Disraeli gears: the world's greatest collection of derailleurs

Peter Stuart 4 Mar 2019 Mike Sweatman’s collection of over 1,000 bicycle derailleurs is more than just one man’s hobby – it’s a history of cycling ‘Mavic derailleurs are totally pointless, and therefore I think must be considered art,’ Mike Sweatman says as he stares thoughtfully at a Mavic 841 rear derailleur. Pointless though it may be, the Mavic 841, like the thousand or so other derailleurs stacked up in his Edinburgh home, has a story to tell. Sweatman’s accumulation of derailleurs has grown substantially over the past decade, and is now among the largest private collections in the world. ‘Some people are just collecting-type people, and I’m a collecting-type person,’ he says. On the surface, a collection of variable-ratio transmission mechanisms may seem a little eccentric, and Sweatman jovially describes his partner’s attitude towards the collection as ‘vaguely disturbed’, but his collection embodies more than just an abstract appreciation ...

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