Re: [CR] Campagnolo vs Suntour

Example: Production Builders:Cinelli
From: "robert perkins" <>
To: <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Campagnolo vs Suntour
Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 23:21:14 -0400

Thought I'd introduce myself. I'm 36, live in Chapel Hill, NC, got 7 bikes. My steel lugged bikes are odd- a Mannesmann (german) cromo straight gauge frame built up with 1980s everything. A beautiful Landshark 653 (unheattreated 853) that ain't built up yet.

Funny, all you guys who are 10-15 years older than me fell in love with Campy-equipped bikes. My first serious bike was a Suntour-cyclone equipped Tange #2-framed Kuwahara-built Nishiki that I spent all of my savings on, all of $360 bucks, in 1985. It was a nice lugged frame with a classic paintjob. The 6-speed derailleur shifted like a dream. A local bike shop owner sold me a Campy NR rear derailleur when the Cyclone got bent in an accident. It shifted like dog doo.

Don't get me wrong- I love the classic bikes, & really enjoyed the Cirque. But, I could never bring myself to buy stuff that just didn't work as well as those Cyclone derailleurs & cost 3 times as much. I remember looking at a regina freewheel for $80 bucks and thinking "this thing is that much better than a Winner pro?"

To me, Shimano perfected what Suntour started with the early 90's components that are robust as hell. The single pivot 105 calipers work great, & the 7 speed cassette hubs don't break axles, and the hyperglide cogs shift like a champ. Cassettes are a lot easier to swap than freewheels, and easy to maintain. Campy's early attempts at cassette hubs yielded an inferior 3-bearing design, and Syncro just sucked. Cogsets were limited to racer-gearing. Then they went on this loony-toon add-cogs-at-any-price binge. So, Campy never made sense, aside from the aesthetics of the old stuff.

The best cranks, to me, are cold-forged Japanese cranks like the Sugino and Ritchey designs. Low Q-factors, they don't break, and you can get any size of chainring you want for 110/74, especially for those of us who don't like the standard road setup.

The most interesting thing to me was to see the majority of the CR list mooning over their preserved, recreated, or restored first loves, which is pretty much lugged bikes from the 60s and 70s with Campy. Meanwhile, I am rejoicing over the Suntour thumbshifters I found on the swap table.

I was thinking about this while out in Silicon Valley on business last week. Some engineer abandoned, then gave his 1987 Nishiki International to me, so now I have a bike in California. Woo hoo! Tange #1 tubing, Suntour Cyclone 7000 components. I rode that puppy up Calavares Rd over to Sierra, then back through San Jose. The 14-year old brake blocks faded like they were made of wood, especially with the (admittedly really stupid idea) hard anodized rims. But, it shifted and rode nice, especially that superior-to-campy-until-the-slant-parallelogram-patent-expired rear derailleur.

Anyway, fun to read this stuff. I guess I am more BOBish than CRish, but the lugged bikes and history are interesting.

Warmest regards, Rob


> Message: 10
> Date: Wed, 8 May 2002 06:24:48 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Fred Rafael Rednor <>
> Reply-To:
> Subject: Re: [CR]re: Campagnolo vs Suntour
> To:,
> Amigos,
> The sad aspect of this discussion is that many people -
> myself included, to be honest - are ignoring the historical
> significance of the Suntour derailleurs. I think it's a shame
> that so many of us are blinded by the "sexiness" of the
> European
> pieces that we would be ashamed to equip our bicycles with some
> of the most historically significant derailleurs or brake sets.
> Of course, that leads me to the obvious question of what
> makes
> a derailleur "sexy" anyway?
> Best regards,
> Fred Rednor - hopeless bicycle romantic residing in
> Arlington, Virginia, USA