DISRAELI GEARS

Mendoza

Mendoza derailleur (1st style) main image Mendoza derailleur (2nd style) main image Mendoza derailleur (1st style) main image

Mendoza is the derailleur brand of Productos Mendoza a company based in Xochimilco, the once beautiful Venice of Mexico. Xochimilco is now part of the, regretably, somewhat less beautiful, Mexico City conurbation.

The company was founded by Rafael Mendoza Blanco, who fought alongside Pancho Villa in the Mexican Revolution. It was initially, and remains to this day, a maufacturer of firearms. One of its more famous products was the Mendoza RM2 light machine gun that it introduced in the 1940s. Unusually, an image of this gun is embossed on its derailleurs. Although many other bicycle and bicycle component manufacturers also manufactured firearms, I can only think of one other brand that put images of firearms on its derailleurs - and that is BSA.

The date of the establishment of the company is a bit obscure. The company's own web site appears to claim that it was founded in 1911. Various other web sites indocate that Rafael Mendoza Blanco designed his first firearm in 1911, but that the company itself was not founded until 1938.

I believe that the Mexican government changed the right to bear arms in its constitution in 1971 and passed a law in 1972 that severely restricting the right to own guns. This caused a collapse in the domestic market for firearms. In response Mendoza diversified into office products and bicycle parts. The Company web site, however, makes no mention of bicycle parts and claims that it started to produce office products from 1986.

The truth is a slippery fish.

Some, more concrete, evidence is that Mendoza applied for a trademark covering bicycles in January 1981, and included a leaflet showing derailleur equipped bicycles with its application. As far as one can tell from the very degraded images, the derailleurs were Mendoza models. This tends to indicate that Mendoza was making derailleurs before 1981.

Intriguingly a Mendoza bicycle equipped with a retro-direct transmission also appears in this leaflet. This is a type of transmission that was popular in the early years of the twentieth century that Mendoza appears to have resurrected. It drives the bicycle forward with one gear ratio when you pedal forwards and drives it forward with a lower gear ratio when you pedal backwards. Yes, really!



Mendoza - web site 2018

Mendoza - web site 2018

Mendoza web site 2018 image 1 thumbnail
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