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  1. #1
    times or divided by schroedinbug's Avatar
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    Sturmey Archer 3 Speed Project

    I'm resurrecting an early 60's "Apollo" English 3 Speed. It has a Sturmey Archer AW hub stamped 1963. Overall the bike has very little wear on it, but all the chrome parts are pretty rusted up. It's not intended to be an all-original restoration, just a reliable ride. I got some nice alloy rims, alloy stem and straight bars, and Shimano 105 cranks to replace the cottereds and rusty chrome.

    The original Sturmey shifter is in real rough shape, it's rusty and bashed up pretty badly. New replacement Sturmey shifters have crappy plastic all over them and are fairly expensive for what you get. Old all-metal Sturmey shifters in nice condition are rare and expensive on ebay.

    I found a whole pile of NOS Shimano 3 speed shifters in the back of a LBS ($3 each with cable) , and was thinking of giving them a try. They have plastic on them, but are generally nicer than the plastic Sturmey ones. Does anyone know if they will properly shift an AW? It appears the cable pull is close enough to be worth a try, but I thought I'd mention it here anyway. I've also seen modern Sturmey twist-grip shifters on ebay, but they look a little sketchy. Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Ferrous wheel
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    You can get '70s-era Sturmey Archer shifters on eBay for less than $12. They have only one piece of plastic, the cover part that serves only to indicate what gear is where. (You can remove it if you'd like.)

    I am under the impression that the Shimano shifters are not compatible. I think Sheldon says the twist-grip shifters are junk, but you might check on his site to be sure.

    I tired of my Sturmey Archer shifter and replaced it with a downtube friction shifter. There's a learning curve involved in using it, and I wouldn't do it like this on someone else's bike. Should make it harder to steal, though, or at least harder for a thief to ride.
    One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach -- all the damn vampires.

  3. #3
    times or divided by schroedinbug's Avatar
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    I like the friction shifter conversion, but being in the 'not my bike' category, I have to agree with you on that not being a good idea. I've seen the 70's Sturmey ones, and I know they're really not that bad, but for whatever reason I find myself utterly repulsed by them.

    The Shimano 3 speed is only a slight (if any) improvement in quality, but I just like the feel of it a lot better.

    It'd be funny to put a detent or secret mark or something on your friction shifter to set the hub in Neutral. That would make it even more confusing for would-be thieves.

  4. #4
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    THe shimano shifter cable pull is NOT compatible with the stumey cable pull. I guess shimano cut its teeth with sturmey before starting more stupid compatibility wars with campy and sram.

  5. #5
    Upright bars SirMike1983's Avatar
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    I have the late 60s/ early 70s S-A shifter with clear plastic front on 2 of my Raleighs and I'm happy with both.
    English Roadsters, American Roadsters, and Balloon Tire Bicycles
    The Bike Shed classic bicycle blog: http://bikeshedva.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Don't go the twist grip route - I snapped the gear pin off inside the hub! But I have retrofitted a Shimano 3-speed shifter to a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub. Finding 1st and 3rd is easy (gear lever stops at extent of travel) - 2nd is more trickey. I experiment with lever placement and put a drop of bright model paint at the correct location. Although, this is for straight 3-speed hubs only - not coaster brake versions. If you don't get the gear just right on C.B.s it might slip when you back pedal - freewheeling when you expect the brake can cause painful (expensive) visits to the local ER.

  7. #7
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemeister
    Don't go the twist grip route - I snapped the gear pin off inside the hub!
    Woah, that's interesting.

    I turned my '91 Schwinn Frontier into an "English 3-spd" with a '73 AW hub and a '67 S-A twist-grip shifter. I have noticed with this setup going from third to second twisting the shifter gets real hard where it doesn't seem to want to go into gear and then I have to let up slightly on the pressure for a moment and then it goes into second gear without a problem. And yes I'm letting off on the pedals, too.

    I figure that if I keep shifting this way I shouldn't have any problems as long as I don't force anything!

    I have also heard, I think from Sheldon Brown, that the British club racers back in the fourties and fifties never stood up on thier pedals when hammering in top gear because there was always a possibility of the hub slipping out of gear.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  8. #8
    times or divided by schroedinbug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy
    I have also heard, I think from Sheldon Brown, that the British club racers back in the fourties and fifties never stood up on thier pedals when hammering in top gear because there was always a possibility of the hub slipping out of gear.
    This is so true, I've experienced it many times. It can hurt alot, that's for sure. One of my first bikes growing up was a Sears 3 speed with a Sturmey AW. Looking back it was a cool bike, but I hated it because of the slipping. Now that I understand better what's going on it's not such a big deal. Don't stand on those pedals in high gear!

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/sturmey-archer.html

  9. #9
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    They are cool bikes, but I don't understand why twist-grip shifters don't get the love. those things are great! When i can scavenge one of these setups I am an extremely happy camper, and one of my trigger-shifted frankenbikes soon gets converted.

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