SunTour
Brand Directory
Country:JapanPrimary Focus:Components
Years of Operation:1912 - Early 1990's
General Information

SunTour (Maeda)

SunTour derailleurs have a two-letter date code. On rear derailleurs the code is stamped on the back side of the inner parallel arm. On front derailleurs it is stamped on the back side of the inner cage.

The first letter represents the year. Larry Osborn and I believe O (Oh) is 1972, V is 1979 and A is 1984. As with Shimano, the second letter is the month code, where A is January and L is December.

SunTour Year Code

N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
 
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992

SunTour Month Code

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

The earliest Suntour derailleur I have found with a code is marked OF. A rear derailleur marked OD (corresponding to April of 72) was reported by Leighton Walter. I have a bike that dates from between 1970 to 1972 that has the original SunTour derailleurs. These derailleurs do not have date codes on them, so I believe the coding started sometime between 1970 and April of 1972.

(source: vintage-trek.com)

History

 SunTour or SR Suntour is a Japanese manufacturer of bicycle components. Begun in 1912 as Maeda Iron Works Company manufacturing freewheels and sprockets, the company began producing their version of the French pull-chain, rod-guided, touring derailleurs in the 1950s. In the 1960s SunTour invented the slant-parallelogram rear derailleur. 

Nobuo Ozaki, the head of product development at Maeda, invented the slant parallelogram rear derailleur in 1964 and Maeda obtained worldwide patents on the design. For the next 20 years, Suntour produced technically superior derailleurs. Suntour's slant parallelogram broke the image of Japanese components as being cheap copies of European components.

In 1985, Suntour had about 50% of the U.S. derailleur market for quality bicycles. Over the decade, Suntour introduced more 120 new rear derailleurs and they still fell victim to the fast changing market. Suntour was too small to maintain the research and development needed to survive

The article Sunset for SunTour by Frank J. Berto is the best read for the rise, and then fall, of the company which can be read here.  SunTour as it was once known ceased to exist some time in the 1990's before the name was sold.

   
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Stems (2)   
Recent Added / Updated Components
Component NameCategoryAdded / Updated
SunTour HC-100 Superbe ProSingle Sprockets03/26/2017
SunTour BB-SB10-I, Superbe ProBottom Brackets03/26/2017
SunTour SevenShifters03/18/2017
SunTour RD-3100, Superbe ProRear Derailleurs03/14/2017
SunTour RD-2100, SuperbeRear Derailleurs03/14/2017
Component Groups
Group Name - View DetailsQuick InfoView All Components
 - 4050Sport & RecreationList 2 Components
 - Alpha 3040RecreationList 2 Components
 - Alpha 5000List 3 Components
 - ARList 2 Components
 - ARxRecreationList 5 Components
 - BL - Blue Line1980 - , Road RaceList 4 Components
 - BlazeSport & RecreationList 6 Components
Group Family: CycloneRoad RaceList 34 Components
    - Cyclone1976 - , Road RaceList 11 Components
    - Cyclone Mk-II1981 - , Road RaceList 4 Components
    - Cyclone (3rd Gen)1984 - , Road RaceList 13 Components
    - Cyclone 70001987 - , Road RaceList 13 Components
 - EdgeSport & RecreationList 8 Components
 - GPX1989 - 1991, Road RaceList 14 Components
 - HeroList 3 Components
 - HonorList 2 Components
 - LePreeSport & RecreationList 4 Components
 - Ole1989 - 1989, Sport & RecreationList 8 Components
 - PLGList 1 Components
 - Radius1990 - 1992, Sport & RecreationList 9 Components
 - S-1List 1 Components
 - SevenList 5 Components
 - SL1991 - 1994, Road RaceList 15 Components
 - Sprint1987 - 1990, Road RaceList 11 Components
 - Sprint 90001987 - 1990, Road RaceList 9 Components
Group Family: SuperbeRoad RaceList 79 Components
    - Superbe TrackTrackList 9 Components
    - Superbe1977 - 1985, Road RaceList 24 Components
    - Superbe Pro1981 - 1994, Road RaceList 47 Components
 - SVX1985 - , Sport & RecreationList 5 Components
 - TrimecList 2 Components
 - VxList 2 Components
Group Family: XCMountain BikeList 104 Components
    - XC 9000Mountain BikeList 11 Components
    - XC SportMountain BikeList 1 Components
    - Dirt Component1983 - , Mountain BikeList 0 Components
    - XC1984 - , Mountain BikeList 14 Components
    - XC Sport 70001987 - 1988, Mountain BikeList 6 Components
    - XCD 6000 1988 - 1989, Touring & MTBList 17 Components
    - X-1 Chroma1989 - , Mountain BikeList 4 Components
    - XC-Master1989 - 1990, Mountain BikeList 9 Components
    - XCE / XC Expert1989 - , Mountain BikeList 9 Components
    - X-11990 - 1993, Mountain BikeList 3 Components
    - XC Comp1990 - 1993, Mountain BikeList 4 Components
    - XC Pro1990 - , Mountain BikeList 23 Components
    - XC LTD1991 - , Touring & MTBList 6 Components
Frame Parts - Recent Added / Updated
NameCategoryAdded / Updated
SunTour GSDrop Outs & Fork Ends09/13/2016
SunTour Drop Outs & Fork Ends10/20/2013
SunTour SDB-EF120Drop Outs & Fork Ends12/11/2011
SunTour GTDrop Outs & Fork Ends12/11/2011
search SunTour Frame Parts List
Vintage Tools - Recent Added / Updated
NameCategoryAdded / Updated
SunTour Bottom Bracket ToolBottom Bracket Tool09/15/2014
SunTour Cartridge bearing puller & insertion Wheel ToolWheel Tool06/04/2012
SunTour Freewheel Removal ToolFreewheel Removal Tool08/03/2011
SunTour Derailleur wrench derailleur service toolderailleur service tool11/27/2010
search SunTour Vintage Tools List
Photo Selection from Recently Updated Items
Additional Resources
Catalog NameSourceFile SizeDate Added
SunTour 1980 Comparison TableYellowJersey.orgN/A2/20/2008
SunTour 1982 SuperbeYellowJersey.orgN/A2/20/2008
SunTour 1989 Product LinesYellowJersey.orgN/A2/20/2008
SunTour 1992 Product LinesYellowJersey.orgN/A2/20/2008
Catalog Scans for GPX, Superbe and others.EquusBicycle.comN/A2/19/2008
SunTour 1987 Dealer CatalogVelo-Pages.comN/A6/12/2009
SunTour Technical Bulletin #21 - AccushiftVeloBase3,031kB2/15/2010
SunTour 1984 CycloneVelo-Pages.comN/A6/9/2009
SunTour 1987 Cyclone 7000Velo-Pages.comN/A6/9/2009
SunTour 1984 Superbe ProVelo-Pages.comN/A6/12/2009
SunTour 1976 Parts CatalogVelo-Pages.comN/A6/12/2009
SunTour 1984 XCVelo-Pages.comN/A6/12/2009
1983-1990's SunTour MTB parts listing & catalog pagesmombat.orgN/A12/19/2010
SunTour New Winner FreewheelsVeloBase3,060kB8/7/2011
SunTour Catalog (Japanese)The Bicycle Info ProjectN/A10/17/2011
Resource LinkCategoryDetails 
80's SunTour CatalogsBrand Specific WebsitesHosted by YellowJersey.org
Suntour Bicycle ComponentryBrand Specific WebsitesPhotographs of various Suntour components
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