Stratec RT005 (2nd style) derailleur main image Stratec TX007 derailleur main image Stratec RL070 derailleur main image

Stratec were based in L’Horme, near Saint Etienne and in the heartland of the French cycle component industry. The story of Stratec’s entry into the deraileur business may go something like this:

  • Starting in the 1930s Simplex had been a major power in the world of derailleurs. But by the early 1980s they had lost the plot and had fallen way behind the Japanese brands.
  • In 1985 Simplex went bankrupt, and reopened in a much dimished form.
  • In 1987 Simplex merged with (or formed some kind of alliance with) Ofmega, but this did not work out
  • Stratec may possibly have acquired the Simplex business in 1992.

Frank Berto dismisses Stratec as “a company that made locks for Peugeot cars”. Simplex had a close relationship with Peugeot, and it is possible that Peugeot played some role in Stratec's ‘rescue’ of Simplex. However the French business newspaper Les Echos reported in October 1992 (please excuse my translation):

To better resist the Japanese manufacturers of bicycle accessories, four French SMEs - including three located in the Saint-Etienne region - have decided to pool their know-how to offer a coordinated sets of components under a single brand. This merger began several months ago and resulted in the creation of the Stratec company, based in L'Horme near Saint-Etienne. This new company brings together the cycle-related activities of Établissement Peyrard (Nervar pedals) in L'Horme, Établissement Perrin (Pélissier hubs) in Boën-sur-Lignon and Établissement Rousson-Chamoux (RFG headsets) in Feurs, who also took over the production of Établissement Simplex (derailleurs), which had been put into compulsory liquidation in Dijon.

Stratec retains the four production sites. With a workforce of 110 people, the company expects to achieve a turnover of 63 million in 1993. Its ambition is to take 10% of the European market for cycle components. Until then, the Japanese Shimano and Suntour brands reign supreme with 85% of the market. ...

Stratec is aiming its offer at the niche of groupsets intended for low and medium range bicycles. This strategy prevents it from entering into competition with other French equipment manufacturers such as Mavic, which specialize in high-end products. Bicycle manufacturers such as Peugeot or Dangre have already specified Stratec components for some of their models.

The new brand ... has just made its first official appearance at the Cologne Cycle Show and has recruited former cycling champion Bernard Thévenet, winner of the Tour de France in 1975 and 1977, to promote its products. ...

The Union Nationale des Syndicats Autonomes (UNSA) web site reports that Simplex was taken over by Stratec in 1992, and that derailleur production ceased on January 31st 1994. A date that is reported with curious precision. UNSA is a confederation of French Trades Unions.

Various of those inevitable web sites that troll through company registration documents report that Stratec was formed in April 1992 and was finally liquidated in December 1995.

Despite its short life, Stratec seemed to have had big ambitions. The Stratec derailleur range may have consisted of no fewer than 11 different rear derailleurs. The, tediously obscure, naming convention might include:

  • The first letter is 'R' for short cage 'racing' models or 'T' for long cage 'touring' models.
  • The second letter is 'L', 'S', 'X' or 'T'. This may indicate something to do with colour and finish, or may be random and meaningless.
  • The number indicates the level of quality, '700' is the top of the range, '070' is the mid-range, '007' is low end and '005' is very, very inexpensive plastic.

So the range included:

  • RX700 and TX700
  • RS700 and TS700

  • RL070 and TL070

  • RX007 and TX007
  • RL007 and TL007

  • RT005

That is one mind-bendingly-confusing collection of model names. Lucien Juy would have been proud!

Stratec - Conseils d’Utilisation 1995?

Stratec - Conseils d’Utilisation 1995?

Stratec - Conseils d_Utilisation scan 1 thumbnail

Stratec RT005 - header card 1995?

Stratec RT005 - header card 1995?

Stratec RT005 - header card thumbnail