What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
GrahamNR17
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Joined: 15 Nov 2009, 6:31pm

What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby GrahamNR17 » 27 Jun 2011, 6:39pm

Evenin' all,

This may well be a question for the older members of the forum.

I'm soon to have in my possession a beautiful hand-made sports frame dating from the late 40s/early 50s, and will be equipping it with derailleur gears, as I believe it would have had those back in the day. As a hub-gear fan (I life in the flat part of England!), my derailleur knowledge is very limited.

From what I can gather, Benelux was a popular derailleur back then, though my research suggests these were 3 and 4 speed. I can obtain that kind of derailleur mechanism, but two things prevent me; 1 it doesn't have the required mount on the chain stay, and 2 three and four speed blocks are fetching way over my budget on ebay etc.

So, I'd like to know if five-speed derailleurs were available back then, and of they were, who was making them?

Essentially I'd like to know the kind of thing I need to be looking for, if that makes sense?

Thanks in advance,

Graham

whoops
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Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby whoops » 27 Jun 2011, 7:44pm

Graham, try this link for a good insight into gears from 1930 onwards.

[/url]http://www.disraeligears.co.uk/Site/Derailleurs_from_the_1940s.html[/url]

GrahamNR17
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Joined: 15 Nov 2009, 6:31pm

Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby GrahamNR17 » 27 Jun 2011, 7:47pm

Wow :shock:

Thankyou, Google never told me about that site :D

Gower
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Location: Cardiff

Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby Gower » 27 Jun 2011, 7:50pm

When I was riding with the South Wales DA in the fifties some of my rich pals had derailleur gears made by Simplex.I seem to remember they were 4 speed unless you possessed a 'Double Clanger' ! I was green with envy although I was still able to do 100 mile rides with my trusty SA 3 speed. Strangely enough I have just purchased a new Brompton Nano folder for my wife sporting a 3 speed Sturmey Archer 60 years later.

GrahamNR17
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Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby GrahamNR17 » 27 Jun 2011, 8:09pm

Gower wrote:When I was riding with the South Wales DA in the fifties some of my rich pals had derailleur gears made by Simplex.I seem to remember they were 4 speed unless you possessed a 'Double Clanger' ! I was green with envy although I was still able to do 100 mile rides with my trusty SA 3 speed. Strangely enough I have just purchased a new Brompton Nano folder for my wife sporting a 3 speed Sturmey Archer 60 years later.

A hundred miles... in bumpy Wales... with a Sturmey 3-speed :shock:

By 'eck, men were men in them days :shock:

cadseen
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Joined: 3 Jun 2011, 7:26pm

Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby cadseen » 27 Jun 2011, 9:33pm

My first derailer was a simplex 5 speed, but that was in 1966.
And that was in Wales as well :D

pete75
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Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby pete75 » 28 Jun 2011, 8:26am

The Campag Gran Sport was introduced in 1951 and was 5 speed. There was atwin cable version abit earlier but not sure hoe many gears it could handle. The Gran Sport changed little during it's 20 odd year production run so any version should look right and they are freely available on ebay.

wearwell
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Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby wearwell » 28 Jun 2011, 8:38am

mine was a Cyclo Benelux 5 speed in about 1959, on an Elswick.

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
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Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby Mick F » 28 Jun 2011, 8:42am

My first one was a Huret Svelto. 1967?
http://www.velobase.com/ViewComponent.a ... 6486cc201c
But I only had two cogs! Mind you, it was combined with a 3sp SA.
Mick F. Cornwall

9494arnold
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 3:13pm

Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby 9494arnold » 28 Jun 2011, 12:25pm

Deraileurs Started at 2 , then 3, then 4 etc. Earlier derailliurs were Cyclo Ace / Ozgear which both had a striking arm to tension the chain and a separate fork to move the chain across the sprockets. "One piece " derailleurs were Cyclo/Benelux/Campag/Simplex . Have a look at the Classic Rendezvous Website .

Or visit the Natinal Cycle Museum!

Paul Arnold

9494arnold
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 3:13pm

Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby 9494arnold » 28 Jun 2011, 12:27pm

Just re read your post. Make sure you have room for the width of sprocket you are considering.A sturmey would be fine (you can date them on the hub) stops for cables and levers can be bought as "bolt ons" :scan E bay .

PA

Mike Sales
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Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby Mike Sales » 28 Jun 2011, 12:34pm

For an answer to your question (and many more), google "The Dancing Chain" by Frank Berto. This book is a history of dreailleur gears.

GrahamNR17
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Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby GrahamNR17 » 28 Jun 2011, 12:36pm

Wonderful, thankyou all :D Lots and lots of info for a proper decision on what to search for etc 8)

LollyKat
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Location: Scotland

Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby LollyKat » 28 Jun 2011, 1:15pm

I've seen a Trivelox which moved the sprockets rather than the chain - kept the chainline straight.

BigG
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Re: What was the first 5-speed derailleur?

Postby BigG » 1 Jul 2011, 10:15pm

3 (x 1/8"),4 and 5 (x 3/32") speed rear derailleurs were popular in the 1950s and were certainly all in existance at the beginning of that decade. In this country, Simplex with its Tour de France model and Cyclo Benelux had most of the market with Campagnolo only for the rich! Huret made gears almost identical to Simplex. 3 and 4 speed freewheels were fitted to hubs with a 4.5 inch spacing while 5 speed required 4.75 inch (single speed used 4.25 inches oln). Of course, with freewheels and solid axles, it was easy to respace a hub. Rear mechs, however were specific to the number of gears because of the axle length in the pulley carrier - until Simplex brought out the 543 model which had the long 5 speed axle and an adjutable stop on the total throw (it was never popular). Frames were simply bent if necessary! Most freewheels had a minimum sprocket size of 14 teeth although Cyclo stole a march on the others by introducing a 13 tooth top in about 1950 (I think). Most of us found 14 teeth with a 50 or 51 tooth ring quite high enough even for time trialling. We also found 46/28 or similar quite low enough for touring. Double clangers were always half step with a 2 or 3 tooth difference (up to 5 teeth for touring). I rode a Simplex based 4 x 2 for many tears and even converted to a 4 x 3 before going up to 5 rear sprockets.