Classic Lightweights UK
Gian Robert gearsAuthor 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
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.
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.
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.
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:
Gian Robert - "Gran Sport" With single left-hand down tube lever 38/-
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/-
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