The SunTour Superbe Pro (SB00-SSB) is a tragic beauty. Excellently engineered from the finest materials, elegantly styled with refreshing restraint, and exquisitely specified with sealed bearing pulley wheels and a titanium cable adjuster. Everything was on the money except... the dreaded Accushift - SunTour's indexing system.
In 1986, when the 7-speed version of this derailleur was launched, SunTour's Accushift lagged miles behind Shimano's SIS. By 1990 the new 8-speed Accushift was much improved - but still clearly second best. SunTour could make beautiful derailleurs and excellent levers, but was never able to match Shimano's obsessive focus on coordinating the design of the chain, the profiling of the sprocket teeth, the lack of stretch of the inner cable, the lack of compressibility of the cable outer etc. etc.. SunTour's mindset was locked into making 'separate components' - whereas Shimano had been thinking 'integrated systems' for more than a decade.
So the main element of the tragedy was Accushift. But a secondary element for SunTour-lovers was the death of SunTour's unique, interesting and sometimes quirky character:
- The SunTour Superbe Pro (SB00-SSB) has a sprung b-pivot (just like a Dura-Ace) - something SunTour had, with some justification, derided as unnecessary for decades.
- Gone were the removable parallelogram pivot pins that allowed you to completely disassemble the previous SunTour Superbe Pro (5200). The SunTour Superbe Pro (SB00-SSB) is fully rivetted (just like a Dura-Ace).
- SunTour road derailleurs used to be a by-word for light weight. The SunTour Superbe Pro (5200) weighed around 180 grams but the SunTour Superbe Pro (SB00-SSB) weighs a chunky 200 grams. Superbe Pro used to offer an alternative to the rapidly escalating weight of Dura-Ace, and then it didn't.
- And so it goes on...
I am aware of four versions of the SunTour Superbe Pro (SB00-SSB):
- The first version, from 1986, is a 7-speed derailleur with an unsculpted pusher area near the tension pulley on the inner pulley cage plate. The logo has 'Superbe Pro' in large writing and 'SunTour' in small writing all on a gold background.
- The second version, also from 1986, suffers from Shimano-Santé-envy and has a logo with a white background and a white pulley cage.
- The third version, possibly from 1991, is an 8-speed derailleur that was supplied to pro teams. It has a noticeably sculpted pusher area near the tension pulley on the inner pulley cage plate. The pro-team-friendly logo has 'SunTour Pro' written in large bold writing and 'Superbe' in small writing, again all on a gold background.
- The fourth version, from 1992, is the 8-speed version for the rest of us. It has the noticeably sculpted pusher area near the tension pulley on the inner pulley cage plate. However logo the logo reverts to having 'Superbe Pro' in large writing and 'SunTour' in small writing.
This is a very nice example of the second version of the SunTour Superbe Pro (SB00-SSB), as described above. It has the 7-speed, all white pulley cage and a logo with a white background. Gross-out warning - please remember to never wear white lycra cycling shorts...
- Derailleur brands: SunTour
- Categories: SunTour - the Superbe story
- Themes: A riot of colour
- Country: Japan
- Date of introduction: 1986
- Date of this example: 1986 (two letter date code is CG)
- Model no.: SB00-SSB
- Weight: 197g
- Maximum cog: 26 teeth (Source: SunTour, using a 24mm dropout)
- Total capacity: 26 teeth (Source: SunTour)
- Pulley centre to centre: 48mm
- Index compatibility: 7-speed
- Chain width: 3/32”
- Logic: top normal
- B pivot: sprung
- P pivot: sprung
- Materials: aluminium