I've got an old Raleigh Orange Crush MTB, currently geared 3x6 with low-end Shimano derailleurs. It works well except it has no front brake since the brake tabs on the front fork is broken, but I'll get a new rigid fork.
I want to use it for two purposes:
1. During the winter, as a low-speed commuter in hilly winter road conditions
2. During the summer, to tow a cargo trailer on hilly roads
My plan is to convert it into a 3-speed coaster brake bike with a front V-brake. During the winter, I'll have a front studded tire.
I already have a fast summer bike, and a singlespeed general-purpose coaster brake MTB winterbike. The Raleigh Orange Crush 3-speed will be a good addition. During the winter, I'll carry up to 30 pounds in panniers. During the summer, I may add up to 80 pounds in the trailer. I have to face some big hills, so I want low gearing.
I think the Taiwanese Sun Race Sturmey-Archer S30 SRC3 Coaster Brake 3-speed hub should be adequate for all seasons. It's built with an aluminum casing, so it should resist the salt and slush better than the older steel 3-speed hubs.
I hear it's fairly reliable, as it is an evolved version of the old english Sturmey-Archer AWC, but that it might not stand up as well to abuse as the Shimano Nexus.
I'm expecting that the rear 3-speed wheel, built with stainless spokes and a double-walled aluminum Alex rim, will cost me at most 140$ - 65$ for the hub, 25$ for the rim, 50$ for the assembly and spokes at the LBS I talked to.
I know the winter and the towing might be hard on the hub, but I expect it to survive a few years given a yearly disassembly and repacking with grease and new parts as needed.
And one day I'll get one of those nifty premium 8-speed internal gear hubs... And when I'm old and rich, I'll get a Rohloff 14-speed hub. But for now, I think the Sturmey-Archer S30 SRC3 from Jenson USA is a good choice, and quite affordable.
I think the Raleigh Orange Crush 3-speed will be fun and useful during both the winter and summer, especially for towing or carrying big loads.
I'd like your opinion and any suggestions regarding this project.
Do you think the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub will serve me well?
Do you know of good reasons why I should use another brand of 3-speed hub instead, like a Shimano or a SRAM?