“One of the most important days of my life was when I learned to ride a bicycle.”
— Michael Palin
I always stop to look at bicycles, they’re vehicles of freedom as much as my Super Tenere, Terra Nova. When I saw this SunTour rear derailleur on a nondescript bike in Quebec, I had to take a photo for Tom McCray.
Tom has been a friend since junior high and we fixed bicycles and took them for long (relatively speaking) rides across the Ohio countryside.
He was also a motorcycle rider for a while, but sadly my entry into motorbikes started after his ended. I’ve always been faintly jealous of the ride he took with our good friend and classmate Mark Day to Virginia Beach, and his own solo ride to San Diego.
But as bicycle riders, we loved SunTour components. The Japanese company invented the slant parallelogram rear derailleur, a design still used today, and its equipment worked amazingly well and cost less than Italian Campagnolo or Japanese Shimano.
I had a SunTour VGT rear derailleur on my 1975 Fuji for decades, until I had to upgrade, regretfully, to Shimano. My 1990 Raleigh Technium still has its SunTour fixtures and they still work.
The SunTour Seven was one of the company’s mid-range derailleurs, close to what I had on the Fuji.
But SunTour went out of business in 1995, the victim of insane competition dominated by Shimano. Which is why my 2006 Fuji Touring bike has Shimano gear.
But even though I don’t ride bicycles as often as I should, I miss SunTour, and I appreciate seeing their components still being used. I bet Tom does, too.