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Campagnolo 980 derailleur modification

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Campagnolo 980 derailleur modification

Old 10-11-20, 05:27 PM
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Campagnolo 980 derailleur modification

Just finished modifying a Campy 980 rear derailleur by adding Soma extended cage plates. These plates are made for older Campy units which have an M6 thread on the spring/pivot bolt, so I had to drill it out and re-thread for the M7 x 1 thread pitch that this derailleur bolt has.



The Campy 980 is not well regarded in the Campy line-up so I don't feel bad about messing with it. It's short cage offers pretty minimal chain take up and for my project I need to wrap about 35 links. It also needs to handle a 30 tooth freewheel so I have yet to see if that works out. The original cage also has a stop to prevent the cage from over rotating on the take up but the Soma cage does not. Once the chain is on that shouldn't be a problem though. The project is a 1962/3 Girardengo and is being built up as a retro gravel bike. One of my winter projects!
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Old 10-11-20, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
Just finished modifying a Campy 980 rear derailleur by adding Soma extended cage plates. These plates are made for older Campy units which have an M6 thread on the spring/pivot bolt, so I had to drill it out and re-thread for the M7 x 1 thread pitch that this derailleur bolt has.



The Campy 980 is not well regarded in the Campy line-up so I don't feel bad about messing with it. It's short cage offers pretty minimal chain take up and for my project I need to wrap about 35 links. It also needs to handle a 30 tooth freewheel so I have yet to see if that works out. The original cage also has a stop to prevent the cage from over rotating on the take up but the Soma cage does not. Once the chain is on that shouldn't be a problem though. The project is a 1962/3 Girardengo and is being built up as a retro gravel bike. One of my winter projects!
Nice. Yeah, those are my least favorite campy derailleur, BITD. IIRC they were difficult to get enough chain wrap around the small cogs. Prone to skipping with stronger riders. You'd have to slide the wheel all the way back and play with chain length, which they weren't that tolerant of. They came out around the same time as short horizontal dropouts, which didn't help. Not sure why they seemed to behave differently than a NR, but i seem to recall they did. Then again it might have been more of a combination of factors in flux at the time.

(EDIT - after trying to remember, I think I'm being unfair to this RD, see comments below. )

The SOMA jockey cage should solve that issue. I'd personally consider going full dork and putting modern big jockey wheels on there, depending on the bike.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 10-11-20 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 10-11-20, 06:30 PM
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When I saw @Wildwood put one of these on his Harding, I knew it would make for the perfect mech for a gravel road bike. It just looks the part ... perfectly. Well done on the mod to the Soma cage.
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Old 10-11-20, 06:55 PM
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I bought one new in 1985? and thought it was fine, cheap, Campagnolo, and as I was in school could not afford a Nuovo Record.
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Old 10-11-20, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I bought one new in 1985? and thought it was fine, cheap, Campagnolo, and as I was in school could not afford a Nuovo Record.
I haven't thought about this in 35 years, but now that I do, I think it had more to do with the dropout design of the bike that it commonly came on in the shop where I worked at the time. They just didn't play nice together.

Same geometry as a NR as far as I can tell. Should work the same. I take back my insulting words above. I blame the bike instead.
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Old 10-11-20, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
When I saw @Wildwood put one of these on his Harding, I knew it would make for the perfect mech for a gravel road bike. It just looks the part ... perfectly. Well done on the mod to the Soma cage.
There are many gearing strategies. My 980's performance got me thru ~100mi of gravel with a good climb or two. Cino 2016. But my chainrings were 46/30 and the freewheel was 14/28 (i think, maybe 26).


Last edited by Wildwood; 10-12-20 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 10-12-20, 04:30 AM
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What do you think of the story I heard that the name comes from its birthday, in September 1980? Urban legend?

Mark B
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Old 10-12-20, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by bulgie View Post
What do you think of the story I heard that the name comes from its birthday, in September 1980? Urban legend? Mark B
980 lire to manufacture? = cheap
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Old 10-12-20, 01:09 PM
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I'm using a 980 front on a build, mainly because it's lighter than anything else I had in the bin. Works fine, too.
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Old 10-12-20, 01:16 PM
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My kid's bike had one of those derailleurs. It worked terribly. I couldn't get it to work well, so I replaced it. Examining it carefully, I couldn't find wear or misalignment. Oh well. Good luck.
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Old 10-12-20, 03:56 PM
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The 980 derailers on my Torelli (with 1980's standard road gearing) worked notably well while charging all of the rollers and switchbacks here in these foothills.

The chain and sprockets are an important ingredient of success in that regard! I ran UG 6s with modern 8s chain of some sort.

The long cage should really help with dealing with a larger chainring spread, something that this design usually doesn't handle well.
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