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Old 09-04-17, 01:42 PM   #1
edelay
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Dahon Curve's Sturmey Archer X-RF8(w) won't engage into 2nd gear from 1st

Hi folks.

I figure I've put about 5,000 km's on the Sturmey Archer X-RF8(w) over the last 1.5 years. In the last few weeks when shifting from 1st into 2nd, 2nd gear won't engage. If I shift down from 3rd to 2nd, 2nd engages without a problem. When shifting up from 1st into 2nd, I can feel it grabbing as it tries to engages, but it doesn't. All other gears shift perfectly both up and down.

I've adjusted the hub so that yellow line is exactly in the centre of the window. This didn't work. I've even put the hub slightly out of adjustment (both higher and lower) as some have suggested, and this did not work. Thinking that the cable might be a bit slack, I put the anchor nut a bit further up the cable then adjusted the hub again, but this didn't work either.

Just another note, it may be completely unrelated or irrelevant. Just before this shifting issue happened, I noticed that the hub got a bit less noisy in all gears. My riding buddy even noticed this.

Any thoughts as what can be done to solve this shifting problem?
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Old 09-04-17, 02:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by edelay View Post
Hi folks.

I figure I've put about 5,000 km's on the Sturmey Archer X-RF8(w) over the last 1.5 years. (...)

Any thoughts as what can be done to solve this shifting problem?
I have two X-RF8w hubs and both are very picky regarding adjustment. Also, both are very british in the sense that they sometimes do what they want instead of what they are supposed to despite being properly adjusted and behaving completely innocent a couple of days later. And those hubs are not famous for their reliability (though the "w"-Version may suffer from the bad reputation that early variants of it's older brother w/o the "w" earned).

One thing that may help is exchanging the shifter cable for a fresh one - sometimes it gets worn near the hub for not to obvious reasons and this may affect the shifting. Probably easier and cheaper than looking into the hub. Maybe it helps (it did for me more than once).
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Old 09-04-17, 04:08 PM   #3
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Did you tighten the chain tension recently?

Thanks
Yan
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Old 09-04-17, 05:08 PM   #4
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Did you tighten the chain tension recently?

Thanks
Yan
Hi Yan. I haven't tightened it recently.
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Old 09-04-17, 05:37 PM   #5
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If it was overtightened I would think that could be a cause.

Thanks
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Old 09-04-17, 08:49 PM   #6
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Couple of users have 'fixed' shifting problems on the XRF8(W) by pulling, cleaning and oiling the inner works.
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Old 09-05-17, 12:03 AM   #7
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I would first pull out the cable inner, squirt WD-40 into the outer, blow out with compressor, thoroughly wipe inner down, lube with Boeshield T9, and re-insert. Majority of shifting problems originate with dirty cables used for couple of years. Cable inner becomes very sluggish to move. Once you got the cable working smoothly, move on to other, more onerous possibilities.
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Old 09-05-17, 04:39 AM   #8
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Internal hubs as a general rule get less reliable the more gears they have. The exception being the rohloff but that's built like a tank, very expensive and the maintenance schedule is important but still you can probably get 50-100,000 miles out of one of those. Some hubs have been unreliable like the 11 speed alpine and the earlier 8 speed nexus. I think as a general rule for the hubs above 3 speed something like 5,000 - 20,000 miles would be normal depending on luck, rider weight/strength, chainring size and the frequency of servicing. 3 speed hubs from any brand seem to be much more reliable because of the simpler mechanism no doubt and many bikes with early 3 speed hubs maybe 50 years old still work great.

If you have built up the strength in your legs to cope with hills better a switch from 8 to a 3 speed hub is not a bad option. I.e. both cheaper and more reliable.

Also the other option is become a gear skipper. You accept one of the gears is worn and simply avoid that gear. Best to service the hub first but if the problem remains in only one gear and parts are either not economic or unavailable just skip that gear. Another possibility is change the sprocket size on the rear wheel or chainring at the front to make your favourite gear ratio move to a different gear position in the hub. This is still a good option if a service recovers functionality because hopefully you will move which gear is wearing fastest. If the hub is getting old and worn better to make your gearing lower by either increasing the size of the rear sprocket or reducing the size of the front chainring and spinning more.

Last edited by Bonzo Banana; 09-05-17 at 08:01 AM. Reason: update
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Old 09-09-17, 06:23 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
I have two X-RF8w hubs and both are very picky regarding adjustment. Also, both are very british in the sense that they sometimes do what they want instead of what they are supposed to despite being properly adjusted and behaving completely innocent a couple of days later. And those hubs are not famous for their reliability (though the "w"-Version may suffer from the bad reputation that early variants of it's older brother w/o the "w" earned).

One thing that may help is exchanging the shifter cable for a fresh one - sometimes it gets worn near the hub for not to obvious reasons and this may affect the shifting. Probably easier and cheaper than looking into the hub. Maybe it helps (it did for me more than once).
I removed the cable and it was kinked and mashed inside the shifter. Put in a new cable and cable housing, and so far shifts perfectly. Thank you very much berlinonaut.
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Old 09-09-17, 06:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Couple of users have 'fixed' shifting problems on the XRF8(W) by pulling, cleaning and oiling the inner works.
Thanks for the nudge in the right direction. Pulled the cable and was kinked and mashed inside the shifter. Put in a new cable and housing, and works like a charm.
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Old 09-09-17, 06:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jur View Post
I would first pull out the cable inner, squirt WD-40 into the outer, blow out with compressor, thoroughly wipe inner down, lube with Boeshield T9, and re-insert. Majority of shifting problems originate with dirty cables used for couple of years. Cable inner becomes very sluggish to move. Once you got the cable working smoothly, move on to other, more onerous possibilities.
Hey Jur. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of the cable. Pulled it and it had a kink inside of the shifter. Put in a cable and housing, and so far shifts perfectly.
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Old 09-09-17, 06:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzo Banana View Post
Internal hubs as a general rule get less reliable the more gears they have. The exception being the rohloff but that's built like a tank, very expensive and the maintenance schedule is important but still you can probably get 50-100,000 miles out of one of those. Some hubs have been unreliable like the 11 speed alpine and the earlier 8 speed nexus. I think as a general rule for the hubs above 3 speed something like 5,000 - 20,000 miles would be normal depending on luck, rider weight/strength, chainring size and the frequency of servicing. 3 speed hubs from any brand seem to be much more reliable because of the simpler mechanism no doubt and many bikes with early 3 speed hubs maybe 50 years old still work great.

If you have built up the strength in your legs to cope with hills better a switch from 8 to a 3 speed hub is not a bad option. I.e. both cheaper and more reliable.

Also the other option is become a gear skipper. You accept one of the gears is worn and simply avoid that gear. Best to service the hub first but if the problem remains in only one gear and parts are either not economic or unavailable just skip that gear. Another possibility is change the sprocket size on the rear wheel or chainring at the front to make your favourite gear ratio move to a different gear position in the hub. This is still a good option if a service recovers functionality because hopefully you will move which gear is wearing fastest. If the hub is getting old and worn better to make your gearing lower by either increasing the size of the rear sprocket or reducing the size of the front chainring and spinning more.
Hey Bonzo. It is funny for the last several weeks, I had just worked around the up shift into 2nd not working. Wasn't a big deal.

The good news is that a cable and housing replacement fixed the issue.

I generally like the Sturmey Archer X-RF8(w), but there are two things dislike about it
1) the noise
2) the amount of friction

I bought a bike this year with Sturmey Archer S-RF5 (w) and it has overcome both of these issues. I hope that they incorporate whatever technology that is into the 8 speed.

Neither hub has been unreliable but I have had to adjust the X-RF8(w) more than an Nexus 8 I had.

Last edited by edelay; 09-09-17 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 09-10-17, 03:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by edelay View Post
I generally like the Sturmey Archer X-RF8(w), but there are two things dislike about it
1) the noise
2) the amount of friction

I bought a bike this year with Sturmey Archer S-RF5 (w) and it has overcome both of these issues. I hope that they incorporate whatever technology that is into the 8 speed.

Neither hub has been unreliable but I have had to adjust the X-RF8(w) more than an Nexus 8 I had.
I agree with you on your observations but not so much on the possible solution. The XRF8-w has it's direct gear in the first gear, any other gear is in transmission with a lot of planetary gears involved. Therefor there's more drag involved than in the XRF5w (which is close to a classical 3-speed in terms of transmission and therefor much simpler and has it's direct gear in the third). The 8-speed nexus/alfine on the other hand has it's direct gear in the fifth gear, where it has it's best efficiency, whereas the forth gear is the worst in regards of efficiency due to the planetary gears involved:



Source: https://fahrradzukunft.de/17/wirkung...schaltungen-2/

The noise of the XRF8w is something a lot of people complain about but with my two I am totally fine with that. Maybe I am deaf, maybe I am lucky. Or I am lucky to be deaf.
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Old 09-22-17, 05:32 AM   #14
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I have put around 2500 miles on my Raleigh Twenty equipped XRF8W. When it dies, I'm buying a pontoon boat, I already have the anchor!
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Old 09-22-17, 06:40 AM   #15
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The good news is that a cable and housing replacement fixed the issue.
Indeed, most problems with internal gear hubs are simply due to wear, either in cable/housing or shifter. Actually, it's not the cable itself that's necessarily to blame, but rather the housing that's getting old/dirty and prevents the cable from sliding as well as it used to. The more gears in the hub, the more sensitive it is to misconfiguration.

Other possible causes are…
  • the rear wheel is a bit misaligned: It happened to me after the first puncture I got on a bike with an Alfine 11. Make sure the rear wheel isn't skew
  • the nuts are overtightened: Check the torque (Alfine 11 : 35-40Nm)
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Old 09-23-17, 10:11 AM   #16
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Indeed, most problems with internal gear hubs are simply due to wear, either in cable/housing or shifter. Actually, it's not the cable itself that's necessarily to blame, but rather the housing that's getting old/dirty and prevents the cable from sliding as well as it used to. The more gears in the hub, the more sensitive it is to misconfiguration.

Other possible causes are…
  • the rear wheel is a bit misaligned: It happened to me after the first puncture I got on a bike with an Alfine 11. Make sure the rear wheel isn't skew
  • the nuts are overtightened: Check the torque (Alfine 11 : 35-40Nm)
Thanks for those tips for the future.
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Old 09-23-17, 10:14 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
I agree with you on your observations but not so much on the possible solution. The XRF8-w has it's direct gear in the first gear, any other gear is in transmission with a lot of planetary gears involved. Therefor there's more drag involved than in the XRF5w (which is close to a classical 3-speed in terms of transmission and therefor much simpler and has it's direct gear in the third). The 8-speed nexus/alfine on the other hand has it's direct gear in the fifth gear, where it has it's best efficiency, whereas the forth gear is the worst in regards of efficiency due to the planetary gears involved:



Source: https://fahrradzukunft.de/17/wirkung...schaltungen-2/

The noise of the XRF8w is something a lot of people complain about but with my two I am totally fine with that. Maybe I am deaf, maybe I am lucky. Or I am lucky to be deaf.
The friction and noise have subsided marginally over the last approx 5,000 km's.

If the hub were to ever malfunction, I would crack it open and replace the grease with automatic transmission fluid oil. Just to see how this would change the friction and noise. Wouldn't do that to the hub while it is still working though.
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