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Sturmey Archer 3 spd hub: Please help

Old 06-30-06, 07:23 AM
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Sturmey Archer 3 spd hub: Please help

Hi,
I recently got a 3spd schwinn collegiate that is pretty beat. The one bright side is that the Sturmey Archer 3spd hub is in great shape (no rust at all) and works well. The frame of the bike is pretty rusted as are most other parts. The hub has AW 70 stamped on it can anyone tell me what it means? Am I correct in assuming 70 is the production year and AW has something to do with the model of hub? I guess there were different models?
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Old 06-30-06, 08:25 AM
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Yes, the 70 means 1970.

SheldonBrown.com has a list of all Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub labels. AW is a standard wide-range 3-speed, with gear ratios of 3/4, 1/1, and 4/3. "This is far and away the most common model, introduced in 1936."
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Old 06-30-06, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-01-06, 06:09 AM
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those hubs are like ford lasers, very common, dead boring but completely impossible to kill (it seems).

- Joel
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Old 07-01-06, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by tomacropod
those hubs are like ford lasers, very common, dead boring but completely impossible to kill (it seems).
What's the Ford Laser in the states?
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Old 07-01-06, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 55/Rad
What's the Ford Laser in the states?
Ford escort.
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Old 07-01-06, 08:08 PM
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The SA hub is amazing. It's an engineering marvel and is a dream to ride (the trigger is far superior to any index shifter I've used). I can't imagine why anyone would call it "boring." What's boring is the klunky, ugly, grimy, fragile derailleur.
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Old 07-02-06, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jordanb
The SA hub is amazing. It's an engineering marvel and is a dream to ride (the trigger is far superior to any index shifter I've used). I can't imagine why anyone would call it "boring." What's boring is the klunky, ugly, grimy, fragile derailleur.
Right on the money! SA were very durable, very common (i.e. that means easy to find and inexpensive repair parts if u should ever need them), and decent ratios for a three speed. I think the Sachs Torpedo's had a lower first gear, but they are a bit hard to find - unless your neighbor gives you his two OLD bikes he no longer rides!
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Old 07-02-06, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemeister
Right on the money! SA were very durable, very common (i.e. that means easy to find and inexpensive repair parts if u should ever need them), and decent ratios for a three speed...
I have three bikes w/SA hubs (two of them are conversions from derailler bikes) but I don't care for the gear ratios. First gear seems to be never low enough and third gear is too high for anything except downhill. The AW is too wide ratio for me and I would love to find one if thier narrow ratio models.

Also the shifters (both trigger and grip shifter) are too finicky but I love SA hubs so I guess I can live with that!
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Old 07-02-06, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by John E
SheldonBrown.com has a list of all Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub labels.
And if you want to see a list of any and every Sturmey hub produced, see this fantastic site:

http://www.sturmey-archerheritage.com/

-Kurt
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Old 07-02-06, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by smurfy
I have three bikes w/SA hubs (two of them are conversions from derailler bikes) but I don't care for the gear ratios. First gear seems to be never low enough and third gear is too high for anything except downhill.
I had the same impression until I changed the cog to a 22 tooth. This put the ratios into a much more user friendly range for me.
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Old 07-02-06, 10:02 PM
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^-- Agreed. I use a 21 tooth cog on my Racer and it works great.
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Old 07-03-06, 05:54 AM
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Another solution is to change the front sprocket to a smaller one. I swapped a 39 tooth from a cheap ten speed for the original 45 tooth chainwheel, which gives me 40,53,71 inch gears. I know it's easier to change the rear sprocket, but I didn't have anything larger than 19, but I had the chainwheel.
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Old 07-03-06, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by smurfy
I don't care for the gear ratios. First gear seems to be never low enough and third gear is too high for anything except downhill. The AW is too wide ratio for me and I would love to find one if their narrow ratio models.

Also the shifters (both trigger and grip shifter) are too finicky but I love SA hubs so I guess I can live with that!
That the gearing of the S-A AW hub is too high seems to be a common complaint. As others have suggested, changing to a bigger cog is a simple solution. How much bigger depends on the terrain and your riding style. I typically use my internal hub bikes for short (15 mile) but hilly rides and am currently using a 19 tooth. I find that I like this better than the 18, but may still try a 20. My current theory is that anything bigger would reduce top end too much for my purposes. One other thing to keep in mind is that a bigger cog may require a longer chain.

As for the narrower ratio models, my experience so far is with an FM (four speed). I find this to be great over a route that is mostly rolling where I utilize 2nd, 3rd and 4th the majority of the time but have 1st to get me up the steeper hills on the way home. My opinion is that the AC and FC would be too narrow unless the riding is really flat and the rider very powerful.

Regards,
Alan

P.S. Iíve never really had a problem with the shifters but have not tried a twist grip.
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Old 07-03-06, 07:40 PM
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The default AW gearing goes something like 50-66-88 gear-inches, which is remarkly similar to the 50-93 inch "top 10" range I normally use on my 12-speed commuter, although I do have a 44-inch grannie in reserve.

My alltime favorite bike transmission based on an AW hub was a 12-speed, with a 14-16-18-20 Cyclo hybrid converter, giving me 40 to 100 gear-inches with a 40T chainring and 26" wheels.
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Old 07-05-06, 07:40 AM
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At the finish of the 3 Speed Tour of Lake Pepin, http://3speedtour.com I sold seven 22t cogs to people who wished they had installed them before the ride. Most of the other 47 riders already had 22s and at least one had a SRAM 24t.

For those who find the spacing of gears on 3 speeds to be too wide, consider a 4 speed FW or 5 speed S5, S5/1 or S5/2. The typical English 3 speed has a 46t ring and 26” wheels. Swapping the hub’s guts with those from an S5, plus a 22t cog, gives 36-43-54-69-82. That’s all the gears I need, haven’t walked a hill yet.
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Old 07-05-06, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by MnHPVA Guy
At the finish of the 3 Speed Tour of Lake Pepin, http://3speedtour.com I sold seven 22t cogs to people who wished they had installed them before the ride. Most of the other 47 riders already had 22s and at least one had a SRAM 24t.

For those who find the spacing of gears on 3 speeds to be too wide, consider a 4 speed FW or 5 speed S5, S5/1 or S5/2. The typical English 3 speed has a 46t ring and 26Ē wheels. Swapping the hubís guts with those from an S5, plus a 22t cog, gives 36-43-54-69-82. Thatís all the gears I need, havenít walked a hill yet.
Hmmm... interesting site. Not sure about the knickers, though. Haven't got the calves to quite pull it off, I'm afraid.

I've considered swapping out the innards on my AW for more gears, but I seem to always show up late at the archeological digs. The artifacts are already gone. So, for the time being, I'll keep working on those calves. What a tank!
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Old 07-05-06, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by smurfy


I have three bikes w/SA hubs (two of them are conversions from derailler bikes) but I don't care for the gear ratios. First gear seems to be never low enough and third gear is too high for anything except downhill. The AW is too wide ratio for me and I would love to find one if thier narrow ratio models.

Also the shifters (both trigger and grip shifter) are too finicky but I love SA hubs so I guess I can live with that!
Most SA-equipped bikes come geared too high. You need to put a bigger sprocket on the hub to get the gear ratio in the zone where you want it. My general rule of thumb is to increase the size of the sprocket by three to four teeth over the stock sprocket size. On my Raleigh 20, I went from 15t to 19t; on my Schwinn Stardust I went from 16t to 20t. On a standard 26" wheeled bike, you probably need to go from 18t or 19t up to 22t. This vastly improves climbing ability and third gear becomes more usable on the flats.
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Old 07-05-06, 01:09 PM
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All of this info has been great. Next question, is it worth building this 1970 Sturmey AW hub into a new wheel to use (26" MTB wheel) to use on a around town bike or would a new nexus 3spd hub be a more realistic choice?
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Old 07-05-06, 01:25 PM
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If you've already got the AW (and don't have a Nexus), you'll certainly save money using the Sturmey-Archer. And it will be virtually indestructable.

If the frame is intended for derailer gears, be sure you have the correct serrated axle washers. I recently tried to get some 9.5 mm ones (part HMW494) for a conversion and couldn't find a U.S. source.

Also, the hubs have thinner flanges than modern aluminum hubs, so it's usually a good idea to use spoke washers.
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Old 07-05-06, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1
All of this info has been great. Next question, is it worth building this 1970 Sturmey AW hub into a new wheel to use (26" MTB wheel) to use on a around town bike or would a new nexus 3spd hub be a more realistic choice?
Iíve had three Sturmey Archer hubs built up with modern rims, an AW, an FW and an FM. I definitely find it worthwhile. As others have noted, the AW is extremely reliable and durable. I found both the FW and FM to be a little more finicky in terms of adjustment, but my experience can hardly be described as the rule as I only have one of each and Iíve never used any others. Also, both of my ďFĒ hubs are from the Ď50ís whereas the AWís that Iíve used range from 1963 Ė 1970.

Out of curiosity, why a 26Ē MTB wheel? What frame are you planning to use it on?

Regards,
Alan
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Old 07-05-06, 04:35 PM
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A couple frame issues to consider. Your frame needs to have horizontal dropouts if you want to use the SA hub with it. Also, the old SA hub axle length is designed for steel dropouts, if you're using an alum. frame, the dropouts will be thicker and the axle might be a bit too short.
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Old 07-05-06, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fender1
All of this info has been great. Next question, is it worth building this 1970 Sturmey AW hub into a new wheel to use (26" MTB wheel) to use on a around town bike or would a new nexus 3spd hub be a more realistic choice?
One thing to consider;
You can easilly obtain parts for a 1970, or 1950 for that matter, AW. If you can't get them locally, I have everything you might need. All you need to work on them are cone wrenches, a beat up screwdriver and a hammer. Service instructions are available on-line for every SA hub ever built.

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think internal parts are available, at least in the US, for newer Shimano 3 speeds.

I talked to SRAM before ordering one of their 7 speeds for a customer. I was told that, in the US, they are considered Non-Servicable so they don't stock internal parts here. But, I was told, there is a 1 year warrantee

I recently took apart a high milage SA AW from '59. The innards were in such good shape I only replaced the "R" springs, just as a precaution. Pawls, pins and clutch were all in great shape
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Old 07-05-06, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MnHPVA Guy
...Non-Servicable so they don't stock internal parts here....
***tearing hair out smiley***

I installed a new 2005 SA SRF-3 hub on my Raleigh 20, with the 1975 thumb shifter that came with the bike, works great. Try that with any Shimano component.
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Old 07-05-06, 07:34 PM
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I plan on building an SA hub into a 26" mtb rim (Mavic M261); I ordered the spokes today actually. The toughest issue I've found is that I'd like to use some of the old 40-hole alloy shell SA hubs that I have, but it's hard enough to find 40-hole rims in 27" or 700c, much less 26". However, I did manage to score a 36-hole alloy shell AW on eBay awhile back, and I'll use that one. I might use the innards of an FW to make the bike a four speed. It's for a Bridgestone CB1; my grocery store/beater bike project.

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