or, the forty year itch.
Warning: lengthy content and many pics. I thought I’d post this description of the process in case anyone wanted to try this at home. If you find this account too wordy, skip to the pics.
When I bought my first good bike, A Peugeot PX-10, in 1971, I had two criteria. It had to be light. And it had to be affordable. The two hundred and fifty bucks was about all I could swing at the time but I was planning a tour of the coast of Washington and Oregon with a friend so I wanted a light bike. I bought the Peugeot and my buddy bought a Gitane Tour de France. Not the best choices perhaps, for fully laden touring, but we wanted lightweight European bikes and couldn’t afford the fancy Italian and English bikes in the shops. The French bikes with their plastic derailleurs served us well but I still coveted those pearly silver Campagnolo derailleurs in the glass case at the bike shop. Those components were the prettiest looking things in the display case and they adorned all the best bikes hanging in the shop. I’ve had a thing for Nuovo Record ever since.
I eventually saved up the $24.50 for a Nuovo Record derailleur, but it was a few more years before I had a bike it would fit on. I never mounted it on my Peugeot, but many guys did back then. As you know, the adaptation involved grinding on the Simplex dropout hanger and tapping out the hole, something that was beyond my abilities back then and against my better judgement even if I could do it. I happily rode that Simplex Criterium for many thousands of miles with no problems, but I was still intrigued by how to fit a Nuovo Record derailleur on to a French bike with a Simplex dropout. In fact, I still am. Last week, forty years later, I decided to tackle the project. I sold that Peugeot long ago but in a fit of nostalgia I purchased a purple Gitane TdF about twenty years ago and it is this bike that has provided the impetus for this project.