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Alfine (or alts?) selection and installation

Old 01-26-21, 09:45 AM
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tiger1964 
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Alfine (or alts?) selection and installation

(A search reveals most discussion of Alfines seems to reside in this forum, so forgive me…) I usually hang out on the Classic & Vintage forum.

As one of several bikes (dating 1958 to 1980) I am restoring/rebuilding this winter, one is a Falcon that a childhood friend bought new in early 1975, and gave to me a couple of years ago when he “went carbon”. Not 100% certain of which model, but Reynolds 531 butted tubing and forged dropouts, so at least middle of the line. I’ve decided that what I’d really like to do with it is something of a faster “sporty” bike with a British look to it — perhaps even with fenders! It will still have drop bars and I’m shopping for a Brooks “honey” saddle, etc. Just had the frame and fork powder coated bright red and installed new decals; I think it looks sweet.

But I am toying with — no, perhaps more serious than that — with an internal-geared hub, my first since I got my first derailleur-equipped bike in 1971. While I rode a friend’s bike with a Rohloff a few feet and liked it, that is out of my price range. And I figure a classic Sturmey-Archer might degrade performance more than a little. Which leads me to the Shimano Alfine, unless there’s a better idea (I am listening). This will of course mean cold-setting the frame to accommodate a wider rear hub.

I spent some time on Shimano’s website, but far more questions remain than answers, so I thought I’d ask if anyone has enough experience to provide guidance. (a) which hub to get? I certainly want silver, not black. 8 speeds is more than enough. This bike is going to use caliper brakes (currently Campagnolo Record, but subject to change) so no disk fitment needed. (b) What installation parts/gadgets needed? I see some keyed washers, and what cabling is needed? (c) would not mind input on how I am going to shift. I don’t mind a trigger, or I guess I could try a twist-grip at the end of the bars if cabling permits. Let’s presume there is no such thing as a down-tube shifter for one, but I would not mind being pleasantly surprised there.

And once I figure there’s a list of part numbers for what I want to do, (a) is there a place that sells these more affordably? (b) perhaps can build up wheels, or at least a rear wheel, in 700C? I have a Campagnolo Record high-flange front track hub that I think would go nicely. However, the last time I had a wheel re-laced after a crash 2 years ago, the local shop’s price was eye-watering; perhaps a shop or individual could provide a wheel already built up?

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for any input. I have two nice sets of wheels if I re-think and decide on a freewheel and a derailleur, but and interested in trying modern internal-gear technology… if I can put together the right set-up, and can afford it.
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Old 01-26-21, 11:01 AM
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First thing we need is the drop out space measurement. 1975 could be 110 or 120. Alfines 8s are 135 mm. A 7 speed might be less, but not 120, AFAIK. This 7 speed does have more and even spaced gears, but overall is actually a bit less than the SA 5w.
Either way, the best you can do is a SA SRF5w, with the pull chain shifts. Still available, at SJS cycles in UK.
https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/hubs-int...srf5-5spd-hub/
Hopefully your bike is 120 mm so then you can have 36 spokes.
The SA 5w can be lowered to 35 to 91 GI. I ride mine at 46 to 117.6 GI, and it's a HEAVYWEIGHT. LOL.
I absolutely LOVE this hub, SA XL-RD5w drum brake. Especially after I fixed a sticky part affecting the shift key. It is absolutely NOT SLOW in any circumstances. Here is my thread about how to fix it and my video going near 46 mph downhill.
My SA XL RD-5w Shifting FLAW finally Solved. Yippie !!!!

I have the thumb shifter on the TT, the very best place to have it. On my DIY mount, not so pretty of course.

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Old 01-26-21, 11:09 AM
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You would run full length housing from the shifter to the hub 'cassette joint'. The pinch bolt/nut assembly that snaps into place is to be clamped on the cable a certain distance from the end of the housing, and then only minor adjustments should be needed at the barrel adjuster on the shifter to get the two marks on the cassette joint to line up when in 4th gear. In my experience, this is all that is necessary with Alfine 8 sp.

You need to select whichever anti-rotation washers are recommended for whatever type of dropouts you have, based on the angle of the dropouts.
Also, since your bike is older it probably has narrower rear triangle (OLD) spacing. Alfine is iirc, 135mm, which was standard MTB spacing 1990s-2010s. Your old bike is likely 110mm or 120mm. Shimano makes Nexus (similar to Alfine) hubs with 126mm spacing. I think Sturmey Archer makes 8 sp IGH hubs with to fit 120mm spacing, an lower speed count hubs for all sorts of spacings.
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Old 01-26-21, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for response. REALLY not thinking Sturmey-Archer here (but I'll check out the link!) I always knew I'd be cold-setting the frame. I was going to say 120mm, but I just took a ruler to it... 125mm ? Interestingly, the wheels on the bike when given to me are NOT 1975 vintage; newer Campy lo-flange laced to somewhat V'ish rims, so maybe already cold-set once by a shop? OK, same questions apply, which model # hub and attendant parts. Dropout angle? Hmm, vintage Campy-copy no-name forged ones, if "something like "roughly 20 degrees downward" won't cut it, then once I have the headset in I can put on two wheels and try to determine angle. Nexus, huh? Especially with correct axle width... any reason not to go with a Nexus? OK, I'll head back to the Shimano website and see if I can figure out which hub. Yeah, 36h is a "given". Not too worried about gearing, it's pretty flat around here (near Washington DC)

Edit: Followed link to the Sturmey Archer 5 speed. Well, it looks nice, and good price point. I am OK with some weight gain over a derailleur system. But I'd worry over frictional losses, I've been searching and found LINK TO ARTICLE For any of these, Alfine, Nexus, S-A, what are real-world experiences? If I'm going to feel like I am pedaling in mud, might as well stick with derailleurs or make the bike a fixed gear (but I am also restoring my 1974 track bike, so...)


Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
First thing we need is the drop out space measurement. 1975 could be 110 or 120. Alfines 8s are 135 mm. A 7 speed might be less, but not 120, AFAIK. This 7 speed does have more and even spaced gears, but overall is actually a bit less than the SA 5w.

Either way, the best you can do is a SA SRF5w, with the pull chain shifts. Still available, at SJS cycles in UK.

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/hubs-int...srf5-5spd-hub/

Hopefully your bike is 120 mm so then you can have 36 spokes.

The SA 5w can be lowered to 35 to 91 GI. I ride mine at 46 to 115 GI, and it's a HEAVYWEIGHT. LOL.

I absolutely LOVE this hub, SA XL-RD5w drum brake. Especially after I fixed a sticky part affecting the shift key. It is absolutely NOT SLOW in any circumstances. Here is my thread about how to fix it and my video going near 46 mph downhill.

My SA XL RD-5w Shifting FLAW finally Solved. Yippie !!!!


I have the thumb shifter on the TT, the very best place to have it. On my DIY mount, not so pretty of course.

Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
You would run full length housing from the shifter to the hub 'cassette joint'. The pinch bolt/nut assembly that snaps into place is to be clamped on the cable a certain distance from the end of the housing, and then only minor adjustments should be needed at the barrel adjuster on the shifter to get the two marks on the cassette joint to line up when in 4th gear. In my experience, this is all that is necessary with Alfine 8 sp.


You need to select whichever anti-rotation washers are recommended for whatever type of dropouts you have, based on the angle of the dropouts.

Also, since your bike is older it probably has narrower rear triangle (OLD) spacing. Alfine is iirc, 135mm, which was standard MTB spacing 1990s-2010s. Your old bike is likely 110mm or 120mm. Shimano makes Nexus (similar to Alfine) hubs with 126mm spacing. I think Sturmey Archer makes 8 sp IGH hubs with to fit 120mm spacing, an lower speed count hubs for all sorts of spacings.
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Last edited by tiger1964; 01-26-21 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 01-27-21, 04:22 AM
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If you want smooth pedaling with minimal frictional losses, go for a vintage Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed hub with oil lubrication. They can be found for cheap, either in the US or in the UK.
An IGH does feel slightly different when shifting than a derailleur and some gears are more efficient than others. The AW is almost as efficient as a single speed in it's direct drive 2nd gear and more efficient than a derailleur system at that point.
There is also a huge amount of shifter options availabe from thumb, downtube, bar-end to even seat tube shifting.

The Alfine 8 is most efficient in its direct drive 5th gear which is where I would run it at most often when I was riding the Nexus model.

I now ride the XL-RD5(w) like GamblerGORD53 is doing and it's a great hub though I do notice some drag in 5th gear. Chances are it will work itself out or I will find the culprit when I clean and relube the hub in spring.
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Old 01-27-21, 10:36 AM
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If you are going to be cold-setting the stays to any great amount, then make sure you don't cause interference with the chainwheels and ends of the crank arms. Might want to have them installed temporarily so you can see what's happening while you spread things.
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Old 01-27-21, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
If you want smooth pedaling with minimal frictional losses, go for a vintage Sturmey Archer AW 3-speed hub with oil lubrication. The Alfine 8 is most efficient in its direct drive 5th gear which is where I would run it at most often when I was riding the Nexus model.
Thanks; of course now we've gone from Alfine to Nexus to S-A 5 to S-A 3; the decision is getting more complex, instead of narrowing it down to a final selection. Good point about 5th gear, I was planning all along to select chainring & sprocket to give me 5th at the number of gear inches I tend to ride most in, anyway.

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you are going to be cold-setting the stays to any great amount, then make sure you don't cause interference with the chainwheels and ends of the crank arms. Might want to have them installed temporarily so you can see what's happening while you spread things.
Not a bad idea! Again, if I come up with a solution no wider than 126mm, I might be home free. I had set up the bike temporarily a couple of years ago as a 1x5 (with a Nuovo Record rear derailleur!) and upright bars and such, and really did not like the results. Cranks (Nervar 50.4bcd) and chainring (46t) cleared just fine... at the time.
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Old 01-27-21, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Thanks; of course now we've gone from Alfine to Nexus to S-A 5 to S-A 3; the decision is getting more complex, instead of narrowing it down to a final selection. Good point about 5th gear, I was planning all along to select chainring & sprocket to give me 5th at the number of gear inches I tend to ride most in, anyway.
If you're in the US I would simply go with the Alfine. Better parts availability on your side of the pond. Plus you get a good set of alternative shifter options in the form of the Gevanelle UX, or the Microshift bar-end, thumb shifter or brifter models. Or of course the Jtek bar-end.

The Sturmey Archer is easier to repair and likely will be in the far future but that's still a bother if parts have to come from specialty stores or imported from Europe.
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Old 01-27-21, 10:03 PM
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Don't know about other IGHs, but my Nexus 8 still runs flawlessly after 49,000 kms. Never replaced anything except sprockets.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
If you're in the US I would simply go with the Alfine. Better parts availability on your side of the pond. Plus you get a good set of alternative shifter options in the form of the Gevanelle UX, or the Microshift bar-end, thumb shifter or brifter models. Or of course the Jtek bar-end. The Sturmey Archer is easier to repair and likely will be in the far future but that's still a bother if parts have to come from specialty stores or imported from Europe.
For aesthetic reasons, I'll forgo "brighter" technology until they make a set with a "classic" look (presumably the newer ones have better ergonomics?). Bar-end has appeal. Hmm, could I adapt a thumb shifter to -- can I believe I am saying this? -- function as a stem shifter?

Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
Don't know about other IGHs, but my Nexus 8 still runs flawlessly after 49,000 kms. Never replaced anything except sprockets.
I was back on the Shimano website last night, looking at the Nexus 8 and there seems to be one designed for rim brakes. Hmm, I thought earlier I saw 126mm axle width but, no, 130mm? So, back to cold-setting. And the website is more than a bit unclear on what it comes with and what I need to order separately. Again, input welcome, and/or I need to select an on-line dealer anyway, perhaps pick their brains too.

I must really want this: the hub, two rims and lacing (don't forget spokes!) is probably $600 while I have sets of wheels for a derailleurs set-up sitting right here.
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Old 01-28-21, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
I must really want this: the hub, two rims and lacing (don't forget spokes!) is probably $600 while I have sets of wheels for a derailleurs set-up sitting right here.
Well they are a bit more common around here so chances are you can get them second-hand for around €80-150 with trigger shifter if you want to try a more budget friendly option. I mean there is probably another €30 in shipping to the US but that would still save you some money.
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Old 01-28-21, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
Well they are a bit more common around here so chances are you can get them second-hand for around €80-150 with trigger shifter if you want to try a more budget friendly option. I mean there is probably another €30 in shipping to the US but that would still save you some money.
Thanks, I wish I could read that. Hmm, you have me thinking, I was checking the website eBay here in the US and just looking at hubs, but changing search criteria to "Shimano Nexus 700C" and/or "Shimano Alfine 700C" to look for entire wheels, I found WHEEL FOR SALE but (a) is the Nexus 7 obsolete? (b) I do not want a coaster brake and the description mentions one even if I cannot see it in the photos, (c) minimum tire width is 30mm and I am determined to run 25mm. But it has me thinking...
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Old 01-28-21, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Thanks, I wish I could read that. Hmm, you have me thinking, I was checking the website eBay here in the US and just looking at hubs, but changing search criteria to "Shimano Nexus 700C" and/or "Shimano Alfine 700C" to look for entire wheels, I found WHEEL FOR SALE but (a) is the Nexus 7 obsolete? (b) I do not want a coaster brake and the description mentions one even if I cannot see it in the photos, (c) minimum tire width is 30mm and I am determined to run 25mm. But it has me thinking...
The Nexus 7 isn't obsolete but really not worth it. I found its 244% gear range to feel fairly limited compared to the 307% of the Nexus 8 I rode before.
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Old 01-28-21, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post


I was back on the Shimano website last night, looking at the Nexus 8 and there seems to be one designed for rim brakes. Hmm, I thought earlier I saw 126mm axle width but, no, 130mm? So, back to cold-setting. And the website is more than a bit unclear on what it comes with and what I need to order separately. Again, input welcome, and/or I need to select an on-line dealer anyway, perhaps pick their brains too.
Any Nexus 8 will work for rim brakes. The spacing can be adjusted from I think 120 to 135 by using different spacers and nut on the non drive side.
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Old 02-01-21, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
The Nexus 7 isn't obsolete but really not worth it. I found its 244% gear range to feel fairly limited compared to the 307% of the Nexus 8 I rode before.
Interesting, I need to do some math. Perhaps, as terrain here is not mountainous, I could live with 244%

Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
Any Nexus 8 will work for rim brakes. The spacing can be adjusted from I think 120 to 135 by using different spacers and nut on the non drive side.
So just ignore where the disc brake mount, presumably? And if I change "120 to 135 by using different spacers and nut on the non drive side", that impacts dish, so do that prior to havng wheels built.

And I am starting to think I won't find a pre-built wheel, and anything already made up is likely to require wider tires than the 25mm's I want, even if advertised as 700c.
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Old 02-01-21, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
You need to select whichever anti-rotation washers are recommended for whatever type of dropouts you have, based on the angle of the dropouts.
By the way, angle between the slot in the dropout and the centerline of the chain stay, or between the slot and the ground? For installation, the former seems to make more sense, but...
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Old 02-01-21, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
a



So just ignore where the disc brake mount, presumably? And if I change "120 to 135 by using different spacers and nut on the non drive side", that impacts dish, so do that prior to havng wheels built.
AFAIK, Nexus 8 is available in coaster and roller brake versions, Alfine 8 can mount a disc. The Nexus has a spline for the roller brake, but it has a cover. You can ignore it if using rim brake.
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Old 02-01-21, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
By the way, angle between the slot in the dropout and the centerline of the chain stay, or between the slot and the ground? For installation, the former seems to make more sense, but...
..
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Old 02-01-21, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
AFAIK, Nexus 8 is available in coaster and roller brake versions, Alfine 8 can mount a disc. The Nexus has a spline for the roller brake, but it has a cover. You can ignore it if using rim brake.
I was looking at eBay (I was originally looks for a built up wheel, maybe now looking for a loose hub), almost every one is a coaster brake. I suspect no-go. Good info on the roller brake!

Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
..
Nice chart. OK, a "regular" dropout seems to be the 20 degree version, I perhaps can stop worrying about using a protractor or tedious calculations. Thanks!
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Old 02-01-21, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
By the way, angle between the slot in the dropout and the centerline of the chain stay, or between the slot and the ground? For installation, the former seems to make more sense, but...
I think the mean angle of dropout slot vs. chainstay. However, each model of washer fits for a range of angles, and my guess would be that most chainstays are close enough to 'level' that if you select the washers whose angle range fits for the angle of the dropout slot vs the chainstay, it will likely also be in the correct range wrt the ground.

Also, my experience is that the 'incorrect' washers can sometimes be successfully used, but it might take some futzing around with cable routing, and might make wheel removals a PITA. But it is also possible that the cable will catastrophically interfere with the chain and it won't work at all.
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Old 02-02-21, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
I think the mean angle of dropout slot vs. chainstay. However, each model of washer fits for a range of angles, and my guess would be that most chainstays are close enough to 'level' that if you select the washers whose angle range fits for the angle of the dropout slot vs the chainstay, it will likely also be in the correct range wrt the ground. Also, my experience is that the 'incorrect' washers can sometimes be successfully used, but it might take some futzing around with cable routing, and might make wheel removals a PITA. But it is also possible that the cable will catastrophically interfere with the chain and it won't work at all.
As you seem to know quite about these, I have an odd-ish question. What is the cabling like? Diameter, housing type, cable ends? For this bike I have a color scheme in mind on the bright red powder coating: tan "honey" saddle, tan handlebar tape, tan cable housing, you get the idea. If these Nexus/Alfine cables are pre-made, no-you-cannot-change-them cables perhaps with leaded ends at both ends, etc., I might have to forgo this. However, if I can simply substitute some version of JagWire's product, then perhaps I can.
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Old 02-02-21, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
As you seem to know quite about these, I have an odd-ish question. What is the cabling like? Diameter, housing type, cable ends? For this bike I have a color scheme in mind on the bright red powder coating: tan "honey" saddle, tan handlebar tape, tan cable housing, you get the idea. If these Nexus/Alfine cables are pre-made, no-you-cannot-change-them cables perhaps with leaded ends at both ends, etc., I might have to forgo this. However, if I can simply substitute some version of JagWire's product, then perhaps I can.
The inner cable is any shift cable compatible with Shimano or Sram shifters, and there is a separate pinch nut that you fasten to the end, and that nut snaps into place on the 'cassette joint' assembly that is under the cog on the hub. The Shimano hubs do not use the old style Sturmey Archer pre-made cables of fixed length with two pre-installed ends.

Same for the housing - any modern plastic lined housing with the supporting structural wires running approximately parallel to the inner cable. I believe any 'SIS Compatible' shift housing will work, and you can cut your own length to match what you need.

Jagwire shift cable housing can be purchased in many colours, don't know about tan but it's possible. Just make sure whatever cable housing you get is a plastic lined and intended for indexed shifter use, and that you have good fitting ferrules (cable housing ends) as you should have for any correct cabling job on a modern bike.

The only two ways you could do this wrong are if you use brake cable housing (allows too much compression to keep indexing working properly), or if you somehow find and use Campagnolo shift cables, which have a slightly different shape of head and might not play well with Shimano shifters.
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Old 02-02-21, 01:36 PM
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Good info there; thanks! OK, just checked Jagwire's site... no tan or even brown. However, I've seen photos of bikes on the Classic & Vintage forum with such housing, so I have some searching to do. No idea what brand. Depending on shifter type, I presume this might be a very long cable!

I appreciate the patience in answering, I'll probably have more questions and this will likely take a while, as I am restoring/rebuilding five of my bikes this winter -- today installing the headset in the 1961 Gitane and partway through the same on the Zeus track bike but I have to undo and tap-and-cut-down the new fork.

Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson View Post
The inner cable is any shift cable compatible with Shimano or Sram shifters, and there is a separate pinch nut that you fasten to the end, and that nut snaps into place on the 'cassette joint' assembly that is under the cog on the hub. The Shimano hubs do not use the old style Sturmey Archer pre-made cables of fixed length with two pre-installed ends. Same for the housing - any modern plastic lined housing with the supporting structural wires running approximately parallel to the inner cable. I believe any 'SIS Compatible' shift housing will work, and you can cut your own length to match what you need. Jagwire shift cable housing can be purchased in many colours, don't know about tan but it's possible. Just make sure whatever cable housing you get is a plastic lined and intended for indexed shifter use, and that you have good fitting ferrules (cable housing ends) as you should have for any correct cabling job on a modern bike. The only two ways you could do this wrong are if you use brake cable housing (allows too much compression to keep indexing working properly), or if you somehow find and use Campagnolo shift cables, which have a slightly different shape of head and might not play well with Shimano shifters.
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Old 02-02-21, 02:07 PM
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tiger1964 It is possible that C&V bikes are using cable housing not designed for indexed shifters, as many of their bikes do not have
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Old 02-02-21, 05:28 PM
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Shimano original housing has a plastic ferrule at the shifter end and an aluminum one at the cassete joint end. It's better to use full length housing (no exposed cable) as these hubs are somewhat finicky as to cable pull.
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