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Old 01-13-13, 10:27 PM   #1
Odlorah
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Help with derrailleur swap

Hello everyone:

I am in the process of reconstructing an old 10 speed Free Spirit bicycle. It comes with a Simplex rear and front derailleurs which I have read that not many people seem to hold in high regard. My neighbor kindly donated me a set of rear and front Suntour Superbe which are used but in magnificent condition. My question is: could I just swap the original Simplex for the Suntour? Tey look slightly different so I am anticipating having to use some sort of adapter(?) in order to use it. Am I in the right path? Or is it wishful thinking? I just would like to have a functional old beater without having to spent a fortune or even anything at all... Just one disclaimer... This is my first bike project ever. I would appreciate a kind soul who could give me some piece of advice on this matter. Thanks.

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Old 01-13-13, 11:22 PM   #2
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On some bikes the rear derailleur (RD) is screwed directly into the drop out (DO, that the piece which holds the wheels so that when you want to remove them the wheels "drop out" - don't ask me where the term originated). But on other bikes, and I'm guessing your bike is this way, the RD is bolted to a "claw", i.e. a claw-shaped bracket that is held to the outside of the DO by a special screw and bracket that fits into the back of the axle slot in the DO. In general, claw-mounted RDs can be swapped with little trouble. The screw which holds it to the DO may even be the same threads, but your Suntour may have come with its mounting screw.

You will have to adjust the stop screws on the RD so that it doesn't overshift in either high or low gear. High isn't so much a problem but it if shifts past the low gear (the big cog) it can get caught in the spokes, which is catastrophic.

The length of chain may be okay, but the new RD cage may be a different length. So check that you have enough chain for the big chainring-big cog combination, and that the RD can take up enough chain to handle the little-little combination without the chain going slack. You really shouldn't ride in the big-big or little-little combinations, but people do anyway by accident even when they say they'll never do that.

Enjoy your bike!
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Old 01-13-13, 11:45 PM   #3
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Hello Jim:

Thanks for taking the time. yes! It happens that you have described the whole scenario perfectly. I appreciated your comments on the lenght of the chain as it never ocurred to me to think about that. I am going to try the swap this coming weekend.
my next challenge is the cabling. Te Free Spirit has on stem shifters (broken) and the donor SunTour has down tube. Wat would my options be here? Could I try adapting even a newer on headset shifters? Or am I stuck with having to find a new (for me) stem shifter set?
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Old 01-14-13, 12:08 AM   #4
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If the SunTour downtube shifters fit your bike you're good to go. You have to route the cables in accordance with the features provided on the bike, but that should be pretty obvious. Downtube shifters are the simplest, least troublesome option.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:15 AM   #5
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Hi Geoff:
Something that I didn't take in consideration was that in order to use downtube shifters, the frame needs to have some built in receivers.... Isn't it? I say this based on what I saw when I took the SunTour system from the other bike, an SR or something like that (made in Japan). Is there some sort of brace that I could use in order to adapt the downtube shifters to onstem? They look new even after more than 30 years and I would love to get to use the freebies... I know that the receiving bike (Free Spirit) probably isn't worthy of all this trouble.... But in the name of learning.... Why not?
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Old 01-14-13, 07:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odlorah View Post
Something that I didn't take in consideration was that in order to use downtube shifters, the frame needs to have some built in receivers.... Isn't it?.. I know that the receiving bike (Free Spirit) probably isn't worthy of all this trouble.... But in the name of learning.... Why not?
Indeed, learning about bikes and fixing yours are both worth the trouble.

Downtube shift levers do not need anything special, almost. You do need to make sure the cable clamp won't slide down the tube, so either they have to be tightened well or they need to be anchored against something.

Notice how the cable housing was routed. Stem shifters usually have a section from the lever to a cable stop on the downtube. From there downward the cable itself is open. Then it goes through another housing section of cable near the bottom bracket. That's all you need, that section at the bottom. The cable with downtube shfiters goes directly down to that housing section.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:48 AM   #7
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Or, is it possible that the Suntour shifters you got are for "braze on" mounts? In other words, did you just get two separate levers? Or are the levers attached to a band that will clamp and bolt to the frame tube? If they're braze on type levers you can't use them as the bike probably doesn't have the brazed on mounts on the tube to accept them. But you can find a pair of clamp on shifters to use.
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Old 01-14-13, 07:56 AM   #8
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Suntour Superbe rear derailleurs were designed for racing applications. Therefore, it has limited range of cogs it can be used with. It should be 26 tooth max. That may be a problem if your Free Spirit came with an 'alpine gearing' freewheel. Typical being 28 tooth +.
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Old 01-14-13, 08:03 AM   #9
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Here's a few stem mount Suntour shifters
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-SUNT...item51a6d4c147
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-70s-...item20cea36a1a

And down tube, clamp on shifters
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Suntour-clam...item232708da6d

Lots of this stuff on ebay.
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Old 01-14-13, 08:03 AM   #10
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Ooh, I missed the fact they the derailleurs were Superbe. Talk about putting a silk purse on a sow's ear. They'll be the best part of the bike!
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Old 01-14-13, 08:10 AM   #11
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Now, now Jim ..... let's not be judgmental. But he is sort of right, Odlorah. Those derailleurs were Suntours top end racing parts back when. Very generous of your neighbor to give them to you. Maybe he can also help you find a frame that might be more suitable for these high end parts.
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Old 01-14-13, 08:36 AM   #12
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I don't want to sound like a snob or anything but frankly I think Odlorah should just forget the whole thing. Between need ing a claw for the derailleur, the brazeons/clamp for the shifters and the limited range of the SuperBee I think he is asking for trouble. It almost sounds like he is trying to put a 280Z transmission into a Pinto or Vega.

I think the best way for the Odlorah to imporove his shifting on that bike is a shimano or Sunrace hyperglide style freewheel (FW) and Tourny derailleur. between the shifting ramps on the FW and the floaring pully on the derailleur I think imporve the shifting without fiddling with attaching brazeon shifters to a clamp that may or may not fit the downtube (DT) which may be oversized on this.
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Old 01-14-13, 08:42 AM   #13
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Save those terrific derailleurs for a better project.

+1 Put Tourney or similar on this bike, it will work fine, and many of them have a built in claw, so a lot easier to mount.
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Old 01-14-13, 12:27 PM   #14
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Odlorah,

Your starting off with a bike that will be a good learning experience. I hope you are succesful with getting it on the road and having fun with it. Please don't spend too much money or fix it up if it does not fit you.

Everybody has opinions about this particular brand but they will give you good advice if you ask. Just let us know what YOU want to do.

I spent many years commuting on an old FS that did quite well1977 FS

Granted, as I moved on to other bikes, I realized that it was lacking in many ways. But it did its job well ! I still have my white FS Ted williams bike made in Austria for Sears and love to ride it around the neighborhood.

I too replaced the Simplex DRs with Suntour. If you want, I have a Suntour Front/rear DR with stem shifter I can send you for you to use. Pay shipping and it is yours. I understand about keeping it cheap but functioning.

Keep us posted and let's nsee some pics of your beater.
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Old 01-14-13, 05:43 PM   #15
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Any chance of getting the frame you took these off from your neighbor too?
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Old 01-14-13, 09:02 PM   #16
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Rgver: I do have the RS frame in m back room... Frankly, I would be embarrassed to even give away the impression that i am drooling over it. I am.
Tis is my first experienced in getting my musician's hands bruised by working on the FS. My students laughed their greasy/pimpled faces off when I proudly showed what I had gotten for Christmas. Call it a middle life crisis which I intend to make it a successful one. It is better than chasing women... Isn't it?
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Old 01-14-13, 09:09 PM   #17
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3speedslow:
Thank you for your support and encouragement. I promised to myself that I wasn't gonna pay for labor unless I broke something so bad to need someone to bail me out. I did pack the bearings and headset... A first one there... I replaced the brake cables. I am an expert now in cleaning chrome wheels... Replaced new tubes and tires... Not bad for a dumb music teacher who doesn't even own tools. So, far I have only spent money on tires and elbow grease... But that I found at a discount and got plenty of it.
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Old 01-14-13, 09:16 PM   #18
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Wrk101:
good point... I am loving learning on the FS. If I survive this one, I will be willing to try on more challenging projects. Really good point.
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Old 01-14-13, 09:20 PM   #19
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It sounds like a fun and cool project and learning tool, it is a great feeling knowing its all your work on something like that, especially if it was something someone else saw fit for the garbage pile. Good luck with the FS, it really sounds like you have been bitten too.
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Old 01-14-13, 09:21 PM   #20
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Bianchigirl:
thanks for your comment. I won't think you are a snob. But, c'mon, it can't be more difficult than marriage, can it? BTW, I had a kick with your comment about putting a 280z transmission on a pinto... These are the kind of mistakes that only experience will teach me. To be honest with you, I had never heard of SunTour before in my life! And the rock I've been living under isn't even that big at all!

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Old 01-14-13, 09:26 PM   #21
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When you get to dérailleur adjustment this website and YouTube are very useful.

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help
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Old 01-14-13, 09:28 PM   #22
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Rootoy:
My neighbor has tons of frames and bicycles in his backyard. I even offered to helping out as a way for me to learn. He didn't take on my offer... Just wonder why?
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Old 01-14-13, 09:32 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Ooh, I missed the fact they the derailleurs were Superbe. Talk about putting a silk purse on a sow's ear. They'll be the best part of the bike!
Sears could never foresee that one.....
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Old 01-14-13, 09:40 PM   #24
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Jettore:
I'll keep this link in mind. Youtube is the man!
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Old 01-14-13, 09:54 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Or, is it possible that the Suntour shifters you got are for "braze on" mounts? In other words, did you just get two separate levers? Or are the levers attached to a band that will clamp and bolt to the frame tube? If they're braze on type levers you can't use them as the bike probably doesn't have the brazed on mounts on the tube to accept them. But you can find a pair of clamp on shifters to use.
THe shifters I got of the SR frame came apart in a thousand pieces (washers). They were screwed to a pair of built-in eyelets on the down tube. What I need is a set of those levers that brace on the headset.
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