Tom Pidcock Won Olympics on What Looks Like Electronic Prototype Suspension from SR Suntour
Funny, I didn’t realize Suntour was in business anymore.
Mori Industries Inc.
In 1988 the SunTour name was purchased and revived by Sakae Ringyo Company, (now owned by Mori Industries Inc. ) with a capital investment of 45,000,000 NT$ in Tokyo, Japan, thus becoming SR-SunTour.
Awesome. More competition in the mtn bike suspension business is always good.
I wonder how well it performs/whether it’ll be on affordable level bikes at any point.
The only experience with SunTour suspension are cheap coil/oil forks that come on low end bikes, or as budget replacement options. Left me thinking they weren’t really a performance brand.
They have been trying for about a decade. They even offered a discount when trading in their low end spring forks.
It’ll be hard to break into the market dominated by Fox/RockShox in terms of build kits. Even other brands like DVO, Marzocchi, Manitou have a hard time. You hear about it for a short while, and then they disappear from the build kits.
Longer than that…they were trying to do it way back when I was doing bike product development.
I would say they are off to a great start breaking back into the market.
All they really need to do now is get Pidcock to say its the best thing he has ever experienced and everyone will look at how a part time mountain bike athlete dominated the Olympics (and ignore his amazing gifts) and flock to the revolution haha.
The reality is that they have a massive branding problem…no one takes the SR Suntour brand seriously anymore. They chased low-prices and lower-level products ebcause they could generate a lot of revenue that way, but it completely eroded the brand.
Anyone who has memories of the brand as a high-end supplier relates them to road components, not MTB suspension.
It is a very difficult market challenge to expand your market up the price continuum when your brand is primarily associated with low-end product. Much easier to move a brand down in price, as you get the “halo” effect of higher-quality products.
If they are serious about this initiative, IMO, they need to scrap the SR Suntour branding and start fresh.
SunTour has a great history in bike parts. Some genuine innovations.
The Suntour Superbe road group from 1980s was very good. That group was excellent value in an era dominated by Campagnolo and before Shimano became a real force in the high end. SunTour copied a lot of what Campy was doing, but the shifting performance was probably better than NR/SR of the day.
SunTour’s Winner and New Winner freewheels and ultra (narrower spacing) were also outstanding. In the shop, we had freewheel bodies and a “board” of cogs and spacers. You could make lots of combinations depending on the use or race demands. Going from a 5 speed “standard” block to an ultra 6 or 7 was a huge thing back then. Now with 10, 11, 12 speed blocks you kids are so spoiled…
I think their biggest impression on mountain biking was the MicroDrive Grease Guard group in the early 1990s. They licensed Grease Guard (from WTB) and incorporated that into an outstanding groupset. Superb hubs, bearings, pedals and drivetrain performance. SunTour might have been the first full group producer to really think about how to get good gear ratios and save weight for mountain bikes. I ran the full micro drive group on a SlingShot for several years.
SunTour also was fundamental in developing the slant parallel rear derailleur and some early click shifting. Some would say Shimano basically “stole” the fundamentals from SunTour without proper compensation.
Obviously that hey-day is long gone but fun history
Yup…which was exactly my point. Some great products form long ago that has very little relevance to what they are doing today.
I, as someone who remembers that stuff, would look at a suspension fork from them (combined with their market role in the category as a low-end fork supplier) and say “hard pass” and stick with a known market leader.
Someone who is relatively new to the market (and let’s face it it, it ain’t us anymore! ) would only know them form their low-end stuff of the last 20-30 years…and likely also say “hard pass”.
I think that is a given based on my typical forum contributions!!
It would be hard for today’s bike consumer to relate to a time when Campy was the leader and Shimano was trying to break in.
I rode mostly Campy but loved the Mavic, Simplex and Zeus stuff too.
For dirt… do think SunTour MicroDrive was “important” in evolving mountain bike groups. The early 90s were wild with different approaches to suspension, brakes and drivetrains. Good times…
My only experience with Suntour was buying a bike with one of their cheap pogo stick forks solely to take advantage of the upgrade program. I think they’re going to have a very hard time getting people to take their brand seriously just because of their reputation
Suntour’s been around for many decades. I don’t think they’re trying to break into the high end market. That ship has sailed.
It’s not unheard of in the cycling industry for a budget brand to “produce” a high end product for pro racers. They might be one-offs and for marketing purposes only. They could even be some Frankenstein contraption using competitors’ components. Who knows.
No, they are definitely trying (and have been trying) to get into the high end market…they also tweeted about the fork, dropping hints that were details to peruse (i.e. the electronic lockout).