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3-speed Comparisons Old and New

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3-speed Comparisons Old and New

Old 02-22-12, 11:55 AM
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3-speed Comparisons Old and New

Hi there,

This may be a question better suited for a different subforum, but this is where I lurk, so it is where I will post.

It seems a good number of C&Vers love the older Sturmey Archer 3-speed hubs. I remember working with them at the bike co-op years ago and they seemed pretty bomb-proof as long as you came across a complete one. I'm currently thinking up a 3-speed IGH commuter build and have access to a newer Shimano Inter-3 hub which seem to work fine and be a little bit lighter by virtue of the aluminum hubshell.

I'm wondering if any of you have experience with both new Shimano 3-sp IGHs and older SA. Does one require more maintenance than another? How do they stack up to Modern Taiwanese SA hubs?

Thanks, you
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Old 02-22-12, 02:01 PM
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TBH I've never had any serious problems with any 3 speed hub. While some will proclaim SA hubs to be superior, in practical use I think the difference is negligible. I've had an abused shimano hub that "slipped" but I also had a SA 3 speed coaster brake that never seemed to work right. Aside from those two, I've never had a bad 3 speed hub and I've owned at least 9 three speeds.
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Old 02-22-12, 02:07 PM
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The older SA hubs while bomb proof are clunky & quirky. I wouldn't hesitate to build up a newer Shimano 3 speed hub or a SA one for that matter.
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Old 02-22-12, 02:09 PM
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My experience is similar to the last. I use old Sturmey Archers, not because they're better, but because they're appropriate to the old bikes I ride. On my modern bikes I have modern 8 speed hubs.

The thing about the old Sturmey Archers is that they are simple and easy to work on. Fun, too. You can get the parts, whether new, NOS, or used ones out of a junked hub. This doesn't make them better hubs, though.

For all the troubles I've heard of with Shimano hubs (and it's not a lot), I have never encountered any of them. The chief complaint people have is that replacement parts are virtually impossible to find. But as long as you don't need them, it's not an issue.
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Old 02-22-12, 02:26 PM
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I just built up a wheel for a City Bike build using a new SA 3speed hub. It is going on a old Rudge frame, since it was only a frame when I got it and I'm not aiming for a restoration, new seems appropriate for it's inteded use.
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