SunTour - Frank Berto and the curse of Duopar

Brand: SunTour

Country: Japan

This group of derailleurs tell a story of the best people, with the best of intentions, striving for perfection and, in the process, destroying the very thing that they love. It is a genuine tragedy in the Greek tradition.

By the mid 1970’s a new breed of cyclists was emerging. We were typically young, middle class and often graduates. We had a vague interest in cycle racing, but no history of riding in the chain-gang, we did not point out potholes as we cycled past them, or sprint for speed limit signs. We cycled for pleasure, for environmental reasons, to travel in a way that connected with the landscape and/or the cityscape and (most important of all) we cycled in order to be pointedly different from the car driving masses. Making your protest by riding a bike seemed so much easier than joining the Red Brigades or signing up with Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof, so much more peaceful than shooting Aldo Moro in the back of your car, or helping Joschka Fischer to bludgeon Frankfurt policemen. We were physically fit, but not into breaking through the pain barrier - we needed low gears and lots of them - and because of all this we were interested in quality touring derailleurs.

The high priest of this movement to low, low gears was Frank Berto, a California-based mechanical engineer. He brought a certain rigour to the subject of bicycle gearing, clearing the shrouds of myth and legend in which the European derailleur manufacturers so loved to hide. More...