Some advice and a lot of first-hand anecdotes and observations from someone who accidentally had a career in the bike business.
Friday, July 12, 2013
These newfangled gear shifting systems are nothing but trouble. People are so darn lazy they want to switch chainrings just by pulling a lever. Wingnuts on the rear axle aren't good enough for these prima donnas. No stopping by the roadside and lifting the chain by hand. I see nothing but trouble with this complicated mechanism.
Unfortunately, this wonderful large-radius downtube shifter is no longer attached to a matching Simplex rear derailleur. The cable goes to a 1990s-vintage cheesy sheet metal and plastic derailleur. And the freewheel, which looks like it could be original, is threaded onto a replacement wheel that's probably the same age as the rear derailleur. This frame probably had 120 mm rear spacing. Now there's a 130 axle shoehorned into the dropouts.
When it finally reaches the repair stand I can get a few shots of the handlebars and brake levers. They look like vintage. The stem looks like a later addition: too streamlined.
The owner said the bike belonged to his father, who may have bought it used. It's not exquisitely hand crafted, but it's an interesting example of a production road bike from before the 1970s influx of European, and then Japanese, lugged ten speeds that most of us think of as the oldies.