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Suntour Power Shifter vrs. Superbe down tube shifter?

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Suntour Power Shifter vrs. Superbe down tube shifter?

Old 03-07-18, 09:18 AM
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Suntour Power Shifter vrs. Superbe down tube shifter?

How does the Suntour Sprint LD-4859 down tube shifter compare with the Suntour Superbe friction down tube shifter?

I have a set of Suntour Barcons on my Cresta touring bike, something I had never tried and now kick myself for not trying back in the day. I really like the positive feel of these shifters and from what I can tell the Suntour Sprint is the same mechanism and should have a similar feel. But everyone seems to point to the the Suntour Superbe friction shifter as the best shifter that Suntour made, but I have not tried them.

However they do look similar in operating principles to my Campagnolo Nuovo Record shifters and those had a hard time pulling a chain ring on a long steady hill without slipping to a smaller chain ring and crushing cadence and moment. I solved this when I replaced the right shift lever with a Simplex Retrofriction shifter and suddenly all shifts stayed in place and did not slip into another gear. (and no not picking a Campagnolo/Suntour fight, I do like and ride both, just sharing my experience and cure)

In my current rebuild I am going to run a large 34T rear chain ring and this with its 28T brother will be used on hills which is the last place you want a shifter to slip and kill your cadence and momentum. They are both lovely shifters and will fit into my Suntour rebuild components, but which will best keep a gear in place until you choose to move it?

Thanks for you experience and advice.
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Old 03-07-18, 09:57 AM
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Being a Suntour fan I would opt for any of the Power Control Friction shifter versions offered over the straight Suntour frictions, even the earlier Superbe's. Note besides the Sprint version you mention (LD-4850), there is also the Superbe Pro Power Control Friction model SL-SB00-B which is their last fully friction set in the Superbe Pro lineup. I use the later on my 1980 Fuji Newest. That last generation Superbe Pro doesn't show up to often though, since it came out along with their Accushift componentry.
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Old 03-07-18, 10:22 AM
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Thanks Don Buska, I didn't know about the option of a Superbe Pro Power Control Friction model. That's great news and I will start looking as I have time, frame/fork is just getting into the cue for repaint, new decals and clear coat so wish me luck over the next couple months. I had wondered if there was such a shifter, but now I know, which is what's so great about this forum. Thanks again.
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Old 03-07-18, 12:17 PM
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I look forward to your final results. Those Barcons are great too, considering they came out with them in the early 70's. My 1980 SR 10-Speed has only two original components on it today, one is the frame and the second are the Suntour Barcons! They have never let me down.
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Old 03-07-18, 03:10 PM
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P1060720.JPG

P1060721.JPG

Eureka, NOS, shifters checked off the rebuild list. Now waiting for the frame and fork to return from the painter.
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Old 03-07-18, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Eureka, NOS, shifters checked off the rebuild list. Now waiting for the frame and fork to return from the painter.
WOW that was a FAST FIND! Great job.
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Old 03-07-18, 11:47 PM
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They will be part of my Erba Hagiwara rebuild, I'll post in a month of two.
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Old 03-08-18, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by since6 View Post
Attachment 602484

Attachment 602485

Eureka, NOS, shifters checked off the rebuild list. Now waiting for the frame and fork to return from the painter.
Sweet!

I never knew of the Superbe Pro shifters like that.

So- just the Sprint shifters with Superbe Pro level finishing?

I often see the "New Superbe Pro" shifters- those are just the regular 'pure friction' shifters- and I know they were that style to 1984- if not later. The ratcheting Sprint shifters (I believe) came out in 85. That's that final version of the super smooth ratcheting action that's much more fine than the old "Power" shifters- that was used on the left Command Shifters and copied for the Rivendell Silver shifters. I've never seen them badged as Superbe Pro- they're really pretty- I love the twisty shape of the regular Accushift/Power Superbe Pro shifters- if they made that shape with that action... that's a win!!
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Old 03-08-18, 08:51 AM
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Thanks Goldenboy they are surprising in that they aren't hefty like some of the other ratchet styles made by Suntour, you have to take them apart to find that they are more than just a friction shifter.

Truth, I had them already but thought they were simply a very nice friction shifter until Don Buska pointed out there was a ratchet based Superbe Pro and gave the model no. above. It took me two looks before I discovered during disassembly the difference, thus how quickly they were found!

Always easier to find what you already have.
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Old 03-08-18, 06:59 PM
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hoping to stay on topic......
can anyone tell me which model these are?





I've had these for a long time, and suspect that I bought them from Rivendell in their early days. The fine ratchet is good enough for 7 speed cassettes, but I tend to prefer plain friction levers when I've used an 8 speed cassette on the same bike.


Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-09-18, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
hoping to stay on topic......
can anyone tell me which model these are?

Steve in Peoria
Identical to a set I've got, which were pulled from an '86 Nishiki equipped with Sprint derailleurs (and Cyclone everything else). So my money says Sprint. But I'm usually wrong.
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Old 03-10-18, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
hoping to stay on topic......
can anyone tell me which model these are?

I've had these for a long time, and suspect that I bought them from Rivendell in their early days. The fine ratchet is good enough for 7 speed cassettes, but I tend to prefer plain friction levers when I've used an 8 speed cassette on the same bike.


Steve in Peoria
LD-4800/LD-4850 as metioned above they were sold with the Sprint Group-set.

See this page of the 1987 Dealer Part catalog.
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Old 03-10-18, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Don Buska View Post
LD-4800/LD-4850 as metioned above they were sold with the Sprint Group-set.

See this page of the 1987 Dealer Part catalog.
Looking through the catalog, it's remarkable to see the variety of shift levers being produced! Of course, it was the era where friction and indexed systems were both being sold, so that complicates things a bit. Add in the option to use clamp-on levers, and that adds to the product variety.
I will give credit to SunTour for using blue on their Blue Line products! Very easy to identify!


Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-10-18, 01:14 PM
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that is what Riv bike got reproduced, as their 'silver shifters'
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Old 03-10-18, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Don Buska View Post
LD-4800/LD-4850 as metioned above they were sold with the Sprint Group-set.

See this page of the 1987 Dealer Part catalog.
Somethings not quite right here, the 87 catalogue should have the Sprint 9000 group which had Power/Index/Ultra settings(?) and looked like this. Maybe it was added later in the year? edit...can someone define the settings on this unit, ie UL P RE


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Old 03-10-18, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Somethings not quite right here, the 87 catalogue should have the Sprint 9000 group which had Power/Index/Ultra settings and looked like this. Maybe it was added later in the year?
Nothing wrong. That year had both the Sprint 7000 Series (Friction) and the 9000 Series (Index) . The same 87 Dealer Catalog has both if you go toward the front of that document. The 9000 Series Index downtube shifter was shared between the Superbe Pro and Sprint line as the SL-IP00 model and is the one you are showing in the picture.

People often pass up the Sprint 9000 rear derailleurs, but they are indeed as fine a specimen as the Superbe Pro RD-SB00 model. I actually like the looks of the Sprint 9000 RD better than the Superbe Pro. Reminds me of the Shimano 7400 series Dura Ace STS units from that same time frame.

Side Note: Both the Superbe Pro and Sprint 9000 derailleurs from 87 used sealed bearing pulleys - the only Suntour models to do so!

Side Side Note: The SL-IP00 stands for Shift Lever-Indexed Powered which means they did both Accushift index shifting and Power (Ratcheted) Friction shifting in one unit (selectable on side).

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Old 03-10-18, 03:27 PM
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Clear as mud but I get it. If you wanted indexing with the Superbe or Sprint gears you required the SL-IP00. Quite the flowcharts, you can see Suntour trying hard to make sense of things. Meanwhile Shimano was cranking out the SIS models and moving fast into multiple 6 and 7 speed groups for all price points. The end was near. Thanks for this.

Originally Posted by Don Buska View Post
People often pass up the Sprint 9000 rear derailleurs, but they are indeed as fine a specimen as the Superbe Pro RD-SB00 model. I actually like the looks of the Sprint 9000 RD better than the Superbe Pro. Reminds me of the Shimano 7400 series Dura Ace STS units from that same time frame.
Me too, the 9000 is my fave. I'm saving one for a rainy day.

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Old 03-10-18, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Clear as mud but I get it. If you wanted indexing with the Superbe or Sprint gears you required the SL-IP00. Quite the flowcharts, you can see Suntour trying hard to make sense of things. Meanwhile Shimano was cranking out the SIS models and moving fast into multiple 6 and 7 speed groups for all price points. The end was near. Thanks for this.



Me too, the 9000 is my fave. I'm saving one for a rainy day.
Once Suntour got the Accushift PLUS going it was all rather good stuff, but as you said by the early 90's it was too late. The earlier 'Alpha' stuff left a bad taste behind The Cyclone line disappeared, Sprint got renamed the SL and all the additions of the MTB line stuff. Thankfully the Superbe Pro RD-SB00 stayed until the very end of Suntour and did work very well with the Accushift Plus stuff all the way through 8 rear sprockets. So it was indeed a solid derailleur going from 1987 through 1994. I have one running now on my 86 Fuji 'Sekei Series' with 7-speed rear indexing (12-24). Works like a top
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Old 03-12-18, 12:07 AM
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Yep, Suntour also had the XC 9000 parts, for MTBs. Disraeli Gears said they were of equal quality as Superbe Pro, just "beefed up" a little, for off road use. I have the (long cage) rear derailleur, and will be using it to replace the cheaper-built X-1, that came on my 1991 Cannondale. 😎
FYI, I wasn't familiar with the X-1 parts at all, before, so researched them recently. They're of "decent" quality, but with steel pulley cages, so definitely NOT in the same league as anything with 9000 in their name. 😉
Also, the X-1 bits were available with plastic neon-colored cover plates, often lost, but obviously geared towards those weird '80s & '90s paint jobs we either love or hate. 😁
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Old 03-12-18, 10:42 PM
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The markings on the Sprint 9000 shifter are: UL = ultra = 7 speed indexed. RE = regular = 6 speed indexed. P = Suntour's "power" = friction.

I've run mine in all 3 settings over the years since they were new. They work splendidly.

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