Old Bloke On An Old Bike

The story of the restoration of a 1950s classic bicycle for a Land's End – John O'Groats charity ride in aid of Alzheimer's Society

25 Oct 2014: more on gears…

Back from a long trip to Australia, and keen to make progress.  While away I managed to find gear components made by the French Simplex company. Simplex gears were popular with club cyclists in the early 1950s and seem appropriate for this bike.

The front derailleur is operated directly by a lever rather than by cable, as in modern gear systems. To shift between front chainrings, it is necessary to reach down and shift a lever. These changers have been called “suicide” gears and also “clangers” because of the noise they made in the hands of inexperienced cyclists. I’m a little nervous about using it…

Simplex rod front derailleur

The rear derailleur is a Simplex 303 Tourist gear, so-called because it can handle the low gear ratios that are needed for heavily-laden touring in hilly country. This is another gamble and I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it work. The derailleur I have found is designed for a 4-speed freewheel and a wide 1/8″ chain, rather than the narrower 3/32″ chain that I’d like to use (narrow chains work better because they’re more flexible and will shift between gear sprockets more easily). I’m now starting to reconsider my original plans and see whether it’s possible to use this derailleur with a 5-speed 3/32″ freewheel which is approximately the same width as a 4-speed 1/8″ freewheel. Hmmm…

Simplex 303 4spd derailleur

At least I’ve managed to install a very elegant Simplex gear lever…

gearlever

Information

This entry was posted on October 26, 2014 by in The bike and tagged , , .