A Japanese Book on Simplex


Hideki Sasaki has released the second book in the “Derailleurs of the World” series. The new book covers Simplex, perhaps the most influential derailleur maker of all. From the earliest 1920s designs to the last slant parallelogram derailleurs of the 1990s, they are all documented in their many variations.

Simplex is a fascinating story. I loved seeing the early front derailleurs that were found on those wonderful 1930s Reyhands. The ubiquitous “Tour de France” model that equipped so many post-war racing bikes. The crazy Juy 543 that fetches such incredible prices on eBay. The first twin-pivot parallelogram derailleurs, which then led to the wonderfully light and jewel-like SLJs of the 1970s and 1980s. Mixed in with these gems are the abysmal plastic derailleurs that ruined Simplex’ reputation once and for all. Yet even those somehow look appealing when photographed in brand-new condition in the studio.


If you ever wondered how to distinguish an SLJ from the 1970s from a later 1980s one, or what the difference between the SX and the SLJ was, you’ll find the answers here. The text is in Japanese, but the photos – now in full color – are wonderful, and you don’t need to read Kanji to figure out model number, capacity, weight and manufacturing dates.

These books are hard to find outside Japan. We placed a one-time order of 15 copies. I am keeping one, and the others are available while supplies last. The Campagnolo book in the same series sold out within two hours, so if you want a copy, don’t delay.

The book has 117 pages, softcover, and costs $ 68. Since this is a special order, we won’t put up a page for it in the Bicycle Quarterly bookstore. Instead, go straight to our shopping basket to order.

Update 7/12/2014: All the Simplex books are sold. Thank you for your interest.

Second and last order 7/14/2014: Due to the number of disappointed customers who missed out on the first batch, we’ll place another order. We’ll also receive another shipment of the first volume on Campagnolo. To receive a copy, you must pre-order here by 7/16/2014.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

I love cycling and bicycles, especially those that take us off the beaten path. I edit Bicycle Quarterly magazine, and occasionally write for other publications. Bicycle Quarterly's sister company, Compass Bicycles Ltd., turns the results of our research into high-quality bicycle components for real-world riders.
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2 Responses to A Japanese Book on Simplex

  1. TimJ says:

    Too funny, a few minutes ago I was reading about Juy and Simplex in “The Dancing Chain”! The last bike I owned with a Simplex was a Ross 10 speed with the black Delrin Simplex. Thankfully it it got stolen before the derailleur wore out, but not before I took my only race victory, a Fourth of July hill climb, part of our local Bicentennial celebrations. Ah, Simplex.

  2. Paul Ahart says:

    In 1974 I purchased a Peugeot PX10 with 27×1-1/4 clincher tires, which came with very nice high-end Simplex derailleurs. These always functioned flawlessly and gave me many miles of enjoyable riding. Later, owning my own bicycle business, I had to endure working on cheap “bike boom bikes” with the plastic versions, and like you said, it ruined the Simplex name forever. We called them “exploding deraileurs,” because that’s what they did!

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