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Vintage low-end der shoot-out...

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Vintage low-end der shoot-out...

Old 05-29-19, 03:32 PM
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Vintage low-end der shoot-out...

Okay, as some of you know, I'm building a touring/rough roads bike from an old '67 Japanese frame. I know it's not valuable and that is fine, I enjoy the whole rebuilding/project aspect. Anyway, I'm going to be shooting for lower gearing while keeping the weight somewhat in control, but again, durability and rough-road capability trump weight for this build. I have a 1st gen Shimano Lark (black) and a 1st gen Suntour GT I'm considering. I've been to the disraeligears site and understand his take, but looking for opinions. I should note, I'm leaning toward using a low range 32t which I get might be asking too much of the Lark which is listed at 28T but I reckon I might get it to work anyway. I'm leaning toward the heavier GT just as I have experience with them but am interested in the collected wisdom/experience here. If it helps I plan on using a Sugino crank I had lying around from cyclocross days with a 34/50T. I know that is pretty low, but I'm thinking of possibly even pulling a trailer with this bike on fire roads.
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Old 05-29-19, 03:55 PM
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Any Suntour over pre 1985 Shimano stuff.

I'd go shopping for a V-GT Luxe. Really, one of the all time great derailleurs- and it was inexpensive enough to be considered "low end" even though it was a complete stud, not only for its time- but a completely all around good, high performance RD.
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Old 05-29-19, 04:45 PM
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While I like SunTour as much as the next guy - and the V-GT really is an excellent piece of kit - I also like the earlier Shimano derailleurs. I'm not familiar with the Lark, but have experience with quite a few that were introduced in the seventies: Crane, Titlist, Altus, and 600. They all work well to very well. Especially the Altus, with its Centeron mechanism, impressed me.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:33 PM
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+1 on the Suntour stuff and also I find Disraeli Gears site helpful in figuring out max cog for a particular Vintage derailleur, it helped me figure out that the Suntour cyclone MK-II GT RD could handle a Shimano Mega Range 6 speed FW on a recent build.

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Old 05-30-19, 05:22 AM
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+1 on the Suntour stuff.
Virtually bombproof
Inexpensive to find if you have a co-op near you.
If you don't have a Co-op near you PM me and I will hook you up for the cost of postage.
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Old 05-30-19, 05:47 AM
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I'll be the one to go against the tide and say use the Lark. Yeah the later Suntour derailleurs are better designed, but the Lark fits better with a 60s bike and is a unique piece of kit, even if low end. Might be a little more fumbly shifting but worth a shot.

If you don't end up going with the Lark, I'd think about buying it from you as I have a 60s bike it might work on.

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Old 05-30-19, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Any Suntour over pre 1985 Shimano stuff.

I'd go shopping for a V-GT Luxe. Really, one of the all time great derailleurs- and it was inexpensive enough to be considered "low end" even though it was a complete stud, not only for its time- but a completely all around good, high performance RD.
Yeah, what he said.
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Old 05-30-19, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
While I like SunTour as much as the next guy - and the V-GT really is an excellent piece of kit - I also like the earlier Shimano derailleurs. I'm not familiar with the Lark, but have experience with quite a few that were introduced in the seventies: Crane, Titlist, Altus, and 600. They all work well to very well. Especially the Altus, with its Centeron mechanism, impressed me.
My experience is with the 600 6207 models. I think they shift very poorly.
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Old 05-30-19, 07:00 AM
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@Weresquatch, as long as the unit you choose is in good condition, and has the right tooth capacity, you should be fine.

Derailleur discussions are interesting from my perspective because I haven't had very many bad experiences with them, and I've used lots of them. Many units that have been maligned for one reason or another have proved functional in my experiences.

I run a Suntour Honor on my UO-8 and it moves the chain just fine. No complaints.

There was a Shimano Eagle II that I ran on a 1x5 Schwinn Varsity, and I liked it a lot. Move the lever = move the chain.

One thing I will say about durability, which may or may not be an issue for many, is that I have had failure of Shimano plastic pivot spring housings seen on Titlist, Altus, and many others. They can crack and crumble unexpectedly.
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Old 05-30-19, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Any Suntour over pre 1985 Shimano stuff.

I'd go shopping for a V-GT Luxe.
The nice thing about SunTour derailleurs is that they all perform pretty much the same, and that performance is uniformly excellent. The fancier models will be lighter and better finished, but don't perform better than the lower models. If weight isn't an issue, the steel V-GT or Honor models are also widely available and likely cost less than the aluminum V-GT Luxe.
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Old 05-30-19, 07:49 AM
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back in the '80s when we replaced the Huret Allvits on Schwinn Varsitys, the derailleur of choice was always a Shimano Eagle. The low-end Suntour was enough more that people didn't want to spend that much. But I would definitely take a Suntour GT over those things. The pivots on the Suntours did get sloppy after a while, but it didn't seem to affect shifting that much.
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Old 05-30-19, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Any Suntour over pre 1985 Shimano stuff.

I'd go shopping for a V-GT Luxe. Really, one of the all time great derailleurs- and it was inexpensive enough to be considered "low end" even though it was a complete stud, not only for its time- but a completely all around good, high performance RD.
Suntour Vx-GT is almost the same, just a little lighter and nicer finish. They can also be had for ~$25. Or a Vx-S with a mid-cage design.
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Old 05-30-19, 10:40 AM
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Thanks for all the input. I have to clean up the GT and Lark but they both seem to be in good working order. The frame I'm using DID come with the Lark but I think I'm going with the GT just for the better wrapping ability. TenGrain....send me a DM if you want the Lark (I might even make it all spiffy for you before I ship it).
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Old 05-30-19, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Any Suntour over pre 1985 Shimano stuff.

I'd go shopping for a V-GT Luxe. Really, one of the all time great derailleurs- and it was inexpensive enough to be considered "low end" even though it was a complete stud, not only for its time- but a completely all around good, high performance RD.
Seconded. The SunTour V-GT Luxe is the best vintage wide range derailleur ever made. Outshifted Campagnolo Rally, Huret Duopars, when new, and aged better than those options. Even nice enough to install on high end touring bikes of the era.
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Old 05-30-19, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Weresquatch View Post
Okay, as some of you know, I'm building a touring/rough roads bike from an old '67 Japanese frame.
Got a thread started with pics for the build? Sounds interesting.
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Old 05-30-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
Got a thread started with pics for the build? Sounds interesting.
I can do that if there is some interest....there are some pictures in a thread of what we believe to be a '67 Kenko (pre '69 merger that produced Zebrakenko) that had some peculiar gearing (48/40) and a tall head tube for the time that makes me think it was maybe one of the "camping" or rando editions. When I was cleaning it though, I found a bent steering tube....dumb. I was going to use a '70 Jupiter Beat frame I picked up at the same time instead, but the geometry of the Kenko is just better for what I want to do.
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Old 05-30-19, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Weresquatch View Post
I can do that if there is some interest....there are some pictures in a thread of what we believe to be a '67 Kenko (pre '69 merger that produced Zebrakenko) that had some peculiar gearing (48/40) and a tall head tube for the time that makes me think it was maybe one of the "camping" or rando editions. When I was cleaning it though, I found a bent steering tube....dumb. I was going to use a '70 Jupiter Beat frame I picked up at the same time instead, but the geometry of the Kenko is just better for what I want to do.
Yes, please. I suspect I'm not the only one who would find both of those bikes interesting.
I found this thread you started... is that where you posted pics before?
Looks like a great place to start!
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Old 05-30-19, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudson308 View Post
Yes, please. I suspect I'm not the only one who would find both of those bikes interesting.
I found this thread you started... is that where you posted pics before?
Looks like a great place to start!
Most the pics of the Kenko are here:
Interesting catalog from 1968- touring bikes, road bikes, jr road bikes, city bikes

If I start the thread I'll post pics of the old Jupiter too...they're both low-zoot steel, but it'll be fun.
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Old 05-30-19, 02:13 PM
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Why not try more than one? They're easy to swap.

I hated the Lark and Eagle back in the day, but only because I was a snob. Now I'm a reverse snob, and I'm amazed at how well they work. Some of them even have built-in bash guards.
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Old 05-30-19, 04:04 PM
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The basic shop replacement derails that we stocked back when in bulk were ST Honor and V-GT Luxe, with a ST Perfect FW and Union chain they were the affordable upgrade and fix all in one.
It was many a Simplex that was binned and replaced w/ ST for happy and frugal customers.

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Old 05-30-19, 07:28 PM
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I’m a Frank Berto guy and the Vx Luxe GT is the winner. I keep a drawer full of these in preparation of the Zombie apocalypse. OK kidding on the zombies but not on the drawer full.

When the Suntour patent ran out, everyone copied it. Kind of tells you how good the design was.

Had you bought that bike new in 1967, it would not have been surprising if in 1973 you would have considered upgrading the RD, and the V GT Luxe would have been a fine choice, and not very expensive either.

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Old 05-30-19, 09:39 PM
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I just came upon a Vx derailleur. Anyone want it?
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Old 05-31-19, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I just came upon a Vx derailleur. Anyone want it?
Why, yes. Yes, I would.
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Old 05-31-19, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Weresquatch View Post
Why, yes. Yes, I would.
OK. It's a medium-length cage. Try it. It might work. Send me an email to tom@noglider.com
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Old 05-31-19, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
OK. It's a medium-length cage. Try it. It might work. Send me an email to tom@noglider.com
Email away....
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