Thursday, November 17, 2011

'90's Pro Mavic parts you've never seen - or at least never noticed

Tour de France 1992 - On the roof-rack of the RMO team car, a mavic-equipped, "Gitane"-badged ALAN bike.
Photo by velo_denz on Flickr

The picture above comes from the 1992 Tour de France, which saw RMO's Pascal Lino spend 10 days in the Yellow Jersey before yielding to Miguel Indurain, who would go on to win his second Tour de France. Notice anything odd in a Mavic-y way?

The oddity on this bike are the front and rear derailleurs. While they look largely like the "normal" 840 rear and 860 front derailleurs, they exhibit a number of details that aren't normal. Most obvious is the lack of black anodization. The derailleurs on the RMO bike are silver - probably clear anodized. The rear derailleur also features a number of cutouts on both the front AND back of the pulley cages, likely to reduce the weight of a derailleur that was heavier than the comparable offerings from Shimano and Campagnolo at that time.

I mentioned the backside is cutout, right?

And before you go thinking the front is just a standard 810 derailleur, it's not - beside the fact they were no longer available by the late 80's, they also didn't have the Mavic logo etched in them.

These derailleurs came to me via Spain. I believe they were from an Once team bike belonging to pro Anselmo Fuerte. In the early 90's Once was sponsored by, and rode full groups from, Mavic. As far as I know, these derailleurs were never made available to the public. In 1992, Mavic was debuting the Zap system with select pro teams, and I suspect largely considered the 840/841 a product they would be able to phase out when the entire world went to their electric shifting system. That didn't happen, and the mechanical rear derailleurs continued to be available for several years, albeit in their original black anodized/cutout free form. These silver ones disappeared almost immediately from the pro ranks, as teams either switched to Zap, or switched to cobbled together drivetrains - witness Gan's Mavic/Campagnolo drivetrain from 1994.

I've known about these silver derailleurs for a few years now, but this is the first set I've seen. Anyone hiding additional sets in their spares box should feel free to contact me! :)

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