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  1. #1
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    Are SunTour components any good?

    I have a 1980 Univega road bike, which has been hanging in my garage for the past 15 years. I bought it new in Pacific Beach, California for $200, which at the time I thought was a hefty price. It needs new tires and probably a bearing overhaul. My question is: it has SunTour deraillers, which seem to work fine. Are these any good, considering when they were built? This bike has a good rust-free frame, and stainless spokes. Do you think it's worth putting money into it and getting it going again? This would serve as my back-up bike, and would be available for out of town guests.

  2. #2
    Senior Member TechJD's Avatar
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    SunTour components are fine
    good long lasting components
    79 Schwinn Continental II
    Ride cause you enjoy it!

  3. #3
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    yes very good metals and craftsmanship.
    After 15 years it will need:
    new grease in all of the berrings-hubs, bottom bracket, headset-

    medium weight oil in the freewheel (30 weight motor oil)

    all other moving bits should be taken off (except brakes brake levers and front derailer) for cleaning/degreasing and relubing. This would include;
    *rear derailer(as a whole don't disassemble it, clean with degreaser, use a good chain oil- like triflow or dumonde tech light-on all the moving bits(pivots), wipe off excess)
    *shifters (clean, don't lube friction shifters other than a very light bit of wd-40[apply then wipe] to prevent corrosion, if index-ask someone else)
    *cables(maybe just replace with new, lubed, cables they are cheap; but so am I so it is up to you, as you could clean lube and re-use)
    *leave brake levers in place they shouldn't need cleaning.
    *try to clean the front derailer a bit, wipe, let dry, lube, remove excess.

    then just re-assemble with an inch-pound torque wrench according to the torque values given in "The Complete Book of Bicycling" by E. Sloan or "Barnetts" manuals.

    I have both (my barnetts is not a complete collection but I have what is generally needed then some.) T.C.B.O.B. is paperback and I will need to quote it if you wish info(your library may have it, the Tacoma library does.) But my barnetts are pdf...shhh.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "I'd loves me a new Cannondale, but I pull moths, not dollars, from my pants' stuff-holder-holes." "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Older Suntour components were made to last. I ran a full suntour cyclone rig on my road bike for about 12 years without problems. I cannot say that about the Shimano components that I have been using the ast 8 years.

    Newer suntour are ok, but I have only seen them on the entry and mid level bikes.

  5. #5
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    my old trek has suntour 4050 edge on it, and man I like em. only upgrade i would consider is indexing for the front.

  6. #6
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    Na, Suntour stuff is no good. I have the Suntour Superbe components and have over 140,000 miles on them with never a mechanical breakdown. In their day they shifted faster and smoother then any other component manufacture in the world including Campy! So no, their not any good...their outstanding! Quality was so good that even their middle of the road stuff was better then others top of the line stuff!

    I don't know which Univega you have, but Univega did make racing frames that were made of Ishawata 022 quad butted tubing that was superior to anything that Italy or Reynolds made, and they also had a triple butted tubing that was still better then anyone elses, and a double butted tubing that was equal to the best of everyone elses tube sets for far less money. I knew guys back in the late 70's and early 80's racing on Univega (and Panasonic) because they got Ishawata 022 tubing with Suntour Cyclone components and had a lighter set up for at least $1,000 less then the other guys and their Italin rides.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    b

    I don't know which Univega you have, but Univega did make racing frames that were made of Ishawata 022 quad butted tubing that was superior to anything that Italy or Reynolds made, and they also had a triple butted tubing that was still better then anyone elses, and a double butted tubing that was equal to the best of everyone elses tube sets for far less money. I knew guys back in the late 70's and early 80's racing on Univega (and Panasonic) because they got Ishawata 022 tubing with Suntour Cyclone components and had a lighter set up for at least $1,000 less then the other guys and their Italin rides.
    022 was butted .9/.6 for the main triangle,same as the old school run of the mill Columbus SL. SL was also thinner in the stay and fork. A 022 tubeset weighed 2220g and Sl went 2065. I won't even bother telling you about some of the even better Columbus stuff or Reynolds 753 or 531SL,,which was also available at the time of the allegedly 'superior' 022. Univega also made a bunch of crap.

  8. #8
    cab horn
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    My old road bike is full of suntour components... now should I be proud of this?

  9. #9
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    Ishawata stopped making tube sets long before Reynolds came out with 753 and with a 753 tube set they had to use 725 for the stays-why? because it was stiffer then 753. And true, Columbus was thinner in the stay and fork but that's what made the Ishawata tubing better, Ishawata used thicker thus stiffer then Columbus did. Back in the late 70's and early 80's Ishawata 022 had a more snapper acceleration then Columbus did, and when Columbus was pushed hard the derailleurs would pull the chain down to smaller gears due to the flex back there. My remarks were not based on weight, but based on which frame performed better and Ishawata 022 performed better then Columbus SL or Reynolds SL? The Reynolds 531SL stood for Speedstream, this was a special aero tube set designed to reduce wind resistence, it had taper guage fork blades, plain guage headtube and ovalized stays designed for track and time trials-the Ishawata 022 was not designed for either of those so Reynolds SL is not even comparing apples to apples! Ishawata 022 compared more closely to 531PRO which the Pro series was actually an improvement over the Reynolds SL and better then the Columbus SL in that it was stiffer in the right areas, but still not as stiff as the Ishawata 022 was in the stays; in fact the PRO had a rider weight limit of 180 pounds whereas the 022 did not.

  10. #10
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    be proud man, be proud....revel in knowing those who go to ebay to get NOS 70-80s campy, simplex, or whatever legendary bike X had, most likely has no better quality than what you got now.

    They didnt ddie out from quality issues or anything like that, SunTour died off from not jumping on the indexing bandwagon fast enough and not offshoring manufacturing before the yen's increase in value...which made profits from the US thinner, so tehy had to build cheaper....basically they had bad management choices and even worse timing.

    ...If they jumped on indexing sooner they might still have been a serious force.

  11. #11
    cab horn
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    Wow thanks catatonic!

  12. #12
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    Ishawata stopped making tube sets long before Reynolds came out with 753 and with a 753 tube set they had to use 725 for the stays-why? because it was stiffer then 753. And true, Columbus was thinner in the stay and fork but that's what made the Ishawata tubing better, Ishawata used thicker thus stiffer then Columbus did. Back in the late 70's and early 80's Ishawata 022 had a more snapper acceleration then Columbus did, and when Columbus was pushed hard the derailleurs would pull the chain down to smaller gears due to the flex back there. My remarks were not based on weight, but based on which frame performed better and Ishawata 022 performed better then Columbus SL or Reynolds SL? The Reynolds 531SL stood for Speedstream, this was a special aero tube set designed to reduce wind resistence, it had taper guage fork blades, plain guage headtube and ovalized stays designed for track and time trials-the Ishawata 022 was not designed for either of those so Reynolds SL is not even comparing apples to apples! Ishawata 022 compared more closely to 531PRO which the Pro series was actually an improvement over the Reynolds SL and better then the Columbus SL in that it was stiffer in the right areas, but still not as stiff as the Ishawata 022 was in the stays; in fact the PRO had a rider weight limit of 180 pounds whereas the 022 did not.
    Your initial post referenced lighter than and bettter than Blah,Blah, Blah...AFWIW, the 1974 reference I have list 022 and 753 as contemporary tubesets.Besides the whole point is pretty irrevalent since the posters univega could be one made out of plumbers pipe or hi-ten.

  13. #13
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    yep, if you want to see some good late 80s suntour in the value end, look for 4050 edge, just dont get the ovaltech chainrings. I replaced those with 80s shimano 105/ sugino parts, and while they aren't the best, they are better on the chain at high cadence than oval rings were.

    Oval rings were merely a bad design that took off well. Folks said it was easier to pedal and was better on climbs, so basically it was all the rage...pity it didnt really do what it claimed....it waas good for easy acceleration, but was horrible for getting a high speed, and it was all but worthless on clipless pedals. So if you have oval chainrings, seriously consider swapping them out.

  14. #14
    Member ben trim's Avatar
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    This is too cool. I had to run out to the garage and check out the delrailer on my 80s Motobecane. They are Suntour BL. I have new respect for that machine.

  15. #15
    1980s Steel Cro_Moly_Body's Avatar
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    I use to have a Suntour Superbetech friction derailleur and I have yet to ride a bike that shifter better than that superb rear derailleur. I had it rigged to one of the first model cannondales and I use to ride that bike everywhere and everyday. It was my first true touring bike. The only aluminum bike that I had any respect for.

  16. #16
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Actually I've been hunting a bit for some NOS Suntour 4050 Edge parts to restore my trek 1100 someday. So far I got both deraileurs, but still have to get the cranks, brakes, shifters, and brake levers. I'm going to try to use a different level suntour for the cassette and chainrings since I didn't like the ovaltech rings they used and I just feel like playing with the cassette a bit...it seemed to be more of a sport gearing than touring, and I would like to make that bike a commuter/touring machine.

  17. #17
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    I ride on 100% Superbe components and the rear derailleur is the Tech series, and it is the best.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=sydneyBesides the whole point is pretty irrevalent since the posters univega could be one made out of plumbers pipe or hi-ten.[/QUOTE]

    How do you know the posters Univega is plumbers pipe? I have seen new Univegas and Panasonics with 022 frames selling in the early 80's (I lived along S Calif coast during those years) for $200 because nobody thought the bikes were any good, so some LBS's were dumping them! So price "may" not mean a thing. So no, it's not irrevalent at all, thus the reason for quering for more info to find out if it's worth restoring. But so far the original poster hasn't responded to anyone, so you may be right...maybe it doesn't matter.

  19. #19
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=froze]
    Quote Originally Posted by sydneyBesides the whole point is pretty irrevalent since the posters univega could be one made out of plumbers pipe or hi-ten.[/QUOTE

    How do you know the posters Univega is plumbers pipe? I have seen new Univegas and Panasonics with 022 frames selling in the early 80's (I lived along S Calif coast during those years) for $200 because nobody thought the bikes were any good, so some LBS's were dumping them! So price "may" not mean a thing. So no, it's not irrevalent at all, thus the reason for quering for more info to find out if it's worth restoring. But so far the original poster hasn't responded to anyone, so you may be right...maybe it doesn't matter.
    ......
    Must be a comprehension problem.I said it COULD BE! All the poster said was a 1980 Univega with Suntour.That covers lots of territory,sincc both Univega and Suntour both make the whole range form the bottom of the barrel on up.
    Last edited by sydney; 09-09-04 at 07:00 AM.

  20. #20
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    My road bike is a norco monterey sl with suntour 3040 parts. It was before they moved production to taiwan, so it's a tripple butted steel lugged frame. I loves it. Every bit of the bike was made in japan. And then, to top things off, I found the exact same bike, except in cherry red with a chrome fork, for only $20 (can) because it had a taco'd rear wheel. Spare parts for life! Hurray for suntour. It's a 6 in the back and I find the indexing works great. It has downtube shifters, which I actually enjoy using, once I got used to them. Nothing like flinging that rear shifter up with a quick flick of the wrist. Throw that baby into high gear! Sometimes I shift up with my knee The only problem with suntour is finding replacement parts. Custom order can be expensive. So keep an eye out for old suntour parts at garage sales, etc.

  21. #21
    sport fanatic
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    YMMV: the floppy & noisy non-drive (left) crank from my Trek 4300 is sitting here on my desk looking at me, after the spindle wore away 2 sides of where it attachs. I guess this may be for a few different reasons - build quality of the SunTour crank being one of them, original build of bike another.

  22. #22
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Can anyone tell me about Suntour AG ("Alpine Gear")Tech deraileurs? I can find one reference to it in the "Sunset" article, but it doesn't tell much about them, except that they're wide range. Thanks in advance, Oh knowledgable ones!
    Last edited by KrisPistofferson; 11-20-04 at 02:57 PM.

  23. #23
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    alpine gears are almost covering the gear range a mountain bkie cassette does, this reqires a rather large deraileur to take up the slack when in the smaller cogs.

    Think 14-32, or similar.

    as far as suntour's offering, cant help you much there.

  24. #24
    Ex Racer, frame builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by krispistoferson
    Can anyone tell me about Suntour AG ("Alpine Gear")Tech deraileurs? I can find one reference to it in the "Sunset" article, but it doesn't tell much about them, except that they're wide range. Thanks in advance, Oh knowledgable ones!
    AG was one of the first wide range RD. It was part alloy/part steel aimed at mid level in the then emerging MTB market. I guess it was released about '81. I think I have one somewhere in my shed in a box of stuff. I have too many boxes of old stuff in my shed!

    Bobthe....

  25. #25
    Drive the Bicycle.
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    --- The Suntour derailleurs on my 1977 Univega have endured my abuse and neglect with stout magnanimity.

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