Junzo Kawai, former President of SunTour Japan, has returned to bicycle component manufacturing. He is now the Chairman of a new company, SunXCD, that has now begun production of cranks, hubs, rims and complete wheels. SunXCD will soon focus on derailleurs and shifters, much like the SunTour of old.
Under Junzo’s leadership SunTour’s U.S. market share of bicycle drivetrains reached 60% by the mid 80’s. At one time, SunTour derailleurs, shift levers, and freewheels were the favorites of the market. If you came into a bike store in the U.S. with a poor shifting derailleur or a sick freewheel of another brand, the standard repair was to replace it with SunTour. Suntour also took an early lead in manufacturing mountain bike components that resulted in Junzo being inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. At its peak, SunTour employed 450 people at its 2 Osaka factories. As the 1980’s progressed, the privately-owned SunTour struggled to compete with the much larger Shimano in the rapidly changing bicycle market. Their smaller research and development department and the disastrousYen devaluation of 1985, eventually lead to the sale of SunTour to Mori Steel in 1994, then eventually to a management buyout, that lead to the present SR Suntour Company.
Junzo feels the time is right to re-enter the bicycle component business. As he puts it “the market is too race-centric; carbon fiber, electric shifting, full suspension, 11 speed, doesn’t really enhance the enjoyment of cycling. In the 1970’s and 80’s we cycled to be closer to nature, for the environment, for our health, for the simple beauty of cycling.” For these reasons SunXCD will focus on touring and randonneuring components which were the focus of SunTour during its heyday. Junzo was encouraged to return to component manufacturing by his son in-law and President Taki Takimoto who also felt the time was right. Interested dealers please contact the Merry Sales Co. who will be handling distribution in the US .
** Sunset for SunTour By Frank J. Berto, Van der Plas Publications,