10. Power Meters
9. Foam Helmets
8. Shimano Electronic Shifting
7. Compact Cranks
6. Digital Bike Fit
5. Look Clipless Pedals
4. WADA Biological Passport
3. DuPont Lycra
2. Shimano STI Brake/Shift Levers
and at #1, Parallelogram Derailleur.
Of course, any time someone compiles a list of Top Ten Anything there are going to be disagreements. And if you're talking about "Technical Innovations" you can bet that a Retrogrouch will roll his eyes at some of the items on the list.
Come on. Power Meters? Just another thing for mid-pack-finishing Freds to blow money on with promises of "secret weapon-like" performance improvements. Electronic Shifting? Toys for rich people. Digital Bike Fit? Meh.
What about that number one? The Parallelogram Derailleur. No argument from me, except for this:
|Not a parallelogram derailleur.|
Here's the text:
"Simplex introduced a cable-actuated parallelogram derailleur in 1938 and the sport never looked back."
The problem is the Simplex was not a parallelogram derailleur. It was a pull-chain, plunger action derailleur, and it was probably introduced in 1935.
In 1938, Nivex produced a parallelogram derailleur that had some success with cyclotourists. It also very likely helped inspire Campagnolo's Gran Sport which was first shown to the public in 1949. The Gran Sport was the derailleur that swept through the sport so that it "never looked back."
The article goes on to explain why the parallelogram derailleur is number one. "The argument for the derailleur's place on this list is as simple as it is obvious: no other piece of cycling technology expanded the versatility and terrain range of the bicycle like the parallelogram (and later the slant parallelogram) derailleur. It brought the bicycle, and bicycle racing, into the modern era." Great!
By the way, Simplex wouldn't introduce a parallelogram derailleur until 1961, with the Juy Export 61 -- a unit that looked somewhat similar to the Campagnolo design, but with some key improvements that actually made it work better. Then they went and blew it by converting their derailleur line to "Delrin" plastic the following year.
Would I agree that the parallelogram derailleur deserves the top spot on a list of the "Top 10 Technical Innovations of All Time"? Yep.
Too bad the folks at Velo News don't know what that is.