Friday, December 18, 2009

1993's prices...

Ever wonder what the stuff you collect now cost back in the day? It's not too terribly difficult to find vendor catalog scans with a Google search, but finding catalogs from bike stores is a little harder.

Fortunately for us, Harry is a pack rat like no other, and gave me a 16 year old Colorado Cyclist catalog. Here are a couple of scans - 2 pages of Merckx bikes, and their Campagnolo Record, Suntour Superbe Pro, Shimano Dura Ace and Mavic component pages. I think its safe to say that the lamentation of "if I knew then what I know now, I would have bought 100 Mavic headsets" is bunk; very few of the items sell now for as much as they sold for then.

Campagnolo Record, Chorus, Athena, Veloce and Mavic

Shimano Dura Ace, Ultegra, 105 and Suntour Superbe

Merckx MX Leader and Century

Corsa Extra and Corsa

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Urban legends, and things I was right to believe in...

If you ever hear an urban legend about a kid who cut off his nose with garden shears, that is categorically true - I went to junior high with that kid. At the time I thought it was hilarious. Still sorta do...

And much like the garden shears kid, every once in a while something that people thought was an urban legend turns out to be true.

A month or so ago, I saw this on eBay:

It's a 571/2 hub...ED? I had previously seen hubs marked 571/2, and 571/2 HG - HG being, of course, hubs with Shimano's cassette splines, instead of the Mavic proprietary type. This particular hub has a serial indicating its from 1995.

Through a roundabout series of purchases and ultimately a trade with Harry, I ended up with the 571/2 ED. When I got it out of the box and took a look, though, I was dismayed to see the Mavic spline pattern on the cassette body.

It's worth noting that the Mavic proprietary cassette came in 2 flavors. With the 571 hub, the outermost cog was threaded, much like Shimano's Ultraglide (UG) cassette. With the 571/2, Mavic went to a lockring setup, like Hyperglide (HG). If you're ever looking for Mavic cassettes, be aware of the difference. The spline patterns are the same, however, so you can adapt a 571 cassette to work on a 571/2 if you can source a correct 8th cog and lockring

For a long time, I had believed that Mavic made an Exa Drive version of the 571/2. So once I saw the hub marked ED, I decided to consult my primary materials to see if it was true. Turns out, I couldn't find any evidence that it existed. Chuck Schmidt over at Velo-Retro sells a phenomenal collection of Mavic catalog reprints, and it wasn't in there. I checked magazines that had information about the 571/2. I read about ZMS. I read about Mektronic. They all mentioned that HG was available, but no mention of ED. Maybe the early Cosmic wheel set, that used the same cassette mechanism as the 571? No dice.

Moving right along. I thought I had captured my Moby Dick, but it turned out I had a normal Mavic splined 571/2 hub, with a weird ED marking on the model band. Facing facts, I came to the conclusion that I was wrong - no Exa Drive 571. Just what was this ED marking though? Electronic Drive, marking it as part of the Mektronic group? That didn't sit well with me, especially since Mektronic was designed to work with Shimano (and Mavic) cassette spacing.

So it stood. Until I spied something weird in an eBay listing from France.

The thing that piqued my curiosity was that, based on what I would see, the splines looked weird for Shimano. They had a trapezoidal quality to them, and based on wishful thinking, I counted 8 splines. Shimano HG has 9.

Sure enough, when I received it, my suspicions were proven correct. 8 splines, undercut a little. EXA DRIVE.

Seperated at birth?

The Mavic sponsored GAN team sometimes rode an odd combination of components in 1993 and 1994. Mavic brakes, cranks, front derailleurs and wheels, with Ergopower brifters and a Record rear derailleur. Were they using the 571 or 571/2 rear hub when they rode that setup? There are a few ways to pull that off - respacing a Mavic or Shimano cassette being the easiest other than just using a Record rear hub. Is it possible they were using an Exa-Drive body like the one I now have?

I can't say for sure this is de facto evidence that Mavic produced an Exa-Drive 571/2 for the public, and marked it as a 571/2 ED - though I certainly think they did. But if anyone tells you that either the pruning shears story OR the existence of a Campagnolo body for the 571/2 is total bullshit, send them my way.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ergopower 1992 (in italiano)

Ergopower was introduced by Campagnolo in 1992. For the 2 prior years, Campagnolo was without an answer to the rising popularity of Shimano's STI. The benefits of being able to shift without removing your hands from your bars were undeniable.

People always talk about how poorly Campagnolo was executing in the late 80's and early 90's. Ergopower helped bring them in to the modern era, and really helped them get out of the funk they were in.

Below is the Italian version of the 1992 Ergopower catalog. I've added the english catalog's text below each of the pages, so those of us who can't read italian can follow along.

Indexed control levers for front and 8-speed rear derailleur, interfaced with the brake levers.

Maximum safety system for total control of the bike without removing the hands from the handlebar.

Ergonomically designed down to the smallest details, with extremely comfortable lever grip.

Total absence of over shift to obtain fast and precise shifting in every gear position.

Possibility to shift down 8 gears in succession in a single movement or to shift up one or two speeds.

Very reduced weight.

Complete freedom of movement due to the internal passage of cables, considerably enhancing appearance as well.

The front derailleur levers can be shifted one position at a time so as to align the front derailleur cage with the chain.

Optimum braking system with incorporated quick release opening system.

Adjusting barrel on frame boss allows fine tuning while riding the bicycle.

Maximum protection of internal mechanism so that operation is unaffected by blows or falls.

Absolute reliability due to the use of high-quality materials developed through new technologies for heat and surface treatments

The Ergopower System is set up for the use of triple cranksets.

Maximum ease of installation and adjustment.

ERGOPOWER TSC: Total Shifting Control
These revolutionary integrated controls for the braking and derailleur systems provide the ideal ergonomic and functional solution for meeting every individual requirement in any field, athletic or amateur.

Maximum reliability of the ERGOPOWER TSC system is obtained thanks to the perfect symbiosis of the multi-functional transmission systems which Campagnolo has developed thanks to scrupulous technological research.

Ergopower TSC has been designed to work with all Campagnolo 8-speed rear derailleurs, whether for the road or off-road. THe articulated parallelograms of Campagnolo rear derailleurs both with pulleys using adjustable bearings and pulleys using bushings, permit fast precise shifting in every situation. Along with the traditional front derailleurs in Campagnolo's road range, Ergopower TSC can also be used with triple crankset versions.

All Campagnolo cranksets can be used with Ergopower TSC, including the Compact sports version for off-road.
The maximum precision in machining the chainrings ensures perfect engagement with the chain for fast precise derailleur operation.

The new cassette hub for 8 speed freewheel is ideal for sports uses. The appropriately dimensioned axle moving on 4 bearings ensures superior performance in all circumstances.

The 8 sprockets with triple-profile teeth make shifting easy, even under stress, without any margin of error.

All of this is obtained with unequalled lightness thanks to the new Contax chain, the narrowest available today, and to the high precision of the Ergopower TSC control levers.

Related Posts with Thumbnails