Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

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WyvernRH
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Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby WyvernRH » Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:14 am

Been playing with this Versol derailleur I got NOS recently. It looks like a copy of the original Campag rear gear so it must date to late 40's- early 50's? I fitted it to my 1930's Malvern Star as the most appropriate bike in my collection to see how well it works. To use this gear you have to reach back, unlock the gear with the little lever, twiddle the lever at the top of the rod to change gear and then relock the little lever while keeping the rod in position. Well on the stand with two hands it all works pretty well actually. However I have not yet managed to make any sort of change while on the move! Even using the unlocking lever has me wobbling all over the road.
I have new admiration for people who raced using gears like this!

<edit> The locking lever is very near the top of the rod now not low as shown in the picture - meant to make the change easier... :wink: <edit>

Image
Image

Richard

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ldrcycles
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:45 pm

That's a fascinating bit of gear, I've been toying with the idea of making my own Cambio Corsa type shifter for a couple of years but the Versol would be much easier to replicate.

Then if i could find a way to fit another cog or two onto my Sturmey SC, my old Healing might just be usable :lol:
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.

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WyvernRH
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby WyvernRH » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:40 am

ldrcycles wrote:That's a fascinating bit of gear, I've been toying with the idea of making my own Cambio Corsa type shifter for a couple of years but the Versol would be much easier to replicate.

Then if I could find a way to fit another cog or two onto my Sturmey SC, my old Healing might just be usable :lol:


Yes, the gear is made up entirely of bent flat plates and rods. You could fabricate one fairly easily. Mind you, a NOS Versol can be found on e-bay for around $150 if you have patience (tho some folk are asking very silly prices). Interestingly, a lot of the non-chromed parts appear to be made out of some sort of stainless steel using the magnet test.

IIRC you should be able to put two dished Sturmey sprockets 'back to back' on an SC gear giving you two sprockets and 6 gears.

Richard

uart
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby uart » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:27 pm

WyvernRH wrote:Image

Wow that looks like fun Richard. Um, awkward fun, but fun just the same ;)

BTW. I see that you're also running the Zaffiros, presumably in either 27 x 1 1/8 or 27 x 1 1/4. Just wondering if you're happy with them. As I'm sure you know, decent 27" tyres are getting a bit hard to find.

I've been running the Zaffiros (27 x 1 1/8") on one of my old bikes a for a few months now. They're a fairly heavy tyre but they don't seem to roll along too badly. Thinking of ordering another pair in 27 x 1 1/4" while they're still available. Just wondering what your opinion of them is.

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find_bruce
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby find_bruce » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:47 pm

Thanks for posting Richard, always interesting to see the evolution of shifting.

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WyvernRH
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby WyvernRH » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:18 pm

uart wrote:Wow that looks like fun Richard. Um, awkward fun, but fun just the same ;)
BTW. I see that you're also running the Zaffiros, presumably in either 27 x 1 1/8 or 27 x 1 1/4. Just wondering if you're happy with them. As I'm sure you know, decent 27" tyres are getting a bit hard to find.
I've been running the Zaffiros (27 x 1 1/8") on one of my old bikes a for a few months now. They're a fairly heavy tyre but they don't seem to roll along too badly. Thinking of ordering another pair in 27 x 1 1/4" while they're still available. Just wondering what your opinion of them is.


Yes, as you say 27" is starting to get hard to find in Oz. Really the Zaffiro is about the only decent tyre in this size available in Newcastle. I tend to run the 27x1 1/8" on 50's to 70's bikes and 27x 1 1/4 on 30's to 50's bikes (yes I know there is an overlap but depends on the bike). I find them pretty good compared to what else is commonly available. They certainly roll well but can be real (your favorite swear word here) to get on and off some rims until they stretch. I have broken a couple of tyre levers on some combinations. Really nice 27" are still available on the internet (Panaracers etc) but generally I find these Vittorias do the job pretty well unlike some of the other Vittoria lower end offerings in 700c.

Richard

bicyclepassion
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby bicyclepassion » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:15 pm

Well at least with the Versol, you don't have to pedal backwards to change, along with all the other dexterity tests you are undergoing!

ironhanglider
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:09 pm

Some stuff was consigned to the dustbin of history for a reason. You know that right?

Cheers,

Cameron
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Clydesdale Scot
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby Clydesdale Scot » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:09 am

find_bruce wrote:Thanks for posting Richard, always interesting to see the evolution of shifting.

regression more likely.
There is very little about this on the internet, and it does not get a mention in 'The Dancing Chain". Nor does the name 'Versol' appear in any of the V-CCs 'News and Views' or 'The Boneshaker' publications.
But what is there suggests a manufacturing date in the early 1950s.
So after other manufacturers were moving towards a drop-out mounting pull-chain design with two pulley wheels, this was released.
They had a cable operated RD and it is suggested that this predated Richard's model

I wonder if it was to try to get a better capacity than the very modest capacity of the [then] newer style derailleurs?
Richard, are you able to conduct any tests?
and we need a video of it in operation.
let me help you prepare your ebay advert, ask me how

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WyvernRH
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:19 pm

Clydesdale Scot wrote:I wonder if it was to try to get a better capacity than the very modest capacity of the [then] newer style derailleurs?
Richard, are you able to conduct any tests? and we need a video of it in operation.


Well, It actually changes quite well if you can get a hand to it so I can do some tests with wider range gears on the stand.
Videos... Hmmm does Flickr host videos or do I need to go youTube on this?

Richard

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RobertFrith
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Re: Versol 3 Speed Derailleur

Postby RobertFrith » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:04 pm

Flickr hosts videos up to 3 minutes long.
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