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Old 07-01-09, 11:06 PM   #1
P4D 
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Simplex Shifters-avoid or ok?

I'm looking a bike that has simplex all the way around. It appears to be an 80's bike, and has the 80's fade paint job to it. I'm going to see the bike tomorrow, and if it checks out I might bring it home. Should I be concerned about the Simplex stuff?
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Old 07-01-09, 11:17 PM   #2
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Good simplex derailleurs are precisely that: good. Unfortunately there are also other Simplex derailleurs that are among teh worst derailleurs around that break when you simply look at them. A general rule of thumb is that if plastic is mostly absent from the derailleurs, then you are OK. The derailleurs that have important parts made of plastic often break and simply don't work all that well. The full metal derailleurs from Simplex are great and I would not hesitate to use them on any bike. Many will even tell you that they prefer them to Campagnolo. The same goes for the Simplex retrofriction shift levers (the metal ones), many a collector and rider swear by them as being the most dependable and easy to use. Personally I don't like retrofriction shifters as I find the lever barrel depressingly small requiring you to need to move teh lever far too much.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:22 PM   #3
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Simplex made a wide range of equipment so it really depends on what level you are looking at. The ones that I read are particularly poor have a red label and are made mostly out of plastic. Look at the jockey wheels in the rear derailleur to make sure the are in tact.
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Old 07-01-09, 11:30 PM   #4
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Thanks! I'll take a good look at them tomorrow. I'll have to google jockey wheels, but my guess is they are the part the chain runs on. Would those have been made out of plastic in some models? If so, that seems pretty weak.
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Old 07-02-09, 01:20 AM   #5
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Also check where the front derailleur attaches to the seat tube. The garden variety simplex derailleurs have bodies made of delrin plastic. The clamps are frequently over-tightened causing cracks in the plastic clamp area.
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Old 07-02-09, 07:44 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by alexw View Post
Thanks! I'll take a good look at them tomorrow. I'll have to google jockey wheels, but my guess is they are the part the chain runs on. Would those have been made out of plastic in some models? If so, that seems pretty weak.
I've got several bikes with Simplex and agree the retrofriction shifters are very nice. Jockey wheels wear out over time because of chain use. One of my bikes had a broken jockey wheel in the top position and I used a wheel from an old Shimano Tourney for the bottom guide wheel and moved the good Simplex up to the top position. These derailleurs, while cleaned up now, have worked flawlessy for a lot of miles.
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