DISRAELI GEARS

Austria

Suwe Cortina derailleur main image Suwe Cortina derailleur main image Suwe Cortina derailleur main image

Frank Berto mentions a surprising number of Austrian derailleur manufacturers: Err-Zett, Alpion and Suwe in the 1930’s and Busto, Capo and Suwe in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The only Austrian derailleurs that I have ever actually seen are Suwes and Capos.

There is also a considerable tradition of bicycle manufacturing in Austria, mainly for the domestic market, but with some spill-over into Southern Germany, Switzerland and recently probably into Eastern Europe.

In the 1970’s, however, Steyr-Daimler-Puch sold large quantities of Puch and Austro-Daimler branded bikes in Britain (and possibly the USA). They were notably quick to adopt Shimano components. I particularly remember a mid-1970’s Puch Free Spirit as being the first production bike I ever saw with a 34 tooth freewheel and a Titleist GS rear derailleur, and a strange Puch women’s commuting bike with a Lark-W complete with twist grip and double cables.

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