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Sturmey Archer X-FD Front Drum Hub Brake Arm Clip - UNSAFE

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Sturmey Archer X-FD Front Drum Hub Brake Arm Clip - UNSAFE

Old 08-07-19, 04:34 PM
  #1  
HutchBMX
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Sturmey Archer X-FD Front Drum Hub Brake Arm Clip - UNSAFE

Hello - I'm sharing a bad experience with about the Sturmey-Archer X-FD Front Drum Hub
Brake Arm Clip I just had. I'm talking specifically about the clip and the way S-A has decided one should connect the front brake arm to the fork.

The Sturmey Archer X-FD Front Drum Hub itself is beautiful and well-engineered and manufactured.

I have the X-FD hub installed on my 26" cruiser BMX style bike. The clip which holds the brake arm to the fork completely
failed the other day while I was braking, fortunately, I was going relatively slow and was not hurt.

The hub with the attached brake cable broke loose and proceeded to wrap itself around the axle/hub ripping the brake lever loose
from the handlebar and snapping the brake lever in the process. If I had been going any faster, I would have done
a front flip as the front wheel would have locked up with the tangled brake cable wrapping around the hub.

The design of the Sturmey-Archer Brake arm clip is a poor and insufficient design. I do not understand why Sturmey-Archer
has not drilled a hole in the brake arm and used a bolt and bracket to secure the arm to the fork. Am I missing something? There also is very insufficient
grip/coverage area from the bracket to the arm to hold it securely in place. The metal for the bracket is cheap and thin. My brake arm bracket snapped from what I assume is
metal fatigue. I've only had the hub installed for about a month!

Do yourself a favor if you install this brake on your bike. Don't use the provided Sturmey-Archer front brake arm clip (S-A Part #: HSL 702 or 703). Use something a bit more robust. I'm going to use
a worm gear interlocked hose clamp with some rubber gasket underneath it to protect the fork and keep it from slipping. I might drill a hole in the brake arm and use a screw and bracket
to secure it to the fork.

Last edited by HutchBMX; 08-07-19 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 08-07-19, 06:55 PM
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vmizera
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Had same thing happen to SA X-FD on my commuter. Clip rotted away, but this was after thousands of miles.
Tried temp repair with hose clamp. Did NOT work out. Too much space between outer face of arm and inner
face of fork.

Then tried Tubus LM1 lowrider rack adapter. This worked as a stop block. The arm would strike it when brakes
applied. Not elegant, but a short term solution. The LM1 has three threaded holes in it through which an
appropriate length screw could be threaded and then attached to the arm via a drilled hole in the arm.
This would be a similar setup to the way the rear SA drum is secured to the stay.

I agree with you. The SA hubs themselves are great, but a better way is needed. Bike-share bikes have a braze-on
to secure the arm, but even these would be subject to wear and tear. Until that better way, I will add a clip check
to regular upkeep.

Last edited by vmizera; 08-08-19 at 06:04 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-09-19, 06:04 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the PSA, I just installed drum brakes front and rear on my Gazelle Primeur.

IMG_20190702_154522140 by Bwilli88, on Flickr


IMG_20190702_154533028 by Bwilli88, on Flickr


IMG_20190702_154349734 by Bwilli88, on Flickr
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Old 08-09-19, 07:04 AM
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You could just use a P-clamp to connect the arm to the fork. That should be pretty secure The SA clip is nice because it makes it a lot easier to pull the front wheel. Mine has been fine, but this is a good reminder to check it. Glad you're all right.
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Old 08-09-19, 07:27 AM
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Moe Zhoost
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I've had no problem with the SA clip mounted with a X-FDD hub on my commuting bike, even after 7 years and ~20,000 miles of all-season, all-weather riding. I did discover that the clip can shift up on the fork, which eventually presents a clunk sound on braking. It seems that it can be quite loose, though, before you hear it. Perhaps your clip was a bit too loose to immobilize the brake arm and the small amount of movement wore the clip to failure. Here's a picture of my clip. It shows a bit of wear and some minor corrosion. I'd not hesitate to remount it though. It's like any other component of a critical system - you have to check it occasionally. Before you do anything drastic, remember that all things can have unintended consquences - don't make things worse with well-intentioned mods.

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Old 08-09-19, 07:41 AM
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Moe, your clip looks different than the one in the parts list diagram (excerpt below). I like yours better. And if that's 7 years old, it looks like stainless. Your design looks better: is that the stock clip?

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Old 08-09-19, 03:47 PM
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No, it's the same one. The parts diagram shows only the outer side so the "pocket" that captures the end of the arm is not well detailed. Not stainless, just chrome plated steel.
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Old 12-03-21, 06:26 AM
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Reviving this thread because the same thing happened to me yesterday with my X-FD I had the shop fit to my Breezer Downtown, the clip broke after about a year and a half of daily commuting. Fortunately I was on my way to work so I could stop by a hardware store along the way to buy a pipe clamp to make a roadside repair. I’ll be watching how this holds up, if the clamp fails I’m going to need to buy a replacement fork with a drum brake tab from David Hembrow.

Last edited by Dewey101; 12-03-21 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 12-03-21, 12:40 PM
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18G stainless x 1 1/8 wide, 1/4-20 stainless bolt with stainless fender washers and lock nut.

The fork will fail first.




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Old 02-20-22, 08:03 PM
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I had the shop replace the fork with a Dutch drum brake fork

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Old 02-20-22, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dewey101 View Post
I had the shop replace the fork with a Dutch drum brake fork

Which shop did you use to obtain the Dutch fork?
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Old 02-21-22, 05:55 PM
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A quick search showed this mod.

Cycle A 2 B: April 2011







I'm not seeing a commercial braze-on clip, so it appears as if the clip was hand made.
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Old 02-24-22, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
Which shop did you use to obtain the Dutch fork?
David Hembrow's shop https://www.dutchbikebits.com/forks/...for-hub-brakes He can supply the fork in both 1" and 1 1/8" sizes which is a bit of luck for me because my Breezer headset is 1 1/8", I also bought from David a matching 1 1/8" adjustable stem https://www.dutchbikebits.com/handle...rpen-ergomatic

First ride and I notice the reaction arm moves slightly in the tab making a small 'click' when I apply the brake, but it doesn't affect the braking.

Last edited by Dewey101; 02-24-22 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 03-21-22, 09:22 AM
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Interesting. Sturmey's been using the same brake arm clip design since 1932.

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