I'm getting ready to lace my old SA S3C (Coaster brake) hub into a new tire. At the same time, I'm trying to service the hub, because it's a little finicky if I'm not in my high gear. Somehow when ordering the new wheels, I failed to notice that the original wheels/hubs are 28 spoke. The wheels I have are 36 spoke wheels. Now, I could beat myself up about this and call myself names, which I started to to do, but the truth is that I'm not a light guy, and I really wouldn't have been comfortable with anything below 32 spokes anyway, and 36 is my preference.
I expect I can track down a 36 hole hub fairly easily, but not with a coaster brake, so I'm wondering: Can I just get a 36 hole hub and gut it, replacing the innards with my coaster brake innards? Looks like some switching might be possible between some models, but the S3C and AW have different part numbers for the shell, so I'm not so sure.
Of course as effective as the coaster brake is, I might be able to do without it, but for the short term, at least, it's being used in conjunction with a borderline ineffective front brake, giving me enough stopping power to feel like I can use the bike, but not as much as I'd like. I expect to address this in the long term when I replace the front wheel with something straighter and with machined sidewalls, and maybe a drum brake hub, since I guess I'll be replacing that hub, too.
So I'm just wondering what options I have. Coaster brake Internal Gear hubs seem to be rarity, so scoring a 36 hole S3C is a long shot, and potentially pricey. In fact, I've been considering going 8 speed, and if I can't get a cheap replacement hub, I may just spring for a new 8-speed. But regular, old AW 3-speeds seem common enough, and I could probably pick one of those up relatively cheaply. And if all I need is the shell, I can get that even cheaper, I would think.
I don't believe you can put S3C innards in an AW shell. As you say, you can go with rim brakes, or if you're really keen on a coaster, you can buy a brand new 36-hole Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub with coaster brake:
Yeah, that may be the way to go. I can't go with a rim brake, I don't think, for two reasons: the bike isn't made for one, so I'm not sure I could mount one, and the bike splits in two, so there's by design there are no brake lines running from the rear to the front of the bike (and the shifter is mounted on the seat tube). So I either find a coaster brake, do without a brake, or get a drum brake, and run a line from the tires to the handle bars, making splitting the bike more difficult. Given how effective the coaster brake is (not), I'm considering just doing without a rear brake and beefing up the front brakes. That would mean that I could either get a cheap AW for now, or I could go whole hog and get the 8 speed hub I'd been eyeing. I really hate the idea of going with the $60 3 speed hub now if I'm going to upgrade to 8 speeds before too long. But 8 speeds means no rear brakes (rear dropout spacing issues), which may not be a smart choice.
Alfred E. Bikes has a good price on that hub, too. Thanks for turning me on to it. I'm still not sure that's how I'll go, but it's looking like an affordable option at least. I've been hoping to upgrade to an 8 speed at some point, but there are no 8 speeds with a coaster brake that will fit my rear spacing.
I don't want to drop money on two hubs for this thing, so now I need to figure out if I want to go 3-speed with a coaster brake or 8-speed with only front brakes.
No, but same concept (and probably a copied concept): it splits in the middle for storage/transport, which is why running brake lines from the handlebars to the back is something I'm trying to avoid. It's a Sears ToteCycle from 1972, or at least that's when the hub is from.
I have no experience with them but a couple of people have told me that, unlike the older ones, the new SA coaster brake 3 speeds actually work pretty well.
That's certainly encouraging. The old coaster brake would slow me down, and, combined with the front rim brake connecting with a dinged, crooked, front tire would bring me to a stop without too much trouble, but I wouldn't want to try for a sudden stop.
I'm still toying with the idea of forgoing a rear brake entirely, but I'm not sure how safe I'd feel with that. I'm considering a rim and drum brake up front to ensure that I have adequate stopping power, but it's been pointed out in the mechanic's forum that bringing just the front wheel to a complete stop may have some bad consequences.
I guess the question is do I want to spring for more gears (and, therefore, a prayer of getting up the hills in my area), or stick with 3 speeds, but have the benefit of some rear braking power?
Perhaps the consequences of not being able to stop outweigh the benefits of being able to climb steep hills. And I might even be able to climb some of those hills if, with a new hub, I could count on not slipping out of low gear when standing on the pedals.
Shifter is mounted high on the seat tube. You reach between your legs to shift. Since the seat tube is part of the back half of the bike, you don't have to do anything with it when you split the bike.
I've been asking some other questions in the mechanics forum, and it sounds like nlerner's suggestion of the a modern SA 3-speed hub is the best choice. I was thinking this might be a good excuse to get a hub with more speeds, but with the spacing on this bike, and with the idea the hub has to contain any braking power I might need, it looks like a 3-speed coaster or a 5-speed drum brake hub are my only choices. And the price difference between 3 and 5 speeds makes it an easy decision.