|Basically dead-ringers for Campagnolo Record pedals, |
these Zeus Gran Sport pedals feature aluminum cages.
Zeus was an interesting enigma of a bicycle and component company. There are a number of legends that surround the brand, though it's difficult to parse fact from fiction. They were probably best known as one of several companies making knockoff Campagnolo parts, but they also tried to earn a reputation for innovation, though the results were sometimes mixed. They were one of the few companies anywhere that made not only bike components, but also complete bicycles, including frames. They also made frame fittings, such as dropouts and fork crowns. Back in the '70s one could buy a bike with the Zeus name on the frame, as well as on virtually all the components -- and they were all actually made by Zeus (unlike, say, a Schwinn with "Schwinn-Approved" components, which were re-branded from other companies).
|Later iterations of the Zeus pedals would have more of an|
"hourglass" shape, and featured titanium spindles and cages!
|A heavily drilled Zeus 2000 crankset, from a mid-70s advertisement. |
The arms on later versions wouldn't be drilled completely through.
One area where Zeus tried to out-Campy Campagnolo was in the use of Titanium. As mentioned, they were making pedals with titanium spindles and cages. Their 2000 model derailleur used titanium pivot bolts. The bottom bracket was all titanium (spindle, cups, and bolts), and the hubs used titanium axles and quick releases.
|The basic design of the Zeus 2000 derailleur still owed a lot to Campagnolo. Zeus claimed that it was lighter than Super Record, though from what I've read, it was actually about the same, or slightly more. However, its pivot body sections were steel, so it's surprising that it was even close. The upper pivot bolt was titanium (why not the lower?), and as you can see, the pulley cage was heavily drilled. (photo from Classic Rendezvous)|
|I still think the Zeus track fork-end is one of the|
best looking ones out there. Much more graceful
than the Campy version.
By the end of the 1980s, Zeus was apparently finished, though the name was purchased by fellow-Spanish company Orbea, which still uses the Zeus name for things like stems and seat posts for their carbon-fiber framed racing bicycles.
When talking with vintage bike enthusiasts, you'll find that some people get fairly passionate about Zeus, and some get bristly at the suggestion that they just made Campy knockoffs. Some will tell legends of how Campagnolo contracted with Zeus to make some of their components (I've heard the same said of other companies that copied Campagnolo designs, like Ofmega), or that Zeus supplied the titanium pieces that Campagnolo used in their Super Record parts, or that Zeus would have been much bigger and better known than Campagnolo if not for the Spanish Civil War (there could actually be something to that one, but nobody will ever know). But that's what I mean when I call Zeus an enigma of a bicycle company. There are lots of stories, but it's hard to find any real evidence to support them. Ultimately, they are remembered (by those who remember them) mostly as one of the better Campy copies, with the occasional dash of flair that set them apart from the others.