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New wheel, old SA hub?

Old 10-24-11, 02:08 PM
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formicaman
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New wheel, old SA hub?

My fiance's bike needs new tires. The bike currently has a set of old steel wheels that aren't even the right size for the frame and corroded old galvanized spokes. Since I have an extra set of 700c tires, it might be time to get her some nice new 700c alloy wheels. (Her bike was built for 27", running 26x1 3/8 on it now.)

I have Harris machine-built wheels on one bike and they have performed very well, so def. doing that for the front. For the rear, the question is whether to re-use the 1968 SA 3-speed hub and have my LBS build a wheel around it OR buy the Harris machine-built wheel with a brand new Nexus 3-speed hub with shifter and coaster brake for $130.

The SA hub probably doesn't have too many miles since the tires are original, but it IS 43 years old. My main concern is building a new wheel only to have the hub fail. Of course, my other concern is having to also install a new shifter, figure out coaster brakes, etc. My girl does like coaster brakes though.

Thoughts?
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Old 10-24-11, 02:25 PM
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My big concern would be what the rider likes. Can she test-ride a Nexus hub at your LBS? Some like them better than S-A; most don't. I wouldn't be too concerned about the longevity of the old hub -- they do keep going and going...
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Old 10-24-11, 02:27 PM
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If you were building it yourself, I'd say go for it... But if you have the LBS do it, it'll probably cost more than just buying one from Harris. They'll charge you at least $1 (probably more) per spoke, plus whatever the rim costs (say, $40?) plus $50 or so to build it. So that's around $126 plus tax, conservatively--add $36 if they charge you $2 per spoke, which they very well could--for a total of $162 before tax. If you buy from Harris, you won't have the tax, and you'll also still have the old hub around for a later project if you need it. On the other hand, you might be cool with spending more to support your LBS, which is noble, and more power to you.
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Old 10-24-11, 02:30 PM
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Support your LBS... you should be looking at $70.00 for high quality spokes and the build.

This is also one of those situations that would offer a nice opportunity to learn how to build a wheel.
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Old 10-24-11, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by brianinc-ville View Post
I wouldn't be too concerned about the longevity of the old hub -- they do keep going and going...
it is my understanding that you can even replace the inards of a bad hub with the inards of a working hub, one of which I have around somewhere anyway. True?
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Old 10-24-11, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Support your LBS... you should be looking at $70.00 for high quality spokes and the build.

This is also one of those situations that would offer a nice opportunity to learn how to build a wheel.
I support two of my local shops a lot and am happy to support Harris too. I don't think I want to learn wheel-building. It's not something I expect to do very often and it might knock something useful out of my brain.
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Old 10-24-11, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by formicaman View Post
it is my understanding that you can even replace the inards of a bad hub with the inards of a working hub, one of which I have around somewhere anyway. True?
Yes. These old hubs can be had for pretty cheap.
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Old 10-24-11, 03:09 PM
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You can easily build the S-A hub into a new wheel. Wheel building isn't scary, it's fun! That hub just keeps on ticking, so not likely it'll fail. I'm about to do the very same thing. I just bought 40 Sapim SS spokes w/nipples and washers for about $35 (I think it was) off the internet. The washers are needed because of the thinner steel flanges on the S-A hub.
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Old 10-24-11, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDaddy View Post
Wheel building isn't scary, it's fun!
I am literally at a special needs level when it comes to spatial relations.
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Old 10-24-11, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Support your LBS... you should be looking at $70.00 for high quality spokes and the build.
That sounds really low to me, even just for spokes and labor. And don't forget the rim.
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Old 10-24-11, 03:27 PM
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LBS charges $40 labor, $1/spoke, $35-$40 for the rim. So we're talking $100 vs. $129 for the Nexus wheel. However, the old hub would be total plug n' play vs. a lot of work on my part getting the grips off, swapping the shifter, running new cable...

If Harris offered a pre-built SA 3-speed hub, I would not even think twice. But they don't.
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Old 10-24-11, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
That sounds really low to me, even just for spokes and labor. And don't forget the rim.
My bad... thought formicaman had rims but see he has tyres.

Add another $40.00 for a nice rim.
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Old 10-24-11, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by formicaman View Post
it is my understanding that you can even replace the inards of a bad hub with the inards of a working hub, one of which I have around somewhere anyway. True?
Yep... recently repaired my friend's 54 hub by swapping in the innards from another 54 hub so this got his bike back on the road in no time and allows one to service the defective hub at their leisure.

Thing with SA hubs is that they rarely fail under normal use and have a very long service life... I work on a lot of old three speeds and have a good collection of them and it is rare for an SA hub to ever need anything except a good flushing and to have everything set up properly.

Just acquired a 1950 Raleigh and all the hub wanted was some oil and a new indicator spindle as the the one it had was damaged as was the wrong size... the hub is purring like a kitten now.

As far as hubs go, the 40's and 50's hubs are the best and the quality declines in the 60' and 70's although these hubs are still quite reliable... they are just not as smooth running.

The current SA hub is very well made and is improved as it has no dead spot between 2nd and 3rd where older SS hubs can sometimes freewheel between shifts... this can serve as a good parking / security feature as if a thief is unfamiliar with the SA will think something is busted and will not be able to pedal away.

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Old 10-24-11, 03:51 PM
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Sometimes I think I should just start building small runs of SA hubs laced to modern 700c and 26 inch mtb wheels... there is quite a demand for them.
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Old 10-24-11, 06:16 PM
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Hey, it just ocurred to me that I should suggest these:



http://www.upgradecycle.com/parts/wh...y-3-speed.html

Soma Iggy wheelset, 700c, 3-speed SA IGH rear hub, with shifter: $230. I have these on my daily rider, they're great. This was the cheapest price I could find when I bought them.
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Old 10-24-11, 06:53 PM
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I think 65er is saying that any sa AW hub is like running well now and should continue to run well and is therefore a very good risk. And I agree.
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Old 10-24-11, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by formicaman View Post
.....
The SA hub probably doesn't have too many miles since the tires are original, but it IS 43 years old. My main concern is building a new wheel only to have the hub fail. ..
If the hub is a 43 year old AW Sturmey Archer, and the rims are brand new, I would worry about the rims failing long before the hub.
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Old 10-24-11, 07:34 PM
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+1 for building the wheel yourself.

The S-A hub builds is symetrically laced, so no worries about dish. And, FWIW, 700c with 28mm rubber is very, very close to the 650A dimension of a 26x1-3/8" wheel with rubber on, so gearing won't suffer noticeably at all. If hub longevity is a worry, tear it apart and rebuild it. There's a lot of little parts, but it's neither incomprehensible or unmaneagable. Just think, and use your head, and you'll be fine.
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Old 10-24-11, 10:04 PM
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Rumor has it that the "AW" stamped on the hub shell really means "Always Works". I have never seen an AW hub that needed more than a cleaning and oiling. The only part that seems to fail (and only through neglect or accident) is the Indicator Spindle. Absolutely bullet-proof- I'd stick with the tried and true and have it laced up with a new 700 C rim.
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Old 10-24-11, 10:20 PM
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People consider me a bit of an expert on SA hubs, which I am not... I have all the parts I need to overhaul them but these tend to gather dust as it is rare I ever need to take one apart regardless of the hub's age.

My friend's old 54 hub had the older spindle assembly where the main sun gear was retained by a pin rather than the modern design that incorporates the sun gear into the spindle... this little pin sheared and turned his bike into a single speed.

Even when the hub failed... the bike was still ride able.

Other common issue you may find is when the drive side bearing is mis-adjusted as if it is loose, it will prevent the bike from shifting into third.

When you set the bearing pre-load on an SA there should be the smallest amount of play... if the crank walks when the bike is rolled forward this is a sign that this bearing is too tight or that the chain tension is too high... it also likes a little bit of slack.

The hub on my '54 is a '74 and it is not as smooth as I would like it to be... will be lacing the original '54 hub into a new wheel and will overhaul the '74 as it was bought used and judging by the bike it came from and the condition of the wheel, it saw a lot of hard use.
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Old 10-25-11, 07:58 AM
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OP-

I can't tell from your description if your 1968 Sturmey-Archer "three-speed" hub is an AW freewheel hub or a TCW coaster brake hub. Every other poster seems to have assumed it's an AW.

If it's a TCW, I wouldn't put it on my lady's bike.
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Old 10-25-11, 08:33 AM
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just wanna put in a mediocre word for the Nexus 3 speed hub w/ Coaster Brake. I've had one on my stretch cruiser for at least 4 years, maybe a bit more... When its properly adjusted it works quite well and the brake is plenty good but the "Properly Adjusted" window has pretty much zero tolerance for mis-adjustment. Just a hair too much in either direction and you'll be mid-pedal stroke and the hub will skip in gear.

By contrast I find adjusting a Nexus 7 to be quite a bit more forgiving. Of course if you want ease of adjustment its hard to beat a Sturmey AW.
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Old 10-25-11, 08:57 AM
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Time may also be a factor. When does she want to ride the bike again vs how long will it take them to rebuild the wheel? If the hub is good, I say go for the rebuild (whether you or someone else does it).
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Old 10-25-11, 10:14 AM
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I've ridden the lunch-fetching bike at the LBS. It has a Nexus 7 speed hub with drum brake. The shifting is great, and it's entirely precise, as far as I can tell.
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Old 10-25-11, 11:12 AM
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Decisions, decisions. But I'm leaning towards the custom build on the old hub. Price is the same and I get a better wheel. The Iggy is tempting since it would get rid of the freewheeling issue, which is a pain in the butt. Although shoot, the newer SA 5-speed has the worst dead zone ever. Seriously, one milimeter off and I lose 2nd gear. In fact, I can't even shift from third to second, I have to shift to first and then to second.
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