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).
I still maintain that I’m not a hoarder. For some time I’ve been interested in Sturmey-Archer’s 5 speed hub as a means of riding to and from work, for two reasons. Firstly, the gear range is quite wide; more so than the AW 3-speed, which is significant given my route to work involves 10 to 12% gradients. Secondly is the geek factor: the s5 has not one but two control cables operated by separate shifters. Learning to use such a mechanism is, to me, a challenge.
“But,” I hear you say, “the hub that you have is a 4-speed, how is this relevant?” It so happens that the internal mechanism of Sturmey-Archer 4-speed hubs is exactly the same as their 5-speed hubs, except for a slight difference in the shifting mechanism. The 5-speed shifting mech is arguably more simple (despite the dual cables) and I have to wonder how it was that Sturmey-Archer didn’t just manufacture a 5-speed hub in the first place.
Anyway, the plan is to convert the 4-speed to a 5-speed and build it into a bike for commuting, together with one of the front dynohubs.