Undoubtedly the Campagnolo Super Record groupset is the undisputed king of the most desirable vintage components of today. You only have to look at EBay listings to see how highly prized these components are, even though it is well known that in terms of actual performance, they weren’t necessarily the best parts on the market in their day. The Simplex Super LJ, for example, is rightly considered a superior derailleur set than the Super Record, even though it was cheaper to buy back then; the Huret Jubilee was the lightest rear derailleur of the era, and in my opinion, the most aesthetically pleasing; while some of the best vintage cranksets were French made, by makers TA and Stronglight. But Super and Nuovo Record components were the choice of many professional riders back in the era of steel frames, and they still reign as the ultimate status symbol of classic racing components. Indeed, it seems there’s an almost religious devotion to the Record brand across the world.
I’ve seen many beautiful vintage bikes restored with great care and attention to detail, but finished off with a choice of pedals as if they were an afterthought. Perhaps it’s because pedals are the most used and abused part of the bike, hidden under the shoes of the rider and nowhere near as striking to look at as a shiny drilled crank or gleaming set of wheels. Many older bikes I’ve encountered have also been fitted with the Japanese imitations that came later to the market, some years after the introduction of Campagnolo’s top shelf Superleggeri: the very similarly styled MKS and Kyokuto pedals are examples of Japanese brands which look nearly identical to the iconic Italian version.
Recently I came across a pair of Spidel 700 pedals, with similar black cages to the Superleggeri and closely resembling them in style. I actually think they are even more beautiful than their Italian competition, even if they did emulate the Superleggeri down to the colours of the cages. Their clean design, black and silver logo on the caps, makes them a very appealing addition to a vintage build; what’s more they weigh only 338 grams, compared to the Superleggera’s 325. They are, however, pretty rare these days, and most will be French threaded and not compatible with your standard Campagnolo, Superbe or Dura Ace cranks of the era.
Maillard and Spidel at this point were making components that rivalled the best of Campagnolo. But one should also give a mention to the celebrated Marcel Berthet pedal made by Lyotard, which must also be one of the most desirable classic pedals. Designed for broader feet, weighing around 370 grams, these are a superb alternative to the Campagnolo quill pedals of the same period, and will bpnealry cost as much to buy these days.