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  1. #1
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    More 3 speed hub questions

    Hey everybody, This isn't neccesarily a commuting specific question, but the bike in question IS my commuter which I use as my main bike. This is the bike in question:



    It now has a rear brake and the light is off for the season, so that huge battery duct taped to the bottle cage is gone I love fixed gear but as any reasonable person knows, it has its limitations. I want to do a bit of off roading. No drops, just dirt roads. Nothing more than what you'd usually take light truck or subaru car on, really. In fact, I don't intend to even change to knobby tires, instead just using the semi-slick ones I currently have. Today I was doing some off road riding at lunch and was wishing I had a lower gear and the ability to coast for just that few minutes. The tires were not a problem at all.

    Seeing as how I am a big guy (uber-clyde) and ride daily at least 11 miles if not closer to 20, do you think there would be any reason I should NOT use one of these hubs? I am considering this hub:

    http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking/p/COMPHUINT/HU2208

    That's a great deal for $62 + shipping, or at least it seems. It would seem that unless I can find a whole bike with the proper hub used (like I had to pass up last summer for $10! ARGH!) that the hub listed above would be economical.

    Comments? Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    You could probably find a workable old SA AW hub on ebay for less than half of that cost.

  3. #3
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mos6502
    You could probably find a workable old SA AW hub on ebay for less than half of that cost.
    Or for less at a garage sale. I bought two 26" wheel Columbias last year with working S-A AW hubs with all the cables and shifter intact. $5 each. If such bargains aren't available I'm sure the new S-A would serve you well especially since you are used to only one gear.

  4. #4
    barkin' at the moon doglhunt's Avatar
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    You can also change cogs on the sturmey-archer hubs.a 22t would be sweet on that bike.
    .....Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

  5. #5
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    I have one you can have for the cost of shipping. It came from a 1973 Hercules. I will include the shifter and as many of the parts as I can find. That said I have not done anything with it and I cannot vouch for it. PM me if you want it

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    I would take your bike to a bike shop and see if a Sturmey Archer Hub can even fit on those axels. It may not be wide enough!

    Also, the AW-3 is not really ment for aggressive off road because the transmission can slip. You're not supposed to stand on the Sturmey Archer 3 speed for similar reasons. If you are buying new, why not buy the one with the coaster brake?

    Oh, by the way, nice bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    I would take your bike to a bike shop and see if a Sturmey Archer Hub can even fit on those axels. It may not be wide enough!

    Also, the AW-3 is not really ment for aggressive off road because the transmission can slip. You're not supposed to stand on the Sturmey Archer 3 speed for similar reasons. If you are buying new, why not buy the one with the coaster brake?

    Oh, by the way, nice bike.
    Thanks for the compliment

    I'm not sure what you mean about it not being wide enough. Do you mean the dropouts? That part I'm not worried about. I can space it or cold set the triangle. No big deal there.

    As for the transmission slipping when the rider is standing.... that sounds like a show stopper there. I'm 310lbs and I stand on hills etc. I think I may have to rethink the whole thing. I might just come up with a hodge podge of 4 or 5 derailer gears on an old hub I've got. I hate derailers but I need more gearing for what I want to do this summer and I need to be able to hammer hard on it.

    If only I had the cash for a Rohloff Speed Hub!

    Fender1: Thanks VERY much for the offer. How many holes is the hub?

  8. #8
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    If you change to a 3sp it's a REALLY good idea to downsize
    the front chain ring also. I'd suggest that you go down into
    a 20something front chain ring to make a 3sp VERY useful.

    My trike has a 23 up front that really makes the 3sp a winner
    for alround use. Do the math to see what I mean..........
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  9. #9
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    As for the transmission slipping when the rider is standing.... that sounds like a show stopper there.
    Take that "showstopper" advice with a grain of salt; apparantly one expert has made that claim/complaint; the rest of the world uses the AW hub without a problem.

    See http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/sturmey-archer.html. Note Sheldon's comments on the bottom of the article.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Thanks for the salt, ILTB. From Sheldon's page:
    "Jobst and I tend to disagree a bit on this topic. While what he says is true, technically, the problem he refers to only afflicts riders who pedal very hard for extended periods in top gear. Most riders of these hubs do not have that sort of riding style, and find the Sturmey-Archer AW to be possibly the most durable and reliable bicycle gear shifting mechanism ever."

    Reading the article and with that comment it appears that if I were hammering hard in top gear for long periods of time it might happen. It would seem that when it came to hills I'd be forced to downshift rather than hammer it in top gear as I was planning. I had intended on running the hub like this:

    48T chainring 22T cog, measured in gear inches:
    42.4 Low
    56.6 Direct
    75.4 High

    I currently ride 48/17 fixed which is about 73 gear inches so I'd be just above that in high gear which is what I wanted. I was intending to spend most of my time in high gear, but I suppose I could shift into direct drive for hills and starts.

    Does it sound like I would have success with this set up?

  11. #11
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    If you change to a 3sp it's a REALLY good idea to downsize
    the front chain ring also. I'd suggest that you go down into
    a 20something front chain ring to make a 3sp VERY useful.

    My trike has a 23 up front that really makes the 3sp a winner
    for alround use. Do the math to see what I mean..........
    With a 23 up front and a 19 tooth cog that gives a 41 gear inch top gear. Seems a bit low.

  12. #12
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    The gearing sounds fine and can be adjusted with the rear cog size if needed. I Run a nexus 8 where the top gear is in the 80's and the low in the high 20's. I have some hills to tackle on my way to and from work. Having really high gearing is in my opinion a holder over from racing bikes where you would be expected to pedal down hill at high speeds. Most folks don't do that so having a very high top gear is not very useful, for me.

    I think the hub is 36 hole. The issue you will have to contend with is the rear spacing differences between the bike and the hub. If the frame is steel you can squeeze it in or spread it out if need be. You can only go so far in either direction so If the rear is 130mm going to 120mm (which is close to the Sturmey Archer I think) can be a bit os stretch. If the wheels ar 26 inch, you may want to look for a used set of wheels/or wheel on e-bay w/ a 3-speed Nexus hub. I see them there frequently. Also you will need special spokes or little tiny washers as modern spokes are to small to fit the flange on most older Sturmey Archer hubs. Are you bulding this wheel yourself or having someone do it for you?

  13. #13
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    Reading the article and with that comment it appears that if I were hammering hard in top gear for long periods of time it might happen. It would seem that when it came to hills I'd be forced to downshift rather than hammer it in top gear as I was planning.
    If you plan to hammer up hill in high gear, why do you need the other two lower gears? Maybe you would be well served by a single speed hub with freewheel capability, or better yet, has a coaster brake for all season all weather stopping capability.

  15. #15
    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    If you plan to hammer up hill in high gear, why do you need the other two lower gears? Maybe you would be well served by a single speed hub with freewheel capability, or better yet, has a coaster brake for all season all weather stopping capability.

    +1 Why are you "hammering" up a hill??? Kinda kills the need for multiple gears. Hill = downshift so you can keep spinning and not kill yourself or your knees!

  16. #16
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    If you plan to hammer up hill in high gear, why do you need the other two lower gears? Maybe you would be well served by a single speed hub with freewheel capability, or better yet, has a coaster brake for all season all weather stopping capability.
    For long sustained climbs and off road.

  17. #17
    tcs
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    Jobst's experiences back in 1960 are very interesting, but these days SunRace Sturmey-Archer only builds the NIG hub mechanism. NIG stands for "No Inbetween Gear", and there is no neutral between 2nd and 3rd. Sturmey UK designed this hub back in the early 1980s but never released it to the public. If you look at the exploded diagrams of the old AW and the new AW-NIG (and related hubs like the SRF3/S30) you'll clearly see that the clutch and drive are completely different. Grain of salt department revisted: DahonSteve's information has not been an acurate description of new production Sturmey-Archer three speed hubs for the last 8 years.

    HTH,
    TCS

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    I have that hub on my bike. Once you figure out how and then get it adjusted properly it shouldn't slip or do anything like that. If you do decide to buy it don't bother with the included cable/shifter, the cable is WAY too long and the grip shifter is kind of ugly. Buy a trigger shifter and a cable (harris cyclery has them). Also Alfred E. Bike has them cheaper. +1 for the coaster brake model, I wish I would have gotten the coaster one. Take it off road, it'll be fine.
    Horse-free.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs
    Jobst's experiences back in 1960 are very interesting, but these days SunRace Sturmey-Archer only builds the NIG hub mechanism. NIG stands for "No Inbetween Gear", and there is no neutral between 2nd and 3rd. Sturmey UK designed this hub back in the early 1980s but never released it to the public. If you look at the exploded diagrams of the old AW and the new AW-NIG (and related hubs like the SRF3/S30) you'll clearly see that the clutch and drive are completely different. Grain of salt department revisted: DahonSteve's information has not been an acurate description of new production Sturmey-Archer three speed hubs for the last 8 years.

    HTH,
    TCS
    Grain of salt?

    My Dahon Piccolo had a Sturmey Archer AW-3 went into neutral too many times to remember. That bike was about 5 years old when I sold it.

    Maybe Sun Race fixed the problem and I certainly hope they did.

  20. #20
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have a Raleigh Sports with the AW hub and have never had it hit neutral as long as the cable was properly adjusted. My brother didn't pay attention to the warning and crashed it with spectacular results The bike has something like 30,000 miles on that hub. I think riding style, as well as attention to maintenance has a lot to do with it. In Dahon.Steve's case I suspect the folding and unfolding was causing the adjustment to go screwy. I have heard of this problem before, especially in folders.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    In Dahon.Steve's case I suspect the folding and unfolding was causing the adjustment to go screwy. I have heard of this problem before, especially in folders.

    Aaron
    Good point.

    I also happen to believe if you're going to be aggressive with the bike, the frame can flex causing the bike to shift in neutral due to the cables shifting. I could not recommend the OP applying his full weight on the cranks because the results can be unexpected.

  22. #22
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    Grain of salt?

    My Dahon Piccolo had a Sturmey Archer AW-3 went into neutral too many times to remember. That bike was about 5 years old when I sold it.

    Maybe Sun Race fixed the problem and I certainly hope they did.
    Slipping into neutral is almost always a matter of an incorrectly adjusted shifter cable. Once adjusted right it stays adjusted unless the wheel shifts in its dropout slots, which should never happen if the axle nuts are properly tightened. This is not the esoteric defect "discovered" by Jobst. I suppose another possibility for slipping out of adjustment would be a bike frame that flexed excessively.

  23. #23
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Wow thanks so much for this in depth discussion. I am really enjoying learning about the ins and outs of a 3 speed SA AW.

    My impression so far is that
    1) They are extremely reliable unless they go out of adjustment, causing them to slip into neutral, possibly rendering the male rider sterile.
    2) One should not apply their full weight to the hub for fear of the above
    3) The newer version of the hub (the S30) does not have this problem and I could wail on it all day long and be fine

    Does that sound about right?

  24. #24
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rykoala
    Wow thanks so much for this in depth discussion. I am really enjoying learning about the ins and outs of a 3 speed SA AW.

    My impression so far is that
    1) They are extremely reliable unless they go out of adjustment, causing them to slip into neutral, possibly rendering the male rider sterile.
    2) One should not apply their full weight to the hub for fear of the above
    3) The newer version of the hub (the S30) does not have this problem and I could wail on it all day long and be fine

    Does that sound about right?
    2) applies only if you are unable/unwilling to properly adjust the shifter cable and/or tighten the axle bolts; or have a bike frame that significantly flexes out of alignment whenever you apply full weight to the pedals.
    3) corrected an obscure problem, not related to shifter cable adjustment, that apparently bothered Jobst and at least one other cyclist on a folding bicycle.

  25. #25
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    OK. This brings up another question:

    The shifting cable housing is made to be attached to the frame and therefore is susceptible to a flexible frame causing it to go out of adjustment. It would seem that this could be remedied by building a bracket that attached under the axle nut and gave an anchor point for the cable housing that always stayed in the same place even if the axle shifted in the dropouts.

    Is that even possible?

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