Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's he into now?

I was able to find out what year my Raleigh was made.
It's a 1970. I can only image what a boat anchor this bike was. I suspect it's all steel except for the stem, tubes, and tires. It's vintage.
However not all vintage things are not bad things, you can find some good buys on E-Bay, Craigs list, or other place if you know what to look for.

For example Suntour "Power Ratchet" shifters

So what gives these levers the POWER. It's the racheting wheel. Ahhh yes the days of Friction shifting, back in the day when people actually had to shift their bikes. The levers are designed so that when you pull back there isn't friction, all you feel is the tension of the derailleur spring. but the ratcheting wheel doesn't let the shifter shift down. Now in this respect it performs like a friction shifter.

I took mine apart to clean it and make sure nothing inside was broken.
An now re-assembled with smooth Phil Wood Grease for buttery smooth action. "Very Simple, Very Easy" (Does anybody in Kansas City remember "The Green Grocer".
Suntour's bar end shifter work on the same principle and were the king of bar end shifter for a long, long time. Suntour was not the only manufactures to make retro-friction levers.
Simplex for one. If you were a fan of the Pro peleton in the late 80's a lot of pros dumped their Campy or Shimano lever for the ones you see on the very left). They are very nice . . . Who knew I'd ever praise a french manufactured component? . . . Oh and my love for Mafac brake calipers, but I'll save that for another day.

(Photo borrowed from Orange velo)
Notice the more compact and elegant designs.
I think Simplex went out of business and In the early 90's Mavic took over the design and sold it along with the Mavic component group. Campy would also make a retro-friction lever in the early 90's. Funny enough Shimano never did jump on that band wagon as far as I know. They went straight from friction to index in one swoop.
In my research to fins information on Simplex deraileurs and shifter I found this cool site on Old school derailleurs. Or are they so old I think you have to call them "Old World" shift levers.
Then visit his whole Site Tony Hadland's Links


The Unabashed Blogger said...

The "gent's" model...spiffy!

My C-dale has down tube shifters. That was a bit of an awkward "break in" point for me and now I really enjoy the shifters and their simplicity. I also find they work better than the Alivio thumb shifters on my MTB. I know, I know...the Shimano Alivio is not any where near the top o' the line, but what can I say? I'm poor!

CurbDestroyer Chronicles said...

Yep friction shifting is unstoppable.

Some people don't like them. After a while you will begin to be able to shift "friction" almost, if not as fast as index. It's probably the same way people learn to type.

A neat trick is Knee Shifting. Usually when you start up a hill your sitting. then as the hill gets steeper you might stand up. (This happens less now that people have 10 cogs on the back and not just 6) . . . When you stand up your cadence goes down, and if you don't want to lose speed you have to shift to a larger gear. You can do this in one swoop without taking you hands off the handlebars. As your standing up, tap the shift lever with your knee. . . . Yea the Jedi Knee Shift . . . It takes a little practice and more confidence. If you second guess it, it will never work.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Since that is actually one of the more frustrating things about down tube shifters I shall definitely give it a try! Maybe I should practice on some wide flats before I really need it on the hills. On one of my first longer rides I looked down to shift and ran off the edge of the road. I managed to not wreck, but that was crazy...and lucky.

Hmm...anymore down tube lore that seems to have escaped this current generation of thumb and twist shifts?

The Angry Coder said...

I call them "death shifters". When I'm cruising along at 20+ on the edge of the pavement on some place like Red Bridge Rd during rush hour, nostalgia isn't really important to me- being in the right gear is. I'm not the kind of guy who can ride a wheelie going up 67th St, so I have to keep my eyes on the road when I'm all of 2" away from moving vehicles. After three years and several 1,000's of miles, I just never got comfy with them. It was worth the $120 to upgrade to shifters that are on the handlebars! If you want my old ones- they are Suntours also- you are welcome to them.

pilgrim said...

I love Coder's practicality.

I really enjoy the down tube shifters. I don't do a whole lot of shifting anyway,not that I am tough, maybe a little lazy though.

Anyway, you probably won't ever catch me attempting any knee shifting.

Looking forward to seeing the results of the Raleigh overhaul.

CurbDestroyer Chronicles said...

Just think if Y'all had the Rod Shifter.

"To shift, the rider would first loosen the rear wheel's quick release (remember, this is done while riding!). Then, the other lever would be turned to move the chain from one cog to the other -- as it moved, the rear wheel would move forward (when shifting to the larger cog) or backward (shifting to the smaller cog). When the shift was complete, the quick release was tightened again."

Scroll about 1/2 way down.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

That is crazy! And very cool to see the history and the technology gains.

mark said...

I'm still trying hard to keep Suntour on the podium. My TT bike uses Suntour barends with the cool ratchety action. Myself and a couple of other old guys won the 3's Team Time Trial at St. Joseph a few weekends ago. My 'C' cyclocross bike will likely sport them in the pits this year.