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Old 12-28-10, 10:08 PM   #1
cbg3
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Noisy gears in brand new Sturmey-Archer XRF8 8-speed hub

I bought a used wheel with a Sturmey-Archer XRF8 8-speed hub earlier this year. The hub was one of the earlier models that were not as durable as the later models. After riding with the hub out of adjustment (at least I assume that's what caused the problem), a couple of the gears gave out. Fourth gear skipped intermittently, and sixth gear was unusable. The folks at Sturmey-Archer were kind enough to send me a brand new hub free of charge.

I got around to building my first wheel last week with the new XRF8 hub and a Mavic A719 rim. But after turning the cranks on my proud new creation the first time mounted on a bike, I found that some of the gears on the new hub are really noisy. Specifically gears 4, 6, 7 and 8 sound like a playing card has been clothespinned in the spokes, or something akin to that level of noise. I imagine that along with an increased potential for failure, there is more friction being produced when in these gears.

I posted a video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTu6Std8O7s to demonstrate the difference in sound between the gears.

Anyone out there have a newer XRF8 hub, and is it also very noisy in some gears?

Thanks,

--Ben

Last edited by cbg3; 12-29-10 at 12:01 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 12-29-10, 04:28 PM   #2
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Sound and efficiency aren't necessarily related.

Sturmey's XR*8(W) uses its planetary Stage B (169%) for gears 4, 6, 7 & 8. Mine XRK8(W) has a buzz in the Stage B gears as well. In the real world, none of my riding partners has mentioned it.
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Old 12-29-10, 05:31 PM   #3
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I had an older XRD8-w, which also failed, and they replaced the internals for free. The new gears are much noisier than the old ones, but they work just fine. It is noticeable, but the guy from Sturmey says that's normal for the new design.
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Old 12-29-10, 05:45 PM   #4
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Even Rohloffs need a wearing in period.. use polishes up the gear contact points.
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Old 12-29-10, 07:22 PM   #5
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I have a new wide range 8 speed, and all gears from 2nd on up have the ratcheting sound. This is because all gears above 1st are overdrives, and the hub shell outruns the driver. The ratcheting sounds are different in different gears.
None of this is a problem mechanically, it's the way it's designed.
I sold a number of bikes with the old style 8 speed in my shop, and I do recall that they were not as noisy.
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Old 12-30-10, 08:44 AM   #6
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I don't mean to blow off your concern. You said, "...gears 4, 6, 7 and 8 sound like a playing card has been clothespinned in the spokes, or something akin to that level of noise". I can hear a kid with a playing card into his spokes from down the street - enough noise it would cause someone to look up from their yard work as the kid rode by. If your hub really, I mean really, makes that much noise, by all means take it up with Sturmey.

My $130 XRK8(W) makes some gear noise. Relatively, how much? Well, more than a $280 Alfine 8 hub but not any more than the $1000 Rohloff hub I experienced.
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Old 01-04-11, 11:58 AM   #7
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A little less noisy than originally described ...

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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
I don't mean to blow off your concern. You said, "...gears 4, 6, 7 and 8 sound like a playing card has been clothespinned in the spokes, or something akin to that level of noise". I can hear a kid with a playing card into his spokes from down the street - enough noise it would cause someone to look up from their yard work as the kid rode by. If your hub really, I mean really, makes that much noise, by all means take it up with Sturmey.

My $130 XRK8(W) makes some gear noise. Relatively, how much? Well, more than a $280 Alfine 8 hub but not any more than the $1000 Rohloff hub I experienced.
A better description would have been that "the noise in the noisy gears is like a playing card has been clothespinned in the spokes, or something akin to that noise, only not as loud."

I'm glad to hear that others with newer XR* hubs have similar noises and that they haven't been a problem, and that the noises may decrease after wearing in. Also, I found after posting that someone here points out the same sounds in the same gears. I guess I won't worry about it then!

Thanks, all, for the input.
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