Last week someone asked about the introduction of Zeus-2000 components and their price relative to Campy Super Record. Shown below is what I can cobble together. If you're bored already, hit your delete button ...now!
Brad Zeus fan Stockwell Palo Alto
THE SHORT VERSION
I estimate that the full Zeus-2000 gruppo materialized in roughly 1975. The data I have from 78/79 shows a gruppo price comparison of $672.65 for Zeus-2000 and $674.91 for the titanium Super Record ensemble.
I have a Zeus premium component poster from 1974 which shows that at that time there were only three 2000-series components (freewheel, rear derailleur, and brakes). By 1976 a series of ads in BICYCLING! showed a full line of components one-by-one. Luis Ocana rode a Zeus Superser in the 1975 tour, but the picture I have (in which he leads Merckx and Thevenet up a mountain) doesnt show the drive-train so I cant be sure whether Ocana pedaled the alps with those flexy chainrings or not! As to the end of the 2000 series, it was still shown in an 82 catalog but by 85 it had been replaced by the less interesting Supercronos group.
PART-BY-PART PRICE DATA The Zeus prices are from a 1979 suggested retail price list; the Campy prices are from the 78 Bikecology catalog so it isnt a totally fair comparison, but its what Ive got. Prices in $US are Zeus-2000/Campy-SR-ti, except where noted.
Derailleurs&levers: 79.90/85.00 Crank&BB: 179.90/208.95 Pedals: 97.75/104.88 Seatpost: 24.56/35.00 Saddle: 16.95/27.44(cinelli model 3) Headset: 30.90/36.88 Sidepull Brakes: 66.50/109.88 Hubs: 107.75/51.88(NR small flange) 6-sp Freewheel: 68.00/15.00 (Regina Oro)
THE LONG TEDIOUS VERSION: A ZEUS-2000 TIMELINE
FREEWHEEL: introduced in 1972; Ocana possibly used one on his Motobecane in the 73 Tour. For the 5-speed version, 4 cogs of super earlumin II slide onto a splined steel body; the 5th cog is a threaded steel cog. The 103 catalog of 1977 shows a 6-speed version where the 5th cog is replaced by a duplex 5th & 6th cog. The 104 catalog of 1980 shows the addition of a compact 7-speed, which replaces the 4 earlumin cogs with 5 thinner ones.
REAR DERAILLEUR: circa 1974: version 1 has an all-steel body, a drilled aluminum cage, and titanium bolts. Parallelogram plates are perforated Criterium parts: the front plate has a slot which eliminates the word Criterium; the rear plate has 4 holes. This item also differs from the earlier Criterium model due to the addition of a ~5mm spacer disk between the pivot-bolt housing and the pulley cage. Bolt housings are chrome; parallelogram plates have a frosted (sand-blasted? etched?) appearance. A 1976 ad shows version 2 which has a different outer parallelogram plate: now it says Zeus 2000 and has two triangular perforations. The bolt housings are black. The 103 catalog of 1977 shows version 3 with aluminum parallelogram plates; the outer plate now has a Z design which has Zeus 2000 written within it. The fixing bolt is still titanium, but in the 6 examples Ive seen the pivot bolt is steel. The ~5mm spacer between the pivot-bolt housing and the pulley cage has been replaced by a ~15mm cylindrical chrome/steel spacer. The Supercronos derailleur is smooth with no drillings or embossings; the word Supercronos is painted on the parallelogram.
FRONT DERAILLEUR: the 103 catalog of 1977 shows version 1, which is a Criterium front with the steel parallelogram arm painted black . The cage is flat and has the Zeus-in-an-oval logo. The 104 catalog of 1980 shows version 2: a more streamlined design with aluminum arms. The outer cage-plate has a raised section with 2 slots, and a Z-in-a-circle logo. The version 2 derailleur was used in the Supercronos group.
SHIFT LEVERS: the 103 catalog of 1977 shows version 1: Criterium levers with black bolts. The levers have a tilted-Z logo and bumps at the edge. The 104 catalog of 1980 shows version 2: slab-ular levers with 6 hashmarks and a Z-in-a-circle logo. Also shown is the 2001 control lever, which is the braze-on version.
CRANK: In 1974 the Criterium crank was the top model. The 102 catalog of 1974 contains a prophetic picture of a modified Criterium crank with arms and rings mercilessly riddled with holes. A 1976 ad shows version 1 of the 2000 crankset: it is a Criterium crank with 3 equal-length slots milled in each arm, numerous small/closely-spaced holes in the chainrings, with a titanium bb axle, cups, and crankarm bolts. The pedal holes are countersinked for thin steel pedal washers. The arms have the Zeus-in-an-oval logo. The 103 catalog of 1977 shows version 2, which differs by having the crankarm slots taper in size, shortest one at the pedal end. A Zeus bicycle poster of 1977 shows version 3, which differs in that the tapered crankarm slots no longer go all the way through the arms. A Zeus component poster of 1978 shows version 4, which differs by having beefier chainrings. They are made from thicker stock and have more substantial webs. The 104 catalog of 1980 shows version 5, which differs in that the arms are wider and less deep. The arms have a Z-in-a-circle logo. Also, the bottom bracket parts are now steel (described as titanox in the catalog). The Supercronos crank is a low-profile arm design which uses version-5 rings.
HUBS: The 103 catalog of 1977 shows Zeus-2000 hubs. The hub body is a streamlined hourglass shape (described as the diablo shape in the 81 Ron Kitching catalog) and has a Zeus-in-an-oval logo. The axles and quick-release end-caps are titanium. Each quick release lever has a slot in it. At some point the titanium bits became titanox, and the quick-releases were redesigned without perforations. The Supercronos hubs look similar to the 2000 hubs, but the word Zeus is just painted-on and the skewers no longer have a D-ring on the adjustable end.
PEDALS: A 1976 ad shows version 1 of the 2000 pedals: they are shaped like criterium pedals but have titanium cages and spindles. The 103 catalog of 1977 shows version 2, where the pedal body has a streamlined shape similar to the hubs. These pedals have sealed bearings. They come with toe-clip bolts which are painted black. The Supercronos pedals switched to an aero-platform design.
BRAKES: A 1974 component poster shows the Zeus-2000 centerpull brakes, which have recessed allen fittings and brake shoes that are curved to follow the rim with integral wire tire-guides. The brake levers have a quick release mechanism and cable adjuster barrels with O-rings. The brake hoods are black rubber. The brake levers are drilled and at the upper end there is a recessed rectangle with the word Zeus. An ad in BICYCLING! May 77 shows the 2001 sidepull brakes, which have a cammed quick-release on the upper cable arm and pointy conical bolts. The arms are engraved Zeus 2001 and Spain. They are normal-reach brakes. The brake levers have O-rings like the 2000 version but no quick release. The hoods are a translucent natural gum. In a review of Zeus components in BICYCLING! June 80, Richard Jow mentions that the brake lever adjusters have been redesigned to omit the O-ring. At some point after 1980, the rectangle with the word Zeus on the brake levers changes to an hourglass shape. After 83 or so, the lever hoods change to a less-soft material with a smaller opening for the lever. The Supercronos brakes are similar to the 2000 sidepulls, but they are short-reach and the words Zeus and Spain are painted on. The levers have a Z-in-a-circle painted on em.
SADDLE: the 103 catalog of 1977 shows the Zeus-2000 saddle which is plastic with a padded leather cover. The saddle was made by the Spanish company Arius, and their logo appears on the underside. The sides of the saddle are stamped with a white oval containing the words exclusive Zeus 2000 model.
SEATPOST: there was never a Zeus-2000 seatpost; Criterium was always the top model. Version 1 of the early 70s is a 2-bolt post with 8 shallow flutes and a Zeus-world logo. Version 2 has a Zeus-in-an-oval logo. Version 3 adds a minimum insertion line. The cradles are all steel. The 103 catalog of 1977 shows version 4 which is a 1-bolt post with 22 narrow saw-cut flutes. The saddle-rail clamp bolt bears on a toothed piece of steel that bites into the aluminum clamp base to maintain the saddle tilt. Version 5 is the same but now there are two toothed steel pieces that key into each other to set the saddle tilt; this avoids chewing up the aluminum. All these posts have the Zeus-in-an-oval logo.
HEADSET: In 1974 the only Zeus headset was the all-steel Gran Sport. As late as 1977 all the top models of Zeus bicycles were sold with this headset. The cups are smooth globular chromed steel. The 103 catalog of 1977 shows a Criterium model and a 2000 model. These headsets shun the smooth look of the Gran Sport, and incorporate a bevelled look. The Criterium is steel with the new shape; the 2000 has alloy outer cups with pressed-in steel races. Sometime after 82 the 2000 headset was redesigned with a more bulbous appearance.
FORK CROWN: version 1 is shown in a 1974 component poster. It is a semi-sloping crown which is smooth on the tops but has Zeus 2000 molded into the shoulders. It is drilled to accept recessed allen fittings. This version is also shown in the 103 catalog of 1977. The 104 catalog of 1980 shows a second version, which has a Z-in-a-circle molded into the tops.
DROPOUTS: These are shown in a 1974 component poster. Post-77 versions
have adjuster screws with springs; the 74 version has plastic spacers which
slide in grooves within the axle slot.
The 2001 vertical dropouts are shown in the 104 catalog of 1980.