It Was Acceptable in The 80′s – Part IX

Monday, 10 May 2010

As part of the series on the 1980s, here are five items related to bike componetry during this decade.


1. Suntour
Japanese componentry didn’t just mean Shimano. Suntour also produced a top end groupset, the Superbe Pro. It was similar to Shimano in design and features, with a functional look and crisp shifting.

2. Mavic

Famous for its wheels today, in the 1980s Mavic was making rims but had a sideline in components. It wasn’t so much a groupset, each component had a different name. For example by the end of the decade you had the 501 hubs and the 631 chainset. The chainset had a unique design.

3. Freewheels and cassettes
Shimano introduced the cassette at the end of the 1980s. Until then, the back wheel had a free wheel. The hub was threaded and you’d screw on the freewheel, essentially the cassette body and the sprockets combined. Shimano stopped this, leaving the pawls and cassette body as part of the hub.

4. Handlebar gear shifters
It only happened at the end of the decade, protoypes were out in 1989 with the Dutch TVM team, but Shimano launched the STI lever, a combined brake and gear lever. You take this for granted today but in the past gear shifters belonged on the downtube as separate levers. The change came from the mountain bike boom which began at the end of the decade too, the need to keep the hands on the handlebars seems to have brought this technology to the fore.

5. Pedals

Toe straps lost out to clipless pedals. Thanks to Look, the way a rider clipped their feet into the pedals changed. It was a major safety improvement and a slight efficiency gain, especially since cycling shoes improved in conjunction.

This is part of a recurring series of things that marked cycling in the 1980s. The other entries are:
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part I
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part II
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part III
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part IV
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part V
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part VI
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part VII
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part VIII
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part IX
It Was Acceptable in the 80′s – Part X

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