Take a look at some of the newest road derailleurs:
|The latest Dura Ace 9100. One website exclaims "Indulge in your love for impossibly crisp rear shifts." Oh, please.|
|Newest generation Campagnolo Record 12-speed.|
|The SRAM Force. Looks like something out of Japanese Animé.|
Comparatively, derailleurs from the classic era look compact - maybe svelte. Somehow, maybe because of materials like carbon fiber and titanium, the bloated units of today don't seem to weigh much, if anything, more than the best of the past - but they sure look heavier.
Take a look at some of my favorite classics:
|From my own collection - late '70s Campy Nuovo Record. No doubt that the modern version probably shifts better - but it can't hold a candle to the style of the vintage classic.|
|Early generation SunTour Cyclone - looked cool, and shifted about as well as anything made today.|
|Huret Jubilee - functional jewelry, and only weighed about 140 g. There was a long-cage version, too. (photo from ClassicRendezvous)|
|Shimano 600 "Arabesque" (with long cage) - worked nicely, and had some cool decorative details that existed for no reason other than to make it look special. (photo from VeloBase)|
I suppose that some of the new derailleurs shift remarkably well over a tremendous range. These new designs give us racing derailleurs rivaling the range of the best touring derailleurs of the past. And yeah, maybe that's the thing that really matters. But damn, they're ugly.