I’d consider myself a purist when it comes to restoring vintage bikes. I don’t really like seeing good quality bikes, close to their original build, being stripped into fixies or reassembled into some custom street bikes. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, but it’s just something I wouldn’t ever do myself. I love those old racing bikes maintained with a sense of their originality and history, close to their catalogue specifications. So when restoring them, I never really want to replace parts unnecessarily; if a part can be restored, even when it seems junk, I’d prefer to try my best to salvage it. I thought I’d share this simple restoration idea of restoring the black trim on older derailleurs, mostly Simplex ones ( with their Delrin plastic ), to make them look more like they were when new.
Above is the 1978 Simplex Competition derailleur which I thought was a good candidate for trying out this idea. The derailleur was rusty and well weathered, and some would have just thrown it in a box or even in the bin. The delrin plastic had become grey over the years, looking quite sad and withered, showing surface scratches and just making the whole thing look really old. So I thought I’d try bringing back the black, using Carplan Black Trim Wax, which costs about £5 from Halfords. It’s meant for restoring the black trim detailing on cars, and as the delrin suffers from the same greying problem as car trim, I thought I’d give it a go. The only other thing I needed was a small paintbrush.
It’s the Details that Count
Just a think layer of black trim really improved the look of the complete derailleur. This is more like what the delrin would have looked when new. There’s not much I could do with the rust blemishes on the metal and the marks of decades of chain rubbing on its inner cage, but at least the touch up trim has spruced up the ageing plastic that was a feature of many of Simplex’s models in this era. So if your old Simplex derailleurs are looking a bit grey and weathered, why not give it a go and see the difference it can make?