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Old 07-06-07, 09:43 AM   #1
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Replace Huret Alvit?

I haven't gotten around to messing with the drive train just yet on my 70's Moto Grand Touring, but I have noticed in checking out what seems to be working and what isn't that the rear derailleur either needs some work or needs to be replaced. It is a Hurét Alvit. From what I am beginning to read about these things in the archives of these forums is that they are not very good. Is this the case? Should I just replace it without trying to get it to work? What should I replace it with if I do replace it? Right now the bike does not have indexed shifting, should I look into upgrading that as well?

While I want to keep every "original" (or at least somewhat from that time period), I do want this bike to become my commuter bike and general city bike so I do want to put some mileage on it.

Thanks!
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Old 07-06-07, 09:45 AM   #2
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Your thread title should have an exclamation point, rather than a question mark.

Find a decent Sun Tour derailleur. Not too expensive, and a huge improvement over the Alvit.
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Old 07-06-07, 09:59 AM   #3
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Your thread title should have an exclamation point, rather than a question mark.

Find a decent Sun Tour derailleur. Not too expensive, and a huge improvement over the Alvit.
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Old 07-06-07, 10:59 AM   #4
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So the derailleur is clean, lubricated and you've replaced the cable and housing already, right?

You could replace the Allvit with a period correct Campagnolo record. Very expensive, shifting not quite as good. Or a plastic Simplex. Rare, cool; shifting also not quite as good.

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Old 07-06-07, 11:36 AM   #5
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An early SunTour V or V-GT derailleur would be period-correct and would outshift the Allvit or any of the Simplex or Campa. alternatives of the day.
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Old 07-06-07, 11:39 AM   #6
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The Huret was a good piece early in it's history, a bit before the Civil War. By the 70's, not so great. The Sun Tour suggestion is spot-on - a VGT Luxe (long cage version) can usually be found cheaply. Shifts really well, though maybe a little less durable than some other brands. A great derailleur, and the replacement choice for many in the 70s. An alternative suggestion with a little more cache would be the steel version of the Huret Duopar. You'd be keeping it in the family, Huret-wise, and it's an excellent shifting long-cage derailleur - one of the best friction shifting derailleurs ever. (Just be careful not to back up the bike or you could end up breaking something.) An additional point in favor of the steel Duopar (which will cost a bit more than the Sun Tour, but not as much as the titanium version of the Duopar) is that my largely French-equipped '81 Grand Touring Moto came with one as the stock derailleur. The Titanium version came out circa '75 and the steel one a bit later, if period correctness matters to you.

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Old 07-06-07, 11:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tcs
Or a plastic Simplex. Rare, cool; shifting also not quite as good.
Rare? I think there are 4 of them in the RD bucket out in my barn. And a couple of Allvits.
Back in the day (Nixon was President) the very first upgrade I did on my gaspipe Atala was to replace the Simplex RD with a V-GT Luxe. That very RD is now on my daughter's Ficelle, where it replaced a Huret Luxe . The Atala is still with me, and sports a V Luxe. You really can't go wrong with either of these Sun Tour Rds.
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Old 07-06-07, 11:55 AM   #8
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"Rare? I think there are 4 of them in the RD bucket out in my barn."

Yep, that's why they're rare. They're all hiding in buckets in barns, basements, sheds, all over America.

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Old 07-06-07, 01:57 PM   #9
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Are all VGT derailleur's long cage or would it be specifically mentioned? Looking around on eBay for the part. Looking at this one for example.

Also, are there options that, while not period correct, that you would suggest? I see other Suntour RDs, for instance, but I'm not sure which ones would work and which would not (this is the first bike that I've built, so I'm not sure ).

Thanks for your help so far!
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Old 07-06-07, 03:03 PM   #10
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The V-GT is the long cage, V the short cage; but it'll still handle a 28t cog.
The Vx series will give the most bang for the buck. Honor and Seven are all steel and lower down the food chain, and Cyclone and Superbe at the top.
I think ANY RD with it's own claw will work for you. I don't know what's available new, but the RD bucket has Shimano 400, 600, Titlst, and SLA RDs with claws, and a bunch of really cheap SIS ones culled from X-Mart MTBs.
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(BTW, that's WAY too much to pay for one of these, even NOS)
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Old 07-06-07, 03:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picchio Special
An alternative suggestion with a little more cache would be the steel version of the Huret Duopar. You'd be keeping it in the family, Huret-wise, and it's an excellent shifting long-cage derailleur - one of the best friction shifting derailleurs ever.

Ed
Yes! I have one these on my Miyata tourer and the shifting is excellent. As others said, the Suntour V/V-GT is also a worthwhile replacement.
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Old 07-06-07, 03:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcs
So the derailleur is clean, lubricated and you've replaced the cable and housing already, right?

You could replace the Allvit with a period correct Campagnolo record. Very expensive, shifting not quite as good. Or a plastic Simplex. Rare, cool; shifting also not quite as good.

TCS
I read somewhere that it takes courage to replace an Allvit, because if maintained they will never break.

I'd go for the Campy Record if it will thread into your French frame, if the gear range is within its limits, and if the "beak" on the dropout is in the right position. You'll save ounces and gain miles of coolness. Otherwise, an old higher-end Huret, maybe a Jubilee? I would not go with a Simplex, unless your standards of originality required it.

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Old 07-06-07, 03:27 PM   #13
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I have a latter model Huret derailler, not sure of the model, believe it is the "Success" or "Challenger", has a fairly long-cage and is NOS. Another cool thing in regards to it is that it sports a Motobecane "M" on it, telling me it was made to go with the motos. Uncool thing about it is that it is missing its pulley wheels, but they are fairly easily obtained. If the OP is interested, PM me.
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Old 07-06-07, 03:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picchio Special
The Huret was a good piece early in it's history, a bit before the Civil War. By the 70's, not so great. The Sun Tour suggestion is spot-on - a VGT Luxe (long cage version) can usually be found cheaply. Shifts really well, though maybe a little less durable than some other brands. A great derailleur, and the replacement choice for many in the 70s. An alternative suggestion with a little more cache would be the steel version of the Huret Duopar. You'd be keeping it in the family, Huret-wise, and it's an excellent shifting long-cage derailleur - one of the best friction shifting derailleurs ever. (Just be careful not to back up the bike or you could end up breaking something.) An additional point in favor of the steel Duopar (which will cost a bit more than the Sun Tour, but not as much as the titanium version of the Duopar) is that my largely French-equipped '81 Grand Touring Moto came with one as the stock derailleur. The Titanium version came out circa '75 and the steel one a bit later, if period correctness matters to you.

Ed
The Duopar is a great suggestion, and I truly dispute this backing up the bike thing. I've read of it elsewhere, and my experience is (two of them installed on friction shift bikes right now!!) if the der is lined up correctly with a cog, which it must be with a Duo or it will shift, I can back up my bikes with complete lack of concern. You have to keep teh shift lever drag screw tight enough the it doesn't drift, and you have to know how to feather the derailleur cleanly in the first place. But these are just cycling skills, we all know how do do those things.

As far as chain jams with gross misalignment, any rear mech can show that problem.


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Old 07-06-07, 04:23 PM   #15
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I rode a bike equipped with a Huret Allvit for well over 20 years. I never had any problems with it - and I rode a lot in those days. It was a basic, solid derailleur which was found on a great many bikes like Raleigh Records, etc. Not high end, but if I had a bike now with one, I would want to keep it on there if it works after adjustment. At the time many Allvits were on bikes, Suntour was becoming more and more common, but as I recall it, at the time, most were on cheaper bikes than the Huret's. For example, the Raleighs (the genuine English ones, that is) had Allvits, but the cheaper Robin Hoods had Suntour. Like I said, personally, I would not change it if it works (and it probably does unless it was damaged, because they were pretty tough derailleurs).
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Old 07-06-07, 04:36 PM   #16
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Replace an Alvit? I would have said "yes" in 1973 and I still say "yes" now, assuming the bike is for riding.

If it is for hanging on a wall as a 100% accurate restoration to be exactly as the bike was when new and it had the misfortune to have an Alvit hanging on it when new, then keep the Alvit. Of course, if that was your mindset, you wouldn't be asking, now would you?

As for the old plastic Simplex RD's, there's a reason why more of them are in parts buckets in old barns than out on the road racking up miles . . . .
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Old 07-06-07, 04:42 PM   #17
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This would be my choice:

http://www.velo-orange.com/sisxrede.html

I have one on my favorite bike along with Simplex retrofriction shifters.
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Old 07-06-07, 04:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longfemur
I rode a bike equipped with a Huret Allvit for well over 20 years. I never had any problems with it - and I rode a lot in those days. It was a basic, solid derailleur which was found on a great many bikes like Raleigh Records, etc. Not high end, but if I had a bike now with one, I would want to keep it on there if it works after adjustment. At the time many Allvits were on bikes, Suntour was becoming more and more common, but as I recall it, at the time, most were on cheaper bikes than the Huret's. For example, the Raleighs (the genuine English ones, that is) had Allvits, but the cheaper Robin Hoods had Suntour. Like I said, personally, I would not change it if it works (and it probably does unless it was damaged, because they were pretty tough derailleurs).

The Alvit was used because it was cheap, relatively durable, and there weren't other low-priced alternatives - not because it shifted well. Sun Tour did start out on the budget bikes, but after a few years, people recognized their superiority, and the Alvit went the way of the buggy whip. If you're into leisurely riding, there wouldn't be any problem with the Alvit. If you care at all about quickly shifting gears reliably, it is a disappointment.

Fortunately, I never had to use one while growing up. My experience comes from one that I completely overhauled about 30 months ago. Yes, it shifted, and would eventually get in the desired gear, but even after a reasonable period of getting used to it, I'd still have to look back to make sure what gear I was in. It did work, but I didn't see the point of subjecting myself to it when something much better was readily available.
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Old 07-06-07, 05:04 PM   #19
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Well, for sure, you wouldn't use an Allvit to shift in a road race today. They were not that kind of derailleur. But as I said, very solid and durable.
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Old 07-06-07, 05:43 PM   #20
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Fortunately, I never had to use one while growing up. My experience comes from one that I completely overhauled about 30 months ago. Yes, it shifted, and would eventually get in the desired gear, but even after a reasonable period of getting used to it, I'd still have to look back to make sure what gear I was in. It did work, but I didn't see the point of subjecting myself to it when something much better was readily available.
(Caution, Rant ahead) I was not so fortunate. My first road bike was a 1970's Raleigh with the Huret Allvit derailer. At first it was only an inconvenience to shift gears. As time went on, it became something I avoided at all cost. Then, disgusted and not realizing better equipment was available, I dropped cycling in favor of running, swimming and other sports. I tried again several times, years later, to take up cycling, each time having the Raleigh tuned up and each time the Huret derailer did it's thing, requiring overshifting to change gears, jumping gears and so on. Yes, it worked, eventually it found a gear but which one was part of the excitment I did not enjoy. Foolishly and much to my regret, I did not purchase a new bike or replace the Allvit. That is a loss I have to live with. Later, my son tried to ride the Raleigh. He rode it once, but became just as disgusted with the derailer.
Flash forward. In the last three years, I've purchased, (flipped some, still own some) over 30 friction shifting road bikes with Shimano or Suntour derailers. Granted, some derailers work better than others, but always at the bottom of the performance list is the Huret Allvit. There is precious little that I passionately dislike when it comes to cycling. The Huret Allvit is at the top of my list of dislikes, followed by a distant second, cheap department store bikes. (I tried to keep this on point as much as possible).
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Old 07-06-07, 05:52 PM   #21
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Personally, I feel the Allvit is better than its reputation. When taking into consideration as a shifting sytem, along with the mating levers and front derailleur, it's actually far better than most of it's European competition of the era. And it was a long era for the Allvit, which is part of the problem. The Allvit made it's debut in the late 1950s and was pretty long in the tooth by the time the boom rolled around.

They were definitely durable and shifted OK. But they can pack up with dirt and sometimes tend to disassemble themselves. (I wish I had known about blue Loctite in the late 1960s and early 1970s). They do lose adjustment and the ball bearing pulleys require more maintenance. They are not a "set it and forget it" type of deraileur. I'd take it over a Prestige or Valentino, but would definitely take the suggested V-GT or just about any other boom era Japanese derailleur.
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