Did old groupsets include dropouts?

Jacque Lucque

Retro Guru
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I recall reading some years ago that, back in the good old days, it was not uncommon for a complete groupset from the big manufacturers to include dropouts, the idea being your local bike shop would take your shiny box of Dura-Ace/Super Record and frameset would be built to suit your needs using these parts.

While it is, of course, not uncommon to see lovely NOS boxes of the above that include seatposts, binder bolts and headsets, I am yet to see an example that includes dropouts.

Was it in fact the case that dropouts were merely offered by manufacturers, and these were readily available to frame builders and shops?

I'm trying to get a better understanding of how people ordered bikes during this era. As we know, it was not uncommon for good shops to work with local frame builders (or to have their own) who would build bikes for customers. That Shimano et al produced dropouts suggest it supported this part of the industry, but just how prevalent was it?

Bonus question – what was the last groupset generation from Shimano and Campagnolo that included dropouts, and when did they stop manufacturing them?
 

Rod_Saetan

Old School Grand Master
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AFAIK, the dropouts Shimano and Campagnolo produced were not ‘groupset items’ - as in there wasn’t a Dura Ace dropout. I’ve not seen any dropouts bundled with mechs etc, though I do know plenty of shifters from Campagnolo, Shimano and Suntour came with the braze-on mounts for the downtube.
 

Jacque Lucque

Retro Guru
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AFAIK, the dropouts Shimano and Campagnolo produced were not ‘groupset items’ - as in there wasn’t a Dura Ace dropout. I’ve not seen any dropouts bundled with mechs etc, though I do know plenty of shifters from Campagnolo, Shimano and Suntour came with the braze-on mounts for the downtube.
That's really helpful, and kind of what I expected – thanks very much! The braze-ons for shifters is a good point and something I hadn't considered.
 

jim haseltine

Old School Hero
Depends. With Campagnolo sometimes group set would arrive from the agents with braze-on fittings (dropouts, bosses & over BB cable guides) but mostly they didn't. Non-band gear leavers and front mechs always arrived with the braze-ons. Mafac cantilever brakes were supplied with the braze-on bosses too. We ended up with a box of assorted braze-ons in our workshop and I think that despite it being near 40 years and several career changes later somewhere around in a box of junk I've still got some.
 

Jacque Lucque

Retro Guru
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Depends. With Campagnolo sometimes group set would arrive from the agents with braze-on fittings (dropouts, bosses & over BB cable guides) but mostly they didn't. Non-band gear leavers and front mechs always arrived with the braze-ons. Mafac cantilever brakes were supplied with the braze-on bosses too. We ended up with a box of assorted braze-ons in our workshop and I think that despite it being near 40 years and several career changes later somewhere around in a box of junk I've still got some.
That's really interesting, thanks. I know of more than a few frame builders who would love to take that stuff off of your hands – let me know if you ever dig out!
 

nickyburnell

Devout Dirtbag
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I think Simplex did them but as above just part of the catalogue. As a sub question to this post when did the groupset start? When it was all interchangable didn't people pick and mix?
 

Midlife

Retro Wizard
The group set thing was after I left for uni in 1978, most people bought what they could afford, hand me downs or what they liked. People did do "full Campag" and all that but either wads of cash or a pro rider lol

Some manufacturers pushed using all the same group, Viking Severn Valley had the new Nuovo Gran Sport kit for example.
 

torqueless

Senior Retro Guru
when did the groupset start?

The group set thing was after I left for uni in 1978, most people bought what they could afford, hand me downs or what they liked. People did do "full Campag" and all that but either wads of cash or a pro rider lol
Yeah I reckon Nuovo Record was the first 'groupset', although I don't remember anyone using that word (which is a tautology) in the 70s. I'd say the introduction of the Record brakeset (1969?) was the defining moment. Before that, top end road bikes of an Italian flavour were 'Campag/Universal' and those of a French flavour were 'Campag/Mafac/Stronglight'. That was what you'd see in small-ads for secondhand road bikes in the 70s.

So Campag Nuovo Record,, which set the standards for all this stuff in the 70s, also pretty much defined what a 'groupset' was to contain- Gears/Brakes/Chainset/Hubs/Headset/BB/Pedals/Seatpost. Shimano and Suntour also produced blocks and chains, so they got included into the 'groupset' concept in the 80s.
 
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