|The Vx-S was a medium-cage version that had a little more capacity than the regular short cage Vx, but a little less than the longer cage GT. Notice that it has SunTour's unique open "quick cage" design that made replacing the chain a nice easy task.|
This Vx model shown here is the culmination of all those improvements. The Vx was all aluminum, including the parallelogram plates. It had a nice finish, and great design details. They were available in several versions -- with the main difference being the pulley cages. The regular Vx had the short cage, and was meant for closer-ratio gearing. That derailleur weighed a scant 205 grams: barely more than a Campagnolo Nuovo Record, and it shifted much better. There was the 210 gram Vx-S (shown here), which was a medium-cage model sporting the open-design "quick cage" that became a common SunTour feature. The less-common Vx-T, also had a medium length cage, but did not have the "quick cage" that facilitated easier chain replacement. Lastly, there was the large-capacity, long cage GT for wide-range gearing (it was rated for a 34-tooth rear cog -- enormous at the time), which became a favorite derailleur for knowledgable touring riders.
|These V-model derailleurs had some cool stylistic touches that serve no purpose other than to show that somebody thought this little component was pretty special -- and it was. I love that engraved "V" on the front pivot knuckle.|
Not only that, but one can still find a lot of V-series derailleurs in use on old bikes today, which speaks to their durability. Sometimes they'll be marked with names other than SunTour, though. Fuji had versions of the SunTour V-series re-branded with their name. I believe Raleigh did, too.
|The "B" adjustment screw (for setting the derailleur's angle) is nicely shrouded, and the high/low adjustment screws are clearly marked, convenient to access, and out of the spray that might come from wet roads.|
Derailleurs like the SunTour V-series were good workhorses that shifted well and could withstand a decent amount of abuse and neglect. Attractive without being flashy. Inexpensive without being cheap. The crazy thing, though, is the way these have appreciated in value on the vintage market. Searching on eBay as I was writing this, I found numerous examples listed for anywhere from $30 - $60. That might not sound like so much, until one considers the fact that in 1977, a brand new Vx would have sold for little more than $10! This at a time when a Shimano Crane was around $18, a Huret Challenger was about $25, and a Campy Nuovo Record was over $35. I guess people don't really appreciate something until it's gone.