Suntour Derailleurs

Superbe Tech:

Probably Suntour’s most innovative and beautiful derailleur – and the company’s first glorious failure. The 1983 Tech has a completely enclosed linkage instead of the open parallelogram other mechs use. The cable routing was clever too – straight along the chainstay with no loops of cable.
That clever linkage would be the downfall, though – it wore and broke very quickly, and was very difficult to fix – so the Tech only lasted for a year.

Superbe Tech


The second glorious failure 😉 Also from 1983, the Mountech was the world’s first derailleur specifically designed for off-road use. The cage has two pivots – one in the normal place, under the right-hand bolt in the top pic. The other is built into the top jockey wheel. Both are spring-loaded (unlike the Huret Duopar), and the effect is to give the Mountech a massive capacity.
Again, though, durability was the problem – the seals around the top pulley and pivot were not up to off-road use, and the Mountech was withdrawn quickly.
One nerdy neat touch – the bolt through the hole in the parallelogram is the cable clamp – so the cable runs inside the parallelogram – elegant.


Superbe Pro:

This is the last incarnation of Suntour’s top racing mech, and the pinnacle of Suntour’s engineering. All aluminium, with the angled parallelogram that Suntour invented, hidden springs, sealed bearing jockeys, and incredibly smooth pivots.

When Maeda-Suntour became SR Suntour in 1995, the tooling was sold for scrap…

Superbe Pro

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Suntour BL – Basically a GT, with posh blue plastic inserts!

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Raleigh derailleurs made by Suntour

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Suntour Honor – early 1970s I think

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Suntour thumbshifters – the friction only operates one way, to compensate for the spring in the derailleur…

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Suntour AR – As used on the very first Specialized Stumpjumpers…

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A late plastic Suntour

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Suntour Cyclone – a beautiful little derailleur from 1975…

2 Replies to “Suntour Derailleurs”

  1. I have the Suntour Superbe Tech derailleur on a 1984 Trek 660 (I had the bike equipped with all Superbe components when I bought the bike frame and fork in 84), I’ve ridden the bike for over 160,000 miles, this derailleur never gave me a lick of problems! I just recently read on the internet another owner of the Tech that said he had no issues with it either, but prior to that site I haven’t known anyone to have owned this derailleur. I heard through cycling publications back in the late 80’s that they were problematic so I bought a backup Tech derailleur on closeout sale due to Suntour going bankrupt just in case my first one failed, that backup sets in my parts drawer new and unused. The reason I chose the Tech vs the Superbe Pro was due to the fact that the Tech could shift under load which I wanted due to riding in the mountains, and it does that quite well. I do keep my stuff clean and lubed so maybe that’s why it lasted so long? I don’t know, all I do know is mine has been bulletproof. I still ride that bike on a occasion to this day though I did buy a newer bike which I now ride mostly. Anyway I thought I would write about my experience with the Superbe Tech for whatever it’s worth.

    I also have the Suntour Mountech derailleur on my 1985 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe, this bike has about 12,000 miles on it, I’ve used it for touring, that derailleur so far has also been bulletproof as well, and also shifts extremely nice.

    I’ve read sites like this one before complaining about that derailleur, but all the sites are basically echoing what other sites have said with no real experience by any of them to relate the comments too.

  2. I have both the Suntour Superbe Tech and Mountech, both of those came on bikes I bought in the mid 80’s, the one with the Tech has over 160,000 miles on it, the Mountech has about 30,000 miles of touring and commuting on it, neither have ever failed or caused even the slightest malfunction except to adjust the Hi and LO screws on the occasion when I replace the cables. The Mountech has taken more dirt and rain abuse than the Tech has but the Tech has far greater miles.

    I’ve heard stories about problem with those two models, but I’ve never witnessed it, I even personally knew a guy who had about 50,000 on his Mountech with no issues, and ran into a third guy while touring that had around 70,000 miles on his Mountech with never a problem, I’ve talked to mechanics over the years about those derailleurs and told them about the problems I’ve read about and they all were puzzling because they never saw any problems with them. Granted, that’s only 3 people, including me, and the mechanics I don’t how many they saw, but those derailleurs are rare to find anyways on bikes today, but if that sampling is any indication I think problems with those two derailleurs were and are overstated.

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