General Cycling Discussion - Sturmey Archer Vs. Shimano Nexus Vs. SRAM - Who makes the best 3 speed internal hub?
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04-29-04, 09:08 PM
My Sturmey Archer has been giving me a lot of trouble recently. Its an older model one and it came with my old raleigh foldable bike. Parts are definetly harder to find and replace.
04-29-04, 09:38 PM
Sram Spectro 3 - Positive: Pretty durable product, easier to adjust the rear wheel gear indicator once you remove the tire after a flat. Parts are available. You can even get a three speed with a roller brake! All instructions right on the net! Negative: Most expensive of the three, gear indicator sticks out and can get knocked off when riding, you may also lose parts after a wheel change
Sturmey Archer AW-3 - Positive: Pretty durable product, fairly inexpensive new and used hubs are abundant. Negatives: Parts are hard to get, Gear indicator harder to adjust after removing the rear wheel after a flat
Although I've never used a bike with a Nexus 3, here are some things I've observed:
It's a fairly durable product but who sells them?? Where can you get parts?? Does Shimano even sell this hub to the open public?
All 3 speed hub gears have very similar wide gear spacing so it's best to use a large cog or you'll end with a high geared Schwinn Speedster! Futhermore, no standing on the peddals please (especially with a Sturmey Archer) because these hubs can and will slip out of gear!
I really can't tell you who makes a better hub because I've never used all three. I can tell you first hand the AW-3 is a solid product and my junk folding bike is going on 4 years old and the hub still works like new! The Shimano Nexus 7/8 is a solid product and my Bianchi has had zero problems. I suspect their 3 speed version should be no different. I've ridden a folding bike with the Sram Spectro 3 and that is a very good product. Who makes the better product?? Depends on what you want to do?
If you want a solid three speed with a roller brake, you're only hope is the Sram Spectro 3. I don't know if you can get the Shimano 3 speed as I've never seen it available. The Sturmey archer product is everywhere and if you're looking for a bargain basment product, this will be your only choice.
New Shimano three speed hubs are stock on a fair number of SoCal cruisers (Dynos and Electras for example), so they are available. I don't have any direct experience with new models of any these hubs, but I do with (1) older Sturmey Archer 3-speeds (50's through 70's; I've had 3 different bikes thusly equipped), (2) Shimano Nexus 7 (I've currently got three bikes w/ 'em) and (3) SRAM 5 and 7 (my wife's two bikes). I've never had to service any of them and have had minimal problems, most of which usually can be solved by correct adjustment. I find the Shimano Nexus 7 to be smoother in some gears than others, probably a design issue more than anything else. All things considered, logic would tell you that a three speed should be more reliable and easier to service than a more complicated 5,7 or 8 speed model. However, I don't find that a three speed hub gives me enough range for some of the hills I need to deal with daily, so I typically go with a 7-speed, which is becoming more common on city commuter bikes in the US now. Sturmey makes 5 and 7 speed models now too, but I've never seen one. Maybe Pashley is using them on some bikes, but you'd have to go to Canada to buy one of those.
04-30-04, 12:11 AM
I just bought a Sachs/Sram 3 speed and think its the tops. I've never used the Shimano - but plan on buying a Nexus 8 when they're widely available. I did use an old Sturmey and found the gearing a little too ... high ... and the shifting not as nice as the Sachs - but then again - the SA was used and I don't recall which model it was whereas the Sachs is new, light, solid and shifting is quite pleasant - though so far I haven't had any use for 1st gear, but i haven't really been hauling anything yet either.
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