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  1. #1
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    Raleigh Orange Crush 3-speed winterbike

    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?

  2. #2
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    I am building a 3 x 3 single speed out of an old mountain bike for hard core winter slush use. You may consider something similar. It essentially works like a single speed so no shifting to deal with but you have 3 gear combinations by moving the chain from outer, middle and inner chainrings. I'm using a 22, 32, 36 chainrings on the crank and 26,16,12 gears in the back so the same chain should work. You have a really low gear, a middle low gear and a cruising gear for flat road use.

    This is relatively cheap to build out of an old five or six speed rear end.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Well Hezz, that's an interesting concept. Three single-speeds in one... However, I want the ability to shift gears while on the road. Also, the rear brake on the Raleigh Orange Crush is really awful, and using a 3-speed coaster brake hub lets me get rid of the current rear brake.

    The obvious advantage of your 3x3 system is the far wider gear range, 22:26 (0.84), 32:16 2.00 and 36:12 (3.00)

    Compared to what I'd have, I'm not sure yet what exact ratio, but it'd be either of:
    32:18 (1.33 1.77 2.36)
    32:20 (1.20 1.60 2.13)
    42:20 (1.56 2.10 2.80)

    One of the most important metrics I have for my bikes is "safe trip time". If I need to manually switch gears by removing the rear wheel, I have to add a few minutes to trip time. If I have to haul cargo in a gear lower than 2.00, I'd have to switch gears and make the whole trip at a lower speed.

    Therefore, I believe that a 3-speed hub would be a better choice for me than a 3x3 3-speed with manual chain shifting.

    Thanks for your input! Looking forward to hearing more suggestions!

  4. #4
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    hernick,

    Of course the 3 x 3 single speed is just an inexpensive option and I actually think that for a commuter bike that is used a lot you are on the right track with your internal hub solution. The problem that you should be aware of is that the three speeds are designed for a 110mm or 120mm rear end and all mountain bikes have a 130 or 135mm rear end. For an old crome moly frame this is not too much of a problem as you can cold set the rear end in to the right rear dropout width. But if your frame is aluminum this will mess up the frame.

    The problem I see with a 3 speed internal hub is that it does not have enough gears for what you want to do with the bike. To get the gearing low enough for pulling the trailer and panniers uphill you will need to have a really small front chainring and then the bike won't be much good for cruising on the flats when you need to.

    If you are going to be pulling a heavy trailer up steep hills you will want a larger range of low gears than three speeds will allow. You may even want to use a double chainring up front and a front derailer with a chain tensioner with the internal rear hub.

    If this is a serious foul weather commuter and a touring bike I would suggest going with a Nexus 7 or 8 speed internal hub. It's more expensive but not prohibitively so over a three speed and much more useful in terms of useable gears for varying situations. It also comes in 130 and 135 mm widths so will be more compatible with a mountain bike frame. And if you rely on the bike to get you to work and pull a trailer with it might be better to have a more flexible solution.
    Last edited by Hezz; 12-23-07 at 09:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    I've looked at 7 and 8-speed hubs, but they're much more expensive. Instead of paying 65$ for a 3-speed and shifter, I'd have to pay at least 200$ for a 7-speed and shifter, probably more.

    Since the SRC3 3-speed hub has a 175mm axle, I can easily add spacers to make it wide enough for my frame. It's mechanically simpler, and I expect it to be as reliable as the higher-priced hubs.

    What I sacrifice is the wider range of gears. I won't have any high gears on the 3-speed, but that's OK, I've got a fast bike already.

    If I had more budget, I'd consider an 8-speed hub with a disc brake. I'd need a new frame, and the project cost would increase by at least 400$ over the projected cost of my Raleigh Orange Crush 3-speed coaster brake.

    For now, I think I can live without the extra gears and the extra cost. In the future, I'll seriously consider building up a good 7 or 8-speed. Maybe next year!

    And meanwhile, I'll have my Raleigh Orange Crush 3-speed!

  6. #6
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    Well, I say go for it.

    If the distance is not far to ride in bad weather you may be just fine with only three low gears.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jimisnowhere's Avatar
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    Sounds good, but buy two studded tires.
    I can ride the solarcycle with no hands.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cman's Avatar
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    Here is a review of all internal hubs. I have the Nexus 3 and 7 on bikes and like them. Fairly bulletproof but the SA could be a good option too.
    http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/in...ar-hub-review/

  9. #9
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    It seems to me that braking a heavy trailer on big hills, you'd want a better rear brake than the coaster brake.

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