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Old 09-08-08, 10:01 AM   #1
rhm
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Sturmey Archer 8-speed hub owners: how's it holding up?

I estimate my Downtube Mini has 3500 to 4000 miles on it. Adjustment on the hub has always been finicky, but I recently replaced the shift cable housing to a Shimano SIS type cable, which (I think) is a little more resistant to stretch/compression. It now shifts pretty reliably (knock on wood) on all the lower gears. But now, even when all the other gears are reliable, 8th is terrible. It skips all over the place, which is pretty scary when riding fast enough to be in 8th gear (28 mph, minimum?).

So I am wondering, is my hub still out of adjustment, or is it perhaps wearing out? Is there any way to tell the difference? Has anyone noticed the effects of wear on their hub (yet)? I know Jur broke one, of course; but I'm fairly certain there is nothing broken on mine (yet). Anyone?

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Old 09-08-08, 10:18 AM   #2
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One thing to check is the side-to-side free play in your hub. I had some skipping at first, but re-adjusting the cone nuts to minimize the free play solved the problem.
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Old 09-08-08, 12:40 PM   #3
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I've had mine a year, but I don't get the kind of mileage that you do. Probably 500 miles. Everything's hunky-dory with mine. I've had to play with the hub also, but that was to get the wheel to roll smoothly, not because of shifting issues.
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Old 09-08-08, 01:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhm View Post
So I am wondering, is my hub still out of adjustment, or is it perhaps wearing out? Is there any way to tell the difference? Has anyone noticed the effects of wear on their hub (yet)? I know Jur broke one, of course; but I'm fairly certain there is nothing broken on mine (yet). Anyone?

Rudi
Did it always skip in 8th?

Like SC, I don't get the same mileage on the Mini like other forum members. But I do have about 800 or so miles on it. So far it has been ok. There are moments when 1st and/or 6th gear is a bit finicky. I figure that the long cables/housing create a lot friction such that there is noise between the shifter and the hub. Hell, 8th might be finicky but I almost never get to the gear when riding the Mini. It just isn't the type of riding I do with the bike.

I am planning on cutting down the amount of cable/housing to see whether it helps the shifting. But I need to put more miles on the bike with the reversed handlebar before cutting things down.
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Old 09-08-08, 02:52 PM   #5
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Just under 3000km on my Mini, just under 13,000km on my R20. Both have their problem gears. Now that I understand thoroughly how the gears work, I can see that any gear except 1st can give problems. My R20 has a problem 6th, the Mini slight problem 3rd and 5th.

There is no easy way to fix this. Except get one of the newer hubs which are not on the market yet.
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Old 09-08-08, 03:09 PM   #6
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Just under 3000km on my Mini, just under 13,000km on my R20. Both have their problem gears. Now that I understand thoroughly how the gears work, I can see that any gear except 1st can give problems. My R20 has a problem 6th, the Mini slight problem 3rd and 5th.

There is no easy way to fix this. Except get one of the newer hubs which are not on the market yet.
Wow, that's certainly ominous! Can you provide any more details on what you saw that made you so pessimistic? Also, any maintenance tips that may help forestall future problems?
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Old 09-08-08, 03:38 PM   #7
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...one of the newer hubs which are not on the market yet.
The Sturmey blog indicated the new "robust" eight speed would hit the market as soon as existing stocks of the older model sold out. But if all of you, like me, are waiting to buy the new model...they'll never sell the old ones!

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Old 09-09-08, 05:24 AM   #8
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No major problems as yet, just the occassional gear tuning, and yes, 6th is sometimes finnicky.
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Old 09-09-08, 04:03 PM   #9
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Once I got it dialed in I haven't had any problems. However it took some trial and error to find the correct adjustment point.
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Old 09-10-08, 07:20 AM   #10
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Did it always skip in 8th?
No. At least a couple times I've had a chance to let the ol' lincoln unwind and, spinning hard in 8th, had no problems. That's about 35 mph. But like you said:

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... 8th might be finicky but I almost never get to the gear when riding the Mini. ...
The question of course is whether the gear is "finicky" or "faulty." At present I have all the gears working very nicely, and problems only arise in 8th.

My sense is that, depending on how the thing is (mal)adjusted, different gears skip; as Jur said, any gear can skip if adjustment isn't perfect. My sense of it, however, is that when the hub is badly adjusted, more than one gear becomes unreliable.

Also, frankly, I'm so happy to have 1 - 7 "dialed in" that I hesitate to mess with it; I only use 8th on a good downhill and my normal commute doesn't go anywhere near a good downhill.

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I am planning on cutting down the amount of cable/housing to see whether it helps the shifting. But I need to put more miles on the bike with the reversed handlebar before cutting things down.
I found the shorter cable to be less likely to move around and get caught on things when folding/unfolding, and so more likely to return to correct adjustment when unfolding; but the difference was pretty slight if not entirely negligible.

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The Sturmey blog indicated the new "robust" eight speed would hit the market as soon as existing stocks of the older model sold out. But if all of you, like me, are waiting to buy the new model...they'll never sell the old ones!

tcs
Yeah. Not an encouraging business model. It's like refusing to sell today's bread until yesterday's is gone. If they know the older ones are unreliable, they shouldn't sell them at all.
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Old 09-10-08, 10:08 AM   #11
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I don't know how unreliable the old ones really are - mines been just fine, though I don't yet have the sort of mileages some of you have, but the introduction policy is pretty standard. I think their mistake was announcing it before they were ready to sell it. It's kinda like the "model year" problem Yan has - everyone wanting this year's bike, so he gets stuck with last years, which is substantially similar. I think the secret is not to give things a year designator, and not to announce the new model til the old ones are low enough in stock that you don't worry any more.
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