Giovanni Galli and Co was founded in Torino, some time in the 1930’s. Giovanni Galli was a racing cyclist, and his claim to fame was that he manufactured the world's first aluminium caliper brake.
Galli regarded itself as the equal of Campagnolo in engineering terms but without the unnecessary hype. A Galli representative once earnestly told me that Torino, the home of FIAT, was the real capital of Italian engineering, and that Vicenza (the home of Campagnolo) was more famous as a manufacturing centre for jewellery for women, which he considered entirely appropriate given some of the prima donna’s that Campagnolo was sponsoring at the time... blah, blah, blah.
Some of Galli’s designs reflect this ‘honest engineering’ philosophy, with their simple lines and clean edges. However Galli also had a penchant for multi-coloured anodising that shows that the Italian love of ‘bling’ was alive and well, even in macho, down-to-earth Torino.
Galli produced full groupsets by draughting in products from other manufacturers; TTT for seatpins, Stronglight for cranks and Maillard for hubs. They also used Simplex branded pulley wheels on their later derailleurs. Some people claim that Galli’s derailleurs were manufactured by Simplex - but they are rather unlike anything that Simplex produced, Simplex was never much into coloured anodising and, pulley wheels apart, they do not noticeably share any minor parts.
Frank Berto claims that Galli produced their first derailleur in 1976 and that derailleur production ‘survived until about 1987’.
I would note that Giovanni Galli first patented a derailleur design in 1933. This is early, even compared to the offerings of Vittoria and Campagnolo. This Galli design is detailed and looks properly developed but I have never seen an example of it in the flesh.
The genealogy of the known Galli derailleur range is also unclear to me. If you had asked me, before researching this piece, to reach back into my memory, I would have happily and confidently described a range made up of three generations of designs:
However, after conducting a bit of properly nerdy data-archaeology, the picture has become more complicated and I doubt my memory! In particular my simple idea that there was a single early 'rectilinear' design seems like nonsense:
The situation with the 'curvaceous' design is also more exciting than I had, at first, thought. Here there appear to be four variables. The first is the direction of the text on the outer parallelogram plate (2 variants), the second is the material used for the P pivot bolt (2 variants), the third is the shape of the inner pulley cage plate (2 variants) and the fourth is the nature of the 'stop' that limits the movement of the pulley cage (2 variants). I think that the possible models include:
I still think that all these 'curvaceous' models were called 'Criterium' and that 'Aerodynamic KL' was the name of a groupset. Velo-Pages has an American leaflet, copyright 1986, showing the curvaceous design and refering to it as a 'Galli Criterium'. However Velominati shows an Australian advert from 1984 referring to the curvaceous design as the 'Galli Pro'. Who can understand it? I am going with 'Criterium'.
If you have read this far, you have remarkable patience! Clear branding and consistent naming was never a forte of European derailleur manufacturers.
Galli Ritmo (?) 1980?