The early Gipiemme derailleurs are Simplex models of various types ‘improved’ by the addition of a Gipiemme sticker. The later Gipiemme derailleurs are SunRace creations rather more sheepishly rebranded.
The Exploit is a different kettle of fish. It is a rather nicely styled and finished item with a ruthlessly modern look and high quality nuts and bolts. It was manufactured by Campagnolo - and the paint finish, the large chrome Allen bolts and the parallelogram plates are borrowed from the Campagnolo 990 Graphite. But unlike the lower-end Campagnolo models of the time, the Exploit uses the superior slant-parallelogram design. It's a relatively humble object, but it just might be the best European derailleur of its time.
I am aware of five, very slightly, different possible versions of the Gipiemme Exploit:
- Version zero is a model without a cable adjuster. I have only ever seen this in very early advertising photos - never in the flesh. A typical photo is here.
- The first real version, that I know of, has an outer pulley cage plate that is finished in Graphite paint, has a hole near the guide pulley and has a normally curved end at the tension pulley. It has an aluminium inner pulley cage plate.
- The second version has an outer pulley cage plate that is also finished in Graphite paint, but has no hole near the guide pulley and is angled off at the tension pulley end. It, again, has an aluminium inner pulley cage plate.
- The third version has the same outer pulley cage plate plate that is finished in Graphite paint, has no hole near the guide pulley and is angled off at the tension pulley end. But it now has a steel inner pulley cage plate.
- The fourth version has the same shape of outer parallelogram plate except that is polished rather than being finished in Graphite paint. It also has a steel inner pulley cage plate.
The second, third and fourth 'real' versions look slightly odd - because the inner pulley cage plate is, somehow, larger than the outer pulley cage plate - and visually intrudes.
I think that this is an example of the 'first real version' of Gipiemme Exploit (as discussed above). Its features are:
- The outer pulley cage plate has a 'graphite' finish, a perforation at the guide pulley and a pointed end at the guide pulley.
- The inner pulley cage plate is aluminium.
- There is a cable adjuster.
Compared to my three later Exploits this early example has different rivets and the b-knuckle has machined surfaces around the b-pivot bolt.
- Derailleur brands: Gipiemme, manufactured by Campagnolo
- Country: Italy
- Date of introduction: 1987?
- Date of this example: unknown
- Model no.: 801AE?
- Weight: 235g
- Maximum cog: 28 teeth?
- Total capacity: 26 teeth?
- Pulley centre to centre: 46mm
- Index compatibility: 7 speed
- Chain width: 3/32”
- Logic: top normal
- B pivot: unsprung
- P pivot: sprung
- Materials: aluminium