Stratec were based in L’Horme, near Saint Etienne which was traditionally a centre 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 bought the Simplex business in 1995. Simplex had a close relationship with Peugeot, and it is possible that this was also true of Stratec, and that Peugeot may have encouraged Stratec to ‘rescue’ Simplex.
Frank Berto dismisses Stratec as “a company that made locks for Peugeot cars”. But they seemed to have had big ambitions. In addition to gear systems, they claimed to produce a headset, a chainset, hubs and a freewheel. They also claimed to produce no fewer than 11 different rear derailleurs.