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  1. #1
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    S3X Sturmey Archer

    I bought the S3X wheel set with Alex Sub rims that was on sale in December. I didn't want a whole wheel set, as I run a hub generator on my front wheel, and I'm not interested in setting up my main commuting bike without lights.

    I waited a while before finally installing the rear wheel on my bike, and then when I finally did, I ran into some problems.

    I didn't realize that the wheel comes with an 1/8th inch cog, so I initially tried to set it up with a regular eight speed chain, which was already on the bike. When I realized that the cog wasn't going to work with the rest of my drive train, I thought about trying to swap the cog from my old fixed wheel. But I realized that cog wasn't going to fit, as the S3X is set up to only accept Sturmey Archer cogs.

    So I went out to the bike shop and bought a new chain and front chain ring (I stepped up from 42x15 to 52x16). The bolts in my old chain ring were stuck, and I stripped the bolt heads while trying to get them out. So I had to take the frame to the shop so they could drill out the old bolts (which they did for free, I love that shop!).

    I got the chain and chain ring on the bike and bolted the wheel on. Then I installed the bar end shifter, with some difficulty, having never installed a bar end shifter before. I had some trouble running the cable housing to the hub, as I was installing the new wheel on a fixed gear frame, which didn't have braze ons for a rear derailer. The wheel set came with a couple of clamps that were apparently designed to work as after market braze ons for bikes that lack them. I set the clamp on my chainstay and ran the cable and housing through it. I fiddled with the cable and the hub to adjust it as the instructions indicated that I should.

    I hopped on the bike for a test run. I shifted through the gears one time, and then the hub got stuck in the highest gear. I went back inside, readjusted the shifting and tried it again. Again, I failed to make it through an entire shifting cycle. This time the hub shifted to some point between gears, so that the drive train was completely disengaged from the wheel, and the pedals were spinning freely. That was a little unexpected and scary, considering that I was riding what was supposed to be a fixed gear!

    I went back inside and had another look at the cable. I realized that the clamp that was supposed to hold the cable housing in place was slipping. No matter how much I tightened it down I could never shift through all of the gears before it started to slip. I got frustrated and gave up.

    A few days later I asked a friend with a welding torch for help. I figured I could cut a derailer cable braze on from a junk bike and have him weld it on my fixie. But before we put my bike under the torch, I stopped by the bike shop and asked for a piece of rubber. They had an old spacer sitting around which they gave to me to try. I tried again to install the clamp, this time over the rubber spacer and the cable. That did the trick. The spacer stayed in place and now the S3X hub is shifting like a charm. I haven't taken it for a real ride yet. But at least I know my S3X finally works, after only two years of waiting!



    Bikes belong in the motor city

  2. #2
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    the guy who writes the allcity blog had a similar problem with his cable stop slipping. he solved the problem by using a seatpost clamp mounted cable stop made by surly for the crosscheck's canti brakes

  3. #3
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    i wish the ratios were more closely spaced on the hub though

  4. #4
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    I don't know, I kind of like the broad range. But I know a lot of people have echoed your comment, in wishing for tighter spacing between gears. The way I look at it is that I probably wouldn't bother with shifting at all if all of the ratios were of similar size. But I still look at this bike as a fixie, for the most part. The main reason that I want to be able to shift is in deep snow or going uphill. I don't intend to shift on this bike nearly as often as I would on my road bikes.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  5. #5
    Antarctica awaits WoundedKnee's Avatar
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    I agree, might as well have a broad range if any. My girlfriend has an ancient 3-speed Shimano hub that I want to overhaul.

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoundedKnee View Post
    I agree, might as well have a broad range if any. My girlfriend has an ancient 3-speed Shimano hub that I want to overhaul.
    If it says 333 hope that it just works as overhauling these is next to impossible due to a lack of anything but salvaged parts... on the bright side they are pretty solid units and rarely need much of anything.

  7. #7
    Antarctica awaits WoundedKnee's Avatar
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    I feel like it does, it works alright but sometimes the shifting doesn't work. I kind of meant just open it up and re-grease it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
    ...
    So I went out to the bike shop and bought a new chain and front chain ring (I stepped up from 42x15 to 52x16). The bolts in my old chain ring were stuck, and I stripped the bolt heads while trying to get them out. So I had to take the frame to the shop so they could drill out the old bolts (which they did for free, I love that shop!).
    ...
    You can absolutely run a 1/8" chain on either 3/32nd or 1/8" chain-ring, or cog. Unless you really wanted a chain-ring that had ten more teeth on it?

  9. #9
    Senior Member thedutchtouch's Avatar
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    very interested to see how this hub holds up in real world durability testing. please continue to update this thread, and elaborate on your riding style.

  10. #10
    spin The LT's Avatar
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    Unless something has changed the splines on the hub aren't specific to sturmey archer rather they are the same as shimano cassettes

  11. #11
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twelsch42 View Post
    You can absolutely run a 1/8" chain on either 3/32nd or 1/8" chain-ring, or cog. Unless you really wanted a chain-ring that had ten more teeth on it?
    Yeah, my old chain ring was shark toothed, so it really needed to be replaced soon anyway. Plus I wanted to have more gear inches on the top end, rather than having a top gear that was a lower ratio than what I was already used to. The new chain ring is a 3/32 chain ring.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  12. #12
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The LT View Post
    Unless something has changed the splines on the hub aren't specific to sturmey archer rather they are the same as shimano cassettes
    It looked very similar, but I pulled a small gear out of an old shimano cassette, maybe a 12 or 13 tooth cog, and tried to put it on the splines and it didn't seem to fit. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but there was a slight difference between the splines on the S3X and those on the cog that I tried to fit to it. It looked like something that I could have fixed by taking a metal file to one of the grooves in the cog, but I didn't try.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  13. #13
    spin The LT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
    It looked very similar, but I pulled a small gear out of an old shimano cassette, maybe a 12 or 13 tooth cog, and tried to put it on the splines and it didn't seem to fit. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but there was a slight difference between the splines on the S3X and those on the cog that I tried to fit to it. It looked like something that I could have fixed by taking a metal file to one of the grooves in the cog, but I didn't try.
    Maybe they are slightly different then....hhhmmm

  14. #14
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thedutchtouch View Post
    very interested to see how this hub holds up in real world durability testing. please continue to update this thread, and elaborate on your riding style.
    I've been less than impressed with the performance of the hub so far. But I have only put about six miles on it. It seems that it has a definite tendency to shift into a neutral position from time to time, such that the drive train and the wheel become disengaged, and the pedals spin freely. Luckily I ride with a front brake, so it isn't something that has endangered me thus far. But I would definitely not consider using this hub if I was riding totally brakeless. I'm hoping that it's only because the adjustment is slightly off. My wheel did slide forward a bit in the dropout as I was riding, and the adjustment of the gears is dependent on the position of the hub in the dropout. It might also be a break-in issue. I know that Rohloff hubs are supposed to shift roughly, sound funny, and feel notchy for the first several hundred miles. I'm hoping that the S3X will shift more reliably as it gets worn in a bit. I'm going to reposition my wheel and make sure to tighten the bolts a bit better the next time I take my bike for a ride.

    As for my riding style, I almost never skid stop, but I try to rely as much as possible on my rear wheel for braking. I probably only use my front brake for about 10-20% of stops. When commuting I cruise at a little over 15mph during the winter, due mostly to the drag of my studded cyclocross tires. In my first ride I was shifting more than expected, due to the fact that I like to stop and start in a lower gear. So I may end up shifting quite a bit when riding in city traffic.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  15. #15
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    I have my S3X hub finally and am having some trouble with it.

    I did not get the special driveside nut with mine and so have been experimenting with alternatives while I wait for the real thing to come (hopefully it will not take another year). And my indicator chain did not have the dot of paint on it to set up the adjustment correctly. As I recall that one painted link needs to be at the end of the axle when adjusted correctly.

    Can any of you helpful people with the hub look at the indicator chain and tell me which link has the blob of paint. Or better (and I will owe you forever) could you take a good picture of the chain and paint dot?

    jim
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  16. #16
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgedwa View Post
    I have my S3X hub finally and am having some trouble with it.

    I did not get the special driveside nut with mine and so have been experimenting with alternatives while I wait for the real thing to come (hopefully it will not take another year). And my indicator chain did not have the dot of paint on it to set up the adjustment correctly. As I recall that one painted link needs to be at the end of the axle when adjusted correctly.

    Can any of you helpful people with the hub look at the indicator chain and tell me which link has the blob of paint. Or better (and I will owe you forever) could you take a good picture of the chain and paint dot?

    jim
    The indicator band is located between the 4th and 5th links in the indicator chain. You can see it in this picture:


    For optimal adjustment I think the indicator band is actually supposed to be viewed through the hole in the indicator nut when in second gear.

    In the lowest gear the band should just be coming out of the nut, as it is in this picture.

    I've found that it's difficult to adjust the chain so that the shifting happens exactly at the indexing points in the shifter. I've pretty much stopped trying to get everything adjusted perfectly, and I'm more or less using the shifter as if it was a friction shifter. I just move the lever until I can feel the gears shift, rather than waiting for the click.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by brotherdan; 02-22-10 at 08:08 PM.
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  17. #17
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    That's odd.

    If it's like every other SA hub, and has an indicator like this:


    The flat part of the indicator rod should be even with the end of the axle (viewable through the hole in the SA nut) when the unit is in second gear. But I haven't gotten a look at an S3X in person, so maybe it is different?

  18. #18
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mos6502 View Post
    That's odd.

    If it's like every other SA hub, and has an indicator like this:


    The flat part of the indicator rod should be even with the end of the axle (viewable through the hole in the SA nut) when the unit is in second gear. But I haven't gotten a look at an S3X in person, so maybe it is different?
    I know the S3X isn't supposed to work with other SA shifters, so I think it is different.
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  19. #19
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brotherdan View Post
    I know the S3X isn't supposed to work with other SA shifters, so I think it is different.
    Apparently it is different.

    And thanks, Brotherdan, for posting those pictures. That helps tremendously.

    I suspect that not only did I not get the special driveside nut, but I also got the normal indicator chain.

    jim
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  20. #20
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    I hope the hubs end up working out, I've been looking to get one but am weary of buying a brand new product. This hub would hold me out for another year of having to buy and actual road bike. Is the Alex Sub wheelset overly heavy?

  21. #21
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coolkid_cody View Post
    I hope the hubs end up working out, I've been looking to get one but am weary of buying a brand new product. This hub would hold me out for another year of having to buy and actual road bike. Is the Alex Sub wheelset overly heavy?
    It's not particularly light. But most aero-profile rims are heavy.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoundedKnee View Post
    I feel like it does, it works alright but sometimes the shifting doesn't work. I kind of meant just open it up and re-grease it.
    Does this hub not have an oil port ?

    You want to be very careful when you take a 3 speed hub apart as to not have a million little pieces all over the place... if they can be oiled that is usually all they need and your shifter may also be a little out of adjustment. With an older Shimano the red N needs to be centered in the window.

    With old SA hubs I don't use a visual check on the spindle chain unless I know it is the right length as there are several sizes and who knows if the spindle is stock... it is better to set the cable tension while it is in 3rd gear.

    There should be no pull on the spindle in 3rd and the smallest amount of slack that should get taken up when you apply a light touch to the trigger (without actually shifting) and the bike should shift up and down (on the stand) as you turn the cranks at low speed.

    If it slips into neutral while in 3rd the cable is too tight and if it slips into neutral while in 2nd it is too loose.

    SA 3 speed hubs do not like to be shifted under hard loads as it is not a perfectly synchronized transmission.

  23. #23
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The LT View Post
    Unless something has changed the splines on the hub aren't specific to sturmey archer rather they are the same as shimano cassettes
    Sturmey Archer cogs and Shimano 3 speed cogs use the same 3 spline pattern as do newer Shimano internal hubs... cassette cogs have a different spline pattern but can be modified pretty easily with a dremel or a file to fit.

  24. #24
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I have yet to order an SX3 so am unfamiliar with their exact set up... have had more experience with the ASC and a variety of other SA variants.

    It does not take much to throw any of them off and you rerally need to make sure your wheel is secure and that your cable stops don't budge to ensure trouble free riding.

  25. #25
    Fixed-gear roadie JacoKierkegaard's Avatar
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    IGH and a hub generator? The hell is that, a parasitic loss theme bike?
    2008 Masi Speciale Fixed

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