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Classic Lightweights UK
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Gian Robert gears 

Author Terry Harradine

Gian Robert, was a small company based in Casalserugo near Padova Italy, as far as I know they started production of gears and chainsets in about 1960, and finished around 1980.    A company called Tiso, also came from this region of Italy
 
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Gian Robert Campione

The first gear is the Plastic "Campione" (above), from 1964, it was a very light mechanism, produced probably to compete with the Simplex "Prestige"   I used this for one or two seasons, and found it lacking in strength, it was fine on close ratio "5" speed blocks,  say 14-18,  but when used with  wider ratios 14-22, the gear would bend rather than change from sprocket to sprocket.   In the following eight to ten years the "Campione"  was produced in steel, which probably elimnated the bending problem.
 
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Gan Robert Competition

The second gear, is the "Competion" (above) produced in 1978 along with a very similar gear called "System".  The "Competion"  was a much more sold gear, and a nice touch was that the adjuster screws were part of the main body, rather than exposed like most other gears. However, I still found problems with wraparound when using larger sprockets, so eventually the gear was  retired to the "old bits box"   The last gear produced was a very smart piece of equipment called "Exploit" sadly I have no picture of this model, but it was very similar to the Campagnolo and Shimano gears of the early 1980's.
 
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The gear lever (above), is of similar style to the Campagnolo of the 50's  60's and 70's  the down tube clip differs, but I think it is quite a nice clip.

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Paul Gittins notes:

I have read Terry's article on Gian Robert mechs and am interested to see that he has one of the plastic versions still in one piece.  A clubmate of mine got one when they first appeared and I recollect that he had the same experience as Terry - a reluctance to change under pressure!  Interestingly I also recollect that his had a white body rather than the black of Terry's.  

I'm attaching a scan of a Ron Kitching advert (left) for the Gian Robert plastic mech.


Mick Butler adds:

Gian Robert was more famously known for the tools they manufactured, especially their chain pliers. Every pro-team mechanic used these in the early 70's through to the early 1980's.

And all the lightweight shops I knew used these pliers. I think the Park chain pliers are based on the original Gian Robert or are very similar.


In Everything Cycling 1963/4, Robert gears were listed:

Front changer
Gian Robert - "Gran Sport"  With single left-hand down tube lever          38/-

Rear Changers
Gian Robert - "Gran Sport"   Parallogram (sic) with covered cable             39/6
Gian Robert - "Gran Sport"   With bare wire assembly                              41/6
Gian Robert - "Gran Sport"   Covered cable to fit Campag fork-end boss  43/-
Gian Robert - "Gran Sport"   With bare wire assembly to fit Campag boss  45/-