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Thoughts on SunTour(18 posts)

Thoughts on SunTourWalter
May 21, 2002 6:30 PM
A post by Spirito and the thread about Superbe Pro by DJudd got me thinking and remembering a bit.

I started riding roadies as a kid in the mid to late '70s. I had hung out in a Schwinn shop and learned just enough to screw a lowline SunTour (ST) onto an old English frame the shop was going to throw away. I realized then that even ST's lowline stuff actually worked as opposed to the Shimano Eagle stuff. When I bought my first "real" and new bike (a Motobecane) shortly afterwards the Huret came off in favor of an early Superbe my parents put under the Christmas tree. I still have that der. btw. In those days "full Campy" was the ride to have but the required $1000 may as well have been a $1,000,000. The thing is even then I knew my middleweight Moto with it's ST driveline shifted at least as well as any Cinelli or Raleigh Pro out there. Today however when I collect or build I pretty much look exclusively Campy. S Record on a Basso, Record/Chorus on a Colnago Master even an 80's vintage Athena crank on an old LeTour converted to a fixie.

Have I forgotten something?
re: Thoughts on SunTourWalter
May 21, 2002 6:38 PM

I enjoyed your post on the "Trash Campy.." thread below. I like the shifting of the S. Record rear der. on my Basso quite a bit but I do agree with you about brakes. Modern dual pivots are a tremendous improvement. In fact, my "S. Record" Basso now has modern Record dual pivots. Of course I had to hunt down some Campy aero levers so that I could have a quick release. No one ever said this was an easy, or cheap, avocation.......

FWIW the best performing single pivot sidepulls I've used are the DiaCompe Royal Gran Compes with aero levers. I rode thm extensively while in college. They're the only older sidepull in my parts box that I anticipate riding again in the future.
Superbe ProJaeP
May 21, 2002 8:31 PM
When I was cobbling my first road bike ('89 Paramount) I found several Sun Tour parts at a local bicycle swap meet: A Sprint rear derailleur and a set of Brew side pulls all for the amazingly low price of $10.00. The Brew brakes were BRS-500, I believe, with the powder coat sand blasted off and it had ti bolts too. Throughout the years I've picked up more Sun Tour stuff at my local bicycle swap meet but the greatest prize was picking up a NOS Superbe Pro rear derailleur for $5.00!

It's good stuff and they're good lookin' to boot. Unfortunately it's getting harder and harder to find Sun Tour stuff. Man, I can't hardly wait till the next bicycle swap meet!
re: Thoughts on SunTourDjudd
May 21, 2002 9:35 PM
In 1992 I stumbled on a LBS selling a Bridgestone RB-1 that someone ordered with Superbe Pro and never picked up. I got for the bike $650 (as I remember). Until then I was Campy only. Shimano was not yet recovered from the Biopace fiasco they tried to force down everyone's throat and I wouldn't touch them (such a snob). I was reluctant about Suntour but not for long. Superbe Pro is my pet group with GTX not too far behind. I still love Campy but really miss SunTour
cool you mention GPX - bargain retro hubset hereSpirito
May 21, 2002 11:24 PM
djudd has mentioned something that made me think as i have heard some who have thought it hard to find all this stuff and end up swapping their parts off coz they cant find older style wheels.

ok all you reticent classic heads out there - want new wheels but cant afford them or find them? if anyone complains about not being able to find and build a nice old-school freewheel hub wheelset then read clearly....

suntour gpx is really a nice gruppo built to a price but still well made and easy on the eyes. chucks bikes has the hubsets for $25 (32h)

if you read some of the previous threads youll know where to get a pair of 32 hole ma2's for $50. or a set of torrelli's for $70. even order ma3's from excel if you wish ($60) and tell them the hub measurements (ask chucks) and they'll calculate the spoke lengths needed for you, some velox rim tape, park spoke tool and 64 DB spokes and nips (another $45).

add some shipping (slow) for another $20 all up and your ready to roll. total cost is a measly start of $150 more or less depending on your rim choice. or space it accross and make a fixed wheelset from them.

cant build wheels i hear some of you saying - learn - its not hard and there is enough good info on different sites. still not sure? ask your local wheelbuilder or LBS when their quitest time is and offer to pay for a wheelbuild but with you building it and being assisted by someone with experience. 9am on a tuesday morning, a strong brew and youll find most places get a kick out of teaching the "mystery" of a good build and if anything you establish a nice relationship with them and forge a better understanding with their mechanics for later when you need a bottom bracket overhaul etc etc. that will be the best $50 you ever spent and will then know enough to maintain all your wheels and rebuild future ones.

trust me when i did this i was stopping kids on BMX bikes in my neighbourhood as id run out of my own wheels to true and fiddle with - its fun and yes it impresses chicks too! (unless of course they can build their own wheels).

youll have a very good wheelset that will last many miles and will look authentic too with nice silver low profile rims. they wont be the lightest but they wont be heavy either and you will know so much more about your bike.

a real classic tradition too - in my younger racing days we were too poor for a truing stand. thats where an upside down bike and brake calipers come in handy - yes its crude and takes more time but its not impossible. have different colored bits of tape cut up to mark the spokes and keep track of where you are going. then a few years later after youve serviced and repacked the hubs build them up again with new spokes and rims forless than $100. as well as snigger at those who blow thousands on wheels they cant fix, rebuild or have to send away to be serviced.

ya just gotta want to do it - them $25 hubs are a great start.

Walter, you and I started riding about the same time and...Djudd
May 21, 2002 9:50 PM
I was wondering do you remember the variety of chainring sizes that were going around. When I started taking myself (too) seriously in the late 70's 44's and 46's were not uncommon. I used to train on a 44/53, that was a pretty common set-up. Now there seems to be just two sets 53/42 or 52/42.
hehe...saw a 51/53 yesterday..(ouch said my knees) NmSpirito
May 21, 2002 11:25 PM
ridden by an old-timer, guaranteed...Djudd
May 22, 2002 5:26 AM
probably out on flat ride to mash gears.
Djudd: Iremember different...Walter
May 23, 2002 4:15 PM
combos but I must confess my brain isn't pulling up numbers. I've lived in S. Fla all my life so I've seen a few of the "flatlander" combos that Spirito talked about. 53 or 52 on the big gear and high 40s on the "small" one. You can do that here and I'm a bit of a masher myself but where I live now is about 100 miles north of Miami and the onshore "breeze" at this time of year is often a steady 20mph. A 42 to retreat into is helpful.

Btw we have the last name so I can ask you the question I've grown tired of: Are you related to those country chicks?
I get that question all the time and...Djudd
May 23, 2002 5:54 PM
I have never been able to come up with a clever answer. What's funny is that when asked, the person asking always thinks I've never heard it before
All Good Thoughts on SunTourboneman
May 22, 2002 1:48 AM
I raced in the 70's, exclusively on Campy Nuovo Record back then. My training bike had Sun Tour derailleurs and the rear shifted much better than the NR stuff. The front worked fine except for the reverse action, down on the lever for the big ring and pull up for the small ring. Not the greatest for the power shift into the big ring as you were reliant on the derailleur spring. This changed later on. I then upgraded to Cyclone but never made it to SuperBe. I also had a full gruppo of 1974 Dura Ace. The rear derailleur, called the Crane, was a complete piece of crap.

By the early 80's I had dropped the NR rear derailleur on my race bike and was using the Cyclone. Those of you from the dt friction shifting era with NR and SR all pride ourselves in our ability to just ever so overshifting when going to a bigger cog and then letting off as the chain shifted up. The ST rear's design of wrapping more chain around the cogs made this all a lost art and the improved design is reflected in all the current rear derailleurs. Too bad Maeda no longer makes this stuff.
May 22, 2002 4:33 AM
I was wondering when someone would mention the Cyclone stuff, as that's where my soft spot lies. First good bike I ever bought, the first thing I did was replace the derailleurs with Cyclone GT. Too green at the time to tell if they really made a difference, but they sure were pretty and made my ride stand out against the V/GT(?) stuff most of my friends had.
relive that joy...Spirito
May 22, 2002 5:04 AM
bought this same set for a friend.

great value, great shifting, great seller
Ah, Cyclone!scottfree
May 22, 2002 5:10 AM
I ride Cyclone Mk II rear and front derailleurs to this very day, on my '85 Univega. When I took the bike in for an overhaul last year, the young shop wrench commented on how sweet they were. Seemed amazed that 'old stuff' like that could shift so nicely.

Mine are set up with the Suntour Symmetric DT shifters, the ones that top-mount on the DT instead of side mount, and have that weird self-trimming feature for the left shifter. Some people didn't seem to care for the Symmetrics, and it wasn't offered for long, but I find it works flawlessly. It's weird to look down and see your left DT shifter lever moving back and forth by itself when you shift the right! It works -- I NEVER have to trim to front der.
And let us not forget SunTour BarConsTrent in WA
May 23, 2002 12:07 PM
My wife picked up a lovely old Miyata 210 tourer a few months ago that rode beautifully, but she just couldn't get used to the touchy and unreliable (Shimano) downtube shifters, and the non-aero levers left a bit to be desired as well. So this weekend I installed some SunTour barcons on the bike, along with some aero levers we had lying around. Pure shifting happiness and joy. Those were some of the best shifters ever made: great, positive shifting action, as reliable as anything mechanical can be, stylish in a quietly clunky way.

I'm not an out and out retro-grouch, but as much as I like stuff like Ergo shifters and indexing, I do miss having the ability to mix 'n' match pieces of bike kit.

Excellent pointWalter
May 23, 2002 4:19 PM
Though long out of production not to mention out of business SunTour still pretty much defines the barcon shifter.
some required reading, info & histroy about SunTourtSpirito
May 24, 2002 7:34 AM

interesting read.

re: Thoughts on SunTourtmguy
May 24, 2002 10:49 AM
In '83 my parents bought me a bike for graduation from college. I was an exchange student in Japan and had a custom Holks built by Cycles Yokoo in Ueno, Tokyo. It was a beautiful, short point lugged, Tange No. 2 (steel) Derosa copy with a flat crown fork. I requested Superbe Pro group; although Yokoo-san strictly used Campy. It was nice stuff, friction shifted like a dream and was beautfully polished. Sold the bike to a friend with the crank, but sadly had parted out the brakes arches and rr der. He still has the bike but sadly does not ride it. I still have the hubs which are smooth as silk and the brake levers. I would love to find some new hoods.