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-   -   For the love of English 3 speeds... (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=623699)

sykerocker 02-13-15 05:40 AM


Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver (Post 17550343)
Seems like the only time I have to tear down and overhaul a 3 speed hub is when I teach classes on the subject... in the real world they rarely cause any issues.

I think the last time I had to crack open a defective hub was when adventurepdx's old 50's AW hub sheared the pin that holds the main gear and we ended up swapping the guts from another hub instead of rebuilding the old one.

Improperly set drive side bearings can also cause hair pulling grief but once adjusted smiles usually ensue.

Big time agreement with that statement. I think the last time I field stripped an AW hub was somewhere around 1974. To the point that I'm probably going to tear one down just for the hell of it sometime in the near future, just to get the feeling back in my fingers again. Disassembling a S-A hub is the only activity that I used to do in my professional days that I haven't done since I got back into the shop again. And that's been ten years now.

Those hubs have got to be the absolute paragons of reliability.

noglider 02-13-15 06:46 AM

@Velocivixen, I've restored several three speeds, though not as thoroughly as you've done yours. I don't like to do complete breakdowns. I do them piecemeal over time.

I love my Rudge, which has a 24T cog. I needed that when I lived in hilly Maplewood, NJ. I don't need it in Florida, where the bike lives now.

I also have a Twenty, which is currently unridable because I need to shave down the head tube to make the new headset work. I don't like the way it rides. I wonder if adjusting the reach to the handlebar will fix that.

There was also this ladies Robin Hood which I bought to flip. The buyer was 24 years old and had never seen a three speed before. When she first laid eyes on it, I think I saw her knees buckle. She was very happy with it. I had to replace the rear fender struts. I used a Wald unit for its low price and availability. This was not much an aesthetic job, but it came out looking OK anyway.

Also in Florida is my AMF Hercules, styled like a tailfinned car. I like the matching bag and seat and the chrome fenders. It needs some work. The twist grip shifter is attractive but works badly.

Back in 1981, I bought a used Twenty to renovate in the style of John S Allen's Twenty. Somehow, I managed to put drop bars on it. I built new wheels for it, with aluminum rims. The front had a QR hub. For the rear, I used a NOS S5 hub. I threw the bike away a year or so later, out of boredom. My super's kid retrieved it. No pictures of this bike, but you might find pictures of Allen's, which inspired me.

noglider 02-13-15 06:53 AM


Originally Posted by sykerocker (Post 17550408)
Big time agreement with that statement. I think the last time I field stripped an AW hub was somewhere around 1974. To the point that I'm probably going to tear one down just for the hell of it sometime in the near future, just to get the feeling back in my fingers again. Disassembling a S-A hub is the only activity that I used to do in my professional days that I haven't done since I got back into the shop again. And that's been ten years now.

Those hubs have got to be the absolute paragons of reliability.

I've done a few, I think. The first was when I was a shop mechanic. I had a very large customer, the type who probably was too strong to commute on a three speed. I think he had worn his pawls, or maybe it was the clutch. He had a way of breaking things on his bike.

Another was on an Austrian bike. It had a Brampton hub. All the lubricant had turned to shellac. My daughter and I broke it down and scraped it off painstakingly with a scratch awl. To be honest, it didn't work amazingly well after we put it back together. Maybe better cleaning was needed. Interestingly, other than the hub, everything on the bike was metric.

noglider 02-13-15 06:57 AM

Aha, here is John S Allen's Twenty. He brazed bosses to the frame and fork for mounting MAFAC brakes. I met him at the shop I was working at in 1980 in Cambridge, MA. He taught me a lot about SA hubs. Note in the old picture, the bike has Wonder lights.

thumpism 02-13-15 07:06 AM

This showed up on CL this morning. Not mine:

vintage women's raleigh bike

vintage women's raleigh bike - $120 < >
http://images.craigslist.org/00505_g...0z_600x450.jpg
http://images.craigslist.org/00u0u_B...ul_600x450.jpg
http://images.craigslist.org/00Y0Y_h...sM_600x450.jpg
http://images.craigslist.org/00505_2...kv_600x450.jpg
http://images.craigslist.org/00z0z_j...nB_600x450.jpg
http://images.craigslist.org/00f0f_6...OT_600x450.jpg
http://images.craigslist.org/00d0d_h...kS_600x450.jpg


http://images.craigslist.org/00505_g...h0z_50x50c.jpghttp://images.craigslist.org/00u0u_B...yul_50x50c.jpg
Vintage 3 speed women's raleigh bike. Everything in working order. Original Brooks saddle. Ride around the city this spring! I am getting rid of it because I am moving to the suburbs and there is no place to ride it there:(

Willing to trade for smaller frame mountain bike.

noglider 02-13-15 07:22 AM

Can't ride it in the suburbs?!

Sixty Fiver 02-13-15 07:54 AM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 17550502)
Aha, here is John S Allen's Twenty. He brazed bosses to the frame and fork for mounting MAFAC brakes. I met him at the shop I was working at in 1980 in Cambridge, MA. He taught me a lot about SA hubs. Note in the old picture, the bike has Wonder lights.

Sheldon Brown and John Allen provided some inspiration for me as well... although we talked about it Sheldon never got to see Forrest all finished up.

http://www.ravingbikefiend.com/bikep...rade%20(1).JPG

Salubrious 02-13-15 08:32 AM


Originally Posted by Velocivixen (Post 17550318)
I won't be shifting up hill any more.

No need for that- its a shift cable adjustment issue, nothing more.

arex 02-13-15 08:32 AM


Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver (Post 17550607)
Sheldon Brown and John Allen provided some inspiration for me as well... although we talked about it Sheldon never got to see Forrest all finished up.

http://www.ravingbikefiend.com/bikep...rade%20(1).JPG

How're the drop handlebars to ride with on that? Looks beautiful.

Peugeotlover 02-13-15 10:01 AM


Originally Posted by Salubrious (Post 17550687)
No need for that- its a shift cable adjustment issue, nothing more.


This I agree with.

My Rollfast with 3-speed S-A used to do the same slipping,
I would adjust the cable tension, the problem would go away (until the next time the cable stretched).

Make sure to keep enough oil in the hub.

It has been an interesting discussion, however.

Velocivixen 02-13-15 11:34 AM

@gster - I'm familiar with that diagram. I originally had it set up that way. Then I read on the Internet (so it must be true) that in low gear you should still be able to pull a tiny bit of chain out. With the diagram's setting I wasn't able to pull a tiny bit more chain out, so I loosened it. That means that in Normal my pin shoulder was too far into the axle.

Anyway I have set it up according to the diagram and I will stick to that. Also going walking speed up a hill, meant that when I stopped to shift I had to start pedaling right away or risk tipping over. Maybe in that split second the clutch didn't have enough time to get settled.

Salubrious 02-13-15 11:53 AM

^^ That should have been plenty of time, but you do have to stop peddling for an instant with the correct timing, which is a little more critical on a hill. The rule of thumb I go by for setting the cable is to see that the cable is just barely loose in 3rd gear. I think you could also set it to be just exactly where the chain is fully tight in first gear but I've not played with that (although if you ever get a 4-speed, that rule works really well).

noglider 02-13-15 12:35 PM

@Velocivixen, I replied to you on page 211.

PalmettoUpstate 02-13-15 01:43 PM


Originally Posted by gster (Post 17550732)
Sometimes when you think the hub is adjusted just right, it isn't! This could be because the indicator needle is off by a 1/2 turn or a new cable has been installed and stretched a bit or your back wheel has not been tightened and has slipped a bit. If the adjustment is not perfect second gear may seem fine (on level ground) but may fail (not engage) under full load i.e. up a hill. The other problem is that indicator chains get swapped around (there are a few versions) and the rule of having the "crown" just peaking out of the axle may not apply.... Once it's set up it should be worry free.
Hope this helps.

Whose diagram is that? [peeking NOT peaking - LOL!]

Amesja 02-13-15 02:00 PM

All of the official adjustment procedures for the S-A AW hubs are hogwash. It's just a matter of getting it close and fine-tuning it a little tighter or looser by 1/2 or even 1/4-turns of the adjuster barrel at the end of the indicator chain. This isn't rocket science. It's really no different than adjusting tension on an indexed derailleur system. Use the "neutral" as a guide. A window you want to avoid. Tune it out and you are good to go.

If you hit a neutral in between 2 and 3 (or whatever strange numbering scheme your shifter has on it) all you need to do most times is tighten up the chain/cable tension one half turn on the adjuster barrel. That usually fixes it. Sometimes you might need to add another 1/4-turn.

If this doesn't do it then it might mean that your housing is shot and compressing too much. Try a little lube in the shifter too, and check that the plastic housing stop sleeve isn't disintegrating. Replace it if it is plastic (the metal ones don't disintegrate.) You can also check to make sure the indicator chain isn't damaged, binding up, or is too tightly spun into the hub before being hooked up to the cable (this may cause it to bind.) Unhook it from the cable and turn it one half-turn CCW so there is some play and the chain doesn't bind. Check that the pulley at the seatpost isn't falling apart or binding up too.

Once one has exhausted all possible causes of indexing error in the shifter, cable, stops, pulley, and indicator chain and there is still a problem tuning a false neutral out and keeping all gears properly indexed then it might be that the hub itself is gummed up. Have you been adding oil? Maybe unscrew the indicator chain and blast down the center of the axle with Tri-flow or even WD-40 as it might be binding up right in there. Clean out the hollow axle with a Q-tip to get any dried-on oil out and not binding up the indicator chain.

If all this fails then it might be time to disassemble the hub to clean and rebuild it.

These Sturmey 3-speed IGH systems are not rocket science. They are pretty bulletproof even after 40 years of disuse and neglect. A little bit of maintenance and they should serve you well for years to come.

gster 02-13-15 03:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Sometimes when you think the hub is adjusted just right, it isn't! This could be because the indicator needle is off by a 1/2 turn or a new cable has been installed and stretched a bit or your back wheel has not been tightened and has slipped a bit. If the adjustment is not perfect second gear may seem fine (on level ground) but may fail (not engage) under full load i.e. up a hill. The other problem is that indicator chains get swapped around (there are a few versions) and the rule of having the "crown" just peaking out of the axle may not apply.... Once it's set up it should be worry free.
Hope this helps.
Corrected Spelling....
http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=434084

markk900 02-13-15 04:18 PM

I've tried the various procedures listed in the official, unofficial, and just opinion based links on the web. What I have found works best is to use the "indicator shoulder just shy of the axle" method as a starting point, and then as @Amesja says, adjust from there. If I find the shifting getting a little harder (ie. more resistance to shifting) it has always turned out to be related to the adjustment - a half turn usually fixes things immediately. Only experienced the Neutral between gears once and it turns out I was way out of adjustment. The only thing is to be sure you don't have the wrong indicator pin as they are different lengths - my favourite is the one that came on the 49 hub that has 2 shoulders (presumably to use with 2 different length axles).

The processes that say "ignore the shoulder and set by cable tension" (including the "in Low the chain should move a half a link" instructions) just have not worked for me. I seem to always fall back on the above.

The only trouble I have had that I could not resolve was slipping in 1st gear on the 49 hub. I tried everything including replacing all of the pawls, springs, etc in the hub. Still would slip under load. Finally pulled the entire hub out and replaced with the NOS innards from a 74 hub and no more problems. Wish I could have isolated the issue though.

When you look at that video someone posted of the CTC train tour in the 50s and look at the number of serious cyclists with IGH (presumably mostly SA) bikes you can't imagine ALL of them have been poodling around rather than really pushing hard on their bikes....so, much as I respect Jobst's opinions and experience (far more than my own) his postings seemed to smell a bit of dogma.

Sixty Fiver 02-13-15 04:49 PM


Originally Posted by arex (Post 17550689)
How're the drop handlebars to ride with on that? Looks beautiful.

When I was building up the bike I was still riding it back and forth to the main shop which is a 100 km round trip... this bike is excellent over distances and has been one of my preferred century rides for many years.

One day I built the new fork and installed it, the next I cut out the rear stays and replaced those, added cable guides as I went along, and the only time this bike and I have been parted was when I tore it all down for the new powder which took a week.

This was just after I had finished up all the frame and fork work... I have subsequently upgraded the drivetrain and might upgrade it again as I was given a SRAM dual drive with a 9 speed driver on a 20 inch wheel. As it is the 2 by 9 works wonderfully and gives the bike a nice range for touring, it isn't geared quite high enough for really fast groups but I have been able to pin it at 40kmh for 10km stretches and my leisurely centuries take 7 hours.

http://www.ravingbikefiend.com/bikep...restbuild1.JPG

Amesja 02-13-15 04:55 PM

I have found that cables don't really ever stretch, what happens is that the ends seat into the notches at the lever a little further as they first break in, and/or the housing starts to collapse as it ages, or the cable stops move or disintegrate. Steel isn't all that stretchy...

The change to the plastic fulcrum sleeve from the previous metal version sometime in the mid-70's onward was probably a savings in money to Raleigh on the whole but they just don't last 40+ years. I replace every one of them on every 3-speed Raleigh that comes through my shop. (And usually the shift cable as well.) IMHO the plastic fulcrum sleeves are one of the primary sources of many of the shifting problems people have when putting one of these old bikes into commission again, and a hidden one at that that seems to elude many folks. The plastic is often just rotten and the cable housing just keeps sinking into them, little by little for a long time before they finally fail and break. Often they really never fail completely, just keep sinking in... This whole time they are screwing with the indexing of the shifter and giving symptoms exactly like "cable stretch" and creating false neutrals.

Re-adjust, then after a while the symptoms come back. The only way to really fix it long-term is to replace this cheap piece of plastic with an easily-obtainable new cheap piece of plastic that will probably last another 30+ years. I will admit to harvesting a few of the steel ones and putting in new plastic ones on a few bikes I have restored and resold. All my own bikes wear steel sleeves. Gentleman Cyclist sells reproduction steel sleeves for $10 I've never had to buy one for my personal builds ;)

I've gone through a few 10-pack bags in my shop over the years, and I think it's about time to order another one as I only have a couple left in stock the last time I looked. The bottom has really fallen out of the 3-speed tweed market here in Chicago and I just can't get enough money for really nice Raleighs that I have restored to make it worth my time any more so I don't buy and restore for sale any of them now. I have done a few T & M restores for folks who have heard of my work, but in the last year or two I've only done 3 or 4, where before I was doing nearly one a month on average at the height of the tweed rage. Maybe I've raised my prices too much.

I've put so many new cables on that I feel the indicator bevel method is a waste of time for me. Maybe it's because I just don't see that well with these old eyes. I simply set it up so there is only a hint of tension in 3rd gear and test it on the stand and re-adjust as needed. Then I go test ride it outside. Takes about 2-3 stops max for fine adjustments to tune out the false neutral. Sometimes even none. It's just less hassle for me this way than bending over and squinting looking for a micro-sized bevel, which never really gets it perfect anyhow. I still need to test ride it to be sure and usually adjust. Cabling the shifter is usually one of the last things I do anyhow, so it's time to go test ride regardless.

desconhecido 02-13-15 05:01 PM


Originally Posted by noglider (Post 17550554)
Can't ride it in the suburbs?!

Yeah, that's funny.

Good looking bike for $120 -- particularly if that saddle is serviceable. Chrome looks nice in the pictures. Self-adjusting brake levers with steel calipers, must be early 70s just before they went to the vinyl saddles and Weinmann brakes..

PalmettoUpstate 02-13-15 07:44 PM


Originally Posted by desconhecido (Post 17547458)
Somebody pointed out earlier in this thread that having the rear wheel move the chain while coasting is caused by having the axle bearings too tight.

Hey desconhecido, you and velocivixen had it pegged; thanks!

Got home today about 5 p.m. to a sunny 40 degrees and put her up on the stand, loosened the left nut, and backed off on the cone about 90 degrees and it was solved - she immediately had a nice tic tic tic [cable is disconnected so she's in 3rd] and the wheel spun forever. Dumb me; I thawt I had watched the cones pretty closely when I remounted the wheel, or maybe I tightened down the wrong [non-drive] side first.

Anyway, lesson learnt!

PalmettoUpstate 02-13-15 08:06 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by desconhecido (Post 17552151)
Yeah, that's funny.

Good looking bike for $120 -- particularly if that saddle is serviceable. Chrome looks nice in the pictures. Self-adjusting brake levers with steel calipers, must be early 70s just before they went to the vinyl saddles and Weinmann brakes..

Looks to me to be a 74-76. It has pretty rusty rims and a lot of nicks in the paint. That B72 saddle looks just like a few that I got on similar condition Raleigh Sports and they invariably split apart at the front rivets. The price of years of neglect...

However, all that being said, you have a superior frame and I'd give $75 for that bike in this market; perhaps $100. As a way of comparison, I picked up a women's 21" Phillips "Master" Model [not sure what that "Master Model" designation means] last week down at Emory University and it's in much nicer overall shape and the vinyl Wrights saddle is at least serviceable until something more upscale is put on the bike. The lady I got it from had purchased it a couple of years ago from the son of the original owner and she had only ridden it a couple of times. [damn those hills!]

I don't know if the original owner was a transplant to the Atlanta area - highly likely - because a 3-speed, ANY 3-speed, is a poor choice for most of the Atlanta area. [with the caveat of course that it would make a pretty decent campus bike at Emory or Georgia Tech, IOW where you have gentle hills if any...]

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=434106

Peugeotlover 02-13-15 08:48 PM


Originally Posted by Amesja (Post 17552139)
I have found that cables don't really ever stretch, what happens is that the ends seat into the notches at the lever a little further as they first break in, and/or the housing starts to collapse as it ages, or the cable stops move or disintegrate. Steel isn't all that stretchy...

The change to the plastic fulcrum sleeve from the previous metal version sometime in the mid-70's onward was probably a savings in money to Raleigh on the whole but they just don't last 40+ years. I replace every one of them on every 3-speed Raleigh that comes through my shop. (And usually the shift cable as well.) IMHO the plastic fulcrum sleeves are one of the primary sources of many of the shifting problems people have when putting one of these old bikes into commission again, and a hidden one at that that seems to elude many folks. The plastic is often just rotten and the cable housing just keeps sinking into them, little by little for a long time before they finally fail and break. Often they really never fail completely, just keep sinking in... This whole time they are screwing with the indexing of the shifter and giving symptoms exactly like "cable stretch" and creating false neutrals.

Re-adjust, then after a while the symptoms come back. The only way to really fix it long-term is to replace this cheap piece of plastic with an easily-obtainable new cheap piece of plastic that will probably last another 30+ years. I will admit to harvesting a few of the steel ones and putting in new plastic ones on a few bikes I have restored and resold. All my own bikes wear steel sleeves. Gentleman Cyclist sells reproduction steel sleeves for $10 I've never had to buy one for my personal builds ;)

I've gone through a few 10-pack bags in my shop over the years, and I think it's about time to order another one as I only have a couple left in stock the last time I looked. The bottom has really fallen out of the 3-speed tweed market here in Chicago and I just can't get enough money for really nice Raleighs that I have restored to make it worth my time any more so I don't buy and restore for sale any of them now. I have done a few T & M restores for folks who have heard of my work, but in the last year or two I've only done 3 or 4, where before I was doing nearly one a month on average at the height of the tweed rage. Maybe I've raised my prices too much.

I've put so many new cables on that I feel the indicator bevel method is a waste of time for me. Maybe it's because I just don't see that well with these old eyes. I simply set it up so there is only a hint of tension in 3rd gear and test it on the stand and re-adjust as needed. Then I go test ride it outside. Takes about 2-3 stops max for fine adjustments to tune out the false neutral. Sometimes even none. It's just less hassle for me this way than bending over and squinting looking for a micro-sized bevel, which never really gets it perfect anyhow. I still need to test ride it to be sure and usually adjust. Cabling the shifter is usually one of the last things I do anyhow, so it's time to go test ride regardless.


Amesja, thank you for sharing your experience gained knowledge.
A very good post, and a helpful link.

michaelz28 02-13-15 09:18 PM

i guess SA had their fingers in everything by 74 http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/h...ps7oblcthn.jpg

michaelz28 02-13-15 09:27 PM

this stuff is great . I've had a stingray 3 speed for about a year now with a SA hub . most stingray / krate guys are 5 speed guys and could care less about a SA 3 speed hub . i was barking up the wrong tree i guess . in the last 5 days you guys have answered more questions than in the year I've owned the ray.t


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