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Suntour Superbe Branded Bikes - did they exist?

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Suntour Superbe Branded Bikes - did they exist?

Old 11-23-15, 07:36 PM
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Don Buska 
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Suntour Superbe Branded Bikes - did they exist?

I've been a fan of Suntour for years and use their components on several of my vintage road bikes. I was going through the 1979 Japanese catalog that's available on the web and noticed they had a pictures of two bikes that had the Superbe labeling on the down tube. Not much else on the page except for a small bit of probably katakana writing above each picture.

Here is the page:

Question has anyone ever seen a Suntour Superbe branded bike? Perhaps only in Japan.

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Old 11-23-15, 07:41 PM
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Possibly bikes built specifically to showcase the Superbe components.

I also had a 1963 Raleigh 'Superbe', but it didn't have any Suntour components on it.
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Old 11-23-15, 08:20 PM
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I'm guessing they were just for displaying the groupsets.
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Old 11-23-15, 09:37 PM
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Well as a showcase or groupset display model this would sure be a fun project to try and replicate sometime. I'll need to keep on the lookout for a 54cm frame to build into a reproduction. For sure it would have to be equipped with the Suntour Superbe drop-outs which makes it a rather rare high end Japanese road bike from the late 70's or early 80's. A Fuji Professional would be a great candidate, but finding one would be next to impossible. My current 1980 SR looks a great deal like the one in the top photo and is currently setup with a 1980 Superbe Pro (RD-3100) rear derailleur and side-pull brakes. However, all the other components are high-end SR.

Wilfred I see they do sell the reproduction "Superbe" down tube decals for Raleigh restorations. Albeit, it doesn't look like the decal on those pictured above it still would be a possibility to use if I ever try and reproduce one of these Suntour bikes.

Anyone out there that has a 54cm frame with Suntour Superbe dropouts I'd be interested!

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Old 11-23-15, 10:09 PM
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Somebody had a "Superbe" frame that was made from a low end frame and the decals were from promo stickers from around 1980. The hang glider stickers.
@pcb should remember that I think...


Edit- I found it:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...perbe-pro.html
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Old 11-23-15, 10:59 PM
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Yeah, Suntour never produced any frames for aftermarket sale. They did buy frames from local Kansai builders for catalog shoots, shows, and for their factory race team. I remember hearing either Nagasawa or Nakagawa mentioned, or maybe both. I know Suntour was close to both builders.

Suntour had a hard enough time cranking out bicycle parts, I never saw any desire there to go into bicycle frame production. There was a lot of tongue clucking and disbelief when SR came out with their bonded Litage framesets; "Why would SR go into direct competition with all of their customers?" was the question I heard most often.

The katakana above the two catalog bikes reads: "Superbe Road Assembly Model" and "Superbe Track Assembly Model."

There's good reason to lust after those show bikes. Richard Sachs just told me at the Philly show that the first Nagasawa frames he saw were Suntour show bikes at an Anaheim show, late '70s? Nobody here in the US had really heard of Nagasawa, nobody was importing his frames at the time. Richard checked out all the other framebuilders displaying at the show, and the Nagasawas were his favorite. He thought it was weird that the best frames at the show were the anonymous Suntour show bikes. That's when he became a fan.
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Old 11-23-15, 11:31 PM
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Thanks for the link on that Superbe labeled frame. Yeah that one appears to be a homebrew job since it has mostly Shimano parts on it. I mentioned above that the top bike in that Suntour catalog page looks so much like my SR frame. I just looked at a picture of my SR that I took early in the summer. If you notice on the seat tube there is a small sticker near the top on my SR that just indicates it's made of Co-Mo butted tubing. On the Suntour catalog bike there is a very similar sticker at the top of their seat tube. Man that sure looks like the same sticker. The white portion of the Suntour seat tube might just be a piece of white paper wrapped around the seat tube for photos. On my SR there is a small SR bike decal there. Wouldn't that be interesting if they just used an SR frame for their Suntour groupset picture. In the 1984 SR bike catalog their Maxima model used mostly Suntour Superbe components, including the frame drop-outs. So perhaps Suntour just grabbed an SR bike and converted it into a "Superbe" model for their pictures.

Here is my SR

BTW: My SR started life as a frame only that replaced a damaged bike frame back in 1981 when I lived in LA. It was purchased directly from SR Bicycles in Chula Vista (San Diego) California - The same company that made the Windsor bikes back then. On completed SR models they always had the SR letters on the down tube, but mine was always blank and has no model ID either. It does have a metal SR plate on the head tube and a small SR decal on the seat tube. In the past few months I have added Suntour Superbe sidepull brakes. So it's now a good mixture of top end Suntour and SR components. Funny SR-Suntour is now the same company!
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Old 11-23-15, 11:39 PM
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pcb - Thanks that is some great information! Also TNX for the katakana translation. I wonder if Nagasawas might have built the frames for SR? I know SR bikes were made in Japan, but there is so little reliable information about the company, except that they produced both the Windsor (Mexico built) and SR (Japan built) bikes. And they were not related to the SR (Sakae-Ringyo) company of Japan!
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Old 11-23-15, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Don Buska View Post
Well as a showcase or groupset display model this would sure be a fun project to try and replicate sometime. I'll need to keep on the lookout for a 54cm frame to build into a reproduction. For sure it would have to be equipped with the Suntour Superbe drop-outs which makes it a rather rare high end Japanese road bike from the late 70's or early 80's. A Fuji Professional would be a great candidate, but finding one would be next to impossible. My current 1980 SR looks a great deal like the one in the top photo and is currently setup with a 1980 Superbe Pro (RD-3100) rear derailleur and side-pull brakes. However, all the other components are high-end SR.

Wilfred I see they do sell the reproduction "Superbe" down tube decals for Raleigh restorations. Albeit, it doesn't look like the decal on those pictured above it still would be a possibility to use if I ever try and reproduce one of these Suntour bikes.

Anyone out there that has a 54cm frame with Suntour Superbe dropouts I'd be interested!

I had the privilage of working at the Fuji shop/dealership in 1977, the year Superbe showed up on the Pros. (They didn't pay me enough to buy one so I rode last year's Pro - my cost $450.) Those Superbe bikes were gorgeous! The whole bike.

Ben
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