The Shimano Lark is a Skylark with the cable clamp bolt mounted on a sprung ‘cable saver’ arm. I have always liked this feature as it gives a pleasant supple feel to the gear change.
I think this example is the fourth version of the Shimano Lark in its STO guise. For this fourth generation Shimano redesigned the pulley cage plates and stop, and reduced the depth of the parallelogram plates.
The STO version was a ‘no brand’ version, with very subtle writing on the hanger plate and the top of the rear knuckle. In 1973, if you were a twenty-something American bicycle consumer you would associate Japan with cute Sony gadgets and cheap reliable Toyota cars, all goods things. But if you were a fifty-something purchasing executive in an old-school bicycle manufacturer you might still associate Japan with Iwo Jima and the Bataan Death March - and might prefer the origins of the Lark to remain invisible - if so the STO version was for you.
You may scoff at such nonsense, but, well into the 21st century, my mother refused to buy a Japanese car because of what the Imperial Japanese Army had done to ‘our boys’ on the Burma railway, although she was quite happy to watch a Japanese TV set, and listen to a Japanese hi-fi (remember them). God may move in mysterious ways, but God’s manouverings are an open book when compared to the behaviour of the modern consumer.
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