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Old 04-02-12, 09:51 PM   #1
Scooby214
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Anybody here use the Sturmey Archer X-RD3 3-speed drum brake IGH?

I'm about ready to pull the trigger on a drum brake IGH to replace my Nexus 3. I've been deciding between the SA X-RD3 3 speed and the SA X-RD5 5 speed. The 3 speed model looks to be the easier one for me, as I won't have to make any chainline adjustments or rear spacing adjustments. As I've been looking for information about the two hubs, I've found a few places where people have commented that their 3 speed X-RD3 hubs made a loud rattle or clanking sound. I even found a video which showed the sound to be coming from the indicator chain appearing to be moving. Other places have stated that something inside the hub was making the sound happen. The sound on the video was not a normal ratcheting sound like you usually hear from a SA hub, and it was rather disconcerting to hear.

My question is... Does anybody here have experience with the X-RD3 hub? Do they all make the noise, or am I likely to get a hub that sounds like a normal 3 speed SA hub?
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Old 04-03-12, 12:57 AM   #2
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have long used sturmey drum brakes, and also an AW3 hub,
presently they are 2 different bikes, separate, combined is bound to be fine too.

they have been made for a long time.. both the UK since the 40's,
and the current, Taiwan made ones, Are going to be fine.

thousands of Commuting and daily transportation bikes ..
There is Even streets in the Netherlands named for both, Sturmey and Archer.

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Old 04-03-12, 01:10 AM   #3
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I worked at a shop that sold bikes that ran those hubs. The only time I've ever seen them do that, or anything like that, was when they weren't adjusted correctly. You should be fine.
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Old 04-03-12, 01:49 AM   #4
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I built a SS mountain bike for winter - then quickly discovered that my knees weren't up to it. I rebuilt with a new 3spd drum-braked sturmey hub and ran it in very muddy conditions for a few winters with no problems, except ...
when it was new it was quite noisy and sometimes the pawls skipped for quarter of a pedal or so. I finally decided that something needed to be done about it when it got better all by itself. Probably took a few hours riding in total, certainly less than 10.
It's a tough hub - ideal for a high mile reliable commuter I'd think.
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Old 04-03-12, 11:59 AM   #5
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Thanks for the input. I've had a bike with a SA AW hub, and it worked well. I just wanted to be sure the X-RD5 doesn't have a known issue before buying the hub.
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Old 04-04-12, 03:51 PM   #6
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I had an X-RD3 which used to do the clattering thing with the indicator chain. It almost completely cured itself after a while. It was only ever if I coasted in third gear, and having dismantled it, I think I've worked out why it was doing it.


The rim to which the X-RD3 was laced cracked a few months back, I've just rebuilt the wheel with an X-RD5, and I like that as well. The only issue with mine is with roughness in first gear, but I suspect that may be my dropout alignment. The X-RD3 is going on a folding bike as soon as I get around to it.
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Old 04-04-12, 07:43 PM   #7
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I had an X-RD3 which used to do the clattering thing with the indicator chain. It almost completely cured itself after a while. It was only ever if I coasted in third gear, and having dismantled it, I think I've worked out why it was doing it.


The rim to which the X-RD3 was laced cracked a few months back, I've just rebuilt the wheel with an X-RD5, and I like that as well. The only issue with mine is with roughness in first gear, but I suspect that may be my dropout alignment. The X-RD3 is going on a folding bike as soon as I get around to it.
The clatter you describe is what I had read about. Glad to hear the sound cured itself for you. Why do you think it was doing it?
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Old 04-06-12, 03:09 AM   #8
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The clatter you describe is what I had read about. Glad to hear the sound cured itself for you. Why do you think it was doing it?
I'm not sure of the root cause, but the only thing I can think of is that the clutch on the new SA hubs only drives the hub in 3rd gear, and for some reason, the cutouts on the bottom of the clutch that engage the planet pins are tapered, presumeably to allow easier engagement. A side-effect of the taper is that if the planet cage is driven forward (relative to the normal direction of drive in the hub) at all, the clutch is pushed towards the right-hand side of the axle until the planet cage rotates past a certain point, at which the clutch springs back down as the planet pins fall into the next cutout, like some sort of ratchet. At high speed, the planet cage pawls seem to be causing enough drag that the planet cage is effectively being driven forward, and the clattering occurs as the clutch moves repeatedly in and out, and pulls the indicator chain about by generating excess slack and then taking it away again.

I'm not sure what caused the drag in the pawls, so I'm not sure why it decreased to the point that the problem stopped happening. The mechanism may have worn in, or the properties of the grease may have changed over time. From the exploded diagram of the 5-speed, the clutch in that is the same, but mine doesn't do it at all. It does seem to affect the X-RD3 specifically, possibly because the planet cage may be of a different design to allow space for the brake drum.

That explanation may not make sense to you, it's much easier to explain it physically with a hub. Have you ever dismantled a new SA 3-speed before?
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Old 04-06-12, 04:17 AM   #9
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Your explanation makes sense. I have not taken apart a SA hub yet, but I have seen enough pictures and diagrams to understand the workings of a SA hub.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:07 PM   #10
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I've used an RD3 for ~3500 miles now and love it. I probably encountered that sound 3 or 4 times of the many more times coasting at like over 30 mph. It only sounds like a rapid pulsing clack at a near constant rate. After putting some clutch pressure on the planet pins it goes away. I just took the guts out for the first time after any mileage last week and didn't see much seeming awry, then again I wasn't looking for or expecting damage to the guts.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:36 PM   #11
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.. noted, the 5 speed is adding on 1st and 5th around the AW 3speed combination,

.. the older 5 speed one the inner gears were a smaller difference , so overall closer ratios..
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