 spd, the shifters tended to be not quite as ergo as Campy, in my opinion, but on long hard testing I generally found that Shimano shifting was a tiny bit slicker, though both were always great.

I use lots of fantastic rear derailleurs such as a Suntour Superbe Pro in friction, a Campy SR in friction, a Mavic 840 in friction, as well as several other Suntours and a complement of oh, a bunch of modern Shimano derailleurs. I consider myself quite well stocked for derailleurs, and would be hard pressed to even pick a favorite. Oh I also have a Huret Jubilee I use from time to time. I have fond remembrances of Simplex, but that's the extent of my interest in Simplex, sorry.

mw

derek said...

I agree, to an extent, with mw. It's interesting how 9 speed Ultegra hubs or a 9 speed Dura Ace crankset suddenly look so clean, classic and handsome. They were (by my standards) quotidian and "simply OK" looking just a few years ago. When compared to a modern outboard Shimano crank or current XT/XTR stuff, the Shimano of just a few years ago looks classy if not classic.
Where I disagree with mw is on the some of current Shimano stuff. I seriously doubt I'll ever come around to liking a 2008 XT derailleur or a 2008 Dura Ace crankset. It's also interesting that what largely distinguished the hierarchy of Shimano components of the past was aesthetics and level of finish. I find that with current Shimano, some of the lower grade components (Tiagra, Alfine, Nexave) are the best looking in their entire line-up.
Derek

Francoise Hardy said...

Ideally any discussion about derailleurs would not be limited to aesthetics or shift quality. The issue of gearing needs to be addressed. How low can yours go?

What sort of lower gears are people getting out of their modern road derailleurs with larger sprockets not approved by party central committee? 32 with an Ultegra? What about the shiny campy derailleurs? We surely wouldn't want to stick to the party line when equipping a camping bike would now we? Or is this the wrong place to ask, a blog frequented only by athletes who weigh 4 stone and live in Jytland?
How modern of a hub could a 440RD be used with?

Serge Gainsbourg said...

I'd like to request a Velo Orange cigarette halter for my Gauloise bleu

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, do you have any pictures of the VO Camper yet?

johnson said...

i've pushed a 105 rear mech to 30 teeth by replacing the b screw with a limit screw to back the jockey a bit further off the cogs. friction of course, although i havnt even bothered to try index. the outboard bearings are bad not good design. i have seen 4 way premature bearing failures from 3 different companies in less than 2 years. LX, XT, extralite, and record. I had previously seen only 2 bottom brackets fail prematurely, and they were cases of serious user error (power washing mud into the bearings) as to stronger, maybe, but frankly who cares? who is doing 3 foot drops on dura ace cranks? who is 400lbs and riding off road? stiffness and strength are obv over rated, look how long it took for campy to say screw it and drop the square taper. the only cranks i have ever ridden that werent stiff or strong enough were machined american cranks from the early 90s. too light with too many stress points. at least they looked nice.
current shimano and campy cranks look out of place on traditional diameter lugged bikes. they look semi wacky on larger diameters, but just plain tarantula on angel food cake on classically oriented bikes. getting used to something doesnt make it good or right. its called getting used to something. you can ignore the smell of a sewage treatment plant if you live next to it long enough, and the really bad song on the radio will get in your head if you listen long enough. that doesn't make either right or desirable.

Anonymous said...

francoise-
I can only speak for modern Shimano road RD's but it seems that most folks I know that have tried can always run 28 max rear, almost always run 30 and occasionally 32 depending on RD hanger length, RD position and probably a few other variables, etc.
I have a 9 speed Dura Ace RD that I'll be setting up with an 8 speed 11-30 cassette in a few weeks and we'll see...
Shimano REALLY needs to make an elegant, shiny, silver road-style RD that can handle 34 rear. I won't hold my breath.

Eric P. said...

Not to get too far off topic, but - Johnson, when I got back into riding a couple of years ago I was just shy of 400 pounds. The first bike I used to lose weight was a mountain bike. It's just easier for a fat person to hoist a leg over one. And they are generally beefier built so should be able to handle the weight.

So it can happen. Anything to help get us fat(ter) folks back to riding.

For present rear derailleur, I do like the Shimano LX reverse rise. On both my bikes they handle 32 cogs quite well and triples up front. So I end up with a nice low gear on each.

The way I ride, my main complaint is actually the big chainring on modern bikes. With an 11t cog on back the front only needs a 38 or 36x24 in to get enough enough range.

For looks, my favorite was still the old SunTour XC. But that's my own bias showing.

johnson said...

ok, eric, apologies, but i think its safe to say still, that the current emphasis on stiffness and strength is over blown. i built 2 bikes for fellas who were 350 plus, a surly instigator and a long haul trucker, and both used square taper cranks. their purchases came with lifetime tune-ups, and i saw them semi annually for tune-ups. in 3 years there was no failures. keep the cranks tight, cold forge them, and you're set, generally.

Anonymous said...

well, I still use Phil square bb's on my classic lugged bikes, and will most likely for the rest of my life. On my Merlin, and on one or two other bikes, I use the new Shimano stuff, and it's terrific. Everything goes in more easily, in seconds, with simple hand tools; the crank is more solid when standing or shifting, doesn't come loose. That's a nice crank for me; your mileage may vary. The premise of the system, as it appeared years ago from Bullseye, was legendary for being bulletproof, and Shimano's design works really well, and that's why the bicycle industry has converted.

Campagnolo didn't imitate Shimano in this regard because they are foolish, craven, or have no interests other than the commercial. No, they supply the world's best riders and the world's most demanding venues, and they research their products exhaustively, and their livelihood depends on finding the most efficient design.

Most of what Shimano introduces in its groups has a way of working out, it seems, and after all this time they often do win me over, even though I was always one of the old dyed-in-the-wool, friction-and-single-pivot-caliper types. It isn't because of the way anything looks, it's how it works.

Everything in its place: if aethetics is the main priority, fine, get something old and polished and be happy. I do that sometimes too.

Prioritizing function is a different matter. Putting in lots and lots of hard miles, and doing most of my own maintenance, on all sorts of components, separates the wheat from the chaff for me--how things work--and there is no other criteria or relevant opinion most of the time.

best,
michael white

Eric P. said...

Johnson,
Don't worry about it. I totally agree with your overall premise. Both my current bikes have square taper BBs. And so did all my previous bikes. I find it the best method out there. Because you can change components and not worry.

Anonymous said...

That mixte frame looks wonderful.

By the way, I arrived home to find a large box full of VO parts in the mail.

Despite being half-dead after three straight days of very little sleep in the newsroom, I struggled to cut open the box.

Seeing sealed bags of Japanese parts and the lovely chrome rack really made my week.

Thanks Chris, and all those at VO who packed and shipped my order.

-Alf

Anonymous said...

The mixte really is quite lovely.
Is that a generator mount on the seatstay (with nice wraparound cluster)?
Reinforced(!) chainguard mounts, too?
Kickstand plate?

That's a nice set of extras, although necessary for a quality city bike.

I am getting more and more appreciative of these sort of colors too.

Anonymous said...

i think i'm a bit late for this, but i was doing some research on Simplex RD 440. Would they mount on Simplex drop (those without thread)?