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The black plastic Simplex stuff is all crap, right?

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Old 12-16-10, 01:13 PM
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3speed
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The black plastic Simplex stuff is all crap, right?

I was telling some guy about my old Peugeot and he asked if it had the plastic Simplex derailleurs. I told him it did for now, and that it would be getting changed out with something decent, and he said he might be very interested in it. I thought all of the black plastic Simplex stuff was worthless crap. Am I mistaken?

(Search for plastic Simplex turns up surprisingly little searching for thread titles, but Way too much to extract particular information from when doing a general search...)
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Old 12-16-10, 01:22 PM
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The broken stuff is, well, as you put it [email protected] However, if it isn't broken, the transmissions work pretty good. Sadly, catastrophic front derailleur failure is not uncommon.



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Old 12-16-10, 01:24 PM
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I prefer that everyone keeps on believing that they are crap. It keeps the prices down.
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Old 12-16-10, 01:27 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, from a practical standpoint they are. Compared to most others, that is. They move in mysterious ways under cable tension and they crack when you least expect it. But that doesn't stop me from collecting examples in good condition... just in case I ever find an early PX10 or something.
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Old 12-16-10, 01:32 PM
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Hmm... The FD has a small crack where the screw goes in, and the RD isn't cracked or scratched up. It could probably be cleaned up to look quite nice. Maybe I'll hold on to them or work out a trade rather than just giving them away.

Thanks.
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Old 12-16-10, 03:38 PM
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The white plastic seat tube clamp on the FD on my Peugeot UO-18 Mixte, shown in the picture below, is split in two. I might look for a replacement for future restoration:

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Old 12-16-10, 03:45 PM
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Historically and currently they actually work pretty well until they do break. There's no good reason to replace them if they work.

If the front derailleur is the piston type with the plastic clamping cap, you can get a metal cap to replace teh plastic one - they're pretty common on Ebay. If the front moves ok, that would be the cheapest thing to do. On the other hand, decent all-metal front derailleurs are also on Ebay, usually by the dozens, and prices are pretty low usually.
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Old 12-16-10, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Hmm... The FD has a small crack where the screw goes in, and the RD isn't cracked or scratched up. It could probably be cleaned up to look quite nice. Maybe I'll hold on to them or work out a trade rather than just giving them away.

Thanks.
If the small crack doesn't grow after some riding and it moves smoothly, I think it's ok to stay with it.
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Old 12-16-10, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Historically and currently they actually work pretty well until they do break. There's no good reason to replace them if they work.

If the front derailleur is the piston type with the plastic clamping cap, you can get a metal cap to replace teh plastic one - they're pretty common on Ebay. If the front moves ok, that would be the cheapest thing to do. On the other hand, decent all-metal front derailleurs are also on Ebay, usually by the dozens, and prices are pretty low usually.
Well the part that goes around the front of the seat tube is metal. The part that's actually attached the the derailleur is black plastic. In any case, I'm converting the bike to indexed shifting for my girlfriend, and probably 6+ speeds, so I'm replacing the derailleurs either way. I was just wondering if I should just give these away to the guy because they're worthless anyway, or if I should at least look for a trade out of him. I guess I'll see if he's got anything to trade.
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Old 12-16-10, 04:42 PM
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Would basicly go with the saying "if it isn't broken, don't fix it." However, the old Suntour stuff such was much better.
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Old 12-16-10, 05:12 PM
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I think they're worth a trade.....I also have to say, I swapped the original prestige on my AO-8 for a Suntour V-Gt, and the shifting was not noticeably better with the freewheel I have.....then I swapped in the cheapo Simplex SX100 from VO....again shifting didn't seem remarkably different, and because I like the look of the older style derailleurs better I left the SX100 in place....I have swapped them back and forth several times and can't really say one is better than the other. Certainly the Suntour will shift well for a lot longer!

In my experience I get very accurate shifting with either in place. Of course, the SX100 is new, and I don't expect it to last forever like that.

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Old 12-16-10, 06:32 PM
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I have and old Simplex rear derailleur on my Jeunet, and it shifts just fine. I tried upgrading to a Huret Jubilee and it shifted noticeably worse. The Simplex may fail catastrophically one day, but until then, I'm keeping it.
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Old 12-16-10, 06:41 PM
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Great 'til and if it breaks. I know of a '75 Peugeot working just fine with the FD and RD, while the shifters did, indeed, break.
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Old 12-16-10, 06:50 PM
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I have a complete set, RD, FD, and shifters, scavenged from a dump find Belgium gas-pipe frame, that appear to be in perfect condition. All they need is a cleaning.

I can't wait to mount them on the '71 Raleigh Super Course frame I have. Should be fun.
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Old 12-16-10, 07:25 PM
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If he's got something you want, trade him. If he doesn't then just give them.
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Old 12-16-10, 07:34 PM
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Plastic gets brittle with age, especially if it has spent a lot of time in the sun. The only plastic Simplex derailers I bother with is the higher end stuff. The Prestige was a $5 disposable derailer.
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Old 12-16-10, 08:05 PM
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My 1972 Sears/Puch lost both the FD and RD in the same week. Plastic just shattered on RD and piston seized on the FD. Bike was 1 week old. Went to inexpensive Shamano and rode it until I got my Bottecchia. Kept me away from Huret and Simplex for good.

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Old 12-16-10, 08:33 PM
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I'm glad you qualified that, Grand Bois. The high end stuff was good, but the low end was bad. Really bad.
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Old 12-16-10, 09:06 PM
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The thing about cracks is, they never grow smaller, only larger, and they never stop growing, unless the conditions that caused the crack in the first place are removed.
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Old 12-16-10, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by sailorbenjamin View Post
If he's got something you want, trade him. If he doesn't then just give them.
I'm sure he's got plenty of stuff I could use. He's a local flipper with garages full of bikes and parts, where as I'm a total newbie with a small tool bag full of spare parts, most of which are crap. I don't think it would be unfair of me to ask something in trade.
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Old 12-16-10, 09:26 PM
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How are the Criteriums?
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Old 12-16-10, 09:33 PM
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I have no fondness for the Prestige push-rod front derailleur. The Black plastic Prestige rear derailleur actually worked very well when new -- better than almost anything else on the market at that time, at that price point or higher. The problem was that the plastic didn't age well. As dirt accumulated on the derailleur the pivots would be abraded and get sloppy. Exposure to the elements made the plastic brittle and prone to failure. And poor maintenance led to excessive friction in the cables and the plastic shifters failed to work. As a result the Prestige derailleurs, and unfortunately by extension Simplex derailleurs in general acquired a bad reputation. It's a shame because Simplex was an innovative company and their high-end components both worked well and were reliable.
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Old 12-16-10, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kroozer View Post
How are the Criteriums?
Very good. I've still got them on my TdF and love the action. Have no intentions of replacing them with anything else. If they finally do wear out, then I'll just find another set.

Come to think of it, that's my general attitude about any 70's Simplex - within their price ranges (an important consideration) they were decent mechanisms. Yes, the SunTour blew the Prestige out of the water. Then again, the first generation SunTour blew EVERYTHING in it's price range out of the water when it arrived in the market.
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Old 12-16-10, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I have no fondness for the Prestige push-rod front derailleur. The Black plastic Prestige rear derailleur actually worked very well when new -- better than almost anything else on the market at that time, at that price point or higher. The problem was that the plastic didn't age well. As dirt accumulated on the derailleur the pivots would be abraded and get sloppy. Exposure to the elements made the plastic brittle and prone to failure. And poor maintenance led to excessive friction in the cables and the plastic shifters failed to work. As a result the Prestige derailleurs, and unfortunately by extension Simplex derailleurs in general acquired a bad reputation. It's a shame because Simplex was an innovative company and their high-end components both worked well and were reliable.
Pretty much in agreement, although I'm not quite as hard on the push-rod fronts. I've had good luck with them. If anything hurts the plastic Simplex line, it's those cheap-ass Prestige shift levers. They pull less cable than anything else, are stiff acting, inaccurate and break more easily than the derailleurs themselves. Take your generic French bike boom special, keep the derailleurs, replace the levers with anything else (especially Simplex Criterium, retrofriction, or SunTour rachet), and be prepared for much better performance.
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Old 12-16-10, 10:30 PM
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So far, so good, on mine from 1972. But, it has very few miles on it.

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