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  1. #1
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    Sturmey Archer X-RDC: faulty design or manufacturing defect?

    Hello,

    I've lurked in this forum now and again, but now it's time to post.

    Does anyway have any experience with the Sturmey Archer X-RDC (70mm rear drum brake hub, cassette compatible)?

    I built up 2 rear wheels for myself and my wife with these hubs and have been very happy with them, until now. My hub completely failed. The freehub no longer catches when you pedal forward. Upon disassembly and closer inspection, it appears that S-A employs a suspect design in their freehubs. The freehub body itself can be removed, but the ratcheting system is between the freehub body (3 spring loaded catches at the bottom) and the hub itself which has a circle of pawls that the catches, well, catch.

    I'm still not clear on the cause of my failure, but the pawls on the hub seem to have worn down to the point that the freehub body can no longer hold the wheel when I pedal. The pawls and the catches are quite deep, so it's impossible that it was caused by a loose freehub body; that would have been quite noticeable I think.

    Oh, and I have about 300km on the hub.

    So, my question is, does anyone else have any experience with these hubs? They are still quite new and hard to get, but I am wondering if I just got a bad one or if this is a design flaw and I should expect my wife's wheel to end up the same way.

    Any tips or ideas will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I've had no trouble with the screw-on freewheel version, in 25 years..

    have you flushed out any heavy grease from the ratchet/pawl mech?,
    sometimes the grease has filled in the space the pawl engages.
    light oil, phil wood tenacious, at most..

    It's what I lube my sturmey 3 speed, and screw on freewheels, with..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 05-24-11 at 10:38 AM.

  3. #3
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    Only 300km, I haven't done anything to the hub except build a wheel around it. I'm not sure what was in there as I didn't have the tools to completely disassemble it and it was done elsewhere, but at present, there is no grease in there, certainly nothing that could fill in the space that the pawls engage.

    Oh, did I mention that metal shavings were found inside?

    I wonder, does the screw-on freewheel version use a similar pawl/ratchet design? Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a tech. drawing available yet for the X-RDC.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    screw on freewheel uses the pawls in the freewheel ,
    I have a Sachs Malliard ARIS 7 speed on it. [no longer made.. ]
    Shimano and Sun Race make new freewheels, as does IRD,
    though that's an Importers brand (Merry Sales)
    who makes them over there is a separate question.

    I would contact the seller of the parts you bought.

  5. #5
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    Crap product

    Well, I'm on my second hub now; SA graciously replaced the first (well, it took a couple of weeks, I had to pay for a new one, and then was reimbursed a couple of months later...) And it's still a crap product. Somewhere along the way SA has lost site of producing well designed, quality products. The X-RDC is neither.

    My second hub has now failed with less than 1000km on it. The cartridge bearings have come loose (!!!) I couldn't figure out how to get them out to put in new ones as I've never had a hub with such bearings before, and trying to bang them out as my bike mechanic friends suggested didn't seem to be going anywhere. I finally got a local bike shop the get the old cartridge bearings out, and they were in fact shot. Now, unfortunately, neither I nor the bike shop can figure out how to get the new cartridge bearings in past the pawl teeth on the drive side of the hub, and I'm getting now help at all from SA.

    My wife's bike with the same hub is happily still running well, I just hope we don't have any in-tour disasters with that one too...

    At this point I've wasted a ridiculous amount of money and time on these hubs, and I'll only be happy with a complete refund from SA, including all shipping and the spokes I had to buy to build these wheels (I doubt they'll be the right length for any other build).

  6. #6
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    Sturmey X-RDC cassette hub follow-up

    hello Basily:

    I am attempting to find information on the reliability / longevity of the X-RDC as I too appreciate the concept of a drum-braked cassette hub my commuter!

    In my research, the only review I've found is yours (here and repeated on CTC, Amazon and another vendor site) but you did mention that you're on your third S-A X-RDC as of November 2011. To follow up, how it is it holding up so far? Any additional issues re: the freehub or cartridge bearings?

    I'm also considering using the proven X-RD free*wheel* hub though I'm loathe to return to fw and axle issues. It certainly would have been nice if SunRace chose to use a generic Shimano freehub in their cassette hub design :-P

    Many thanks in advance,
    Bob

    Quote Originally Posted by basily View Post
    Well, I'm on my second hub now; SA graciously replaced the first (well, it took a couple of weeks, I had to pay for a new one, and then was reimbursed a couple of months later...) And it's still a crap product. Somewhere along the way SA has lost site of producing well designed, quality products. The X-RDC is neither.

    My second hub has now failed with less than 1000km on it. The cartridge bearings have come loose (!!!) I couldn't figure out how to get them out to put in new ones as I've never had a hub with such bearings before, and trying to bang them out as my bike mechanic friends suggested didn't seem to be going anywhere. I finally got a local bike shop the get the old cartridge bearings out, and they were in fact shot. Now, unfortunately, neither I nor the bike shop can figure out how to get the new cartridge bearings in past the pawl teeth on the drive side of the hub, and I'm getting now help at all from SA.

    My wife's bike with the same hub is happily still running well, I just hope we don't have any in-tour disasters with that one too...

    At this point I've wasted a ridiculous amount of money and time on these hubs, and I'll only be happy with a complete refund from SA, including all shipping and the spokes I had to buy to build these wheels (I doubt they'll be the right length for any other build).

    Quote Originally Posted by basily
    My wife's bike with the same hub is happily still running well, I just hope we don't have any in-tour disasters with that one too...

    At this point I've wasted a ridiculous amount of money and time on these hubs, and I'll only be happy with a complete refund from SA, including all shipping and the spokes I had to buy to build these wheels (I doubt they'll be the right length for any other build).

  7. #7
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    Well, third time lucky I guess. The latest xrdc is still going strong, and my wife's has never had any problems and she rides just as much as me and is pretty hard on her stuff.

    I guess I just had some bad luck with the first two.

    Quote Originally Posted by joyspring View Post
    hello Basily:

    I am attempting to find information on the reliability / longevity of the X-RDC as I too appreciate the concept of a drum-braked cassette hub my commuter!

    In my research, the only review I've found is yours (here and repeated on CTC, Amazon and another vendor site) but you did mention that you're on your third S-A X-RDC as of November 2011. To follow up, how it is it holding up so far? Any additional issues re: the freehub or cartridge bearings?

    I'm also considering using the proven X-RD free*wheel* hub though I'm loathe to return to fw and axle issues. It certainly would have been nice if SunRace chose to use a generic Shimano freehub in their cassette hub design :-P

    Many thanks in advance,
    Bob

  8. #8
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    Thank you!

    Thanks for your update!


    Quote Originally Posted by basily View Post
    Well, third time lucky I guess. The latest xrdc is still going strong, and my wife's has never had any problems and she rides just as much as me and is pretty hard on her stuff.

    I guess I just had some bad luck with the first two.

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