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  1. #1
    Senior Member gman26's Avatar
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    Conversion to 3 speed hub (from 5-speed)

    I have a Schwinn Suburban I would like to convert to 3-speed, is it just a matter of changing the hub, relacing the wheel?
    Any other major changes required, besides the shifter and cable?
    Are there kits available for this or should I just scour ebay for 3-speed hubs?

  2. #2
    Gear Hub fan
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    Normally should be primarily a simple change of wheel and fitting the new shifter. Even with 3 speed hubs width can vary from 110mm for some older Sturmey Archer hubs to 135mm for some models of the SRAM iM3 so be sure of what you are getting and what your frame needs though on steel frames the dropout spacing can be reset to fit almost any hub width.

    For best chainline the bottom bracket axle length may need to be changed to have the front chainring in line with the hub sprocket.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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    There are plenty of new 3 speed hubs available. I don't know if there's a kit. I believe you'd have to measure your rim and hub and use an online spoke calculator to tell you what spokes to buy.

    You can also get new 3 speed wheels.

    Of course, you can also buy new 5 speed hubs from Sturmey-Archer and SRAM.

    Your frame can be respaced to a different width hub. I don't know the widths of the various hubs except for a Shimano Nexus 3 Coaster Brake which is 120mm.

    The chainline is another issue you would have to get right. I don't know the chainline of various new hubs.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gman26's Avatar
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    Will it be more difficult since the wheels are 27 x 1-1/4"?

    All the wheels I see with 3-speed hubs are 26" - did they make them with the 27" also?

  5. #5
    Gear Hub fan
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    Harris Cyclery specializes in gear hub wheels and bikes so should be able to provide anything you want even if a custom build. They do stock 27" (ISO 630) Sun aluminum rims so can do a custom built wheel if necessary.

    Most English 3 speed bikes used odd size wheels, ISO 590, and they do offer wheels in that size. To get a 700C 3 speed wheel I did my own wheel build.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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  6. #6
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    Most English 3 speed bikes used odd size wheels, ISO 590, and they do offer wheels in that size. To get a 700C 3 speed wheel I did my own wheel build.

    I'd love some photos of your 700C (622mm) wheel with a 3-spd. hub in it. Wow!
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

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    Are you sure it's a 27? 26X1-3/8 wheels are larger than standard 26" mtb wheels.

  8. #8
    I make stuff up
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    Schwinn Suburbans had 1 piece cranks and 27 x 1 1/4 (630 mm) steel rims. Dropout spacing is 120 mm. Brakes were Weinman side pulls, although later models had the DiaCompe clones. Not sure if there is enough brake adjustment for 622 (700C) rims. In any event, I'd recommend going with aluminum rims. Easier pedaling and better braking.

    I assembled a lot of Suburbans, Collegiates, Varsities, and Continentals in the 1970's.
    Last edited by MrPhil; 07-31-09 at 03:46 PM.
    It's around here somewhere . . .

  9. #9
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I converted this 10 speed to a three speed. I had the wheels built with 700c rims, but they could just as easily be built with 27" rims. The shop charged me $168 for double butted spokes, Sun CR-18 rims and labor. I supplied the hubs. The frame is double butted Reynolds 531, so the bike only weighs 25.5 pounds. That's incredibly light for a 3 speed.



    The hub is a new Sturmey Archer SRF3. It was only $53 from Aebike and it came with all the necessary hardware. I'm using a 70's trigger shifter instead of the one that came with it. The hub shell is aluminum and has thick flanges that work with modern spokes. It can't slip into neutral unexpectedly like the old ones can.



    A short bottom bracket spindle was requred.



    I used some very old hardware because I wanted a vintage look. The frame is a 1959.



    I'm working on another one now. It will have a Sturmey Archer SA/2 five speed hub. I'm using a 1973 Raleigh Competition frame.
    Last edited by Grand Bois; 07-31-09 at 05:01 PM.

  10. #10
    I make stuff up
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    Dirtdrop, that bike is absolutely gorgeous. Well done!
    It's around here somewhere . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPhil View Post
    Dirtdrop, that bike is absolutely gorgeous. Well done!
    +1 on that!

  12. #12
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemeister View Post
    +1 on that!
    I second that! WOW!!

    I didn't go that far - but I restored my old PUCH from the 1970's with a Sturmey-Archer 3-spd. hub. It had a old Shimano - which works fine and I keep in reserve. It weighs what a 3-spd. is expected to. But as a PUCH - the ride quality is fantastic.

    Last edited by Panthers007; 07-31-09 at 06:02 PM.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Proofide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gman26 View Post
    Will it be more difficult since the wheels are 27 x 1-1/4"?

    All the wheels I see with 3-speed hubs are 26" - did they make them with the 27" also?
    In England, the lighter type of roadster would have had 27" wheels with a 3 or 4-speed Sturmey Archer hub. Those two bikes pictured are beautiful.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gman26 View Post
    Will it be more difficult since the wheels are 27 x 1-1/4"?
    Do you mean finding the parts or pedaling? If you mean pedaling, most 3 speed hubs use standard coaster brake sprockets. You can add a few teeth to make up for the extra wheel diameter.

  15. #15
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    I built my 27x1 1/4 3 speed wheel from a Shimano hub that I scavanged from a free curbside Huffy. The conversion isn't that difficult and it saves a few pounds by losing the deraileurs and going to alloy wheels. It's a Kabuki Super Speed, I use the 39 inner chainwheel and a 18 tooth cog. It works pretty well for the flatlands. If you have more hills, then you could use a larger cog to get a lower ratio and coast downhill.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16
    Senior Member gman26's Avatar
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    Wow! Those are some cool bikes!

    Thanks for the tips and ideas! I'm motivated, now I need to find a donor 3-speed.

  17. #17
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
    I'd love some photos of your 700C (622mm) wheel with a 3-spd. hub in it.
    Pleased to find a fan.



    These bikes don't have to follow a retro aesthetic. Cannondale Capo, SRAM T3 shifted with LH brifter built on Mavic Open Pro rim with 36 DT Revolution spokes.

    "Light for a 3-speed" - yep.

    tcs
    Last edited by tcs; 07-31-09 at 10:01 PM.
    "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

  18. #18
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    <SnAtCh!>

    Got the picture in my files...
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
    I second that! WOW!!

    I didn't go that far - but I restored my old PUCH from the 1970's with a Sturmey-Archer 3-spd. hub. It had a old Shimano - which works fine and I keep in reserve. It weighs what a 3-spd. is expected to. But as a PUCH - the ride quality is fantastic.

    The chain is too long.

  20. #20
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    The chain is too long.
    I removed a link, and it was too short. Next up: Move wheel in dropouts. But it's working fine as is - it can't fall off any teeth.

    Thanks for the insight.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gman26 View Post
    Wow! Those are some cool bikes!

    Thanks for the tips and ideas! I'm motivated, now I need to find a donor 3-speed.
    Yeah, we've got some talented mechanics/artisans on this forum. I'm always amazed at the consistent, outstanding workmanship you guys do.

  22. #22
    Gear Hub fan
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    My original 700C IGH bike is a about 1994 Japanese Duracycle track style frame with road geometry. Originally sold as a FG bike that I bought new. I first did a 3 speed hub for it using a Sachs Torpedo 3 speed. Curently it has a SRAM P5 hub wheel installed for the greater overall gear range. I would also like to get a Sturmey Archer S3X rear wheel made for it so I can try it out as a multi speed FG bike when the S3X finally becomes available. The Torpedo and P5 hubs both fit the original 120mm dropout width w/o frame modification, one of the reasons for the original hub choices. Allows conversion back to FG if I decide to.

    I also have a Steelwool Tweed with an Alfine hub and 700c wheels that I recently assembled and a Civia Hyland Rohloff. I obviously like IGH bikes.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

    Visit and join the Yahoo Geared Hub Bikes group for support and links.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member gman26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    My original 700C IGH bike is a about 1994 Japanese Duracycle track style frame with road geometry. Originally sold as a FG bike that I bought new. I first did a 3 speed hub for it using a Sachs Torpedo 3 speed. Curently it has a SRAM P5 hub wheel installed for the greater overall gear range. I would also like to get a Sturmey Archer S3X rear wheel made for it so I can try it out as a multi speed FG bike when the S3X finally becomes available. The Torpedo and P5 hubs both fit the original 120mm dropout width w/o frame modification, one of the reasons for the original hub choices. Allows conversion back to FG if I decide to.

    I also have a Steelwool Tweed with an Alfine hub and 700c wheels that I recently assembled and a Civia Hyland Rohloff. I obviously like IGH bikes.
    pics???

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