Campagnolo Gran Sport 1953: The first ever groupset

The first name of “gruppo” (groupset) came with the Gran Sport rear derailleur in 1953. Rear & front derailleur, hubs and levers were for the first time sold as part of a unique system.

Campagnolo Gran Sport gruppo, 1953
Campagnolo Gran Sport gruppo, 1953

Campagnolo’s quest went beyond the production of derailleurs.New components were introduced in 1956, such as the seat post, headset, and pedals. The crankset, introduced in 1959, ultimately completed what is still commonly referred to as the “groupset”. It was an innovative and paramount concept.

The groupset idea caught on in the years thereafter thanks to the creation of components designed to interact to perfection.

The story begins in the late 1940s, when Tullio Campagnolo realized that his Cambio Corsa (shifting system) was reaching the end of its lifespan. He sensed that modern derailleurs, like those used by cyclotourists, would be found on future racing bikes. After evaluating the Nivex parallelogram derailleurs, he designed his first parallelogram derailleur.

In 1950 and 1951, small series of pre-production models were made as Campagnolo fine-tuned the derailleurs. In 1953, Campagnolo introduced the final production “Gran Sport,” which remained unchanged for many years. Even the 1980s Super Record derailleurs use the same basic geometry of the Gran Sport, albeit with a modified pulley cage pivot location and lighter materials.

Read more: Campagnolo Gran Sport Derailleur

Campagnolo Gran Sport rear derailleur 1953 edition
Campagnolo Gran Sport rear derailleur 1953 edition

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