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Chain compatibilty for Suntour V-GT Luxe derailleur

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Chain compatibilty for Suntour V-GT Luxe derailleur

Old 08-26-19, 05:14 PM
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Blightybiker
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Chain compatibilty for Suntour V-GT Luxe derailleur

Hello all,
I have a circa 1978 Raleigh Grand Prix, made in England. I don't do many miles on it and then only in dry, clean conditions. Consequently I don't seem to need to do much serious maintenance on her. The fitted 10-speed dérailleur (derailer) is a Suntour and I think the model type is V-GT Luxe. This weekend things went a bit out of kilter, with it being impossible to get into lower gears. I have adjusted the "H" and "L" limiters and I hope that will have improved matters.
However, in faffing around I noticed that the chain is looking tired, dirty and sorry for itself. I have not changed it in the past seven years so I think it's time for a new one .

My question is, what would be the best new chain? Online shops seem to talk about Shimano, SRAM, et.c but I don't know for sure how to make sure these other-branded chains are compatible with my dérailleur.

Can anyone recommend any compatible chains?

According to the Sheldon Brown website all chains have a 0.4" pitch and the widths (narrower for larger cog numbers) is not really critical. So it seems that if I buy almost any 10 speed chain then I should be OK.

Thanks for any help with this!
Roy
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Old 08-26-19, 05:29 PM
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I like KMC Z chains. They are inexpensive and well made. An 8 speed chain (made for bikes that have 8 gears in the rear) works well on bikes that have less than 8 gears in the rear, like 5, 6, and 7 speed freewheels. If you go looking for a 10 speed chain, you'll likely get one that is made for bikes that have 10 gears in the rear. This chain would be too narrow for your purposes.

Also, typically the chain and freewheel should be changed together, as they both wear and a new chain on a worn freewheel can produce problems. The issue you describe may or may not be related to the condition of your chain. It's best to have a mechanic check it out and see what's what if you aren't sure.

Best of luck.
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Old 08-26-19, 05:30 PM
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Hi Roy. Sounds like a sweet ride and I don't know anybody who doesn't have good things to say about that derailleur.

If by "10 speed chain" you mean 2x5 then yes, any SRAM or KMC chain that is labeled as compatible with 5, 6, 7 speeds will be perfect. 8 speed works as well. Shimano chains are overpriced.

Be careful when buying at a shop. If you ask for a 10 speed chain they will bring you a (very expensive) chain meant for a 10 speed cassette. Ask for a 5 speed chain.
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Old 08-26-19, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
I like KMC Z chains. They are inexpensive and well made. An 8 speed chain (made for bikes that have 8 gears in the rear) works well on bikes that have less than 8 gears in the rear, like 5, 6, and 7 speed freewheels. If you go looking for a 10 speed chain, you'll likely get one that is made for bikes that have 10 gears in the rear. This chain would be too narrow for your purposes.

Also, typically the chain and freewheel should be changed together, as they both wear and a new chain on a worn freewheel can produce problems. The issue you describe may or may not be related to the condition of your chain. It's best to have a mechanic check it out and see what's what if you aren't sure.

Best of luck.
Many thanks for your reply! Well, you have certainly corrected a misunderstanding I had. I have two chain rings and five cogs at the back so I shouldn't have been looking for a 10 speed chain at all ! I shall check out some KMC Z chains, as you suggested. Thanks again!
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Old 08-26-19, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread View Post
Hi Roy. Sounds like a sweet ride and I don't know anybody who doesn't have good things to say about that derailleur.

If by "10 speed chain" you mean 2x5 then yes, any SRAM or KMC chain that is labeled as compatible with 5, 6, 7 speeds will be perfect. 8 speed works as well. Shimano chains are overpriced.

Be careful when buying at a shop. If you ask for a 10 speed chain they will bring you a (very expensive) chain meant for a 10 speed cassette. Ask for a 5 speed chain.
Thanks so much for the clarification, TenGrainBread! It has saved me not just from embarrassment but also a mistaken purchase. I learn something new every day! Thanks again for your advice.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Also, typically the chain and freewheel should be changed together, as they both wear and a new chain on a worn freewheel can produce problems.
This is not entirely true. A "stretched" chain will destroy a freewheel but as long as you change the chain before it gets beyond wear limits, your freewheel will live through many, many chains.

Before buying a new chain, you should measure your existing chain using a steel rule or a tape measure to determine if it is actually worn out. Sheldon explains how here: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chain-wear.html

If the chain is not worn out, then just clean it thoroughly and lube it.

Now, back to the original issue...

It's unlikely that a sudden problem getting into lower gears will have anything to do with having a worn chain. I'm wondering if you have another mechanical problem such as a bent part or a broken spring in the derailleur.

Last edited by davester; 08-26-19 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:26 PM
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You are welcome.

I once had a Raleigh Grand Prix, late '70's, two tone blue, probably mechanically the same as yours. It was a nice riding bike, and the Suntour V-GT derailleur paired with Suntour Power shifters functioned wonderfully.
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Old 08-26-19, 08:56 PM
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...KMC is the best bang for your buck. Either one of those "Z " chains, or an 8.93 which is slightly fancier with X side plates and peened pins. Both are cheap and readily available on Amazon.
Assuming you decide to change out the chain as a first step in eliminating possible problems. Which is what I would probably do if I thought my chain looked sad. Then go from there if you still have issues.
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Old 08-26-19, 09:21 PM
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I agree, I have two Raleighs with VGT Luxe and the KMC 8 speed chains work great. I am running 6 speed Megarange on both bikes.

Three years, and 3000 miles on my '73 Super Course with KMC 8 speed.

Recent build '78 Super Course.

Maybe blasphemy, but my '64 Legnano, with old school Campy is also happy with a KMC 8 speed.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
This is not entirely true. A "stretched" chain will destroy a freewheel but as long as you change the chain before it gets beyond wear limits, your freewheel will live through many, many chains.

Before buying a new chain, you should measure your existing chain using a steel rule or a tape measure to determine if it is actually worn out. Sheldon explains how here:

If the chain is not worn out, then just clean it thoroughly and lube it.

Now, back to the original issue...

It's unlikely that a sudden problem getting into lower gears will have anything to do with having a worn chain. I'm wondering if you have another mechanical problem such as a bent part or a broken spring in the derailleur.
Thanks for the information! Last night I did a bit more checking on my bike. (It's difficult, I live in an apartment). I adjusted the "H" and "L" limiters, just by trial and error, with the bike resting on the floor, standing on its seat and bars. I seem to have got back the ability to get into the low gears but today I shall take it out for a short ride to see if it's really better. However, you know how it is, you start looking at one problem closely and start noticing other 'shortcomings'. The gear changes are not as "slick" as they used to be and the chain movement seems a bit "gritty and lumpy". Certainly the chain and cogs needs a good cleaning so now I need to get a chain tool to remove the chain.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:23 AM
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Thanks so much. I shall certainly check out the chains you mentioned.
My compliments, too, on the lovely images you sent!
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Old 08-27-19, 12:21 PM
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SRAM works well for me. I use the PC-850 for 5 and 6 speeds, but it says it is for 6, 7 & 8 speeds. But if it works like the others here say, it looks like you can save a buck or two with the KCM.
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Old 08-27-19, 12:31 PM
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The derailleur doesn't care what the chain is. The freewheel/cassette does. (I've used Cyclone GTs from roughly the same era on 9-speed setups. (Probably a little later as it had the reach for a 130 mm dropout spacing and the wide 8/9-speed cassette and the early Cyclones did not, but as far as the chain width running over the pulleys, derailleur don't care. And if they did, you could just go out and buy modern pulleys.

Edit: the new chain may not run well over the old cogs. If that is the case, you may need to replace the cogs or freewheel as a whole. (You will need a freewheel remover specific to your freewheel to remove it. See Sheldon Brown. They new freewheel will almost certainly take a different remover.)

Also chains are 0.5" pitch. I assume that was a typo. (ShHimano did for a brief time make a smaller pitch chain that might have been 0.4"'as a lighter racing idea but it never took off.)

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Old 08-27-19, 01:52 PM
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Be very careful with that first ride after derailleur adjustments. It's usually no big deal if the front derailleur drops the chain (except on climbs while using foot retention -- especially strapped into toe clips), or if the rear derailleur drops the chain off the smallest cog and wedges between the freewheel/cassette and frame. But if the chain drops into the wheel from the largest cog, that can get ugly. At low speed on flat terrain away from traffic, do several shifts from the middle to largest cog before venturing out into the wild.

I always test ride my bikes on the indoor Cycleops trainer after any derailleur adjustments, before taking a ride outdoors. I've found the trainer will reveal problems that don't appear when the bike is on a workstand with no pressure or resistance on the rear wheel.

Regarding chains, I've had better results with Suntour freewheels and friction shifting using plain plate narrow chains. The fancy chamfered/beveled plates that work so wonderfully with indexed shifting seem to want to ghost shift and rattle more on some friction shifting setups and Suntour freewheels.

I have a couple of Suntour 7-speed freewheels -- 13-24 and 13-26 -- and they generally run quieter and shift more smoothly using plain plate narrow chains, either an old school Shimano narrow or the older style KMC chains for 7 speeds. Unfortunately KMC has completely revised its nomenclature, renaming some chains (the Z-72 is now called something else), and either renaming or eliminating the old plain narrow Z-33 and similar chains.

When I use SunRace freewheels -- 13-25 and 13-28 -- I'll switch to KMC Z-72 chains. Bought a few new when they were still available under that name. They run quietly and shift smoothly with both Suntour and Shimano index shifting systems.
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Old 08-27-19, 04:36 PM
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Roy,

An additional thing to be aware of is that if you change the chain, most chains today are "peened", which means that the ends of the pins are intentionally flattened so that they don't pass through the plates easily. When you use a chain tool to remove links, the peened parts of the pins are ripped off. This means that you cannot reuse those links and you cannot use a chain tool to join the two ends of the chain. You must use the master link that is supplied with the chain to attach the two ends of the chain. If you use a chain tool instead of a master link to rejoin the chain, that link will be severely weakened which can cause the chain to snap when under load, throwing the rider over the handlebars (ask me how I know!).

This differs from the old-fashioned, no-master-link chain that you probably have on the bike now, which can be separated and rejoined using a chain tool (but preferably not the same link each time. .
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Old 08-27-19, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
When you use a chain tool to remove links, the peened parts of the pins are ripped off. This means that you cannot reuse those links and you cannot use a chain tool to join the two ends of the chain. You must use the master link that is supplied with the chain to attach the two ends of the chain. If you use a chain tool instead of a master link to rejoin the chain, that link will be severely weakened which can cause the chain to snap when under load, throwing the rider over the handlebars (ask me how I know!). This differs from the old-fashioned, no-master-link chain that you probably have on the bike now, which can be separated and rejoined using a chain tool (but preferably not the same link each time. .
This is news to me. I've never worried about reusing links on any chain that I have previously broken with a chain tool.
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Old 08-27-19, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
This is news to me. I've never worried about reusing links on any chain that I have previously broken with a chain tool.
On the dark green Raleigh above, I re-used an old Shimano 10 speed chain, just to do the Pasadena vintage ride, I made it 4.5 miles, and the drivetrain locked up while pedaling. The re-used pin had worked loose on one side, gone around and jammed in the jockey wheel. It took me a while to figure it out. I have re-used link pins before on Shimano chain that doesnt come with a quick link. Rather than walk back, I used a rock with a flat side of a wrench as a back stop to push the pin back in. Who carries chain tools? Now I buy KMC, and I have extra quick links. When I got home from Pasadena my KMC chain arrived from Amazon.
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Old 08-27-19, 06:32 PM
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Thank you all for great feedback!


Since making my original post I have cleaned the chain as well as I can, while it is still fitted to the bike. I then applied some Du Pont Chain Saver (it's wax-based) to the chain and I must say the it already seems to be spinning around much more happily and slickly than it was. To my ear it sounds to be more "sweetly-clicking" than before.


I also feel a bit embarrassed...Why? Because today, after cleaning and lubing the chain, I pondered a bit about why I had had this problem of not getting into the two "lower gears" of the five in the cassette. After this perusal I have adjusted the cable-clamping position on the gizmo on the rear changer. I think it's called an "anchor bolt", is it not? That seems to have radically improved the gear changing, at least making the changes with the bike upside down on the floor of my apartment. I really hope the road experience will be equally improved!
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Old 08-27-19, 06:39 PM
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Glad you seem to making some progress.

As others have mentioned, if you need guidance, sheldonbrown.com is the go to for these things. It is the most helpful web source that I have ever used in my pursuit of this hobby.

Happy riding!
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Old 08-27-19, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
I agree, I have two Raleighs with VGT Luxe and the KMC 8 speed chains work great. I am running 6 speed Megarange on both bikes.

Three years, and 3000 miles on my '73 Super Course with KMC 8 speed.

Recent build '78 Super Course.

Take a Sharpie to that offensive white writing on the big FW cog!!!
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Old 08-27-19, 08:35 PM
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Yet another vote for KMC chains.
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Old 08-27-19, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
I agree, I have two Raleighs with VGT Luxe and the KMC 8 speed chains work great. I am running 6 speed Megarange on both bikes.


Recent build '78 Super Course.
This looks like your chain is may be too long as you appear to be using most of the possible chain wrap of the V-GT on the second cog, and you still have about 10 links to wrap before you get to the smallest cog, assuming a 14-16-18-21-24-34 mega range.
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Old 08-29-19, 05:35 PM
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This is just a final comment, to give some closure to my little issue. Today in my apartment, with the bike upside down, I finely adjusted the anchor bolt clamp position, and that of the associated barrel-adjuster. The gears seemed to be changing OK over the whole, 10 gear, range.

With some trepidation, about half an hour ago I took the bike out into the great Wide World, to see how the gear changing worked. I rode around the block a couple of times, sticking to the side-walk. The gears worked flawlessly! I can only imagine that the problem, which had occurred without warning, was caused by the cable coming losse at the anchor bolt.

Thanks to every one who responded. I now know a lot more about chains and their maintenance.
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Old 08-29-19, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
I agree, I have two Raleighs with VGT Luxe and the KMC 8 speed chains work great. I am running 6 speed Megarange on both bikes.

Three years, and 3000 miles on my '73 Super Course with KMC 8 speed.

Recent build '78 Super Course.
snip . . .

Bit of a thread hijack but how do you like your megarange FWs? I think it's sound to have a bigger jump with the larger cogs but 24 to 34 is a heck of a jump.




Bit of a thread hijack but how do you like your megarange FWs?
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Old 08-29-19, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Bit of a thread hijack but how do you like your megarange FWs? I think it's sound to have a bigger jump with the larger cogs but 24 to 34 is a heck of a jump.




Bit of a thread hijack but how do you like your megarange FWs?
I like them. I treat it as a 5 speed + granny. I don't use it for standing starts, but as a bailout on big hills. It's a bit of overkill on the green Raleigh with a triple, 32t small ring, but the 52t big ring gives a lot of range. I used all the low gears on Eroica, and a big gravel ride I did in prep for Eroica. I'm not a great climber, but I was first over the top, even with some on modern mtn bikes and hybrids - club ride, not a race. I still walked bits of Eroica 😡. The gold Raleigh is a normal 52/42 and the big 34t works well there. I hardly notice the drop between big and next gear down. The VGT Luxe is very forgiving with these gear gaps.
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