Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

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Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby dvines » Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:54 pm

I'm contemplating buying a vintage simplex gear from the '50s for a 50s restoration

Looking on Ebay there are several types which don't match the ones pictured on classiclightweights.co.uk

The ones I've seen have a two bolt bracket that clamps them onto the chainstay, as opposed to the dropout (which are the ones featured on classic lightwieghts)

Does anyonehave alink to a site that details them ?

the vendors don't specify whether they are 3, 4 or 5 speed - or are they universal and have the range to cope with the full width of a 5 speed freewheel ?
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby thirdcrank » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:23 pm

I've tried to see these on ebay and been unsuccessful :oops:
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby dvines » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:24 pm

you have to go to belgium or french sites
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby dvines » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:26 pm

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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby thirdcrank » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:44 pm

Some clear pictures of what you are after here (towards the bottom.)

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadla ... leurs.html
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby dvines » Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:50 pm

thankx

Is there a site anywhere about adjustment/fitment..
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby thirdcrank » Sun Jun 06, 2010 10:21 pm

I'd be very surprised if there is much because from what I remember of the pre-Shimano days, nobody provided instructions with any bike equipment. I bought a Campag Super Record in 1980 and the only 'instructions' with it was a line diagram which showed, I think, the importance of not using a cog that was too big. I don't ever remember getting any instructions with anything of the Campag, Stronglight, TA, MAFAC, Simplex etc type of stuff I bought in the 1950's / 60's. Shimano techdocs and the like are a relatively recent innovation.

Unless somebody posts whose knowledge / memory etc goes back further than mine and who knows more / different, I'd say that a push-rod gear could be wangled to change across a five block, for two reasons.

1. They didn't have any sort of limit screws / stops so if the cable broke they had a tendency to shove the cage a long way and I think there were plenty of spokes ripped out of back wheels in the process. Any lack of movement the other way could be worked-around by bending the arm a bit. We are not talking about high tech stuff here.

2. Three speed blocks were usually (always?) for a 1/8" chain so the teeth were fatter and the gaps between them were greater than on a 3/32" block. I doubt if a 3 speed block was much narrower than a 5, if at all.

Incidentally, I've never seen a Simplex mech with that 2 bolt fixing - not that that means anything. It looks as though they were wide-ratio (by the standards of the day) touring jobbies.
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby Kaysbloke » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:00 am

Have you seen this for sale?

http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=104276

Also this site has lots of old component info -

www.velobase.com
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby thirdcrank » Mon Jun 07, 2010 2:18 pm

Kaysbloke

A trip down memory lane. 8) (Should be viewed to background music of Eith Piaf singing "Non, rien de rien..." or Charles Trenet "Douce France...")

dvines

Looking at those pics has reminded me that those old style Simplex d/t levers with the much bigger cable pulley than modern stuff, will not fit a modern Campag type (ie universal type) lever boss. If you do buy any of this stuff, make sure it come with some sort of band-on boss for the levers. Also, modern levers, including Simplex post 1970 will not work anything made for that type of lever because they simply do not pull enough cable.

Edited to correct my French :oops:
Last edited by thirdcrank on Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby BigG » Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:01 pm

The chainstay mounted mechs were mainly used for big chainring tooth differences and required a considerable overshift to change at the rear. They were rare in the UK. The normal Simplex mech throughout the 1950's (with its equivalent Benelux mech) was the Tour de France model. This was drop-out mounted and came in 3, 4 nd 5 speed versions. The only difference between these was the length of the sliding axle on which the lower pulley was mounted. I think that these models accounted for as much as half of all rear mechs sold at that time. They were augmented by the JUY 51 (in 1951) which had a second control wire attached to the main one that wound up the spring tension as the gear moved onto the smaller sprockets. This was quickly followed by the JUY 543 which was adjustable between 3, 4 and 5 speeds by a preset limiter on the main swing arm. All of these seem to be quite rare today as they were prone to wear of the main sliding axle which eventually spoilt the geometry of the system. They were also quite vulnerable to damage from the bike falling over. The Benelux gears suffered from similar problems but lacked the excellent dual pivot employed by Simplex. I rode both the T de F and a JUY 51 for several years in the 1950's using for touring a 14/28 block both with and without a half-step front mech although Simplex only advertised a maximum 26 tooth capacity.
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby Kaysbloke » Mon Jun 07, 2010 6:15 pm

thirdcrank wrote:Kaysbloke

A trip down memory lane. 8) (Should be viewed to background music of Eith Piaf singing "No, rien de rien..." or Charles Trenet "Douce France...")


Shshush - you're giving your age away...................... :wink:

One of my teachers had one of these fitted to his bike in the 50's. He was a veteran tourist and went all over Europe. I remember his bottom gear was extremely low for the time.

I am using a Benelux Mk 7 with a matching rod operated front changer and 27" wheels on one of my classic bikes at the moment. I rode a 10 on it earlier this year, got a few strange looks from the carbon aero fraternity 8)
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby cjchambers » Mon Jun 07, 2010 8:24 pm

'Disreli Gears' is an excellent website for info on vintage gears . . .

There's a list of most of the Simplex models here, with pictures and even some manuals http://www.disraeligears.co.uk/Site/Sim ... leurs.html
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby thirdcrank » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:05 pm

cjchambers wrote:'Disreli Gears' is an excellent website for info on vintage gears . . .

There's a list of most of the Simplex models here, with pictures and even some manuals http://www.disraeligears.co.uk/Site/Sim ... leurs.html


By the application of Sod's Law* the model in question is the only one with no picture.....http://www.disraeligears.co.uk/Site/Sim ... odels.html

* From a quick google, Simplex fans may know this as la loi d'emmerdement maximum (LEM) :shock:
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Re: Vintage simplex gears - any info ?

Postby cjchambers » Mon Jun 07, 2010 11:42 pm

Zut alors! How awkward! :?
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