July 11, 2011 4 Comments
Inspired by the original 7-Eleven team, the first professional American cycling team to compete in the Tour de France (in 1986), we’re going to look back at road components in the Performance Bicycle catalog of the late 1980s (1987, to be precise). Organized by Jim Ochowicz, and with a fun-loving group of riders including Alex Stieda, Eric Heiden, Bob Roll, Ron Kiefel, Chris Carmichael and Davis Phinney, the 7-Eleven team laid the groundwork for the growth and success of American professional cycling. But, as you can see in the following video, they had a bit of a roller coaster ride in their very first Tour:
So with the 7-Eleven team in mind, we thought we’d delve into our archives to share a few pages from our Summer 1987 catalog, to see what kind of components you could get after you were inspired to ride by watching America’s first pro team in France:
But before you got your components, you first had to get a kit that looked the part. We had you covered with our own pro-inspired gear featuring the top teams of the day (like 1986 Tour winner Greg Lemond‘s La Vie Claire team):
But we’re here to talk parts, so let’s get started with cranksets. In 1987 you had many manufacturers to choose from, including Suntour, Sugino, Campagnolo and Shimano, all with elegant cold-forged style crankarms. Of note was the Sugino crankset, which featured a carbon-fiber reinforced outer chainring:
As we move on to brake levers and brakes, you’ll find no integrated shift/brake lever setups, as road bikes were still using downtube-mounted levers to handle the shifting duties. But you could choose from brakesets made by Shimano, Campagnolo and Modolo, an Italian brand whose brakesets had a definite sense of panache (or maybe we’re just suckers for black):
When it came time to complete your component setup with a rear derailleur, your options were manifold, as evidenced by our offerings from Suntour, Sugino, Mavic, Campagnolo, Shimano and Huret. Of note here was the increasing prevalence of indexed shifting systems (where one click of the shifter meant one gear shift), instead of the old-style friction shifting (where you had to listen for the chain as it shifted gears). Also interesting is the (at the time) “worlds lightest derailleur”, the Huret Jubilee, item K below. At 146 grams, it would still be lighter than SRAM Red or Campy Carbon Record!
After all this focus on components, though, we couldn’t resist sharing a few pages of the road bikes we had on offer in 1987. Hailing from our own Performance brand of bikes, we had the Corsa frameset, featuring lugged aluminum tubing. Available with an array of custom build kits, the Corsa was a true race-ready steed:
But if your taste was for a bike with European flair, we had you covered there as well, with beautiful bikes from Eddy Merckx, De Rosa and Pinarello. In case you’re wondering, the lovely paint job on the Pinarello is called “Spumoni” after the tasty Italian dessert:
We hope you enjoyed our quick trip back in time to check out road components from our catalog during the time of the 7-Eleven team. It’s always fun for us to look back at where we came from as we work to bring you the best cycling value and selection in the present day!