shimano light action shifters
shimano light action shifters
Found on millions of bike-boom era department store bikes. Works much better than the "Alvit" which was also common back then. It's amazing what Huret could do with a few pieces of bent sheet metal and some rivets.
Rino parts on an Italian bike for me have worked well......
My favorite vintage parts are already expensive. But still an absolute bargain compared to their currently-produced modern counterparts.
Newer bargain-priced and underloved components: Campagnolo Mirage and Centaur.
Auchen, As someone who habitually upgraded I now find myself attracted to the lower end, and thus usually underrated bits. For example, one project bike, on purpose, will use mostly RX100 take offs with Sora hubs.
-The Suntour Blaze group is something most everyone overlooks, yet works very well, and to me is attractive.
-I too like the look of the last generation of Shimano SP calipers, if only they were as powerful as the DP calipers.
-CODA handlebars that I stashed in the parts bin work really well when the positioning is not too aggressive.
-Acera X hubs. The beater project has these and they are in excellent condition despite what appears to be zero maintenance.
I think 20-30 years from now the cup and cone hub will be most desirable. Start hoarding them now. Pick up a set of DA 7800 or 7900 hubs and set them aside for your grandchildren.
1980s Specialized hubs, headsets, cranks, stems, and pedals.
Polished, silky smooth, light...
Most were re-badged very good Japanese stuff: Suntour, Nitto, Sugino...
Saying the Svelto worked better than an Alvit isn't much! Back in the '70s/80s we had a tool called the Schwinn adjustable wrench. It was a rubber mallet that we used to give the Alvit a really hard smack so it would go into the low gear in back
Pretty much anything Shimano 105. The 1050 series Robbie refers to might just be the very best low end group Shimano ever made. Came on a bunch of iconic bikes, too: Cannondale SR, Schwinn Tempo & Centurion Ironman just to name a few. 1051 (same group with 7 speed shifters suspiciously similar to DA 7401, some with dark anodizing) was just as good, but more rare. 1056, which was basically tricolor with a different paint job, worked well and was available in both 7 and 8 speed versions but many found it harder to love visually. When it comes to STI, hard to beat 5500/5600 for durability and solid feel.
Price-wise, all of those seem to go through inexplicable ups and downs. I've purchsed new (NEW!) 5600 STI's for as little as $137 shipped, but not unusual now to see them for well above $200 used.
^ +1 on 105/600.
I'm not very good at wearing out parts like derailers, at least not while riding road bikes.
Chains, spokes, bb's and sprockets I wear out, but I have too many "riders" that spread out any significant mileage/wear over many years.
I do typically put a couple of thousand miles on any serious build for myself, initially, but only an already-worn chain gets used up over that time.
The Svelto appears to have the same architecture as a lowly Valentino or Velox (and similar to a Gran-Turismo but without a sprung B-pivot).
As such, I would expect high friction levels, though I admit having not used the one Svelto that I have.
The similar, vaunted Jubilee derailer seems to also suffer from the "2-dimensional design school of structural design", but here again I have yet to use one on the road. Do these work smoothly? ...Anyone?
The Allvit on the other hand is very sophisticated for it's period, and why it survived in the market for over 20 years, beginning in the 1950's.
It's parallelogram not only tracks the "concave cone" profile of mid-range freewheels (for which it was specifically designed) without the need of any guide pulley offset or sprung upper pivot (!), so is most similar to Suntour's slanted design, but with yet a bit more vertical rise capacity. It does lack Suntour's thoughtful external b-tension adjustment though, so requires file work on the hanger claw to closely track freewheels smaller than 28t.
The Allvit also has one of it's two main body pivots secured to the huge steel "upper/outer" knuckle through widely-spaced bearing surfaces, so should have much less friction than the "flat"-body derailers mentioned above, but it also has a rather stiff sprung return spring to deal with the friction in it's remaining "2-dimensinal" pivots. Thus, I've resorted to using thicker (brake) cable to fully exploit it's period greatness when longer cabling is used (for stem or bar-end shifters).
I was actually going to list the Allvit as one of the "underrated" components, but because so few mechanics understand them and appreciate working on them, they seldom are brought up to their considerable potential.
Weinmann and DiaCompe brakes also seem under-appreciated, and while unspectacular, they are a solid and plentiful offering from the gods of C&V.
Their center-pull calipers definitely seem to offer more squeeze than many other C&V calipers imo, but are sensitive to damaging over-tightening of their pivots and so can become plagued with friction in some cases. I apply penetrating Loctite to the nut and tip of the pivot bolt behind the bridge casting, then torque the bolts modestly this one time.
I have also crafted simple booster-bridges for them, to prevent the pivot bolt heads from spreading apart under heavy brake application forces, especially while racing XC and CX with wet rims.
It is also possible (though requires disassembly) to fit an even shorter transverse cable. (mod's shown below)
I don't know if they're underrated, but old Look (Delta cleat) pedals or their Mavic- or Shimano-licensed counterparts are great bargains. They seem bulletproof, the bearings are almost always silky smooth no matter how trashed the body gets, and they can be easily had for around $20.
I currently have a long cage Jubilee and an (almost) new Svelto installed on two of my road bikes. Though I've not logged many miles on either, it's my opinion that both are just "adequate" in terms of shift quality, and that for me is indeed better than the Alvits I've ridden. I can't say what they would be like if the pivots were significantly worn.
I think the appeal of the Jubilee and Svelto has a lot to do with their almost diaphanous designs, and in the case of the former, its extreme light weight. Probably the lightest non carbon DR made to this very day.
I have them on 2 of my 4 SC's, as below.
The Svelto was seemingly appropriately named, tho made of all steel? Indeed it a lovely mechanism, and let's not forget the chromed-out Luxe version that seemingly aimed at the gran-Turismo's bling factor.
I do find many Allvits suffering, but usually the cabling is firstly not the best on the bikes so equipped.
I've fine-tuned many an Allvit drivetrain for many an appreciative customer however, although I doubt that many mechanics want to even touch these things any more than they have to!
For Allvit diagnosis, I advise first removing the cable completely, as well as the chain.
In this state, the pivoting can first be evaluated for low friction. Then, the pulleys checked for proper adjustment of their ball bearings and for lubrication.
With fresh, modern cabling installed, and with any needed proper stepped ferrules, any decent pairing of chain & freewheel should at this point shift well, keeping in mind that the Allvit was pretty much designed for the standard 14-28t freewheels of those millions of sport-touring and gas-pipe bikes.
But a bike with stem shifters and lengthy, old cable/housings cannot be expected to shift responsively, given that the Allvit's return spring tension and friction levels are on the high side, even by the standards of even the late 1970's.
I've never owned a bike with a Svelto, but I saw plenty of them back in the day. They worked OK when new, but didn't seem to hold up very well. Some would get stiff, others would develop play and/or lose their alignment.
Allvits used pivot bolts instead of rivets. These bolts had a nasty habit of losing their lock nuts. The ugly result was the derailleur seizing, winding up in the spokes or simply falling apart. The Allvit design was clever, but the construction was mediocre and they needed more attention to keep them working properly than any other derailleur I can think of.
I like Jubilees for a bunch of reasons. As Auchen noted, they are elegant: economical in design (especially the front shifter) and well finished, with handsome hardware. The shifting is fine on a 2x5 10speed with fairly close gears (the only way I've ever used it) and the fact that they weigh so little is charming as well. Its geometry looks very similar to the Svelto, but it holds up better and is worlds prettier IMHO.
Weinmann brakes, center pull and the 500 side pull always seemed to me at least as good as Universal 61 and Super 68, and were a bit cheaper. Neither Weinmann nor Universal is nearly as satisfying as the lowly MAFAC Racer, when properly set up.
Nervar Star cranks? They look great and work well, and one can work around the pesky proprietary 128mm BCD by carefully elongating the holes on a 130mm chainring (been there ... done that).
Had you asked most underrated bicycle frames, I would have pointed to the Bianchi Campione d'Italia, Peugeot PR/PKN-10, and other mixed-tubeset frames, with thoroughbred butted moly steel main triangles and lesser materials, possibly even seams, on the forks and stays. The ride quality is identical to that of their more coveted high-end brethren, making these frames a sweet value point.
Centerpull brakes. All they need is a firm mounting for the housing terminator, modern incompressible cable housings, and KoolStop pads.