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  1. #1
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Sturmey Archer on a modern frame

    I've got this 1960s Sturmey-Archer AW hub that I've got a sentimental attachment to, and I'd like to put it on a modern frame and in a modern wheel. The axle seems too short, though. Can I get a different axle? Do I have to open up the hub to do so? If I open up the hub, will all the magic leak out?

    This brings up an ancillary question, actually: how many axle sizes are there?
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  2. #2
    Gone, but not forgotten Sheldon Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua A.C. New View Post
    I've got this 1960s Sturmey-Archer AW hub that I've got a sentimental attachment to, and I'd like to put it on a modern frame and in a modern wheel. The axle seems too short, though. Can I get a different axle? Do I have to open up the hub to do so? If I open up the hub, will all the magic leak out?

    This brings up an ancillary question, actually: how many axle sizes are there?
    The standard AW axles came in 5 3/4" and 6 1/4" lengths. You do need to disassemble the hub to swap the axle, but this is a lot easier than most people suppose.

    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/aw

    Generally, older SA hubs can be made to work fine with 120 mm spaced frames. Anything wider gets dodgy, especially if the dropouts are thick.

    See also: http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing

    Sheldon "Epicyclic" Brown
    [COLOR=blue][CENTER][b]Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts[/b]
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  3. #3
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua A.C. New View Post
    I've got this 1960s Sturmey-Archer AW hub that I've got a sentimental attachment to, and I'd like to put it on a modern frame and in a modern wheel. The axle seems too short, though. Can I get a different axle? Do I have to open up the hub to do so? If I open up the hub, will all the magic leak out?

    This brings up an ancillary question, actually: how many axle sizes are there?
    A Sturmey Archer from the 60s might be drilled for 40 spokes. 40 hole rims exist, but they're rare enough to make finding one a task.
    Dan Burkhart
    www.boomerbicycle.ca

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua A.C. New View Post
    I've got this 1960s Sturmey-Archer AW hub that I've got a sentimental attachment to,
    {snip**
    If I open up the hub, will all the magic leak out?
    Not a problem! Magic builds up in a Sturmey hub with each mile ridden. If you have an emotional attachment to one from the '60s, it must be full almost to bursting. If you just let it sit on a shelf, the magic will slowly leak out. Wasted like the power in a battery that sits till it goes dead, illuminating nothing. But, when you open one up, you inhale the magic! As soon as you get it back on the road it will start accumulating more.

    On a more prosaic note;
    Swapping axles will give you a chance to clean the years of accumulated gunk out.

    When axle length is tight I use 3/8" (13/32" actual ID) grade 8 hardened washers under the outer nuts. $0.25 at my local hardware store. They are only 1/16" thick. Softer washers that thin get distorted when used.

    Make sure you have at least 6 or 7 threads of engagement between the axle and outer nut. If seen a lot of axles with 4-5 threads stripped off. They are made of tough stuff, but since they don't go all the way around the axle they are easier to strip than with a round axle.

    I strongly suggest a cheap frame that's not too modern. Flat plate dropouts are better than forged for use with the older SAs.

  5. #5
    Your mom
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    I've been looking at doing this myself; it's my winter project. Here's what I've gleaned. There are few 40 hole rims out there. Velocity makes one. I'm looking at building a 26" wheel, so the options are Sun Rhynolite and Salsa Gordo. You will need spoke washers for the hub flange, as they are apparently too thin for modern spokes. If you don't want to change out the axle (as I don't), you can cold set the frame to a smaller spacing.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cyqlist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    A Sturmey Archer from the 60s might be drilled for 40 spokes. 40 hole rims exist, but they're rare enough to make finding one a task.
    A few people have built 32 spoke wheels on 40 hole hubs. It's one of the less problematic "mismatch" combinations, as by skipping every 5th hole in the hub the spokes in the remaining holes are in symmetrical groups of 4, two each of 2 different lengths.

    Here's mine.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    While that's really interesting, it's a 36h hub, so I'm not going to have to jump through any hoops to get it to work.

    That said, that 42-32 setup is pretty cool looking.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  8. #8
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon Brown View Post
    The standard AW axles came in 5 3/4" and 6 1/4" lengths. You do need to disassemble the hub to swap the axle, but this is a lot easier than most people suppose.

    See: http://sheldonbrown.com/aw


    Sheldon "Epicyclic" Brown
    Do you know what the specs on the axle are? I imagine an axle is a pretty simple piece to machine in any length you'd like

  9. #9
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
    I imagine an axle is a pretty simple piece to machine in any length you'd like
    Knock yourself out:



    TCS
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  10. #10
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Yeah, Rad, you have to be careful about the proper diameter or it doesn't work as a cork to keep in the magic. What looks like a gear in the center there is really a fairy crown.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  11. #11
    Call me The Breeze I_bRAD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    Knock yourself out:



    TCS
    haha. nevermind!

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    Quote Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
    Do you know what the specs on the axle are? I imagine an axle is a pretty simple piece to machine in any length you'd like
    Apparently it can be done. I have a custom axle that is the standard length, but is shorter on the left and longer on the right. I got it in a hub that had a 5 speed freewheel screwed onto a threaded driver. The planet gear appears to be the SA part but the axle itself clearly isn't.


    The new Taiwan made Sturmeys are available with longer axles. I had one apart recently, but didn't think to check if the axles would work in the old hubs.

  13. #13
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    new SA internals installed in old SA hub possible?

    Hi,

    I have discovered how "dodgy" it is putting an old AW hub on a modern frame with 126mm frame spacing. Since I already have the AW hub laced up to the rim, is it possible to buy the new SRF-3 hub with the 175mm axle (longer than the two lengths mentioned by Sheldon at the beginning of this thread) and swap its internals with my old AW? I'd prefer not to cold set the frame as I might go to a Shimano Nexus in the distant future.

  14. #14
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grayvw View Post
    Hi,

    I have discovered how "dodgy" it is putting an old AW hub on a modern frame with 126mm frame spacing. Since I already have the AW hub laced up to the rim, is it possible to buy the new SRF-3 hub with the 175mm axle (longer than the two lengths mentioned by Sheldon at the beginning of this thread) and swap its internals with my old AW? I'd prefer not to cold set the frame as I might go to a Shimano Nexus in the distant future.
    I would be surprised if you could swap the internals of a modern SA into the shell of an old AW.

    How modern of a frame are you trying to put it into? I did a similar thing a few months back where I took a 124mm frame spacing (it should have 120mm but was wider) and just pushed it down to the required spacing and tightened the axle nuts. I didn't want to cold set either. It has worked fine for me.


  15. #15
    Your mom
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    Honestly, the cold-setting is pretty straightforward. Then you can just undo it to pop the Nexus in later in life. I squeezed a 130 mtb frame down to 126 or so, and then spaced out the SA hub a little to fit.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    Joshua,

    You saw my child's bike S-A project posted recently. If I'm crazy enough to do something like that and get away with it, you should consider taking a chance with it as well!

    The problems I'm having is because it was not my hub. When someone discards something, deep wounds are inflicted, and it takes time to restore the force. I'm sure that there is enough magic stored up in yours to help carry you thru.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Hi, Sheldon! I'm glad to see you're doing OK, and could take the time out of your busy reincarnation schedule to answer my question!

    (I'd forgotten about this thread! I've built two other bikes since I started it!)

    So, to update, I've built the wheel up, putting it in a Weinmann DP-18 rim, but have decided to go for an older frame for this one. I'm going for a retro, rather than vintage, feel. Modern deep-section raw aluminum rims, moustache bar, nice, functioning modern brakes, a bone white and brown paint job, and if I can afford it, a Selle An-Atomica saddle in dark brown.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    Hey, Fibber, yeah, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to sort this. It's a matter of finding a steel frame that I can cold-set to spec.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

  19. #19
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    Funny, but after your comment about the return of Sheldon from the 'great cycling beyond' I checked the dates and it all made more sense!

    I'm getting more and more frustrated with this S3C hub. We went biking last night and my daughter found it impossible to get it back into first (even I had trouble), and second often freewheels as though it were slipping into that dead spot between second and third. And the coaster brake is totally dead in third.

    I'm starting to wish that I had just ordered a brand new AW instead of screwing around with a 1976 hub off of e-bay. They are available in 148mm axle lengths, 108mm OLD, 28 spoke - perfect for a kids bike installation.
    http://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_3spd_AW.php

  20. #20
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    That's the pits.

    There's an SR3C hub on Ebay right now. I don't know how compatible those are, but it's much more likely that you'd be able to fit the internals into that much more similar model.

    You may also want to drop a line to Harris Cyclery and ask them if it's doable. They don't seem to stock the SR3C, but I bet they know all about it.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    She is so used to the idea of handbrakes now, that I no longer feel the need for the crutch of the coaster brake as a backup. If I buy the new AW, I'll just have to bite the bullet and re-lace the wheel. I wouldn't even try to do a core transplant.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
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    That's the pits.

    There's an SR3C hub on Ebay right now. I don't know how compatible those are, but it's much more likely that you'd be able to fit the internals into that much more similar model.

    You may also want to drop a line to Harris Cyclery and ask them if it's doable. They don't seem to stock the SR3C, but I bet they know all about it.
    Joshua A.C. Newman,
    Passionate lover of construction

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