Sometime, around 1986, MAVIC decided to make a long cage version of their beautiful 801 and 851 derailleurs. The difference lies only in the cage plates. The MAVIC 803 was a MAVIC 801 with a longer cage. The MAVIC 853 was a long cage MAVIC 851. Just like the 851 and 801, the MAVIC 853 has a coachline on its cage plates and the MAVIC 803 does not.
The cage length on the production 803 and 853 was 70mm, which is an interesting number. This is the length of a cage for use with a triple chainset on a road bike. 70mm is not quite long enough to be a mountain bike derailleur. But by 1986, the mountain bike boom was approaching like a speeding freight train.
I think that this MAVIC 803 is the long-cage equivalent of my MAVIC 801 (3rd style). Some of its key features may be:
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