12 October 2014

The D.I.R.T. On This Derailleur

I've found a derailleur that not even Michael Sweatman, the author of Disraeligears, has.  At least it's not in the "A Riot of Colour" section of his website.

If I'd found the derailleur in the photo about fifteen years ago--when they were, most likely, last made--I might've installed it on my Voodoo Wazoo.  After all, that bike was orange and had a few green parts!

The Sachs D.I.R.T. derailleur series was, as its name indicates, intended for mountain bikes.  During the early 1980's, Sachs--a German company known mainly for its coaster brake- and internally geared-hubs--bought French derailleur maker Huret, along with Maillard, a Gallic concern that manufactured hubs (including the well-conceived but poorly-executed Helicomatic), freewheels, pedals and other components, sometimes under the "Normandy" and "Atom" brands.  Later in the decade, Sachs was absorbed into SRAM but continued to make its derailleurs in France under their own name.  

The D.I.R.T. series, along with the company's Quartz and Success road changers, were among the last derailleurs produced on French soil.  (According to Frank Berto in The Dancing Chain, the Mavic Mektronic was probably the last.)  They, and other Sachs derailleurs, were actually well-designed and -made.  But Sachs never developed an integrated drive train group and thus never competed with the Shimano juggernaut.

Now that I think of it, the derailleur in the photos wouldn't look bad on the bike I wrote about yesterday!

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