DISRAELI GEARS

Huret Svelto (2030 1971? version)

Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur main image

After the rampant complexity of their 1958 Allvit, Huret went all out for simplicity with the 1963 Huret Svelto. It was a pared-down, all-steel economy model that was cheap to manufacture, sold in millions and had any number of imitators.

It worked OK when new, but the parallelogram lacked the torsional rigidity of more three dimensional designs, and the pivots quickly loosened destroying any pretense at precision - not so much of a problem when your main competition is the 1962 Simplex Prestige - but a serious short coming when you are up against a 1967 Shimano Skylark.

Nick Wells, a correspondent of mine who admits to a youthful yearning to ‘marry that nice blonde lady from The Champions’, writes:

“My first 'real' bike was a heavy steel 'racer' from Grattons mail order catalogue. There were only two bikes in it, one was a Raleigh, which I think had Simplex gears, and the cheaper unbranded one that I had, which had a Huret Svelto set-up.

I loved that bike, and went miles on it, and, although after a few years my chainset used to clank a little, the gears never let me down. My brother had a Carlton (with Reynolds 531 tubing) which was much lighter than mine, and it had Campagnolo Gran Sport gears, which I envied immensely. He himself though, always craved a set of Campag Record gears, so I guess neither of us was fully satisfied!”

For me the Huret Svelto is as much a part of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s as men walking on the moon, the three day week, Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats and Lord Anthony snorkel parkas with rabbit fur around the hood. Was it all a strange dream?

There is a vast and bewildering range of different variants of the Huret Svelto. Over its 13 year life it enjoyed:

  • At least 4 different designs of b-knuckle.
  • At least 3 different designs of p-knuckle, changed at different times from the b-knuckles.
  • At least 4 different designs of parallelogram plates, changed at different times from the knuckles.
  • At least 5 different designs of pulley cage plates, changed at ....
  • At least 7 different guide pulleys and at least 7 different tension pulleys and untold numbers of combinations of these, all changed at ...
  • And so on...

Understanding all this complexity is made even more difficult because Huret does not, necessarily, use up-to-date images in its catalogues. So, for example, a 1975 catalogue may, or may not, depict the exact style of Svelto on offer in that year.

it reminds me of a conversation that I had with an engineer working in the bicycle industry in the mid 1980s. I was waxing lyrical about Toyota's Total Quality policy (religion?) of 'continuous improvement'. He (inevitably it was a he) was unimpressed.

He suggested that Toyota had excellent teams of design engineers producing excellent initial designs. These engineers were given time and resources to thoroughly challenge and develope their designs. These developed designs were then rigorously tested using formal and extensive test protocols. Finally, when the product hit production, the icing on the cake was the policy of 'continuous improvement'.

In his opinion, in the European bicycle industry, a single engineer, working alone, often initially produced a mediocre design. Virtually no attempt was made to challenge or develope this design. It was then subjected to a minimal amount of informal testing, much of it riding around the factory car park. Finally, when the product hit production, it enjoyed an endless series of desperate and slightly aimless 'improvements' in a hopeless attempt to solve fundamental problems. Both icing and cake were largely absent.

I am genuinely uncertain whether all the changes to the Svelto were desirable 'continuous improvement' or were worryingly 'desperate and slightly aimless'.


This example is one of the very few Huret Svelto (2030) models that I have seen. You will see the letter 'M' in a circle stamped on both the hanger plate and on the b-knuckle. The Svelto (2030) is designed for small wheeled bikes and kids bikes. The hanger plate has been modified to allow the derailleur to swing further forward. The circular punched stop on the b-knuckle that acts on the hanger plate has also been moved lower, to allow the derailleur to swing even further forward.

In all other ways this generation of Svelto (2030) is identical to the contemporary Huret Svelto (2000). Some of its key features are:

  • The horizontal part of the b-knuckle has a curved shape.
  • The front of the vertical part of the b-knuckle has a squarish shape.
  • It has a silver Huret style hanger with 'Huret' stamped on it.
  • The logo on the top parallelogram plate is stylised 'Svelto' against a cross-hatched background.
  • The logo on the bottom parallelogram plate is 'PATENTED Huret MADE IN FRANCE'.
  • The p-knuckle is about 27mm wide - perhaps indicating that it can be used with 6-speed freewheels.
  • The pulley cage plates are the second style of plates used on Sveltos, with two, built on hooks to catch the spring.
  • The pulley wheels have ball bearing races and striking black 'tyres'. Both pulley wheels have pronounced teeth.
  • It does not have a cable adjuster.
  • The adjustment screws have slotted heads.

Note that, in the photo above, the p-pivot spring is not engaged, to allow the derailleur to take up a more 'normal' shape.


  • Derailleur brands: Huret
  • Categories: Huret - the alarmingly simple Svelto & Jubilee
  • Themes: Small wheels on my wagon
  • Country: France
  • Date of introduction: 1971?
  • Date of this example: unknown
  • Model no.: 2030
  • Weight: 241g
  • Maximum cog: 22 teeth (source: Huret)
  • Total capacity: 9 teeth (source: Huret) - which seems oddly small
  • Pulley centre to centre: 43mm
  • Index compatibility: friction
  • Chain width: 3/32”
  • Logic: top normal
  • B pivot: unsprung
  • P pivot: sprung
  • Materials: steel
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 01
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 02
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 03
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 04
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 05
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 06
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 07
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 08
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 09
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 10
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 11
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 12
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 13
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 14
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 15
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 16
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 17
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 18
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 19
Huret Svelto (2030 1972? version) derailleur additional image 20