Oppy's Nullabor Bike

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HappyHumber
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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby HappyHumber » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:51 pm

uart wrote:Was it really stop and do it manually?


I'm sure with the right technique it was doable by foot whilst in motion. Much like shifting without indexing or 'clipping in' to traditional toe clipped pedals are a dying art for a lot of people these days.

You have to remember this bike was a pretty specific, customised build for a very experienced rider performing a pretty unique riding feat. This isn't what you'd call a regular consumer type set up for its day.
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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby RobertFrith » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:56 pm

No, just push it over with your fingers. I guess you could try with your foot, but my guess is fingers
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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby uart » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:12 pm

HappyHumber wrote: Much like shifting without indexing or 'clipping in' to traditional toe clipped pedals are a dying art for a lot of people these days.


I do both of those things (shift without indexing and riding with traditional toe clips) on a weekly basis, but I still find the idea of manually shifting the chain while in motion a whole other level of difficulty. :)

RobertFrith wrote:No, just push it over with your fingers. I guess you could try with your foot, but my guess is fingers

While in motion or while stopped?
Last edited by uart on Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby RobertFrith » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:27 pm

In motion would be fine I reckon. I'm sure I'm not alone in manually restoring the chain to one or other of the front rings following an over shift.
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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby HappyHumber » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:32 pm

there's a maximum of 3 teeth difference between these rings. It's nowhere near as mammoth a shift of 16 teeth on 50-34 typical modern compact.
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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby zebee » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:42 pm

There are bods on the Brompton mailing list with manual change front rings as Brommies only come with a single ring.

They tend to use a stick picked up at the last stop and shoved in a pocket.

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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:28 pm

uart wrote:Cool old bike, but at the risk of sounding really stoopid I've gotta ask one question. How the heck did you change chainrings without a front derailleur. Was it really stop and do it manually?


Ah, I can answer this one... No front derailleur was common on two front ring setups for pre-WWII French Cyclotouriste riders or 'constructour' builders. Saves weight you know... also front derailleurs of the period were not that effective and were mostly manually activated by levers directly attached to the front derailleur.
As I understand it you used your fingers or your heel for the down change and fingers for the up-change. It was said you could tell a 'real' mountain tourist by the lack of of finger above the top joint on his(her) first two fingers :P Lesser souls used a stick or a special metal 'gear stick' to lift the chain up onto the big ring. This was of course with a much bigger ring differences than we see with this 'Oppy' bike.

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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby uart » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:48 pm

WyvernRH wrote:Ah, I can answer this one... No front derailleur was common on two front ring setups for pre-WWII French Cyclotouriste riders or 'constructour' builders. Saves weight you know... also front derailleurs of the period were not that effective and were mostly manually activated by levers directly attached to the front derailleur.
As I understand it you used your fingers or your heel for the down change and fingers for the up-change.


Thanks Richard, those are some interesting insights.

I've seen photos of the very early front ones where there is basically just a lever (no cable) that directly pivots the derailleur manually. From memory the ones I've seen are basically just a lever that ends down near the seat tube, roughly where the bottom of a seat tube mounted bidon would go these days.

It's funny that when I'm out riding one of my old bikes other cyclists often comment on how difficult it must be for me to change gears with my old school down tube levers. I wonder what they would think if they saw those earlier (and much more difficult) incarnations. :)

BTW. The thing that surprised me so much on that Oppy bike is the very small tooth difference between the two rings. Don't get me wrong, I've ridden setups like that and I understand their usage. Back in the day of 5 (or less) gears on the rear cluster it was common to get the "range" from the rear cluster and just use the front for "half step" style fine tuning. It just seems weird to have a half step (which you're basically using on every shift) in an arrangement that's so difficult to shift. In a "dual range" type setup, where you only occasionally have to shift between high and low ranges, then I could better understand.
Last edited by uart on Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby RobertFrith » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:29 pm

uart wrote:I've seen photos of the very early front ones where there is basically just a lever (no cable) that directly pivots the derailleur manually

Rod changers or "clangers" like this;
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There were certainly a number of front derailleurs available in 1939, and having ridden and competed in France Oppy would have been aware of them - the Cyclo Oppy RD is named for him after all. It must surely have been a choice to do without one on this bike.
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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby uart » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:48 pm

RobertFrith wrote:Rod changers or "clangers" like this;

Yeah that's exactly the type I was thinking of Robert. :)

Now I would have thought those old things would have been awkward enough, but lifting the chain manually with your fingers while riding, that's a whole different level of awkward. ;)

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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby WyvernRH » Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:53 pm

uart wrote:
RobertFrith wrote:Rod changers or "clangers" like this;

Yeah that's exactly the type I was thinking of Robert. :)

Now I would have thought those old things would have been awkward enough, but lifting the chain manually with your fingers while riding, that's a whole different level of awkward. ;)


First version of Campag front derailleur (this was post WWII but simular to the 'Le Chat' pre-war front derailleur). On the workstand it works fine on a close racing chainring setup like this. On the road I am just not flexible enough to reach down to the lever safely and wander all over the road whilst reaching down to the lever. No idea how they did this when racing the TDF!

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Re: Oppy's Nullabor Bike

Postby hartleymartin » Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:53 am

uart wrote:BTW. The thing that surprised me so much on that Oppy bike is the very small tooth difference between the two rings. Don't get me wrong, I've ridden setups like that and I understand their usage. Back in the day of 5 (or less) gears on the rear cluster it was common to get the "range" from the rear cluster and just use the front for "half step" style fine tuning. It just seems weird to have a half step (which you're basically using on every shift) in an arrangement that's so difficult to shift. In a "dual range" type setup, where you only occasionally have to shift between high and low ranges, then I could better understand.



I've been riding with 48/44/28 chainrings on a 14/17/20/24/28/32 6-speed freewheel for several years now. In practice, you don't shift the chainrings that often. You use the rear derailleur to get close up to about the gear you want and then shift up to the large rings if you want a slightly higher gear. Then, if you encounter a slight change in the gradient, you might shift back to the 2nd ring. You get more perspective on how gears were once used when you come to this after riding some years on a 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub.
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