BL stands for ‘Blue Line’ representing SunTour’s determination to inject some style and colour into the overly technical world of derailleurs. I have a vague memory that the BL was marketed with images of sun-kissed waves crashing onto romantically rocky shores, and all this six years before Shimano tried something similar with Sante. As a response to Shimano’s attempt to inject some surrealism into their 1978 600 groupset with its Arabesque patterns, the SunTour BL looked alluringly logical.
The derailleurs themselves were, however, slightly disappointing. Heavily derivative of the old V series, priced above the Vx and just below Cyclone, they were not particularly well finished and were curiously retro in their lack of allen bolts, use of cable clamp fittings from the old V series and pulley cage plates with the pivot exactly between the pulleys. Most importantly, they were not part of an integrated groupset and so the signature ‘blue lines’ were not picked up on other components in any coordinated way. In Britain I remember Claud Butler ran out of Vx’s and so fitted BL’s to a yellow bikes - a devastatingly awful colour clash that banished all images of sun-kissed waves from the minds of all but the colour blind!
This short arm SunTour BL weighs in at a suspiciously hefty 214g. It also lacks a date code. All this (and the old fashioned geometry and fittings) leads me to baselessly speculate that the BL might have been an experiment by SunTour to test whether it could make relatively high-end components in an off-shore factory...
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