Classic & Vintage - shimano "333" hub reliability?
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09-20-08, 10:46 PM
kinda a random question, but having 6 s.a. 3speeds of my own and now having a shimano 333 3speed hub with coaster brake in it, i was wondering how well did these hubs hold up? vs s.a.? i got a 53 schwinn world that since i cannot build it up all original, i am gonna to possibly use much updated rims with the 333 hub to replace the old unmatching s.a. equipt set of wheels. i heard that they were sort of trouble some and being a 200lb rider, i don't want to do a build up with inferior hubs. and i have always had great luck with s.a. hubs and found them especially easy to rebuild. won't even try a shimano rebuild.
09-20-08, 10:49 PM
Sheldon Brown wasn't a big fan. See his critique of the hub here (http://sheldonbrown.com/shimano333.html).
09-21-08, 12:46 AM
I've worked on several bikes over the past 6 months with the 333 hubs and so far, no issues. My wife rides one of them every work day. I also have a Raleigh 3-speed with the SA hub, so I have a good basis for comparison. So far, I've found that you simply have to add some lightweight oil to the 333 occasionally and they work very well. I use 3-in-1 Motor Oil. It's a 20 weight oil, which is perfect for either the 333's or SA's. On the 333's, you also have to have the adjuster in the bell housing set so that the "N" in centered in the view port and then the gears shift very nicely. On my wife's bike, she has the Shimano twist shifter. I took it apart initially, cleaned it up and added some grease. It's been shifting effortless ever since. I've also worked on a couple of their thumb shifters. They are OK, but not as good as the SA thumb shifter.
With all that nice stuff being said, I do have some concerns however. One - there isn't much technical info available that I've found on the inner workings of the 333 hub. I wouldn't take one apart without a diagram of the parts or some info on steps to do it. That is bad, compared to the info available for the various SA hubs. Two - Finding spare parts for the 333 hub is mission impossible, even if you know how to take apart and re-assemble. Three - I don't have real high opinions of any 3 speed hub with a built in coaster brake. My Raleigh has one and I dread the day if that coaster brake freezes up, like all the literature indicates can happen. I even have a back up SA hub (an AW), that I took apart, cleaned up and put back together. I don't have any specific info on the 333 coaster brake version, but I'd be learly about it. I would much rather have just the 3 speed hub w/o built in coaster brakes.
Hope this gives you some ideas.
09-22-08, 11:26 AM
thanks and it does. now to just find a good shifter. can my LBS still find an old 333 shifter and cable? thumb or grip.
09-22-08, 11:28 AM
They really aren't too bad. Just don't try to use a Sturmey-Archer shifter with a Shimano 333 hub.
09-22-08, 12:14 PM
The lbs around here generally have a drawer or two of old 3-speed parts, mostly SA though. It wouldn't hurt to ask to rummage through them. If not available, maybe you can find an old beater with the needed parts. I've also heard what oldroads said - SA shifters don't work very well, if at all, with Shimano hubs. Has to do with the amount of cable travel each does to shift gears at the hub.
09-22-08, 02:45 PM
Ebay is another decent source for Shimano 3 speed shifters. FWIW I have never had a 333 fail, but I never abused them like I did my S-A hubs either. Most of them were on ladies bikes that the ladies ride;)
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