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Old 12-18-13, 02:12 PM   #1
lhbernhardt
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Component Lines that Bombed

Here's a test for all you 50+ers who have been riding since the 70's or before. Can you think of famous component lines that appeared, then were quickly withdrawn?

For example, I was commenting the other day about Shimano producing their track stuff with a 144 bolt circle, and mentioned that they'd probably learned their lesson from the failure of their 10mm-pitch track ensemble back in the late 70's (as I recall). Remember 10mm pitch? You needed to get new chainrings, 10mm-pitch chain, and new cogs. Talk about getting locked in! But they did get some track pro's of the day to use it. As long as it was free, why not?

Shimano was (is) famous for trying to lock you into their gruppos. Remember the old Dyna-Drive pedals? It DID NOT use the standard 9/16 pedal threads, so you had to buy new cranks to use them. I think the gruppo was part of the "AX" (aerodynamic) series, which included an aero center-pull brake, something like Campag's Delta brake.

Campagnolo also came out with some notable failures, including what I think was the worst pedal ever made: the SGR. Very heavy, designed to lock in one position until you got clipped in. And then you were clipped in pretty permanently!

One discontinued Campag component I did like was their Cobalto brakes. The locknut was finished off with a blue plastic "cobalt" stone piece of trim. Totally unnecessary and completely non-functional, but did it ever look sharp! You can buy old Record Cobalto brakes on ebay, but they now cost way more than they did originally! Somebody gave me a couple of the cobalt nuts, which I put on regular Record calipers. Unfortunately, the bike was stolen in Prague...

Luis
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Old 12-18-13, 03:38 PM   #2
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Zeus comes to mind as a blatant Campagnolo copy out of Spain that sold some but pretty much failed. Weyless was huge in the 70's but for sure faded away, as did Cool Gear. I would have put Hi-E in the same bunch but someone told me they are still going, so I don't know.

Oh, plus Excel components. Big initial push but then no follow through. They may have been early 80's though. Shimano should also get credit (or not) for Bio-Pace along these same lines. And remember Miche hubs? Is Avocet still alive? What about Ofmega? Others may occur to me, but those are the first off the top.

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Old 12-18-13, 03:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
Here's a test for all you 50+ers who have been riding since the 70's or before. Can you think of famous component lines that appeared, then were quickly withdrawn?
"The Seat" by Cool Gear. Had a teammate finish a criterium standing up when the saddle top popped off the rails.

"Funny Bikes" w/ the small front wheel. Most miserable handling machine I ever rode was of that ilk.

"Teledyne Titan" frames. Either ahead of their time or behind in their engineering, could have been either or both.

"Exxon-Graftek" frames. Same as above.
"Avocet Cycle-Computer". Great product, but Always own the source code.

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Old 12-18-13, 03:56 PM   #4
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"The Seat". Had a teammate finish a criterium standing up when the saddle top popped off the rails.

"Funny Bikes" w/ the small front wheel. Most miserable handling machine I ever rode was of that ilk.

"Teledyne Titans". Either ahead of their time or behind in their engineering, could have been either or both.

"Avocet Cycle-Computer". Great product, but Always own the source code.

-Bandera
I think a company called Cool Gear (The Jacobs Corporation? based in Colorado?) was responsible for "The Seat." They didn't seem to realize that cyclists often lift up the bike by the saddle. I think their saddles kind of snapped in to the rails? Then when the leather saddle pops off, you've got these upward-pointing rails (reminiscent of insidious torture devices) underneath your butt! Not very safe or comfortable at all...

I used to use Avocet computers. They came in different colors. The magnet was a round thing that clipped to the side of the hub. It was fine until you used some sort of non-standard aero wheel or hub that would not accept the ring. I stopped using them when they kept resetting by themselves, or failing when they got wet (screen would just go completely blank). Switched to Sigma and have been mostly happy ever since. They also had a more expensive version that included an altimeter. Greg Lemond pushed them for a couple of years, then when the sponsorship expired, he sued the company because they kept using his picture in their ads...

I think the big problem with Teledyne Titans was that they were made of pure titanium, rather than the refined 6Al2V Ti alloy. As a result, they (like the previous Speedwell Ti frames) handled like limp noodles. They also broke apart pretty easily.

Funny bikes disappeared when the UCI mandated same wheel size, front & rear. But you still see small front wheels (24") used on stayers' bikes, used for motorpaced races in the pro 6-days. But these have the fork reversed so the rider can get closer to the roller, and to make the bike handleable at 80+ kmh behind the motor!

Luis
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Old 12-18-13, 04:05 PM   #5
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Shimano should also get credit (or not) for Bio-Pace along these same lines. And remember Miche hubs? Is Avocet still alive? What about Ofmega? Others may occur to me, but those are the first off the top.

Rick / OCRR
Bio-Pace, or at least the elliptical chainring, has made a kind of comeback. Rotor (a Spanish company noted for their cranks) makes Q-Rings, and Bradley Wiggins has been using Osymmetric rings.

Miche is still around. (It's an Italian company, so it's pronounced "mee-kay." Resist the temptation to pronounce it in French - "meesh." Although I think it sounds better in French. Just like "Dura Ace" sounds better in Italian ("doo-rah ah-chay")!

Luis
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Old 12-18-13, 04:30 PM   #6
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I had good luck with the Avocet computer.. I guess I was lucky
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Old 12-18-13, 05:01 PM   #7
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Shimano's Positron front freewheel drive train.

that chainring that split to shift .

and the one with a bunch of like little pulleys in slots that expanded as a weight spun

or automatic shifting schemes for bikes in General

BTW it was Zeus pre Christian, so pagan, god of the gods (odd for such a Papist country like Spain)

made some really cool Titanium stuff..

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Old 12-18-13, 05:27 PM   #8
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Avocet was a distribution company that was very successful in bringing some very good products to market; their saddles, tyres, and computers were ubiquitous and they still focus on tyres, shoes, saddles, and computers but there is a lot more competition now.

The Avocet Cross tyre was one of my favourites and I am fortunate to have found some NOS and they have recently been put back in production as the Cross 2.

Shimano's Biopace was a sound design but a marketing failure.

Zeus made some rather beautiful components and some were copies of Campagnolo and it is suspected that they also worked as a contractor for them... when the Japanees came to dominate the cycling world most of the European companies folded or merged and Zeus was a victim of that while Campagnolo was lucky to have lasted long enough to catch up.
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Old 12-18-13, 05:46 PM   #9
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I had a Zeus track bike "back when", it was a good solid cost effective piece of kit.
I bought it from a teammate whose Paramount was finally delivered and sold it to another teammate when I moved to an area with no velodrome. Perhaps it's still going 'round and 'round......

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Old 12-18-13, 06:18 PM   #10
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Mavic ZAP electric shift RD? Thought it was pretty cool at the time, but never actually saw one in person.

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Old 12-18-13, 08:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
Bio-Pace, or at least the elliptical chainring, has made a kind of comeback. Rotor (a Spanish company noted for their cranks) makes Q-Rings, and Bradley Wiggins has been using Osymmetric rings. ("doo-rah ah-chay")!
Luis
Yes Luis,

And remember that Roger Durham had "Bulls-Eye" brand elliptical chain-rings before Shimano had Bio-Pace (which we "Italianized" to bee-Oh'-Potch-aye). Remember Bulls-Eye pulleys? I even had a set of Bulls-Eye sealed bearing hubs.

Anyone remember Omas and Edco bottom brackets? From the 70's too.

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Old 12-18-13, 09:19 PM   #12
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Have Gippiemme (GPM) triple crankset I put together in the 80's as a 52-36 wide step double

Campag's largest Cross chainguard replaces the outer ring, the 52 is in the middle.

Its lovely though set aside as Im not climbing passes at 160 pounds body weight any more.


bombed is a bit harsh not every company wins in the world market

divisions of the Fichtel-Sachs Group were thrown under the Bus , by the SRAM buyout

the Chicago people just didn't care about the Malliard freewheel division, for example,
and shipped all the Sachs German production machinery to Taiwan.

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Old 12-18-13, 09:31 PM   #13
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I had good luck with the Avocet computer.. I guess I was lucky
I had the avoset 50 that told me my altitude great on hilly rides (time killer)
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Old 12-18-13, 11:28 PM   #14
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Stewart Warner bicycle speedometer/odometer that ran a little wheel off the side of the front tire I the mid-70s..
Lucas cyclometers (British).
Still have a Hi-E bottle cage mounted on the front handlebar of our tandem . . . 30-some years of use!
Allsop c/f beams.
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Old 12-19-13, 01:12 AM   #15
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Avocet was a distribution company that was very successful in bringing some very good products to market; their saddles, tyres, and computers were ubiquitous and they still focus on tyres, shoes, saddles, and computers but there is a lot more competition now.

The Avocet Cross tyre was one of my favourites and I am fortunate to have found some NOS and they have recently been put back in production as the Cross 2.

Shimano's Biopace was a sound design but a marketing failure.

Zeus made some rather beautiful components and some were copies of Campagnolo and it is suspected that they also worked as a contractor for them... when the Japanees came to dominate the cycling world most of the European companies folded or merged and Zeus was a victim of that while Campagnolo was lucky to have lasted long enough to catch up.
Avocet is still in business

http://www.avocet.com
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Old 12-19-13, 01:16 AM   #16
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Avocet is still in business

http://www.avocet.com
As I said,

"they still focus on tyres, shoes, saddles, and computers"

They just aren't as big as they used to be...
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Old 12-19-13, 08:22 AM   #17
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Ergo, Campagnolo mtb group.
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Old 12-19-13, 08:23 AM   #18
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Spinergy Rev X wheels come to mind.
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Old 12-19-13, 11:33 AM   #19
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remember when bikes used cables to shift instead of electronics?
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Old 12-19-13, 11:33 AM   #20
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I have a friend who still rides his Teledyne Titan. He says it was the first superbike. I disagree, it's far too flexy. I contend that the first superbike was the Cannondale 2.8 with Sub-one aluminum fork, 1 1/4" threaded headset, and cantilevered rear dropouts. When this bike came out most people were still riding lugged steel frames/forks with downtube shifters. Back in the day, the 2.8 looked so radical, still does really.

Quote:
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I think a company called Cool Gear (The Jacobs Corporation? based in Colorado?) was responsible for "The Seat." They didn't seem to realize that cyclists often lift up the bike by the saddle. I think their saddles kind of snapped in to the rails? Then when the leather saddle pops off, you've got these upward-pointing rails (reminiscent of insidious torture devices) underneath your butt! Not very safe or comfortable at all...

I used to use Avocet computers. They came in different colors. The magnet was a round thing that clipped to the side of the hub. It was fine until you used some sort of non-standard aero wheel or hub that would not accept the ring. I stopped using them when they kept resetting by themselves, or failing when they got wet (screen would just go completely blank). Switched to Sigma and have been mostly happy ever since. They also had a more expensive version that included an altimeter. Greg Lemond pushed them for a couple of years, then when the sponsorship expired, he sued the company because they kept using his picture in their ads...

I think the big problem with Teledyne Titans was that they were made of pure titanium, rather than the refined 6Al2V Ti alloy. As a result, they (like the previous Speedwell Ti frames) handled like limp noodles. They also broke apart pretty easily.

Funny bikes disappeared when the UCI mandated same wheel size, front & rear. But you still see small front wheels (24") used on stayers' bikes, used for motorpaced races in the pro 6-days. But these have the fork reversed so the rider can get closer to the roller, and to make the bike handleable at 80+ kmh behind the motor!

Luis
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Old 12-19-13, 11:35 AM   #21
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I actually got to ride a Zap equipped bike. It worked perfectly.

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Mavic ZAP electric shift RD? Thought it was pretty cool at the time, but never actually saw one in person.

scott s.
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Old 12-19-13, 12:20 PM   #22
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Ergomo Power meters featured a bottom bracket that measured power - now bankrupt.

Softride suspended beams.
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Old 12-19-13, 12:28 PM   #23
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Softride suspended beams.
Softride now is a Car accessory company . racks to carry your bike.
they dropped bikes, competing with the other side of the pacific, entirely
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Old 12-19-13, 01:35 PM   #24
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Not sure if they are in business or not but an established brand that seems to have disappeared is "Pro-Togs" cycling clothing. I still have a couple of their jerseys and a pair of tights - all 100% wool and very comfortable - even after 30 years. I guess when everything switched to technical clothing they didn't keep up? Other brands that used to be common and now probably occupy more of a niche market - Detto Pietro shoes, Sugino bottom brackets and cranks and Avocet (mentioned above). Still have a beautiful set of Avocet hubs (I think somewhere in the basement) that I used on my first set of training clinchers so my good tubular wheels with Campy Nuevo Record hubs wouldn't have too much use. And does Simplex still make shifters and derailleurs?
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Old 12-19-13, 03:29 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Zeus comes to mind as a blatant Campagnolo copy out of Spain that sold some but pretty much failed.
FWIW, Zeus actually pre-dates Campagnolo as a bicycle component manufacturer (1926 vs 1933). Some of their components were very similar in design to Campagnolo's, but the top-end Zeus group ("2000") was actually quite innovative and made more extensive use of titanium and drillium than any other manufacturer. The model 2000 pedals were superficially similar to Campagnolo's, but used titanium in both the spindle and the cage; this meant that the Zeus cage was much more durable than Campagnolo's aluminum cage and only trivially heavier. Remember, this was a time when racers used slotted cleats, and grit caught in the cleat would quickly wear down the aluminum cage. The pedals also used sealed cartridge bearings, which was quite innovative at the time. There are even rumors that Campagnolo contracted Zeus to produce titanium bits for the original Super Record component group. They were also fairly unique in being "vertically integrated" in producing their own frames in addition to components and tools.

Although Zeus never had quite the cachet as Campagnolo, they did acquire more than a few palmares over the years and sponsored many amateur teams in North America and Europe.


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