The Suntour Competition can make a strong claim to be the first truly modern derailleur. It has a slant parallelogram, it has three dimensional cast knuckles, it has logically placed, clearly labelled, adjustment screws, it fits a Campagnolo end and has an adjustment screw, but most of all it is a wee jewel with the simple composed ‘less-is-more’ look that makes it identifiably the ancestor of today’s Shimano Dura-Ace or Campagnolo Record Carbon.
The 1964 SunTour Gran-Prix may have been the first slant parallelogram derailleur, but it was also packed with eccentric features that have not stood the test of time (like a SunTour Skitter it was low-normal and had only one spring that both operated the parallelogram and provided chain tension, most versions also had an adjustable length pulley cage - as on my first style of Skitter). A Gran-Prix would look mad on a modern bike, a Competition would blend in seamlessly.
One of my ‘derailleurs that changed the world’.
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