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Sturmey-Archer hub question

Old 11-11-13, 05:51 PM
  #1  
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Sturmey-Archer hub question

I've got a 700c rear wheel built around a Sturmey-Archer S-RF3 IGH that I've been riding the heck out of. With all the miles I'm putting in on it, I got to wondering what sort of regular maintenance I should be planning. Internet searches have yet to yield any information of value, but I find it hard to believe that I won't have to ever do anything at all to it. Anyone out in BF land have any experience with this hub?
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Old 11-11-13, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
Anyone out in BF land have any experience with this hub?
Nope, I'm an AW guy but here's the tech info:

https://www.sturmey-archer.com/userfi...2005-05-25.pdf

"1.2 Lubrication
No routine lubrication is required.
However, during assembly/disassembly
the hub greases should be replenished"

How easy is that?

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Old 11-11-13, 06:36 PM
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Keep riding the heck out of it, and that's mandatory maintenance.
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Old 11-11-13, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Nope, I'm an AW guy but here's the tech info:

https://www.sturmey-archer.com/userfi...2005-05-25.pdf

"1.2 Lubrication
No routine lubrication is required.
However, during assembly/disassembly
the hub greases should be replenished"

How easy is that?

-Bandera
Well apparently I need a diagnosis of ADD. I have that file downloaded, have read it thoroughly, and completely missed the section you highlighted…no doubt, because it appears in the very first paragraph.

I am crawling off to my corner now.
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Old 11-11-13, 09:25 PM
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The new hubs have a different kind of grease than we're familiar with. It's supposed to be permanent. Things can go wrong, though, so if you hear strange noises or get a strange grinding sensation in your pedals, don't assume all is right. On my first SRF8 hub I got those symptoms so I opened it up and found the mangled remains of a ball bearing retainer. The balls were fine, and the hub internals were okay (lasted another couple thousand miles) but I don't know what happened to that ball retainer. It was like steel confetti.

I assume your hub will be fine for many thousands of miles. AW hubs are apparently indestructible, and these new ones are even better , right?
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Old 11-11-13, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
The new hubs have a different kind of grease than we're familiar with.
Alone among the IGH manufacturers, SunRace Sturmey-Archer has said exactly what their greases are.

Their 'factory' names for them are:
gear, SA103A
bearing, SA103B

In various official documents they've identified their SA103A gear grease as an NLGI #00 and suggested Castrol Impervia TR Light as a commercial equivalent. Many American lawnmower repair shops carry NLGI #00 in 4 oz tubes as Snapper 7061017 or Stens 770-123. Sturmey says their SA103B bearing grease is an NLGI #2 and one commercial equivalent is Castrol LMX.

It's possible to actually buy official SA103A and SA103B grease, but, you know, no bonus points for accomplishing anything the hard way. I use locally sourced lawnmower shop "00" in the mechanism and Sta-Lube blue marine grease, a highly hydrophobic NLGI #2 grease, on the bearings and in the labyrinth seals.

BTW, after WWII when times were hard and there were shortages of everything, Sturmey-Archer officially told their customers that if they'd stay on top of their maintenance, they could keep their IGHs going with sewing machine oil, using Vaseline (!) in the labyrinth seals. I guess it worked; many of those 60+ year-old AWs and FWs are still giving good service today.

Last edited by tcs; 11-12-13 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 11-11-13, 10:17 PM
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When I worked in a Raleigh shop in 1980-1 we still told costumers to use sewing machine oil or other light machine oil, emphasizing pinky the need to avoid 3in1 and WD40.
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Old 11-11-13, 11:55 PM
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What's pinky?
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Old 11-12-13, 12:07 AM
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Old 11-12-13, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
...avoid 3in1...
Hub gears:

3inOne - yes! Arguably the closest equivalent we have today to those little bottles of Sturmey-Archer Cycle Oil of yore.

3inOne - no! You'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life.

Last edited by tcs; 11-12-13 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 11-12-13, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
I've got a 700c rear wheel built around a Sturmey-Archer S-RF3 IGH that I've been riding the heck out of. >>> SNIP >>>
I am very interested in what you riding and what you have done. Could you, would indulge my few questions:

(1) What bike are you riding with this transmission?

(2) What chainwheel 'T' and what gog 'T' are you using?

(3) Are you satisfied with the rations? ... Overall Range - 177%: Gear 1 - 75% (-)25%; [FONT=Helvetica] Gear 2 - 100% Direct Drive (Gear 1 + 33%); Gear 3 - 133% (+)33.3% (Gear 2 + 33%)

(4) What is your current stays spread.?

(5) Did you have to cold-set the stays to get the correct spread.

(6) I freak about trying to get a chain-line. How difficult is it on say a racer or sports frame?

(7) The SX3 model seems to provide for some common chain-line specs if you use the proprietary spacers. In your opinion, would their be any advantage? I can see the gear ratios are different, but I cannot say what they mean relative to the S-RF3.?

(8) Are you using 622 / 21-23 rims?

(9) What gear changer are you using? And wear did you mount it? Do these hubs need a pulley wheel — do I need a braze-on something?

(10) Am I being a jerk, or do I have to read though a zillion posts on "For the Love of 3 Speeds" thread to comb out the answers. BTW — I have read a wad of this thread, even though I have not owned a t3-speed for decades — the complete disaster — an SA -'SW' model that caused me some permanent damage.

(11) Why not the 5 speed model from the same company? No challenge intended ... just interested as to when 3 speed instead of five. Cost? Weight? Simplicity? Nostalgia?

THANKS and please redirect me if these answers are too much to expect. It's a bit off topic maybe, but it seems apros pos anyway.
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Last edited by Lenton58; 11-12-13 at 07:56 AM.
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Old 11-12-13, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Lenton58 View Post
Could you, would indulge my few questions...
One of my three speeds, not the OP's:



Geared 44x22T with 27x1 1/4 tires. I live in a pretty flat place; there's a reason the basic 3/4-1/1-4/3 ratios have been on the market for 95 years - it's a good compromise design and very useful. You know, with Sturmey three speeds, you don't have to adjust the stay spread - the OLD is entirely adjustable from 107mm to 135mm with available axles and spacers. The chainline is adjustable with cog spacers and Sturmey's flat/dished/deep dished cogs, although if you're setting the bike up from scratch, just use the correct BB spindle length.

The teal handlebar tape - don't ask!
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Old 11-12-13, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
What's pinky?
What's a costumer?
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Old 11-12-13, 11:08 AM
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My S-RF3 required a single thin washer to fit a 120mm spread and for no dish at all. My gearing is 42 X 22. I didn't go for the 5 speed because I didn't like the shifters available at the time.
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Old 11-12-13, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
My S-RF3 required a single thin washer to fit a 120mm spread and for no dish at all. My gearing is 42 X 22.
Aren't you going to post a picture? It's such a lovely machine!
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Old 11-12-13, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Hub gears:

3inOne - yes! Arguably the closest equivalent we have today to those little bottles of Sturmey-Archer Cycle Oil of yore.

3inOne - no! You'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life.
Exactly- that blue can Sturmey oil is outstanding stuff. It's harder to find, but worth it. The black/red gums up eventually.
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Old 11-12-13, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Aren't you going to post a picture? It's such a lovely machine!
I can't because I'm at work, but thank you!
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Old 11-12-13, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Hub gears:

3inOne - yes! Arguably the closest equivalent we have today to those little bottles of Sturmey-Archer Cycle Oil of yore.

3inOne - no! You'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon, and for the rest of your life.


Hey, I was seventeen and happy to be gainfully employed. I did what I was told.
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Old 11-12-13, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Lenton58 View Post
I am very interested in what you riding and what you have done. Could you, would indulge my few questions:

(1) What bike are you riding with this transmission?

(2) What chainwheel 'T' and what gog 'T' are you using?

(3) Are you satisfied with the rations? ... Overall Range - 177%: Gear 1 - 75% (-)25%; [FONT=Helvetica] Gear 2 - 100% Direct Drive (Gear 1 + 33%); Gear 3 - 133% (+)33.3% (Gear 2 + 33%)

(4) What is your current stays spread.?

(5) Did you have to cold-set the stays to get the correct spread.

(6) I freak about trying to get a chain-line. How difficult is it on say a racer or sports frame?

(7) The SX3 model seems to provide for some common chain-line specs if you use the proprietary spacers. In your opinion, would their be any advantage? I can see the gear ratios are different, but I cannot say what they mean relative to the S-RF3.?

(8) Are you using 622 / 21-23 rims?

(9) What gear changer are you using? And wear did you mount it? Do these hubs need a pulley wheel — do I need a braze-on something?

(10) Am I being a jerk, or do I have to read though a zillion posts on "For the Love of 3 Speeds" thread to comb out the answers. BTW — I have read a wad of this thread, even though I have not owned a t3-speed for decades — the complete disaster — an SA -'SW' model that caused me some permanent damage.

(11) Why not the 5 speed model from the same company? No challenge intended ... just interested as to when 3 speed instead of five. Cost? Weight? Simplicity? Nostalgia?

THANKS and please redirect me if these answers are too much to expect. It's a bit off topic maybe, but it seems apros pos anyway.
Lenton58, I've tried this configuration on several different bikes before finally hitting on the current configuration: a 1971 Raleigh International. Everything about this works just right and I'm very happy to have hit upon what I see as a pretty perfect combination. The chainring is a 42t paired with a 19t cog. The bike came to me built up as a touring model, with a triple crank. After confronting the necessity for a complete rear wheel rebuild (the rim that came with the bike was toast) I decided to take things in a different direction and a fairly significant re-jiggering of the entire drive train. Using CR-18 rims and a Sturmey-Archer SRF-3 IGH rear hub, I've converted this bike to a three-speed. Significantly, the three internal gears match the three most used gear-inch configurations on my Boulder almost exactly, with the "normal" (2) gear matching up nicely with the gear I use 95% of the time. The gears are changed with an SA trigger shifter. For a while I ran some bullet proof 700 x 38 tires, but swapped those out for the sprightlier 700 x 28 Continental Gatorskins. Overall, this is a simple, elegant configuration, and I'm a little surprised to find that I like the ratios as much as I do. I run in direct (2) probably 90% of the time, using high gear sparingly. The low gear gets me up most hills.

If I'd had a five speed, I may have given it a shot. I didn't though, and went with what I had on hand (happily, I might add!) As built, it's a moderately lightweight bike, longer (like I prefer) and comfy for the long hours I tend to put in the saddle.



I like it so much that I've discovered I'm putting in significantly more miles on it than I would've imagined, which is why I started this thread - I want to make sure I'm maintaining things properly so that I don't screw up a good thing!
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Old 11-13-13, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Lenton58 View Post

(11) Why not the 5 speed model from the same company? No challenge intended ... just interested as to when 3 speed instead of five. Cost? Weight? Simplicity? Nostalgia?
I have a 3 speed and a five speed and I wish they were both 5 speeds. I don't know anything about the new 5 speeds. Mine is an S5/2 from 1982. I've never had a problem with it and, strangely, it does not leak oil. The additional gears are nice to have and I use them all.

I don't normally ride it without brake cables. It wasn't quite finished when I took the picture. It's a 1973 Raleigh Competition.


Last edited by Grand Bois; 11-13-13 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 11-13-13, 07:15 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
I have a 3 speed and a five speed and I wish they were both 5 speeds. I don't know anything about the new 5 speeds. Mine is an S5/2 from 1982. I've never had a problem with it and, strangely, it does not leak oil. The additional gears are nice to have and I use them all.

I don't normally ride it without brake cables

What shifter are you using on this, GB? I'm seriously interested in IGH configs, and perhaps one day I'll be rich enough to afford a Rohloff. I really hate some of the dedicated shifters I've seen on some bikes though, and am not terribly interested in upright bars - so there's a limitation. I've also thought about the SA bar end shifters… not sure if they have a five speed version though.
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Old 11-13-13, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post
I've also thought about the SA bar end shifters… not sure if they have a five speed version though.
"SLS50 B5 5 Speed wide ratio thumb shifter with bar end mount
• Shifter can be removed and used on braze on down tube mounts"

https://www.sturmey-archer.com/produc...id/2/id/5.html

I use the 3 speed version, works a treat.

-Bandera
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Old 11-13-13, 07:27 AM
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The S5/2 needs two shifters. I'm using a trigger shifter and a Suntour friction thumb shifter. You only use the left shifter when you need a higher high or a lower low. Otherwise, it's just like an AW.

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Old 11-13-13, 09:42 AM
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You can also use the left shifter when you need a mediumer medium, but it's more subtle. I like that, because my t-shirt size is extra-medium.
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Old 11-13-13, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AZORCH View Post

Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post

Some nice looking bikes. GB, isn't your 3-speed a Carlton? That's a handsome bike, IIRC.
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