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Choice between Shimano 105 & Suntour Superbe Pro for front triple

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Choice between Shimano 105 & Suntour Superbe Pro for front triple

Old 12-12-11, 07:31 PM
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Choice between Shimano 105 & Suntour Superbe Pro for front triple

Hello esteemed C&Vers,

I just upgraded my Versailles, which is my commuting workhorse, to a triple front crankset, and took it for a test commute today, 11 mi round trip. Everything is functioning well, but the 105 FD is at its limit for lateral range. To get the top ring, I have to move the lever almost 180 deg from the bottom ring position. The cable is taut at the min position, by the way, and the FD bottom adjuster is backed out to where it needs to be. Like I said, it functions, but it would be nice to have less throw to get the range than that. So,... I happen to have an 80's vintage Superbe Pro in my parts bin. Does anyone know if that would make an improvement. I'm perfectly willing to try it out on spec, but I'd prefer to have a hypothesis of the outcome beforehand.
Here are pics of the complete bike, latest drivetrain (36-49-52/13-15-17-19-22-26, for those who care), and FDs in question.

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Old 12-12-11, 08:57 PM
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I'll certainly be interested in other responses, too. I am also hunting for an excellent performing FD for a triple crankset.

That said, it appears that your FD is waaay too high, forcing it to work harder to engage the chain on the upper ring. I suspect if you bring it down to Sheldon spec distance it might perform much better. IMHO, only.

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Old 12-12-11, 09:08 PM
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A shorter bottom bracket spindle would help that and a bunch of other issues. And yep, it should be as close to the big chainring as possible, or about an eighth inch give or take.,,,,BD
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Old 12-12-11, 09:41 PM
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+1 Need to lower that FD quite a bit.
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Old 12-13-11, 12:49 AM
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You should try using a reverse pull fd, or whatever its called. I have a Suntour SL fd on one of my other bikes and the entire time I was touring this summer I wish I had found one for my touring bike.
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Old 12-13-11, 09:30 AM
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I seriously doubt the Superbe Pro will improve the situation by ant substantial amount. IThe Superbe Pro is a racing derailleur designed for dual chainrings and as such would probably also require a much larger lever throw for the extra chainring. Based on your description, the 105 has just enough range. Your concern is related to the amount of cable travel required. Due to the relatively small drum on the lever, the lever has to travel through a very wide arc to pull the necessary amount of cable for the extra chainring. As the the diameter of the drum increases, the lever will require progressively less travel to pull the same amount of cable. Basically, you need a shift lever with a larger drum, or a derailleur designed for a greater ratio of travel to cable pull.
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Old 12-13-11, 09:41 AM
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+100 Um your front derailleur is WAY too high 2mm to 4mm
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Old 12-13-11, 09:42 AM
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Can we see a picture of the FD and chainring from the front? This will tell a lot
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Old 12-13-11, 09:52 AM
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Not sure how well it would work, but if you run the cable to the bottom side of the bolt you will effectively shorten the upper lever arm, thus shortening the length the cable needs to move to throw the full range of motion. Depending on your shifter setup however, this may not put the stops in the right places, but worth an try. (also, if you're not careful about tightening down the cable fixing bolt, the cable could potentially come free of the bolt easier)
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Old 12-13-11, 05:55 PM
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Excellent points, everyone. Thanks!
Honestly, I've never touched the mounting location of the FD and never gave it any thought until now. I will certainly try lowering it to the recommended clearance to the big chainring... I bet I know why it's high like that: the Versailles orignally came with a Biopace 52-42 crankset! Never gave any thought to lowering the FD when I switched to round chainrings.
I also like cuda2k's idea about the cable lever arm. That's definitely worth a shot.
And I'm glad for T-Mar's thoughts on the 105 vs Superbe Pro. I've been gradually upgrading the components from Exage to 105, so I'd just as soon keep the 105 FD (which is actually original, AFAIK) for a more consistent gruppo.

Weather is closing in for a couple of days; Friday looks like the next viable commute day, so between now and then, I'll try those adjustments and get some before and after pics, then hopefully go for a ride on Friday.

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 12-14-11, 08:52 PM
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so, here's the deal

I tried both suggested mods (moving cable to shorter lever arm side of FD cable pull, & moving FD lower on frame), but neither one was workable.
The FD is clearly designed to have the cable attach at the top of the cable pull attachment, in a groove provided for the purpose. When I attempted to run it underneath, tightening the fastener caused the cable to walk out of the clamping region and lose tension at the same time. With a very determined efford, it might be manageable, but I did not want to set myself up for a nigh-impossible repair or adjustment on the road, should that come to pass.
Moving the FD down on the frame seemed like a pretty plausible step. However (and this may be an artifact of my specific chainring combo), the FD & chain were not happy trying to shift from the inner (36T) to the middle (49T) with the FD mounted any lower than the original position. With the FD any lower, instead of moving the chain to catch the teeth of the middle ring, it just jammed it into the side of the chainring.
So anyway, I've optimized the adjustment of the cable with the FD in its original position, and I'll give it a try on Friday. Like I said in the OP, it is already a working concept, I'm just trying to fine tune it now.
Thanks everyone for the observations and creative suggestions.
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Old 12-14-11, 10:04 PM
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Also that suntour FD is build for the band style clamp, which looks like junk, IMHO, and I am not a fan of the way it fastens. I had one, but swapped it out first chance I got. The band will develop a crack if you take it on and off a few times, which may or may not be a problem.
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Old 12-15-11, 10:30 PM
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You can order a Shimano Tiagra triple FD for a 28.6 for about $40-$45. It would solve a lot of your issues, and work at the proper height.,,,,BD

In other words, neither one of those derailleurs is up to shifting that much of a gear difference.
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Old 12-15-11, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued
You can order a Shimano Tiagra triple FD for a 28.6 for about $40-$45. It would solve a lot of your issues, and work at the proper height.,,,,BD

In other words, neither one of those derailleurs is up to shifting that much of a gear difference.
+1...under appreciated and very universal.
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Old 12-16-11, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bikedued
You can order a Shimano Tiagra triple FD for a 28.6 for about $40-$45. It would solve a lot of your issues, and work at the proper height.,,,,BD

In other words, neither one of those derailleurs is up to shifting that much of a gear difference.
This, or look for a used Deore XT or something similar from the late 90's that is 28.6 and a bottom pull setup.
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Old 12-16-11, 02:45 PM
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(this post no longer relevant....)

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Old 12-19-11, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by old's'cool
With the FD any lower, instead of moving the chain to catch the teeth of the middle ring, it just jammed it into the side of the chainring.
I suspected that might happen so how about a picture from the front looking at the FD chain and RDin the middle gear middle Chainring...
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Old 12-19-11, 09:15 PM
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I appreciate all the new input. I remind everyone of the OP title, "choice between...", and the statement that what I have is working already.
I haven't had a chance to test the 105 with the adjustment optimized yet, maybe by the weekend.
I can see a feature of the 105 design that is not optimized for my configuration which is the way the cage moves forward as it moves outward. That probably is why it wants to jam the chain against the chainring instead of letting it catch the teeth, on a biggish jump (e.g. 36-49), when positioned too low.

If I decide to shell out for a replacement FD as a final solution, it will have to be or at least look period correct for my 89 Versailles, and fit in with low to mid range Shimanegolomania components of that vintage. So, in that light, any new or revised recommendations?
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Old 12-25-11, 04:41 PM
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Just for laughs I fitted up the Superbe Pro FD, and as T-Mar predicted, it actually has less range than the 105. I test rode the 105 again, and while it is able to make the shift to the top ring, it is not ideal - I really have to throw the lever hard all the way down, and back off pedalling effort, to avoid chain skate. I suppose the closeness of the 49 & 52 rings is a contributing factor. The 105 top adjustment is maxed out; I think an FD with a little more range would allow adjustment to make the shift more positive.
So, what is a period correct (i.e. late 80s early 90s) triple capable Shimano FD?
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Old 12-25-11, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by kc0yef
I suspected that might happen so how about a picture from the front looking at the FD chain and RDin the middle gear middle Chainring...
I took a bunch of pics before & after lowering the FD, but since I moved it back to its original height at the end, I deleted all the pics from my camera, before I saw your question. Next time I'm looking at it, I'll get that pic for you.
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Old 12-26-11, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by old's'cool
I remind everyone of the OP title, "choice between...", and the statement that what I have is working already. So, in that light, any new or revised recommendations?
Originally Posted by old's'cool
Like I said, it functions, but it would be nice to have less throw to get the range than that. So,... I happen to have an 80's vintage Superbe Pro in my parts bin. Does anyone know if that would make an improvement. I'm perfectly willing to try it out on spec, but I'd prefer to have a hypothesis of the outcome beforehand.
OK so I am going to see if I can replicate this on another project what is the part number on your 105 Front derailleur ?
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Old 12-26-11, 06:32 PM
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Looks like FD-1050. AFAIK, it is original to my '89 Peugeot Versailles. Let me know if I can provide any more information.
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Old 12-26-11, 09:33 PM
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I am coming in late on this thread, but I have a few opinions. I think the shifting from the 3rd to second chainring would be much smoother if the jump wasn't so big. 36-46 would work more easily. Also, check out velobase.com to get info on what models would work for your year. You can search shimano front derailleurs, and then look at what was made those years. There may also be some more info about whether they work with triples. It is a great site. I have a 105 on my 2007 specialized Roubaix Triple and it shifts great. It looks similar to yours and can be ordered to fit your seatpost.

[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/71298312@N04/6579144467/]
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Old 12-27-11, 07:18 PM
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Casey Jones, thanks for the thoughtful & detailed response. The only shifting problem I'm experiencing is from the middle to the top ring, and the issue is instead of shifting cleanly, sometimes the chain skates between the two rings. I have the 105 at the upper adjustment limit (as well as lower), and I think if I had a derailleur with a little more reach, it would make the shift a little more positive.
I will look into your suggestions and post back.
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Old 12-28-11, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by kc0yef
I suspected that might happen so how about a picture from the front looking at the FD chain and RDin the middle gear middle Chainring...


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Last edited by old's'cool; 12-29-11 at 08:09 AM. Reason: syntax
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