Listing Update...This is not so much an update as it is a point of emphasis. The blue accents on this Suntour BL front derailleur show darker in the pictures relative to the shade of blue we see when viewing the front derailleur in person.
This offering is for a new-old-stock Suntour BL (Model FD-1900) front derailleur with blue accents from the early 80's. It's a legitimate (Japanese made) Suntour front derailleur made during a period when Suntour was still one of the major companies producing quality bicycle components. The Suntour BL series was not considered high-end for the period, but still good quality in a sport/fitness offering. Some of it's more prominent design features include...
Compatibility: marketed as road bike model during the 5/6-speed freewheel era (although see notes that follow for other drivetrain possibilities)
Capacity: double chainring with 18T (max) difference (shop catalog specs)
Mounting bracket: clamp-on (28.6 mm)...so should be compatible with many vintage steel tubed road bikes that require a clamp-on unit
Cable pull: bottom (so cable routing must enter from below the unit)
Design: conventional/bottom swing
Weight: 96 grams (per our digital postal scale)
Other note: While taking pictures of this front derailleur unit, we noted the built-in cable housing stop (in the second to last picture in the sequence to the left). The cable housing stop will accommodate those projects where cable routing from the left down tube shifter to the front derailleur travel over the bottom bracket shell (as opposed to the more common routing option today that generally directs the bare cable underneath the bottom bracket shell). It's a nice built-in feature for those that need it on a particular project and we wanted to highlight the design feature here.
As alluded to above, the Suntour BL product line was good quality in a sport/recreation offering. This model front derailleur was not intended for competitive cycling, but it borrowed from Suntour's competitive cycling technologies to provide a decent quality component and respectable performance for a reasonable price. The derailleur body is mostly alloy (which probably explains the sub 100 gram weight) and the chain guide (or cage) is made from a hardened steel. We have better quality front derailleurs available, but for most non-competitive applications, this is probably a good fit...and especially for those that are trying to resurrect an old stock Suntour drivetrain.
As for condition, we sourced a few of these units that are new and in their original retail packaging.
General note regarding narrower/wider front derailleur cages (chain guides) and chains...
We do not see many clamp-on front derailleurs with these wider cages, which are typically more effective at shifting the wider chains desired on some vintage road bikes. Narrow chains may also be used with these vintage setups, but because they are typically more expensive and usually not as durable (because they are made with thinner/lighter component pieces)...they are probably not the best alternative for a vintage road bike. Wider chains are usually a better option, because they are made with thicker/heavier component pieces that will generally hold up better over a longer period (so more miles between replacements). The problem is that most of today's front derailleurs are built with cages to accommodate extremely narrow chains (for 9 and 10-speed shifting), which means they might not work as well on a vintage road bike when a wider chain is preferred (for the reasons noted above). In many cases, it's still possible to get the newer front derailleurs to function...but with a narrower cage and a wider chain, it would appear the limit screw adjustments have to be near perfect to eliminate chain rub (so little margin for error here...and hence the reason the slightly wider cage on these older front derailleurs is a nice feature).
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Note to international customers regarding shipping...
We apologize to those that feel some of our international shipping charges are too high. We only charge actual shipping rates, but once an order exceeds a certain amount, we hesitate to use the least expensive US Postal Services First Class International service. We feel this way, because this service is not trackable or insurable...so more risk of loss. We prefer the US Postal Services Priority Mail International service for more expensive orders, because this service is trackable at USPS.com and insurable...so less risk of loss. Unfortunately, this service is more expensive, especially for smaller/lighter packages, relative to the First Class International service. We are sorry about these higher shipping costs, but hopefully our notes help to explain why this is the case.
Note to international customers regarding customs...
We also apologize to those that feel their country import taxes, duties and brokerage fees are excessive. As a small US business, we are required by customs' laws to declare each order as a retail sale. Additionally, the declared order value must be equal to total store purchases and/or winning auction bids (less any shipping costs, as these are not considered in the declared value). As a result, each customer will be responsible for paying his/her own country taxes, duties and brokerage fees, which will be collected upon delivery. Again, we apologize for these additional costs, but we cannot afford the penalties and fines that come with breaking customs' laws...so we have to strictly abide by them.