I’m Hans, a German expat fooling away his days in the South of Spain.
Messing about with vintage bikes is my favorite leisure pursuit. Their hand-crafted steel frames and silvery components have just the kind of retro chic that I like. Riding them feels like revisiting a past era, my early days, when cycling was a common way to run errands or get to school.
The Japanese bike industry has good reason to take credit for some groundbreaking innovations that have changed the bike world forever.
In the 1960s, Suntour invented the slant parallelogram rear derailleur. While this may seem like a minor advancement, it greatly affected the further development of derailleur gear. It allowed the jockey pulley to position the chain close to the sprocket cluster, regardless of which gear was selected. As a result, shifting action smoothened significantly.
Based on these improvements, Shimano was able to come up with a design for indexed shifting that would stand the test of time. In 1984, when Suntour’s patent on the slant parallelogram derailleur expired, Shimano introduced its Dura-Ace 7400 group. It was the first group featuring its new S.I.S design (Shimano Indexed Shifting) which nearly all of today’s derailleur gear is derived from.