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Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Fix a Sturmey-Archer 3-Speed Internal Gear Hub

Hi Charles,

I have an older model Raleigh Sports with a Sturmey-Archer internal gear hub that I've been having troubles with and was hoping to get repaired.

I've taken the bike to a couple of different repair shops already and it has always been returned with the same troubles.

I stumbled across your site when I was searching online for Toronto-area bike mechanics that appear to have experience with 3-speed internal gear hubs.

Would you be able to take a look at it? If so, what's the process and where should I bring it.

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Steven S.



Hello Steven!

My advice:

Buy a new internal gear hub, possibly from a different company.

Internal gear hubs are basically supposed to require a little bit of oil once or twice per year for maintenance and that is it. If it broken however, your best options are to return it to the manufacturer for a replacement (if it is still on warranty) or if the warranty is up, buy a new one.

What has most likely happened - in the event it is broken - is that one or more pieces inside the gear hub have SNAPPED IN HALF or into several pieces, and then the smaller pieces have jammed up inside the internal mechanisms, possibly doing other permanent damage. The internal pieces are not designed to break, but with age, wear and tear, metal gets fatigued and can eventually just snap.

It is possible that a piece inside has just come loose, or bent, and it just needs to be bent back into shape or placed back in its proper location. Now there are some experts out there who know how to repair internal gear hubs - but it is pretty rare knowledge. A bit like finding a clockmaker who knows how to fix pocket watches. Not many people go into that sort of thing as a career these days.

Thus it might save you a lot of time and effort just to buy a new one.
Now you might wonder why I suggested possibly buying a new internal gear hub from a different company. I am not dissing Sturmey-Archer's quality, I am sure the quality of their internal gear hubs are just fine. But feel free to shop around anyway and browse your options. No doubt the higher quality gear hubs will be more expensive, and the lower quality ones cheaper. You get what you pay for. So if you find an internal gear hub from Sturmey-Archer that you like, that is in the right price range, absolutely, go ahead and buy it. However if you find one you like from a different company which is higher quality - and possibly has a lifetime warranty, you might want to buy that one instead.

Here is a YouTube video about fixing a Shimano 3-Speed Internal Gear Hub which might help you a bit if you decide to try and fix your gear hub yourself.



And here is another video about Sturmey-Archer three speed gear hubs and how they work, and should give you insights on how to fix yours depending on what is broken on the inside. Between this video and the one above you might be able to fix yours.



Happy Repairing / Shopping!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
The Bicycle Mechanic

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