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Old 08-29-11, 09:26 AM   #1
jimn
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S2C / B2C Sturmey coaster brake problems - turning into a fixed gear

I have just built up a wheel with an Sturmey Archer S2C 2-speed coaster brake hub. Same as the B2C but with an aluminum shell.

Everything worked OK at first. A few clunks when braking, but nothing too odd.

On my second ride, cruising along at about 8-10 mph, I applied the coaster brake. The pedals kicked forward, as with a fixed gear. The wheel continued to spin, snapping the bolt that held the brake arm to the left chainstay. Using my front brake, I was able to stop the bike. I walked it home, not wanting to ride with the brake arm spinning loose.

I replaced the bolt, but the hub is still acting like a fixed gear some times. Additionally, it is ghost-shifting every few minutes. I feel all sorts of strange bumps or hiccups through the pedals. Though it is technically rideable, I would not want to ride it like this at more than 5 mph.

This is a new hub. Chainline is OK. Chain tension was high but not astronomical - about what you'd use for a fixed gear bike. No chain slop.

I never rode it particularly fast, and I am not a heavy rider (11 stone).

Any suggestions?

I've emailed Sturmey Archer, but have not heard back.

-Jim


2-speed coaster brake by jimn, on Flickr
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Old 08-29-11, 10:21 AM   #2
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Sturmey Archer is pretty good about replacing faulty hubs, but be aware their American division is basically one guy, so it sometimes takes a while to get a response.
Lots of discussion on the Sunrace Sturmey Archer Facebook page about this hub, and David, the Sunrace Sturmey Archer rep does chime in and contribute.
I have a S2C, and it does make some disturbing noises during braking, but the brakes work very effectively, and I have no other mechanical issues with it.
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Old 08-29-11, 01:28 PM   #3
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You aren't the first person who's posted on here about that hub locking up, there was another guy a few weeks back reporting similar symptoms to yours. Could be down to chance, but it may be that there are some issues with the S2C (which is irritating, because I want one for my folding bike). The only way to work out why it's failed would be to completely tear it down and have a look at the internals.
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Old 08-29-11, 02:38 PM   #4
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I've contacted their office here in the US and they have offered to send a replacement "cartridge", roughly the internals, I guess. I will have a look when I receive the replacement part.
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Old 12-19-11, 01:21 PM   #5
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Did you ever get to strip this hub down?

I recently bought an S2C internal that was suffering from ghost shifting. I bought it purely for my own education.

When I dismantled it I found no fault with it. However I have noticed a quite a few reports about trouble with these, and I'm still trying to find out what is causing these problems.

I have published a "Workshop Review" of the hub when I dismantled it, which may be of interest. "Sturmey Archer S2C Workshop Review"

When you get to look inside your old internal I would be very interested to know what you find.
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Old 12-19-11, 02:05 PM   #6
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Hello,

I received the replacement internals from Sturmey-Archer. Dismantling the hub for the repair was not difficult and did not require unlacing the spokes.

The problem with the original internals was that several of the teeth (pawls) that engage the inside of the hub shell to drive it had broken. They were floating around in the grease and would momentarily engage the shell, causing gear changes and lockups at random. I can't imagine what caused these teeth to break. It is possible that they came loose from the spring that retains them and broke while they were floating around within the hub.

I cleaned the inside of the shell and installed the new internals.

It has worked since then, though I would hardly say it has worked excellently. Your remark, "Though I do wonder just how well it will work once some wear sets in," is prescient. After a break-in period there were a couple months of excellent operation with fewer strange bangs and pops coming from the hub. While those have not returned, it is my impression that braking performance has been diminishing recently.
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Old 12-19-11, 02:12 PM   #7
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I have not put a great deal of mileage on mine, as is one of several bikes I ride, but the braking, if anything has gotten better since new. Still makes all kinds of pinging and popping noises, but shifts and works nicely.
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Old 12-19-11, 02:30 PM   #8
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I put about 50 miles a week on mine, commuting and riding around. After the internals were replaced, there was a break-in period of maybe 4 weeks when there was a lot of noise and it felt like the pawls were sometimes engaging both gears at once. During this time braking and shifting were crisp and strong.

After that, the popping and grabbing diminished, and there were about 7 or 8 golden weeks of great shifting and strong braking.

Since the "golden period", braking has become weaker and shifts require a firmer push back on the pedals, sometimes so much that I miss a shift.

I still like it. Like the concept. Don't think the quality is quite there. Would hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is not interested in fooling around and just wants stuff to work.
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Old 12-20-11, 08:33 AM   #9
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Thanks jimn, that information is very useful to me.

I agree with your comment "Like the concept. Don't think the quality is quite there."
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Old 12-21-11, 08:19 AM   #10
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This whole thread, and Colwood's rebuild and assessment, have been fascinating. I've been pondering a single speed with coaster brake since college, and this hub had caught my eye as a possibility. Thanks guys.

BL
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Old 03-29-12, 08:16 PM   #11
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Hey jimn,
After struggling with shifting problems in my Sturmey S2C for the first 100 miles, I finally was able to reach SA US and now they're sending me new guts for it. I expressed concern to the guy on the phone that my shell, with whatever ratchet steps it has in it, may have gotten damaged from all the half-shifts and slips. He assured me this is not possible.
My question to you is, when you replaced the internals on yours, how was the condition of the inner surfaces of the hub shell? The only reason I continued to ride mine while trying to get an answer from SA was that I read on the forums that some people had problems that got better with time. I guess I'll see when the innards get here whether or not mine is compromised.
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Old 03-30-12, 07:48 AM   #12
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Hey Hatrabbit,

My limited experience suggests that they are correct. There was no damage to the inside of the shell where the pawls engage it. However, I had maybe 10 miles at the time, not 100. The inside will be full of grease. In mine, that grease was full of chips of broken pawl. You will have to clean it thoroughly to get all that out, or you will hear and feel it later when you ride, and it could damage the new mechanism. Not sure what type of grease to recommend in replacing the stuff that comes with the hub. I think I used Phil grease.

My S2C now has about 2500 miles on it and has reached a point of stability, if not utter reliability. Braking is OK, not awesome, but this is a coaster brake we're talking about. Shifting is fairly reliable, and I can usually shift without engaging the brake much.

I have to say I really like this hub for all its flaws.
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Old 04-06-12, 05:58 AM   #13
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SA sent me an assembled inner... it helped about 80%. Before the hub was actually jumping in & out of gear, now when it does a "bad" shift it stays in the correct gear, just with a lot of clunks and clanks. Shifting back and forth a few times will find a smooth engagement.
I too like the whole kickback shifting thing. The S2C could be made a whole lot better, but I'm keeping it.

One odd thing about the replacement part... there's a race with ball bearings in it on the cog side, held in by everything that goes on after it. That race was completely tweaked and bent, and loose balls were in the plastic package. I ended up disassembling the new assembly and disassembling my old guts and swapping that race.
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Old 04-06-12, 06:13 AM   #14
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One odd thing about the replacement part... there's a race with ball bearings in it on the cog side, held in by everything that goes on after it. That race was completely tweaked and bent, and loose balls were in the plastic package. I ended up disassembling the new assembly and disassembling my old guts and swapping that race.
Yeah, it's a noce enough design but the quality control is not there.

About the clunks, those will actually get better when the brake wears in, or at least that's what happened to mine.
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Old 04-06-12, 06:17 AM   #15
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Interesting thread. I just build up a S2C into a wheel for my Hercules. It is interesting to see how it performs.
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Old 09-30-16, 08:01 PM   #16
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Hi. Just trying to get some feedback from people that have used this hub. I just bought a bike with one and it clicks in high gear while pedaling, and the coaster brake doesn't work all that great. I don't think it has that many miles on it. Does this seem normal?
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Old 09-30-16, 08:21 PM   #17
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Hi. Just trying to get some feedback from people that have used this hub. I just bought a bike with one and it clicks in high gear while pedaling, and the coaster brake doesn't work all that great. I don't think it has that many miles on it. Does this seem normal?
The ticking sound in high gear is normal. It's the low gear ratchets outrunning the pawls as the high gear pawls drive the hub shell faster.
The coaster brake will likely improve with use, at least that has been my experience. Still no issues with mine 5 years later.
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Old 09-30-16, 08:27 PM   #18
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Thanks!! That's good to hear! Tonite was the first real ride on it and I was getting worried.
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Old 10-01-16, 05:36 AM   #19
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Thanks!! That's good to hear! Tonite was the first real ride on it and I was getting worried.
If you read through the entire thread, you will note some of us mentioned the popping and pinging noises that emanate from the hub during braking. This too seems to be normal for this hub when new. I've built a few of these, matter of fact I have a beach cruiser in my shop now that I installed one in this week. It does not seem to make as much noise during braking as my own did before it broke in, but I will still have to tell the customer not to worry about it.
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Old 10-01-16, 05:55 AM   #20
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If you read through the entire thread, you will note some of us mentioned the popping and pinging noises that emanate from the hub during braking. This too seems to be normal for this hub when new. I've built a few of these, matter of fact I have a beach cruiser in my shop now that I installed one in this week. It does not seem to make as much noise during braking as my own did before it broke in, but I will still have to tell the customer not to worry about it.
I've read everything I could find. Mine doesn't make noise while braking, it just doesn't brake very well, just a gradual slowing down. That and the clicking in high gear while pedaling, those are the things that were bugging me.
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