|Tullio Campagnolo, with a bike equipped|
with one of his 1940s Corsa derailleurs.
|Cambio Corsa derailleur.|
|The Simplex derailleur was state of|
art in the late 40s.
In 1949, Italian racing legend Fausto Coppi famously won the Tour de France using Simplex derailleurs (Simplex had paid him to switch), which was probably something of a slap in the face to Tullio Campagnolo. The Simplex was a cable operated plunger-type derailleur that was considerably easier to use than Campagnolo's rod-operated designs. Many other top racers also were using Simplex, but ultimately the "defections" told Campagnolo that he had to do something big to reestablish his company at the top among racers of the day. The result was the Gran Sport.
|The prototype Gran Sport, with dual-cable|
operation. Production versions would utilize
a return spring with a single cable.
|The definitive Gran Sport, early 1950s.|
|The original 1963 Record.|
A short-lived model.
|An early 80s Nuovo Record from my collection.|
|Second-generation Super Record.|
|The original Super Record|
was basically the same as
a Nuovo Record with some
titanium bolts and a black
In the mid 1980s, Campagnolo made a significant design revision with the introduction of the C-Record model. The basic parallelogram architecture was still based on the old Gran Sport of the 1950s, but the shifting performance was improved somewhat by adding a spring to the upper body pivot -- something that Simplex had done for decades. The styling was smoothed dramatically, giving it a modern aerodynamic look. Visually, it was attractive, but ultimately in performance it could no longer hold its own against the competition coming from Japan.
|Mid 80s C-Record. Modern yet|
old fashioned at the same time.
|1988 Chorus -- scanned from a Campy catalog.|
Slant parallelogram, with a "twist."
Coming up in the next post: Copies and Competition. Stay Tuned!