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A Match Made in Heaven...

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A Match Made in Heaven...

Old 06-13-12, 10:58 PM
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A Match Made in Heaven...

It is a case of something old meeting something new and discovering that the May December romance between my beloved old Suntour bar cons and the modern SRAM X series derailleurs is one that has to be experienced first hand.

I love my vintage bicycles and have a particular fondness for vintage Suntour derailleurs, they are rugged and beautiful and just keep going year after year and mile after mile but they do have limits.

My separable touring bicycle runs a 53/48/40 with a 12-32 Suntour Ultra 7 freewheel that I built up and the SRAM X7 handles this rather massive capacity without skipping a beat and besides this... the shifting is smooth, quick, and precise because of the SRAM's excellent geometry and light action.

That, and the cable routing on the X series keeps the cable low and away from any pannier hooks... it was designed as an mtb derailleur so this is also beneficial to keep one from snagging the rear derailleur cable.



Today I refitted my Cascade Expedition bike by rebuilding the 6 speed Uniglide with new cogs and converted my 28/34/48 to a 48/52 half step with a 28 tooth granny. The Suntour Cyclone I had fitted could manage the range although the SRAM X5 I installed does just what the X7 does on my folder and that is shift with a lightness and precision that is awe inspiring and also handles a capacity range of 40 with room to spare.



Even one is not a fan of half step gearing, if you like friction shifters like Barcons it might be worth it to look at the X series derailleur as it was like these two components were made for each other.
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Old 06-14-12, 08:36 AM
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shall keep them in mind sir for one day when a derailleur change is needed, thanks. Its good to get real world reports from someone who knows derailleurs and can describe the shifting feeling.

As for half-steps, I guess they were/are a big help with 6 speed stuff in keeping the jumps even and closer together. I've never ridden with half-steps, but can see why they arent used anymore because of the 9 and now 10s that are common. I personally appreciate less "backing and forthing" but understand how well half step works for a given gearing set.
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Old 06-14-12, 09:17 AM
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My Cyclo-camping rig got a Campag Euclid MTB RD..
was a closeout 20+ years back
when Campagnolo Surrendered the marketplace segment
for Mountain bike components, To Shimano, etc.

SunTour Bar end shifters.. worked fine.. still do..
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Old 06-14-12, 09:20 AM
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Its good to know that someone else likes this kind of settup. I also run half step on a couple of my bikes, and will keep this in mind. So far, I have it on my Centurion and my Team Fuji. Both bikes used for radicaly different things.

My go fast century bike, with the original Sprint front derailer. It is sort of a pain on the upshifts, but as I only use the inner ring on this bike for severe hills, injury, or total exhuastion. To get from the inner ring to the middle it really just takes a downhill with no pressure on the chain. I have had one guy make fun of the crank on a big group ride. At the first really big hill, I stayed in the seat, shifted into the 28tooth little ring and about the 28 cog in the back and spun right past him on his compact double crank. He has never made fun since.

The other bike has the suntours bar ends as well( I have them on about four bikes). I use it for light rackless touring. On this bike I am running a shimano Deer Head made for half step gearing.

Its perfect, can shift under a load, and as I am running a 11-28 six speed in the back I use it as it was intended, for the most part. The rear is a shimano light action I put a long cage on, it works well, though to be honest I am really only running it because it looks good on the bike.

My deal is that I spend very little on my bikes. Everything exept tires, cables, pads, and the like is salvage, yard sale deals, or just really cheap. That is actualy the fun for me.
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Old 06-14-12, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
shall keep them in mind sir for one day when a derailleur change is needed, thanks. Its good to get real world reports from someone who knows derailleurs and can describe the shifting feeling.

As for half-steps, I guess they were/are a big help with 6 speed stuff in keeping the jumps even and closer together. I've never ridden with half-steps, but can see why they arent used anymore because of the 9 and now 10s that are common. I personally appreciate less "backing and forthing" but understand how well half step works for a given gearing set.
Can't say how much I like this combination... have mated Barcons to many types of derailleurs and they work really well with modern long cage designs but the pairing with the X series is by far the best I have ever used. I put 5000 km on my folder last year and much of that was while I was using the X7 and it was flawless.

On half steps...

The Cascade and P20 both have 126mm spacing which has the benefit of a narrower hub and less dish in the wheel... I have plans to build a new wheel set for the Cascade with some Arvon hubs and will build a 7 speed Ultra for this as it allows me to really fine tune the gearing set ups.

Being able to get your primary cruising gear by using a bigger chain wheel and larger cog also reduces load and stress on the drivetrain and makes things that much smoother.

The XT / Araya wheels on the Cascade are beautiful and are pretty close to what it came with originally so I am in no great hurry... my ;last set of these wheels lasted 25,000 km.

I really like half step gearing and my Garlatti road bicycle has a 49/52 Stronglight crank with a widely stepped 14-32 5 speed block... there is no gear duplication and the range is perfect for what it does and I can run in the 52/32 with a Suntour VXs as the capacity is well below the derailleur's limit.



There is also nothing wrong with running a compact mtb triple with a modern 9 speed set up as then you get excellent range and smaller steps across the back as you can take advantage of having a smaller granny and a closely stepped cassette.
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Old 06-14-12, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
Being able to get your primary cruising gear by using a bigger chain wheel and larger cog also reduces load and stress on the drivetrain and makes things that much smoother.
thats what neat with this forum, its fun to see diff bikes and hear first hand of how certain doo-dads work. The line I quoted here touches on the one thing I dont like as much with my 8 speed 42/32/22 and 11-28 on my old rockhopper. It seems to me instinctively that its not the best to be in the 11 and 12 that much, it doesnt seem "smooth" and I swear I can feel the chain being bunched up or whatever you want to call it , going around such a small cog. It certainly doesnt feel as smooth as with larger cogs thats for sure.

anyway, interesting read of your comments 65.
cheers, David
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Old 06-22-12, 08:58 PM
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Interesting, I recall trying to hook a friction thumb shifter up to an older SRAM X derailleur and it didn't work at all, the cable pull was way off and it was pretty much unusable. Is this a 9 or 10spd derailleur?
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Old 06-23-12, 07:02 AM
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Keith,
are you you using your barcons in indexed or friction mode?
I ask because I recently disassembled my 7-sp indexing Command shifters to disable the indexing. The 'upgrade' has been a success, I think, but I kinda had the feeling I was fixing something that wasn't broken. Perhaps it was the derailleur I should have changed? (Cyclone Mk-II GT)
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Old 06-23-12, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
Keith,
are you you using your barcons in indexed or friction mode?
I ask because I recently disassembled my 7-sp indexing Command shifters to disable the indexing. The 'upgrade' has been a success, I think, but I kinda had the feeling I was fixing something that wasn't broken. Perhaps it was the derailleur I should have changed? (Cyclone Mk-II GT)
These are friction only... do not think one would have success using Suntour indexed shifters (or Shimano for that matter) with a SRAM because of the different actuation.
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