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Vintage Components - Simplex shift levers

On this page: Prestige downtube shift levers | SJ 1st Type clamp-on friction levers | SJ 1st Type braze-on friction levers | SJ 2nd Type clamp-on friction levers | Super LJ retrofriction levers

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Simplex Prestige clamp-on downtube shift levers, 6th version (?). Used, $50.00

Part# SL-160

  • This lever was produced from 1973 until 1979
  • This differs from the earlier, 5th version by having adjusting barrels rather than fixed housing stops.
  • These levers may have been affixed to a higher level band because it has a sunburst "S" rather than the winged "S". Or it might simply be a very early production of this lever with a band from the earlier version. The 5th version did have a sunburst clamp. The band looks to be in better condition than the other steel parts.
  • Levers are made of Delrin

Simplex Prestige shifters

Note these levers have a Sunburst Simplex logo.

Simplex Prestige shift levers

And the back side


Simplex SJ First Type clamp-on friction downtube shift levers. Used, $50.00

Part# SL-280

  • Produced 1979-1983

Sinmplex SJ shifter

In nice condition

Simplex SJ shifter

And from the back. Just as nice.


Simplex SJ First Type braze-on friction downtube shift levers. Used, $50.00

  • Produced 1979-1983

Simplez SJ shifters


Simplex SJ 2nd Type clamp-on friction downtube shift levers. Used, $50.00

Part# SL-281

  • Simplex part# SJ 6311
  • Produced 1984-1990
  • While looking much like Simplex's later retrofriction levers, these are simple friction levers. They were paired with the SX and SJA Simplex derailleurs.

Simplex downtube shifters

Picture from an old Simplex catalogue

Simplex downtube shifters

And here's our set.

Simplex shifters

And from the back


Simplex Super LJ retrofriction levers.

We have several sets: Gold clamp-on | Gold braze-on

These levers are probably the finest friction (as opposed to index) shift levers ever made.

Simplex retrofriction levers have a clutch spring that give no resistance as the lever is pulled against the derailleur's spring. The rider's only effort while pulling on the lever is against the derailleur return spring. When pushing the lever back down, the clutch-spring offers mild resistance. Shifting is accurate and almost effortless.

Simplex retrofrction levers

Simplex's diagram of the levers' insides.

The Simplex design was so highly regarded that the levers were also made part of the Mavic SSC, Galli and Gipiemme groups. They also work well with Huret Jubilee derailleur systems.

The site classiclightweights.co.uk posted this explanation and picture of the shifter clutch spring: "The Simplex Retrofriction uses a closely wound spring around a barrel as a directional clutch. Rotated in one direction the spring opens up for less friction, rotated the other way friction tightens the spring which keeps the adjustment."

Simplex shifters

The simple spring clutch mechanism


Simplex Super LJ Gold retrofriction downtube clamp-on levers. Lightly used, $150.00

Simplex gold shifters

Lightly used

Simplex retrofriction levers

From the back


Simplex Super LJ Gold retrofriction braze-on shift levers. Used, $120.00

Simplex Super LJ shifters

The fixing bolts are corroded

Simplez retrofriction levers.

From the back