Sprockets dating game
The Maxy's outer chainring was swaged to the right crank, and so was not interchangeable -- though it was possible to saw off a worn chainwheel and bolt a replacement one to the remaining spider.The Maxy was much lighter and easier to work on than cottered cranks, and gave a competitive advantage to mid-priced Japanese derailer-equipped bicycles.Some of these companies offered 2 or 3 different models at different price ranges.At the same time, the mid 1980s, the dollar reached a peak against the Japanese Yen (260 ¥ to the $!Although the Lark was quite heavy, it shifted markedly better than the French Huret Allvits and Simplex Prestiges that were coming through on the bikes from Europe.Aluminum-alloy cotterless cranks had been a high-end item, not found on the run-of-the-mill European ten-speeds that sold for around 0 in the early 1970s bike boom years.
Centurion, Fuji, Miyata, Panasonic, Shogun, Specialized, Univega and others offered these bikes.The VGT was a reasonably light derailer, with a large chain take-up capacity, and a very light action, compared to the early '60s designs from Simplex and Huret.The shifting ease and performance were dramatically superior. The flex of the derailer could be felt through the lever.This bike was only available in one size, 20", which was considerably too small for an average American man.It was equipped with Araya steel rims, which were beautifully made, much smoother and truer than European steel rims of the era..not strong enough to withstand the weight of an average American rider.
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Throughout the '70s and early '80s, "Touring" was the hottest buzzword in the industry, and it was hard to find any bicycle part that didn't feature "tour" or "touring" in its name or advertising.