Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Suntour Bar-con Control Lever

This posting is off topic from the sportif bicycle, but still relevant.  I recently had the bad luck of breaking one of the Suntour bar-con shifters I had installed on my commuting bike.  Fortunately I was able to track down another set quite quickly and for a decent price.  Since these shifters were obviously used, I took the time to disassemble and refurbish them.  Here is a rundown of how to disassemble and re-assemble one of these shifters.  First off there are a few tools that you will require for disassembly, all of which are pretty common except for the lockring pliers.  It is also a good idea when disassembling any component to try to track down an exploded diagram of the component as this clearly shows the way the parts are to line up when it comes time for re-assembly.

Suntour Bar-con exploded diagram

Exploded Suntour Shifter

The first step is to remove the shifter from the shifter body using a flat-head screwdriver.  Be sure to remove the locking nut to the left of the shifter first before attempting to remove the screw on the right side.  Next, use a phillips screwdriver to remove the shifter assembly cover.  I found this screw to be quite tight, so be sure to use the appropriately sized screwdriver and be sure to push the screwdriver firmly into the screw head to prevent stripping.

Once the shifter assembly cover is removed, there is is a clip which requires the lockring pliers to remove.  Once this clip is removed, the rest of the shifter easily comes apart.  Even with the exploded diagram for reference I still lay the parts out as them come off to remind myself how to put the component back together.  Below is a photo I took of the disassembled shifter.  Be especially careful not to lose the spring when removing the ratcheting pawl, which I found easiest to do after the rest of the assembly had been removed.

Lockring pliers ready to disassemble shifter

Once the shifter was disassembled I used degreaser to clean up all of the parts and then applied new grease generously.  BICYCLES LOVE GREASE.  One thing to note during re-assembly is that the ratchet is not reversible.  There is an engraved dot on one side of the ratchet, which must be installed to the right/facing out.  If you install the ratchet backwards, the stack height won't be correct, which makes installing the final clip not possible.  As well, if it is not obvious to users of this shifter, both shifters are identical and completely interchangeable.  After I finish cleaning up the shifter body with a bit of elbow grease and simichrome I'll post a fully re-assembled shifter.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


A set of tires I have been riding on for a few years and really like are the made by Panaracer for Rivendell, blue (435g) Jack Browns.  These tires have a low rolling resistance and can handle a high air volume making them cushier/rugged.  These tires are also less susceptible to flats due to the Kevlar belt and casing as well as a thicker tread.  Rivendell also have a lighter weight version of these tires which have a thinner tread and casing with no kevlar belt.  This model has a green label (295g).  Aside from the neat checker pattern these tires also have the always desirable tan sidewall.

Jack Brown, 700x33.33333.  Green 295g, Blue 435g.

Other tire options, which that are slightly lighter, are a couple of tires made by Grand Bois.  Both the Cypress and Cerf models have a fairly similar tread which are meant for mostly road applications.  The Cypress model is available in 32 and the Cerf in 28, so the tire size would be the determining factor when deciding between these two tires.

Grand Bois "Cerf", 248g

Grand Bois Cypress, 700x32, 290g