DISRAELI GEARS

ICS

ICS stands for Italcicli Cycle Systems, and was a company based in Zurich Switzerland. Its patents seem to be held by Artemio Granzotto - so I would guess that he was the company owner. There are various opinions expressed on the internet - but it appears that the company may have been active from about 1975 to about 2001. ICS's main business may have been building beautiful custom bikes for Zurich's many wealthy gnomes, but its ambitions were greater than that...

ICS briefly shot to international fame in the early 1980s. At this time the all-conquering Campagnolo Super Record groupset was very long in the tooth and its limitations were beginning to show. In particular the Campagnolo Super Record rear derailleur shared its geometry with a mid 1960s Campagnolo - and was more than a little lazy about changing onto the smallest sprocket. This was particularly the case if the freewheel had 6 or 7 sprockets (5 was more usual in the mid 1960s) and had a top sprocket with 13, 12 or even 11 teeth (in the 1960s 14 was the accepted lower limit). By the early 1980s 7 speed freewheels were de-rigueur in racing circles, and precisely none of these freewheels had 14T top sprockets.

ICS sought to remedy the limitations of the Campagnolo Super Record rear derailleur by:

  • Re-machining the b-knuckle to allow the derailleur to swing further forward and by adding an adjustment screw so that you could tune its position.
  • Embedding a Teflon 'chain pusher' pad on the inside of the outer pulley cage plate.

They called the result the ICS Campagnolo Super Record 3-D, and, surprisingly, it did work very slightly better than a standard Campagnolo Super Record. However, as a device for changing gears, it was still not a patch on the SunTour Superbe or Shimano Dura-Ace models of the time.

But the ICS Campagnolo Super Record 3-D was clearly not just a device for changing gears - it was eye-wateringly expensive and was presented and packaged as if it was going to be sold in one of those weird shops you might find inside the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Although it was marketed as cutting-edge racing equipment, it was really for posing, and for posing artfully poised right on that very cutting-edge. I did come across some ICS equipment in the flesh and even worked on a bike with, I think, a complete groupset, but I can assure you that there was no chance that any of this beautiful jewellery was going to run the risk of straying anywhere near a competitve bicycle race.

ICS similarly reworked a number of other components in the Campagnolo Super Record groupset, again making minor, but sensible, improvements that were undoubtedly real. I believe that their efforts may even have had Campagnolo's blessing. They certainly used Campagnolo's name liberally in their marketing.

However no amount of tasteful, Swiss, precision machining, even when accompanied by a blizzard of high gloss marketing, could hide the fact that an era had ended. With the arrival of indexed gearing and of Campagnolo's Record-C groupset ICS's components disappeared, at least from my consciousness. Undaunted, Artemio Granzotto continued to file bicycle related patents up to 1991.


ICS zeigt... Campagnolo - First Class 1983?

ICS zeigt... Campagnolo - First Class 1983?

  • Publisher: ICS
  • Date: 1983?
  • Derailleur brands: ICS, based on Campagnolo
  • Derailleurs: ICS Campagnolo Super Record 3-D
ICS zeigt... Campagnolo - First Class scan 1 thumbnail


ICS... exclusive Bestandteile für exclusive Rennvelos 1983?

ICS... exclusive Bestandteile für exclusive Rennvelos 1983?

  • Publisher: ICS
  • Date: 1983?
  • Derailleur brands: ICS, based on Campagnolo
  • Derailleurs: ICS Campagnolo Super Record 3-D
ICS... exclusive Bestandteile fur exclusive Rennvelos scan 1 thumbnail


see also Swiss Patent # 685,113 A5 1991

see also Swiss Patent # 685,113 A5 1991

Swiss Patent 685,113 A5 - ICS thumbnail
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