Friday, January 24, 2020

Gathering Parts - Drivetrain

As I'm gathering my parts for the early '80s Specialized Sequoia build and describing my selections, my next installment is on drivetrain components.

Crank: My first/ideal choice for a crank would be to find an early '80s Specialized "Flag" crank (like the one on my Expedition). Problem is that those seem to be pretty scarce these days - or rather, ones in my preferred length that aren't scuffed to hell and back are scarce. I'll keep my eyes peeled, but for now, I'm going to be mounting a mid-'80s Sakae FX. In terms of style, they're really not so different.

The lightly used Sakae crank is in excellent condition, worthy of a restored frame. The screen-printed logo on the drive-side arm was scratched, so I just removed what was left of it. I'm debating whether or not to do the same to the left arm. Otherwise the finish is in great shape. It's a 110/74 triple, but I left off the granny ring, making it more like a "compact" double. Current chainrings are 50/36.
Pedals: I have this pair of SunTour Superbe pedals that I found on eBay. They were used but in very good shape, and the bidding stayed low (probably because they were mis-identified in the listing). I also found a great deal on a pair of NOS replacement cages, and even though the original ones were only a little scuffed and more than presentable, I decided to swap them. The pedals now look almost new, and I have the other cages for spares.

Brand new cages, and polished bodies make these look almost like new. The sealed bearings are so smooth. I'm not sure who actually made these for SunTour, but if I had to guess, I'd say MKS.
Derailleurs: I had three different generations of Cyclone derailleurs to choose from, but ultimately decided upon the M-II version. It just seemed like it would be the best match for the early '80s Sequoia.

The long-cage rear derailleur should handle the gearing I've chosen really well. I had a matching Cyclone M-II front derailleur, which helped make the choice even easier. One thing I don't know is how well that front derailleur will work with the big 14-tooth gear jump on my crank. A lot of modern front derailleurs will handle that just fine, but I'll just have to see how that goes with a changer that was probably designed for a 42/52 crank.
Freewheel: Shimano 600

Is there something sacrilegious about putting a Shimano freewheel on an otherwise SunTour build? Vintage SunTour Winner (and New Winner) freewheels are probably my favorites, but I looked through my stash of old freewheels hoping to find something in a 13-28, and this NOS Shimano was the only one that fit the bill. But truthfully, the old Shimano 600 and Dura-Ace freewheels are awfully hard to fault - exceptionally smooth, quiet, and durable. And some people feel that the tooth profile makes for better shifting than even the old SunTour ones. So there's that.
Shift Levers: Hmmmm. . .

Still thinking about this one. I've got vintage SunTour power ratchet downtube levers which would be the good match for age, but the "look" is a little old-fashioned or clunky compared to the smoothed out "aero" components of the '80s. I've got SunTour power ratchet BarCons, which match the age, and fit with the fact that I really like BarCons. And I also have a pair of the SunTour Sprint ratcheting levers, which were the final and best version with a super fine ratchet mechanism and that smooth '80s style - unfortunately, they are for brazed-on shifter posts, and my Sequoia needs clamp-on levers. I could go searching for a compatible clamp for them (is it worth the trouble?), or I could have asked the painter to add shifter braze-ons (too late for that, though). I'll come back to this one.

That's all I've got for the moment. Stay tuned . . .


  1. I vote Suntour Symmetric shifters. With the built-in trimming of the front derailer and being Suntour they would complement the build nicely!

    1. Oh - I forgot about those. I was only looking at the ones I have in my possession - but those are an interesting option.

    2. I had them on a bike a while back and they worked really well.

  2. No "forth-hand" tool required to set up the wonderful Shimano Finger-tip Control levers. Simply push the lever all the way down and lock it in place by tightening the screw on the side of the lever body. With the chain in the smallest cog, pull the cable tight at the derailleurs, and tighten the anchor-bolt. Then loosen the screw at the lever until it moves freely and takes up any remaining cable slack. I've had a set of these in use continuously since the mid-70's with several different derailleurs. They'll work perfectly with anything you've got. One of my all-time favorites.