DISRAELI GEARS

ZIF

USSR Patent 925,731 - Perm-Tachyon main image USSR Patent 893,668 - Perm main image USSR Patent 925,731 - Perm-Tachyon main image

ZIF, or more correctly ЗИФ, was (and still is) a bicycle and moped manufacturer based in Penza, about 400 miles south east of Moscow, in Russia.

ЗИФ stands for Завод имени Фрунзе, or ‘Factory named after Frunze’. Mikhail Frunze was a noted Bolshevik hero and the factory was named in his honour in 1933. Strangely Mikhail Frunze died during a routine and simple operation on an ulcer in 1925 and apparently all the medical personnel involved in the operation mysteriously died in 1934. Needless to say the conspiracy theory is that Stalin had him killed and subsequently recreated him as a hero worthy of having his name given to factories around the USSR. As Elvis can tell you, heroes are often more attractive after their deaths.

Globalsecurity.org notes that the biggest industrial activity in the Penza area is the sealed city of Penza-19 which produces components for nuclear warheads. However it states that the main industrial activities in the civilian city of Penza are bicycle and watch production.

The ZIF bicycle Factory was originally established as a munitions plant during the First World War (possibly in 1915), although it may only have genuinely started production in 1919. It produced its first bicycles in 1928. In 1931 the plant was renamed as a bicycle factory, although it continued to make other products including precision fuses for ammunition.

ZIF watches were famous in the USSR, and the first ZIF watches were produced by the ZIF bicycle factory in 1935 using expertise from the production of precision fuses. Around 1940 a ZIF watch factory was separated from the bicycle factory. More recently, ZIF watches may have been subsumed into the well known Sekonda brand.

The ZIF bicycle factory was mainly famous for producing basic single speed bicycles (such as the 1B Roadster) and mopeds, but did produce some sports models. Russian Wikipedia notes that ZIF bicycles were less aesthetically pleasing than Kharkov or Riga models but were highly reliable.

Russian Wikipedia also claims that ZIF started producing multi-geared bicycles in 1970, so I would guess that they would have used derailleurs from this time. I have been (not entirely reliably) informed that two similar derailleurs that I have were manufactured by ZIF, however I believe that they were in fact manufactured by Perm. One is the example shown on this web site, the other is very similar, shares some distinctive design features, but is definitely different. This other derailleur has a logo on it that is, in turn very similar to the logo used by ZIF on their bikes and mopeds since the late 1980s. I believe this derailleur was manufactured by Perm, but branded up with the ZIF logo for use as original equipment on ZIF bicycles.

I also have a ZIF instruction book that shows an illustration of this particular design of derailleur.

It’s all very tenuous, but it’s the best I can do.


Perm derailleur thumbnail


Perm 1980?


ZIF - Dorozniy Velociped 1957

ZIF - Dorozniy Velociped 1957

  • Publisher: ZIF
  • Date: 1957
  • Derailleur brands: ZIF
  • Derailleurs: none
ZIF - Dorozniy Velociped front cover thumbnail


see also USSR Patent # 893,668 1979

see also USSR Patent # 893,668 1979

  • Publisher: Rospatent
  • Date: USSR application filed September 1979
  • Derailleur brands: Perm, ZIF
  • Derailleurs: unknown, some similarities to Perm
USSR Patent 893,668 - Perm thumbnail


see also USSR Patent # 925,731 1980

see also USSR Patent # 925,731 1980

USSR Patent 925,731 - Perm-Tachyon thumbnail


ZIF - Velocipedi Dorozniy 1987

ZIF - Velocipedi Dorozniy 1987

ZIF - Velocipedi Dorozniy front cover thumbnail


ZIF - Velocipedi Dorozniy 111-521 112-512 1987

ZIF - Velocipedi Dorozniy 111-521 112-512 1987

  • Publisher: ZIF
  • Date: 1987
  • Derailleur brands: ZIF
  • Derailleurs: none
ZIF - Velocipedi Dorozniy 11-521 112-512 front cover thumbnail


ZIF - logo 2000?

ZIF - logo 2000?

  • Publisher: ZIF
  • Date: 2000?
  • Derailleur brands: ZIF
  • Derailleurs: none
ZIF - logo 2000? thumbnail
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