Shimano Nexus 8: Stripped down & Reassembled

This particular hub was originally owned by Thorin (who I know vaguely through the MBTC). Thorin gave it to John Harland, but John wasn’t going to use it because he doesn’t like the uneven gear ratios (more on that to come later). The idea of pulling it apart came up at another swap meet, when I saw an 8 speed for sale, and suggested buying it. John told me about the old internals that he’d got from Thorin.

And that’s how this hub came to be donated to Science. Continue reading “Shimano Nexus 8: Stripped down & Reassembled”

Strip down: Sturmey Archer S3C

This story begins at another Vintage Club swap meet. John Harland had brought along a lot of stuff to sell (he went there with more than 100 kg loaded on his bike, and didn’t want to take it all back home), which included two Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub gear + coaster brake jobs.

Fun fact, this all happened back in April, and it’s taken til now for me to get my shit together to write this up. Working full time, you see…

I already have more hub gears than I have bicycles to put them in, so I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about taking them. However, I noticed that one of the hubs was seized up, so I decided it could be interesting to pull it apart just to see what was wrong, and to attempt to restore it to working order. But mainly just to see how it works, since I don’t have any use for either of these hubs, and (being completely satisfied with cantilever brakes) no motivation to use a coaster brake hub. Continue reading “Strip down: Sturmey Archer S3C”

Alfine 11 Strip Down

A close friend of mine, Glenn Rodda, has been using a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub for a number of years (I’m not sure precisely when he first got one, but it was in 2010 or 2011). After his original hub started malfunctioning, he decided to buy a new hub and consequently the old one was donated to science. Which is how I was commissioned to pull it apart. Continue reading “Alfine 11 Strip Down”

A glance into a Sturmey Archer FW hub

Recently, I acquired a four speed Sturmey Archer hub. I was feeling a bit bored the other day, so I pulled it apart, and had a look at the bits.

Normally, taking apart these hubs requires a lot of effort, since the force of the pedals tightens the screw threads, but this time it was easy. Quite obviously someone else had pulled it apart before me, even the bearing lock nuts were only finger tight.

Here are some pictures of the internals:

I didn’t take any pictures of the bits of the internals, too busy focusing on what I was doing. Note the compound planet pinions: the way this system works is that there are two ranges depending on which sun gear is locked to the axle, a really wide three speed and a not so wide three speed. You can get 5 gears from this mechanism (middle gear of both ranges is direct drive, which is the same regardless of sun gear selection).

The four speed hub doesn’t use all of the available gears. Highest gear is the high gear of the not-so-wide range. Changing down from second to first (lowest) gear, the sun pinions are slid along the axle to engage the low gear of the really wide range.

In order to convert this hub to a five speed, we will modify the shift mechanism so that we can move the sun pinions independently of the main clutch. That way, we will be able to select the high gear in the really wide range; the only gear not available to the four speed hubs.

Swap Meet: New Acquisition

Yesterday the Vintage Bike Club had their swap meet at Abbotsford Cycles (an event that happens about twice a year). There were lots of old bike bits, and I happened across a Sturmey-Archer FW (four speed, wide ratio) hub.

It so happens that I now have quite a collection of Sturmey-Archer products. There is one AW 3-speed that I used to use for riding around town, another 3-speed-plus-dynohub which is unbelievably heavy and finally, two front dynohubs (one of those is missing an axle however, which as you can imagine is slightly problematic). Continue reading “Swap Meet: New Acquisition”

Brake Adjustment Hacks

My personal preference is for “traditional” cantilever rim brakes, as opposed to the linear pull “V brakes” which are far more common. I have several reasons for this preference (beyond mere snobbishness that is) but I think I will leave that for a separate article, perhaps with a title like “V Brakes are Evil”. However, despite being cantilever-centric, much of this article is also applicable to V Brakes; in particular the section on adjustment techniques.

Cantilever brakes Continue reading “Brake Adjustment Hacks”

Inside the Rohloff Speedhub

Many readers will be familiar with the Rohloff Speedhub, a 14 speed bicycle hub gear, and if you don’t know about it then you can go look it up on Google. Understanding how the mechanism works and pulling one apart have been a couple of my long term goals. This article won’t attempt to communicate the former (that is for a separate article I think) but I am going to tell you about how I pulled my hub apart and put it back together again (that is quite important too). You may want to go brush up on your knowledge of epicyclic gears right about now too, because I’m not doing any intro to that topic, it’s all assumed knowledge. Wikipedia has a very good article on the topic. Continue reading “Inside the Rohloff Speedhub”

Chapter 4: Queenstown

Despite the incredibly strong winds at the end of chapter 3, when we got up the next morning it was quite still. After we packed up, our first stop was in town at a very nice bakery that we had been to the previous day; they had really yummy cream cakes. Apparently I have a sweet tooth, or at least that’s what other people say. Our plan was to ride to Queenstown over another Big Hill near Cardrona. Then we had planned to spend a day in Queenstown. While we were sheltering from the wind in Wanaka we had found out some information about a cruise at Doubtful Sound, which departed from Queenstown, so that was what we had planned for our rest day. After Queenstown we were planning to ride to Clyde and the start of the Central Otago rail trail, which we were looking forward to. It was, however, 90 km from Queenstown to Cyde, and even though Dad kept saying “it’s all downhill except for the uphill out of Queenstown” Mum and Vera were a little concerned about that day. Continue reading “Chapter 4: Queenstown”

Putting Photos on the Internet

Some of you may have heard terms like “web quality” being bandied around with regard to images, carrying the implication that photos on websites are generally of an inferior quality (which is often true) compared to what comes straight out of your camera. It was only recently that I found out what the best practice is for preparing photos for a web site, so I decided to share it with you and perhaps you will be able to improve your page load time. Continue reading “Putting Photos on the Internet”

Chapter 3: Wanaka and Antihistamines

The top
The top

Leaving Haast was a day that my parents and Vera had been stressing out about, because it was the Day of the Big Hill (capitals added by me for emphasis). The plan was to ride over Haast Pass, ending the day at a dot on the map called Makarora, which is about 70 km from Haast. Mum was concerned about us not making it, so as a contingency plan we bought “emergency food” in Haast as well as stuff for lunch and snacks and so on. The emergency food was some of those rice instant meals, and the idea was that if we had to put up our tents by the side of the road in pouring rain or snow or whatever, we would have something to eat, even if it wasn’t particularly appealing. In the event that we did make it to Makarora, the emergency food was non perishable, so it could stay squashed down the bottom of a pannier more or less indefinitely. Continue reading “Chapter 3: Wanaka and Antihistamines”