I’ve been digging around for a few months trying to get some information on late-90’s/early 2000’s Zeus bicycles. Here’s what I know, and some/all of this might be wrong.
Zeus was an independent manufacturer of medium to high quality Spanish bicycles from 1926 to about 1986, noted for making frames and almost all of the components needed to build up a complete bike. Frames used either Columbus or Reynolds 531 tubing, Zeus dropouts and fork crown, and were usually French threaded. Their component lines included Racer, New Racer, Criterium and 2000. The higher end parts towards the end of their lifetime included both titanium bits and a heavy reliance on drillium. Zeus (or what was left of it) was bought by Orbea (also of Spain) in the late-80’s. Orbea had a similarly long lineage of making medium range road bikes but they were of no particular distinction or not imported to the US, or both.
Now this is where it gets fuzzy. Apparently, Orbea entered the high-end bicycle market in the late 90’s by reintroducing the Zeus name. Somewhere around 1999, Orbea began selling Zeus-branded frames with Shimano Sora or Ultegra components. Most were aluminum with aluminum forks. Zeus/Orbeas were not imported to the US until about 2003, when Orbea USA was established, by which time Orbea had dropped the Zeus line and began labeling all of their frames “Orbea”. To further muddy the waters, Orbea bikes are now available with Zeus carbon components—stem (Zarpa or Cat 3), bars (Zeta), seat post (Zaga), forks (Ziccs AC/FM/SL) and crankset (Ziclon—actually a rebadged FSA). Zeus branded or Orbea branded brakes are currently available. Orbea also makes Zeus branded components for their mountain bikes—at least stem (aluminum), seatpost (carbon or aluminum) and bars (carbon).
I recently purchased a steel Zeus frame reputed to be a 2002 Accelerator. It is a phenomenal ride, and I am trying to find some more information on it. So my question is this: Can anyone provide some details on the rise (1999?) and rapid fall (2002/3?) of the modern (i.e. post-1986) Zeus frames?