Tiso's first design, the Tiso Venda 601 (1st style), was an idiosyncratic essay in weird right angles, even weirder finishes and was weirdly aimed at mountain bikers. For their second generation of derailleurs Tiso went to the other extreme, producing a very conventional series of, mainly, road derailleurs that were a rather derivative take on the theme of the Shimano Dura-Ace 7401. The unique selling points were, firstly, the extreme rarity and exclusivity of the brand, secondly, the totally CNC machined construction and thirdly, the derailleur was completely disassemblable and rebuildable.
After describing how Shimano dominated the derailleur world at the time, Frank Berto ruefully commented that the existence of these Tiso derailleurs showed that 'hope still springs eternal'!
Tiso produced this fine derailleur in a range of variants:
- It came in Campagnolo or Shimano compatible versions. The difference was in the outer parallelogram plate, with two different placings for the cable clamp bolt giving the two different actuation ratios.
- There were three possible pulley cage lengths, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm (although mine measure 99mm). Most examples (95%+?) have the 50mm cage.
- I am aware of four different model names, 'Sereo 130' for the Campagnolo 50mm and 75mm versions, 'Altore 366' for the Shimano 50mm and 75mm versions, 'Tri 300' for a Shimano 50mm version that was designed to appeal to triathletes and 'Venda 601' for a Shimano 100mm version for mountain bikers. These model names and numbers are exactly as incomprehensible and meaningless as you would expect from a derailleur manufacturer!
- There were more colour options than a Pride parade.
- The number of variations in graphic treatment is unknowably large. In general, the graphics were fairly horrid, in the Tiso tradition, and got marginally less attractive as time went on.
But how did it work? My very limited experience is that it shifted gears just slightly less precisely than a Shimano Dura-Ace and cost considerably more. But how can you put a price on the artesanal skills of an Italian craftsman?
This, unusually well used, example is a Tiso Altore 366. Some of its features are:
- It is Shimano compatible, with the cable clamp bolt some distance from the p-knuckle.
- The pulley cage is 50mm, centre to centre.
- It has a cable adjuster with a simple lockring.
- The cable clamp bolt is stainless steel.
- 'Alu 7075 T6 E Ti' is written, upside down, across the front of the p-knuckle. Who can understand it?
- There is no date written on the underside of the p-knuckle.
- Derailleur brands: Tiso
- Themes: Ultra-lightweight - road racing models
- Country: Italy
- Date of introduction: 2002?
- Date of this example: unknown
- Model no.: 366
- Weight: 182g
- Maximum cog: 27 teeth (Tiso)
- Total capacity: unknown
- Pulley centre to centre: 50mm
- Index compatibility: Shimano 9 speed
- Chain width: 3/32”
- Logic: top normal
- B pivot: sprung
- P pivot: sprung
- Materials: aluminium with some titanium small parts, but the cable clamp bolt is steel