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Vintage Components - Simplex Alpha rear derailleurs

On this page: Simplex Alpha T Version 2

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Simplex founder Lucien Juy owned a bike shop in Dijon, France, when he began making his first derailleurs in 1928. His innovative designs were a hit and by 1933, Juy said he was making 40,000 derailleurs a year.

It wasn't until 1961 that Simplex adopted the deforming parallelogram that Campagnolo had popularized with its ground-breaking Grand Sport derailleur a decade before. But Juy's Simplex derailleurs had a sprung top pivot, the way all derailleurs are made today. At the time, that Simplex Export 61 was probably the best-shifting changer made.

A year later Juy decided to make Simplex derailleurs out of an acetal resin (OK, plastic) made by Dupont called "Delrin". It was a terrible mistake. Juy took what was the best derailleur in the world and turned it into a flimsy, delicate changer.

In the early 1970s Juy again began producing superb changers when he came out with the alloy Super LJ series. They were nicely finished, well-designed, good shifting derailleurs.

No amount of innovation or quality improvement could stem the Asian onslaught, exacerbated by association with those delrin derailleurs that came on so many bike-boom bikes. Simplex ceased production in the 1990s.

Simplex Alpha T, Version 2. New, $40.00

Part# 75305

The Alpha was made in the early 1990s, making it one of the last derailleurs Simplex produced.

This derailleur is made of Delrin & steel. The top and bottom pivot parts are Delrin and the rest appears to be steel.

Simplex kept fussing with the Alpha derailleur design. There appear to be four versions of which this is the second.

Simplex Alpha T rear derailleur

This is one you do not see every day.

Simplex Alpha T rear derailleur

And from the back