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Lever-actuated FD?

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Lever-actuated FD?

Old 02-21-10, 08:22 PM
  #1  
David325
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Lever-actuated FD?

Sorry if it's been discussed before, but I have no idea how to name it. Those front derailleurs way back I assume in the 40s/50s that you had to reach down and move a physical lever, no cable, on the downtube. What are these called, and is it at all possible to find or make one? The idea seems pretty cool.
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Old 02-21-10, 08:26 PM
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I just saw one of those on ebay a few weeks ago NOS
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Old 02-21-10, 10:11 PM
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I've heard them referred to as 'suicide shifters.' There's a Benelux version on my Raleigh Lenton:

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Old 02-21-10, 10:23 PM
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Simplex made em too.

I've heard them called Suicide Shifters too....how well does it shift? is it truly Suicide?
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Old 02-21-10, 10:51 PM
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They CAN shift very well, especially when properly setup.
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Old 02-21-10, 11:45 PM
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pretty much any lever you had to remove your hand from the handlebar to use got the "suicide" nickname...lots of motorcycle references like clutch and brake levers. I think the danger is much greater when you also have to look down to find it, and on a motorcycle that's moving at high speed...that could be suicidal. (funny, that never comes up with DT shifters, except with noobies)
There's at least one builder at the NAHBBS who made a modern version of the lever-activated FD...can't remember who...anybody know?
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Old 02-21-10, 11:51 PM
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that's how those worked. And, yes, they could be suicide levers if you do that these days and at a reasonable speed.
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Old 02-22-10, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
There's at least one builder at the NAHBBS who made a modern version of the lever-activated FD...can't remember who...anybody know?
Tony Pereira had one at the 2008 show. So cool.
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Old 02-22-10, 12:03 AM
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yep, that's^ the one I was (not) remembering.
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Old 02-22-10, 05:46 AM
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I have one (Simplex Competition) on my Falcon, it's pretty easy to shift once you get used to it. I don't exactly race around on it though and I could imagine it could get hairy at speed.
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Old 02-22-10, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by x136 View Post
Tony Pereira had one at the 2008 show. So cool.
It is cool, and so is the box striping.
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Old 02-22-10, 09:07 AM
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OK somebody please tell me its not its not *that* simple to make That is cool.
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Old 02-22-10, 01:26 PM
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I like those shifters. I even built one! (2nd version) Can't say the design is fool-proof but it does work quite well. OTOH a good-old DT shifter it quite hard to beat in terms of reliability and ease of shift.

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Old 02-22-10, 01:59 PM
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Man that is really really freakin cool.
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Old 02-22-10, 04:00 PM
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Those things are sweet. That black bike is way too cool.
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Old 02-22-10, 05:09 PM
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Both of those custom ones look sweet. Kinda makes me want to break out the old graph paper and start thinking of a design... hmm...
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Old 02-22-10, 08:30 PM
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I'm trying to imagine it in combination with the half-step gearing of that era! Hairy?
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Old 02-24-10, 06:23 PM
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Here's a nice one

https://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...E:B:SS:US:1123
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Old 02-24-10, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
You need a tetanus shot even after you just look at that

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Old 02-24-10, 07:48 PM
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If the lever were really on the down tube (as opposed to the seat tube), it would indeed be a suicidal lever. You'd get your hand caught with the front wheel.
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Old 02-25-10, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tuz View Post
I like those shifters. I even built one! (2nd version) Can't say the design is fool-proof but it does work quite well. OTOH a good-old DT shifter it quite hard to beat in terms of reliability and ease of shift.

wow im impressed, i like the use of the chain.. keep us posted if you build anymore
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Old 02-25-10, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by EjustE View Post
You need a tetanus shot even after you just look at that

Funny, but rust doesn't cause tetanus.
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Old 02-25-10, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Funny, but rust doesn't cause tetanus.
Technically, you are correct about this. Tetanus is caused by a toxin (tetanospasmin) produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Rust is a prime spot for Clostridium spores to dwell, thus punctures with a rusty object often lead to tetanus (those spores are growing into bacteria once they find some nice food and warm temperature - in your bloodstream and tissue; they are not picky- and love to release their toxin...

Last edited by EjustE; 02-25-10 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 02-25-10, 08:27 PM
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Wow, that rusted one is nasty... Tuz, I've been trying to figure out how yours works. Is the handle pivoted to shift?
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Old 02-26-10, 01:14 AM
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I have three different lever front derailleurs (British called them clangers) on bikes: Huret, Simplex, and Benelux. The Simplex and Benelux are easiest to shift without glancing down because their levers are aligned with the seat tube; you put your hand on the seat tube and run it down a bit blind, and there is the lever to shift. A shift of the Huret lever front derailleur is best effected by first taking a quick glance to locate it, and then you can easily find it blind with your hand. I find I have good locational memory to find it blind after taking a quick look. The best at shifting wider ranges is the Simplex due to its lever action; when you shift it from small to large chainring, the cage moves up at an angle. The Simplex lever front derailleur was spec'd for max chainrings of 28-52. The Benelux and Huret cages move straight out back and forth, and shift better with lesser differences between chainrings. The Huret lever front derailleur is interesting mechanically due to its helical operation from lever to cage. They do work well with my favorite being the Simplex as I said; here's my Mondia on a high Sierras bike tour at 9,600 ft last June with a Simplex lever front derailleur in use: https://www.peterbrueggeman.com/cr/mo...onora_pass.jpg
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