Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sturmey Archer S3X with a freewheel !

A little while back I built up a rather nice full custom 3 speed for one of my customers, the frame used was a Surly Cross Check in size 42cm - the smallest frame size they make. Surly frames are quite popular for custom builds here in Japan as they are not so expensive and available in a vast range of sizes to suit hobbits or NBA pro basket ball players !.  The customer wanted a classic looking town bike in black with a 3 speed hub, the standard 3 speed hubs do not come in black but Sturmeys S3X fixed gear hub does, although this hub is manly designed for fixed gear applications a standard single speed free wheel screws straight on without any problems at all. I knew this would work from reading the Sturmey Archer catalog even though the Japanese distributor assured me it was not possible.

Anyhow the frame rear spacing on the cross check is 132.5 mm to accommodate either road or MTB hubs, but with a few washers to space the axle out the S3X fitted up rather well and with the bar mounted thumb shifter the operation is very smooth.

 I routed gear the cable down to the right hand braze on , under the BB and straight to the chain stay braze on where I used my preferred method of holding the gear cable in place. Cut a section of gear cable outer , I always use Jag wire at the shop as its good quality and comes in a wide range of colors . The section of cable outer needs to be about the same length of the black plastic or metal cable end cap and should slide into the braze on very easily. This alone would not work and with riding would only work its way loose causing the cable to wear against the braze on. But with a little Kiwi ingenuity I purchased a can of Mellow Yellow ( Yes you can still buy this soft drink here in Japan over the summer ) and because it is a soft alloy can you can easily cut it with a pair of scissors and use a very small section of the alloy as a spacer to hold the cable end cap tightly in place. I have used this method now on 3 occasions for Sturmey archer builds without any trouble as if you are very careful you cannot see the alloy tin spacer and the end cap with the section of outer will stay tightly in place and allow the cable to slide easy when the gear is operated. Pictured below is the cable end cap and the Sturmey archer toggle chain fitting

So if you are wanting a colored hub on your 3 speed ,you can indeed use the S3X fixed hub with a standard free wheel. The hub comes in several colors and matching front hubs are also available as well. 


Ἀντισθένης said...

"I knew this would work from reading the Sturmey Archer catalog even though the Japanese distributor assured me it was not possible."

Face-palm. I was told that I could not replace the carbon fork on my steel-framed road bike by the technicians at a couple bike shops. Well... a bit of research on geometry and orders from the US for the fork and tools solved that. Too bad for you, Japanese retailer!

Authority in Japan is never questioned, so once anybody gets a bit of it suddenly they think they too are god of their wee fief. Ridiculous. You'd think getting their @$$#$ handed to them in a war with the US, and their dominance of electronics taken over by the Koreans, might teach them adding improvisation and lateral thinking, and decision making, into their society might be a bit overdue.

Ἀντισθένης said...

Nice job too, by the way. It might not have been in the Japanese rule-book, but I have seen the freewheel option mentioned at the Sturmey site.

Don Speden said...

I think many bicycle shop staff here in Japan only follow the rule book, rather than trying to use their noggin to figure out another method. Glad you could get another carbon fork for your trusty steel stead !

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