This FiR Gemini derailleur has a mythical aura. It is an object that derailleur collectors have often discussed over the years, but it is hard to grasp in any kind of real terms. You generally only see one example - and it is this very one. It appears on Velobase and any number of blogs and web sites. It has now ended up here.
I have only ever seen two related documents, and both were posted online with only limited information:
- A review of a Pesenti carbon bike that was equipped with the Fir Gemini groupset. This review is claimed to date from 1993.
- A ZAR International (of the USA) catalogue featuring a De Bernardi 'El Os' bike that was equipped with the 'new' Fir Gemini groupset. This catalogue mentions Tony Rominger's 1994 hour record.
And then there is the debate about who exactly manufactured this rather individual item:
- It is clearly labelled 'Made in Italy'. That's a strong clue. So it could be Campagnolo, but couldn't be Simplex or its descendants or Huret/Sachs-Huret/Sachs or its descendants. It also couldn't be DNP, who manufactured the FiR mountain bike derailleur.
- It is heavy, polished silver, smoothly curvaceous and with lushly chromed main bolts. These were all Campagnolo traits at the time.
- The b-knuckle on this famous example is cracked. And it is cracked in exactly the place that the b-pivot of Campagnolo derailleurs of the time also enthusiastically split.
But it also doesn't fit the Campagnolo pattern...
- None of the main parts of the parallelogram or pulley cage are shared with any Campagnolo models.
- The cage is 48mm centre to centre. Campagnolo liked 46mm.
- The parallelogram pivots pins have one hidden end. You never get this on Campagnolo derailleurs.
- The FiR-branded pulley wheels are completely unlike anything Campagnolo ever produced.
- The cable adjuster, the cable clamp bolt and the cast plate that holds the b-pivot sdjuster screw are all very different from anything that Campagnolo ever used.
So although the most widely accepted view is that Campagnolo manufactured the Gemini - I find it hard to agree. I think that it came from some different Italian factory that has yet to be identified.
I have one further thought on this, crushingly unimportant, subject:
- Rino also manufactured (or contracted the manufacture of) aluminium slant-parallelogram derailleurs somewhere in Italy.
- Rino also used a 48mm pulley cage length.
- Rino also gave up on its own Italian made derailleurs and, instead, adopted rebranded DNP models.
Rino never produced a derailleur with the quality of finish of this FiR Gemini, but these are eery coincidences.
But getting back to the FiR Gemini derailleur itself, I like it for its unique adjustment screw placing, for its speedy looking pulley cage and for being genuinely different in interesting but totally irrelevant ways.
- Derailleur brands: FiR
- Country: Italy
- Date of introduction: 1993?
- Date of this example: unknown
- Model no.: unknown
- Weight: 222g
- Maximum cog: 26 teeth (guess)
- Total capacity: unknown
- Pulley centre to centre: 48mm
- Index compatibility: Campagnolo 8 speed
- Chain width: 3/32”
- Logic: top normal
- B pivot: sprung
- P pivot: sprung
- Materials: aluminium with titanium pulley bolts