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Suntour versus Campy

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Suntour versus Campy

Old 08-15-08, 12:43 AM
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jcook1989
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Suntour versus Campy

I was having a little discussion with my dad about his old Bianchi and was telling him that it would be worth a lot more if it was full Campy. He proceeded to tell me that back in the day (mid 80s) Suntour components were cheeper and as good if not better then Campy. If this is true why is Campy so desirable? Is it because no one wants Japanese parts or is my dad blowing hot air?
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Old 08-15-08, 12:51 AM
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Your dad is probably correct as far as what was true in the mid 80's. The whole Campy vs. Shimano and to a certain extent Suntour started around that time as both Japanese companies introduced products that were functionaly superior to Campagnolo at least until Suntour went under and Campagnolo caught up with Shimano in the early 90's. That has no bearing on the modern collector market. People don't buy high-end collectable bicycles based on their cost to performance ratio as they might buy a new bike. An Italian made Bianchi with full Campy, preferably in celeste, will outsell a Suntour or Shimano equipped example regardless of its actual performance capabilities. So you can tell dear ol' dad that he is right but quit living back in the day and welcome to the 21st century OK, don't really tell him that but you know what I mean. The value of a collectable is not based on its functional capability.

As to why that all came to be...well Campagnolo was a respected component manufacturer but competing on the same level as other manufacturers of the time probably until the introduction of the Gran Sport parallelagram rear derailleur around 1952 I think. Then throughout the 50's and 60's they built on their reputation as the maker of the finest cycling products available. Suntour's slant parallelagram rear derailleur design was better but they couldn't gain any tractoin in the market. Campagnolo was the 800-lb gorrilla. The in the 80's their patent ran out and Shimano brought out a drop parallelagram rear derailleur, superior front derailleur designs and of course indexed shifting. That put Campagnolo in the position of playing catch-up until things equalized around 1992 with the introduction of Campy's Ergo lever indexed shifting system. Along the way Suntour went out of business. And nothing much has changed since then.
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Old 08-15-08, 01:10 AM
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That's a pretty damn good review! Nice and concise, yet has all the info to get the job done.

Basically Campagnolo has a long history and Italians and the French are grandfathers of cycling in general, nowhere in the world has cycling ever been as big and important as in these two countries. Campagnolo record has an almost artisan quality, as if each piece was lovingly crafted. It's simple and elegant and well thought out, it is endlessly serviceable and back in the day any tiny piece (even the pins that hold your parallelogram together) could be purchased and replaced. Of course when the Japanese started aggressively engineering performance they overtook campagnolo on the performance:cost ratio. Some early 1980s Japanese stuff (suntour superbe in particular) is very well crafted but soon disposable super light weight took over in the race for supremacy. Somehow that is sad but on the otherhand bikes could not be as light and fast as they are today without being that way. In any case campagnolo has a reputation as the original and the best. Why are coke products more collectable than pepsi? Because coke is the original.
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Old 08-15-08, 02:12 AM
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What would you prefer "ferari" or "nissan" (I rest my case your honour,lol)
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Old 08-15-08, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by ozneddy View Post
What would you prefer "ferari" or "nissan" (I rest my case your honour,lol)
...Nissan, without a question.
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Old 08-15-08, 04:07 AM
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... yeah? But what about Ferraris?
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Old 08-15-08, 04:43 AM
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More like Fiat to a Toyota. Cool thing about that OLD Campy stuff is that it lasts forever & looks great! Things like pinch bolts & such don't strip out as easy on Campy as does the Japanese parts. The graphics are engraved in the metal. Although performance was not that good when new it never gets worse. Suntour Superbe has a relatively short life span.
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Old 08-15-08, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ozneddy View Post
What would you prefer "ferari" or "nissan" (I rest my case your honour,lol)
Uh, I'd prefer a Ferarri, thanks. (Okay, so I'm a smart*****)
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Old 08-15-08, 06:57 AM
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Fiat is to Toyota as
Gian Roberts is to Suntour.

campy is more like Alfa Romeo (N.R.), Ferarri (S.R) and Lamborghini (C-Record).
so what does that make Masserati?

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Old 08-15-08, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BritGuyNJ View Post
... yeah? But what about Ferraris?
We are wrapping up a family vacation in Monterey, and the place is crawling with expensive and exotic automobiles, almost all of which are playthings for the rich, rather than practical transport machines. A full-Campagnolo Bianchi can easily serve as a daily driver, but if I could own just one car for practical, reliable transportation purposes, I would choose the Nissan over the Ferrari.
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Old 08-15-08, 07:50 AM
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Nothing wrong with old Suntour stuff, but Old Campy is Artwork----just ask the Campy collector from Japan. they are the one's spending the big buck's on old Campy stuff'
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Old 08-15-08, 08:12 AM
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Your dad is right. Suntour was just as good. In fact I think it is better. The Cyclone offered crisper shifting for a fraction of the price of the clunky Italian parts.

The Suntour VX/VX-GT is one of the best bang for the buck units going today. You don't need Ultegra or 105 garbage. The VX will do it all

The Cyclone is a vastly superior unit to the Nuovo record. Shifting a 73 Nuovo record is like shifting a clunky old Volkswagon beatle stick shift. But a Suntour shifts like a workhorse reliable modern japanese sedan.

I didn't wan't to go into car analogies. The good news is that stupid collectors will inflate the value of Campagnolo and leave Suntour to be the most affordable vintage replacement parts.

I bought two NOS Suntour Cyclone units for 100$. I don't think you can find anything NOS campy for under 100$.

If you look at the entire lineage of Suntour you will find that Maeda industries was the innovator. For riding purposes there is no better suitable vintage parts than Suntour.
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Old 08-15-08, 09:01 AM
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Another vote for Dad. Suntour was extremely good back in the day and would have been considered even better and been spec'd on more top-line bikes if they hadn't drastically underpriced their top-line components. They were often half the price of comparable Campy gruppos and thus the bike manufacturers were reluctant to spec them for fear that it would portray their bikes as lower level, even though the components were every bit as good if not better. That mindset also stems from the fact that Suntour offered the full spectrum from top-end to entry level while Campy tended to be viewed as more high-end across their lineup.
Also consider the mid 1980's was only 40 years after WWII and many older Americans still frowned upon buying anything Japanese. This influenced buying decisions in both business and family settings.
The lack of acceptance to Suntour was actually pretty ironic actually considering Suntour gave the manufacturers and buying public exactly what they had asked for for so long, which was a top line gruppo that wasn't so outrageously priced. To this day the Superbe Pro is still one of the better road gruppos ever made.
Their failure to price their high-end gruppos comparably to Campy and Shimano was just one of the poor business decisions that Suntour execs made that lead to their ultimate demise.
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Old 08-15-08, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
Basically Campagnolo has a long history and Italians and the French are grandfathers of cycling in general, nowhere in the world has cycling ever been as big and important as in these two countries.
I guess it depends on what you mean as important. In terms of racing and prestige, yes, Italy and France wins. From a utilitarian perspective I would say that postwar Britain and much of Asia, such as China, is/was far more important. The conversation is about performance though, so I can understand your reasoning.
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Old 08-15-08, 10:04 AM
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Personally, I would never again buy any Campy components from the late 80s. But that is a short period in the history of bikes. Most people have either forgotten about it or never knew.
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Old 08-15-08, 11:05 AM
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Campagnolo up until the early 80's was a very conservative company. They made indestructible parts that were made mainly for racing. European racing in those days was as much about survival as anything else.
Japanese companies marketed their parts to "want to be" racers who nether needed or could afford Campy. Shimano learned to "race" quickly & they also changed the market for parts to one of planed obsolescence. Campagnolo had a hard time adjusting to the disposable philosophy & did crazy stuff in the late 80's.
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Old 08-15-08, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SoreFeet View Post
The Cyclone is a vastly superior unit to the Nuovo record. Shifting a 73 Nuovo record is like shifting a clunky old Volkswagon beatle stick shift. But a Suntour shifts like a workhorse reliable modern japanese sedan.


Shifts just peachy, thank you very much.
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Old 08-15-08, 12:51 PM
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Wow! Quickdraw you nailed It! My daily drive is a 73 vw bug. Campy is like that! Its 35 years old & still works great. No A/c, no power steering & no power brakes. The gears grind a bit & it leaks in the rain but i like it! Nice black vw!
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Old 08-15-08, 01:10 PM
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+1 on the Vx and Cyclone (1st generation) components. I've got these on a number of bikes, love 'em. Cyclone parts can be a little pricey on Ebay, but a lot of times you can get the Vx stuff for peanuts.
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Old 08-15-08, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Kotts View Post
Uh, I'd prefer a Ferarri, thanks. (Okay, so I'm a smart*****)
Wait, what? You got it wrong too. It's a Ferrari.
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Old 08-15-08, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by embankmentlb View Post
Wow! Quickdraw you nailed It! My daily drive is a 73 vw bug. Campy is like that! Its 35 years old & still works great. No A/c, no power steering & no power brakes. The gears grind a bit & it leaks in the rain but i like it! Nice black vw!
nice bug, yea I'd rather drive a Porsche(VW Bug) than a "workhorse reliable modern Japanese sedan" any day. My bug runs like a top, and while it has it's quirks, it is certainly not a "clunker" there's a reason that they were produced virtually the same model of beetle from 1938 until 2003. Although maybe it is a good analogy because I like campy stuff as well. I'm so confused.
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Old 08-15-08, 02:58 PM
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Also consider the mid 1980's was only 40 years after WWII and many older Americans still frowned upon buying anything Japanese. This influenced buying decisions in both business and family settings.

Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler

Do you honestly think Italy in WWII was so much better then Japan? I mean they didn't bomb us but they weren't exactly on our side.

Also this statement doesn't really apply because look at the boom of Japanese car sales in America in the 80s. I wouldn't Consider this a reason. I do however agree with the rest of your post.
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Old 08-15-08, 03:42 PM
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lets not go there !
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Old 08-15-08, 05:48 PM
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The non-Japanese thing is a racial issue & nothing to do with WW2. That started before WW2. Here is a bit of trivia for you. Hitler got the idea for the VW from Henry Ford after meeting with him here in the US. Hitler admired H.F. so much he kept a photo of him in his office.
Why did Hitler admire Henry so much? H.F. was leader of the anti Jewish movement here in the U.S. His first autos left the factory with a pamphlet about his fears/concerns regarding them. Hitler acted Henry just talked. Just history, look it up.
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Old 08-15-08, 05:50 PM
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Italy did switch to the allied side part way into the war.
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