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I recently picked up an 85 Cannondale ST500 with a Suntour Superbe Tech rear derailleur. The cage is bent and the bearings in the guides don't feel too fresh. I'm just starting to get into bike maintenance - what's my best option for replacing this? I've noticed I can get something like a Suntour Cyclone for around $30 on ebay - would that work?

Picture of derailleur Thanks!

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You have friction shifters so you don't need to worry about shifter compatibility -- any derailleur can be shifted with a friction shifter provided the shifter pulls enough cable to get through the range of required shifts. So, all you need to worry about is the capacity and extreme cog sizes.

I'd just buy some Shimano derailleur like a Shimano Acera one for 15-20 bucks.

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As 83cannondale alludes to, this was an unusual derailleur that, unlike most others, did not use a cable housing and the frame has no cable stop for it. So you'd need to get a clamp-on cable stop along with whatever conventional derailleur you used (and some derailleur cable housing). These clamp-on stops are available through the usual auction sites and bike shops that cater to older bikes.

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THAT won't work - you need to adapt the "no cable housing, direct pull" derailleur to one that works with housing. Cannondale made a part for that conversion. It has to be rivotted in, or you can make an adapter your self that allows housing to be used.

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  • What won’t work? This isn’t a forum. If you want to comment on a particular answer, use the comment feature.
    – Eric S
    Dec 3 '18 at 17:59
  • This answer isn't particularly self-contained. Would you mind please using the Edit link to make it so the answer stands alone. Some details about the converter would help.
    – Criggie
    Dec 3 '18 at 18:46
  • Insert at beginning ''The derailleur can't simply be replaced with a modern/conventional one:''
    – JoeK
    Sep 9 at 20:56
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Suntour Superbe Tech was actually a fantastic derailleur, even though there are write ups about how bad they were, not sure where that stuff comes from because I used one for over 150,000 MILES and never had one problem, I have another bike with the Tech on it as well and it has maybe 25,000 miles on it with no problems.

When the Tech is set up correctly that thing will shift fast and smooth, plus it will shift with a load on the cranks like when going up hill and you need to shift enabling you to do so without have to reduce pedal pressure. Mountech was built the same way and I used one of those on my former touring bike with no problems either, in fact I loved it for touring due to its fast and sure shifting.

I am pretty meticulous about keeping my gear clean so my Tech and Mountech derailleurs lasting a long time might have something to do with keeping those derailleurs clean? Water doesn't seem to do bother those either.

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    Interesting points, but none of this mentions what is a good replacement. Is your underlying answer that this mech should be refurbished and reused rather than replaced ?
    – Criggie
    Sep 9 at 1:48
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    Sorry, I did put a paragraph about which models to replace it with but I see it's missing, strange, anyway good replacement is either find another Tech, or go with Superbe Pro, Cyclone, or Sprint, all made by Suntour. Those 3 models are extremely reliable and will last many thousands of miles if you buy one that is New Old Stock. If you prefer not to go back to the vintage derailleurs, you can get any modern derailleur like Shimano 105 for example and it will work in friction mode, I have a 2020 touring bike with Shimano Deore and barend index shift, but friction would work as well.
    – froze
    Sep 10 at 2:44

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