Sturmey Archer 5-speed ( sprinter, etc. )

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paragonman
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Joined: 4 Jul 2009, 4:29am

Sturmey Archer 5-speed ( sprinter, etc. )

Postby paragonman » 26 Mar 2014, 6:11am

Hi, guys.
Does anybody have any opinions about the sturmey archer 5 speed, the S-RF5 model.
I fancy lacing one into the wheel of an early sixties Claud Butler I have.

Thanks , Chris.
Last edited by Graham on 3 Feb 2019, 10:22am, edited 1 time in total.
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Brucey
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Brucey » 26 Mar 2014, 9:24am

the SRF5 model is now discontinued and only the SRF5(W) hub is available new, unless you happen to find old stock.

The SRF5 has a slightly revised version of the dog-locking 'Sprinter' hub innards (as made from ~1993 onwards). The (W) version is a further variant of this with wider-spaced ratios. I think it is basically a decent hub. However you can't change gear under load (except the 2-3 shift I guess) and (in common with nearly every SA 5s hub) the 1-2 and 4-5 shifts require a certain technique, especially when the hub is new.

The 1-2 shift (both ways) will only definitely go in if you pedal forwards (keeping up with the pedals, but with no appreciable force) for one or two turns of the pedals. The shift has a shift spring to help it in, which means you can move the lever but the shift isn't complete until stuff happens inside the hub. It takes practice and new hubs can be a little baulky. However you will feel/hear the shift go in and eventually it gets to be pretty slick.

The same applies to the 4-5 shift (the same parts move inside the hub), but the torque is less and the shift speed is greater because everything is turning faster inside the hub.

The 2-3 shift can be made whilst freewheeling or under a little load (very handy in town traffic). The 3-4 shift can usually be made when freewheeling, but in any case it is a bad idea to immediately and abruptly stamp on the pedals until you have confirmed that the gear has gone in fully.

To keep things simple I recommend that (initially anyway) all shifts are made as per the 1-2 shift. Once the hub and the rider have done a few miles then the different methods for shifting can be more fully exploited.

The 3-4 shift involves the main clutch picking up the planet cage and (unlike the 3s hub) the cutouts in the clutch are quite shallow. The most important adjustment in the hub is to check the gear 4 adjustment IMHO; if you move the shift lever slowly from 3 to 4 with the bike in the workstand, gear 4 should start to pick up when there is about 3mm of cable yet to pay out before the gear 4 detent is reached. If it is 2mm or less cable to pay out when gear 4 starts to pick up (or the cable has become draggy), the clutch won't seat fully in gear 4 and will slip. If it slips under load it will be damaged. You won't lose drive ( it will revert to gear 3 briefly) but this isn't the same thing at all as the hub not smashing itself to pieces inside.

The hub won't have enough lube in it when new, and the lube you will get is very far from the best that you could use. The hub will shift far better, run more smoothly, and last longer if the lube is supplemented or replaced with something else.

Once the hub is run in (500 to 1000 miles) I'd recommend relubing certainly and preferably removing the centre completely, so that it can be cleaned and checked for burrs. I have found hanging burrs on the stepped planet pinions of SA 5s hubs (of all ages 1993 onwards); this material is best removed, if left alone it can just stay put or it can detach, turning the lube (in an otherwise good hub) into shrapnel soup.

The (W) version is meant to be 'progress' because it has a wider range, good if you need this. Unfortunately this means the ratios are also further apart. In fact the middle three gears are spaced the same as the traditional 3s gears were, so the more closely spaced gears traditionally found in the SA 5s hubs are lost in the (W) version.

SA announced the new 'C50' 5s gear last year; this hub has rotary shifting, and closer spaced gear ratios. It sounds good, but I've not seen one yet.

Sorry if this sounds like a bewildering amount of information; but for me the bottom line is that provided the gear ratios are to your liking, you will be buying a hub that should give years of service with a little care.

[NB To get the best out the hub (in fact any hub gear...) in the long run, I think a little coddling early on is a good idea. However once coddled, you can (in return for a shot of lube every six months, checking bearing and cable adjustment) have a gear that will be expected to last tens of thousands of miles with no other troubles. I have an earlier 5s hub with over 40000 miles on it. Brilliant.]

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Sweep
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Sweep » 26 Mar 2014, 10:00am

Your knowledge continues to astound me Brucey ,though your description of using something with just 5 gears makes it sound like trying to test pilot an early jet!

Not a criticism at all - the proof of your wisdom is in your old functioning drive.

Would the drive described here by any chance be the Sprinter (with blue marked indicator rod) as fitted to late Brompton Travellers?

Also, another question. You seem to advise regular dismantling/greasing.

Is this complicated/risky for the general user?

I have a fear of a floor/tray full of random bits. I recently enquired about servicing at a shop that sells loads of Bromptons and they shied away from it in fear with the comment that the gear was like a watch inside.

I have a late Brompton fitted Sprinter and if I can't sort its slipping issue soon it's off to Bicycle Workshop in Notting Hill to see if they can revive it.

all the best
Sweep

SA_SA_SA
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby SA_SA_SA » 26 Mar 2014, 12:59pm

I found the old narrow range SA sprinter style 5 speed took so long to change to the outer wide ratio gears (1 and 5) that it is no improvement on a fast changing AW 3 speed (non-NIG version)*. Also, the lowest gear is so much more inefficient for such a small decrease that it seems irrelevant: you just pedal faster for the same effort. And on a Brompton the 5 speed is both awkward to adjust and sensitive to mis-adjustment, whilst its extra pulley (GRA) gubbins complicate wheel removal over a 3 speed whilst increasing the chance of misaligment after a roadside puncture repair.....

*I suspect my toe-clips help mitigate the 33% jumps of an AW a bit.
------------You may not use this post in Cycle or other magazine ------ 8)

Brucey
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Brucey » 26 Mar 2014, 1:33pm

Sweep wrote:Your knowledge continues to astound me Brucey ,though your description of using something with just 5 gears makes it sound like trying to test pilot an early jet!


it isn't that bad! If you want to keep it simple just pedal forwards on every shift, with no real pressure, and the gear will go in quite quickly.


Would the drive described here by any chance be the Sprinter (with blue marked indicator rod) as fitted to late Brompton Travellers?


no, my highest mileage 5s hub is a converted FW, with a LH pushrod /RH toggle chain. I do have a 'sprinter' I've put about 15000 miles on and it is a ball-locker, not a dog locker, so the shifts are not identical in nature. Once I'd sorted it out it was transformed; slicker than sn*t is how the shifts are now. (NB my sprinter has seen use on a 26" wheeled utility bike, so it has almost certainly seen much higher torque loads than a Brompton ever would.)

Also, another question. You seem to advise regular dismantling/greasing.

Is this complicated/risky for the general user?


Full dismantling is only required in the event that you have a fault, or you find a lot of bits of metal in the grease, in which case you have a fault, but it just hasn't got bad enough yet to cause running problems.

My advice is that cleaning the hub of running -in detritus (once) may ultimately greatly extend its life. You don't need to be rocket scientist to do this and there is no danger of ending up with bits left over. The reason is that the entire centre can be removed in one lump, which can then be bathed in solvent until clean, and then relubed, all without further disassembly.

Even if you do take it apart it isn't that much more complicated than a 3 speed; there are only an extra dozen or so components inside. Many bike mechanics are scared of them simply because they don't understand them.

However for most users the easiest thing (for users of non brake hub models) is simply to add lube through the axle every now and then. The only caveats to this are that

a) the excess will come out; this makes a mess, but it does flush out some of the crud inside too, so it isn't all bad.

b) if you use oil then you should be prepared to do it again on a regular basis

I have formulated a semi-fluid grease that needs replenishing just once or twice a year; hubs running this lube typically run as freely as in oil, but as quietly as in grease. They should last longer than in either, because the lubricant is of much better quality.

I have a late Brompton fitted Sprinter and if I can't sort its slipping issue soon it's off to Bicycle Workshop in Notting Hill to see if they can revive it.


if it slips in 4th even when adjusted correctly then the clutch will almost certainly be worn (as per my first post in this thread). However slippage in other gears can have various causes. Note that you could have a ball-locker or a dog locker there ( I think they used both at various times) and note also that you need the exact right shifter; if you use the current model shifter (really meant for the (W) hub), earlier hubs will slip and then break catastrophically. The same thing can happen if the cable gets kinked/ draggy, which is a bit of risk on a folder.

SA_SA_SA wrote:I found the old narrow range SA sprinter style 5 speed took so long to change to the outer wide ratio gears (1 and 5) that it is no improvement on a fast changing AW 3 speed (non-NIG version)*.


FWIW if you use the right lube, and pedal forwards during the shifts as I have described, the 5s shifts can be really quick. One of the issues with the ball-locker design is that the original lube basically didn't have the right additives in it, which ultimately caused baulky shifts, especially on 1-2 and 4-5. People who have tried my 15K sprinter 5s hub usually marvel at how slick it is; 'unlike any other 5s hub I have ridden' is one description. Once run in (which does take ages...) and with the right lube, the efficiency in gears 1 and 5 does seem to improve somewhat also.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Sweep
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Sweep » 26 Mar 2014, 7:12pm

Brucey wrote:
if it slips in 4th even when adjusted correctly then the clutch will almost certainly be worn (as per my first post in this thread). However slippage in other gears can have various causes. Note that you could have a ball-locker or a dog locker there


It started slipping in fourth at which time I stopped using it. Last few days I have taken it out of hibernation (it's been there for maybe two years), done more adjusting and it now seems to slip in gears other than fourth now and again.

How serious is the worn clutch issue? Just a question of a part swap/maintenance or more serious?

It is possible that during the early life of the hub I wasn't too careful about checking the adjustment/lining up the middle of the indicator band with the end of the axle but then it never slipped in any gears so I assumed all was fine and left well alone.

I think, according to my online reading, the fact that the indicator band is blue means that it is a ball-locker, though must admit that I have little idea what this really means apart from, er, supposedly meaning that slippage should be less of an issue.

On the hub, in between the Made in England it is marked 00-2
Sweep

Brucey
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Brucey » 26 Mar 2014, 7:36pm

IIRC the colour of the indicator rod just tells you which axle length it is meant for. I don't have exact dates when hubs would have been one pattern or the other, but most ball lockers seem to have a chamfer on the left end of the axle and most dog lockers don't. This isn't proven to be a definitive method of identification but it might be a good hint.

Do you have the right shifter? How is the cable run?

The 'worn driver' issue is worse than you might imagine if the slippage has been going on for a while. When the driver slips under load you get chipping of both the driver and the planet pinion pin heads (against which the driver bears in gear 4 and gear 5). If it doesn't slip in gear 5 then this is a sign that the damage probably isn't terminal. You can also get burrs on the driver (depending on how hard they made them that week); these inhibit engagement too. I've even seen drivers that are chipped in some places and burred in others.

The chipping isn't the end of the world per se since a new driver and pinion pins will restore normality. Sometimes the parts can be dressed and rendered fit for further use.

However the chips get everywhere inside the hub and can cause all kinds of other collateral damage. Between chips getting in weird places (like where the pawls sit when driving) and the fact that the grease will dry out over time you could easily have a hub that won't work right now.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

paragonman
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby paragonman » 26 Mar 2014, 8:13pm

Hi, Brucey, it was the later (W) model that I was referring to, after reading what you have said
I am going to go ahead and get one and as regards cleaning and relubing my s3x is about to be serviced.

Thanks, Chris.

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Brucey » 26 Mar 2014, 8:34pm

there is one thing I forgot to mention before, and that is that the (W) hub version has a small but significant design change from the previous version. Basically the pinion pins have been deleted; the pinions are solid and just have spigots machined in the end of them, and these engage with the planet cage in the same way as the pinion pin ends would. The pinions cannot be removed (the planet cage is riveted together) and the spare part is a complete 'atlas assembly' .

I have to be honest and say that I don't know how long this arrangement is likely to last; the spigots have a much smaller bearing area than the pinion pins used before and I suspect they will wear faster than the previous arrangement (the pinion usually turns around the pinion pin which is normally static) ; the pinion bushings transmit drive forces in gears 1,2,4,5. In addition I suspect that the hub won't be quite as efficient in these gears, too.

Right now if I was shopping for a SA 5s hub I might hang out for a C50 instead. I'd certainly pick the previous version over the (W).

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JamesGreig
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby JamesGreig » 26 Mar 2014, 9:32pm

I would also like any info about Sunrace S.A. 5 speed hub gears, especially how anyone is getting on with the newer ones, or the 8 speed, for that matter.

I have been using SA 5 speed gears since they became available in the 1980s and liked them when they got sorted out, but recently I had a problem. I replaced the internals of the Nottingham 5 speed on my Dutch Gazelle, which had started slipping after many years' use. I had done this successfully several times before (after an axle breakage). I ordered the new (now Sunrace) internals from SJS and fitted them, and they changed gear fine. But they slipped under load. After some discussion with SJS they said this hub needed a yellow indicator chain, not the old red one. But the hub continued slipping just the same, usually in 2nd or 3rd as these are climbing gears. I treat hub gears gently and resort to the 24" gear (two feet) on steep hills. According to Brucie, the gear changer may have been altered? Or maybe the Sunrace internals don't quite fit the Nottingham shell properly? It can be hard to discover what components go together. Any hints appreciated.

As for other hub gears, I miss the extra range of gears a little when I use my SA 3 speed bike, although I like the simplicity and that you can get spare hardly used internals from junked childrens' bikes. With the Sachs (now SRAM) 7 speed on another bike it is a solid feeling mechanism that has given me good service, but I am conscious of all the whirring internals, and spares are not as available as for SA and it is no longer made. I have now fitted another SRAM 7 speed to the Gazelle, with a back pedal brake (a York Rally bargain), but I'd always prefer a Sunrace SA 5 if it would work as well as the Nottingham ones did.

Brucey
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Brucey » 27 Mar 2014, 1:37pm

The first SA 5s hub went on sale in ~1966!

Slippage in gear 3 (of a 'sprinter' or later NIG models) only has two likely causes and is normally a clear indication of faulty pawls, either on the driver or the gear ring. If it slips in gear 2 also then this would indicate driver pawl troubles. Driver pawl troubles can arise if the pressed steel part (the 'driver actuator plate') on the driver comes free. This part (which costs about £1.50 to buy.... :roll: ) can instigate a chain of events that can cause the hub to fail completely. If not this then the root cause of such is very often faulty lubrication; I recommend a shot of fresh lube at regular intervals. However other root causes include;

- running with bad gear adjustment
- running with bad bearing adjustment
- a build-up of wear debris inside the hub.

After a lot of careful measurement I am convinced that the new (W) hubs use a different shifter than the older non (W) hubs. I had assumed that the older shifter might work a newer hub but since the 1-2 cable pull is longer than the hub can possibly use, maybe this throws everything out.

The newer (W) hubs have a toggle that can only move ~20mm at most and the older ones need a total pull of ~23-24mm else the selection of gear 1 in particular can be unreliable. The difference in the shifters appears to be in the 1-2 pull and the 4-5 pull. So old shifters have about 23mm pull total and newer ones about 20-21mm.

If you go shopping for a new shifter to match (W) innards then caveat emptor; the lovely looking aluminium thumbshifter has the right cable pulls for a (W) hub (so it can't be used with an earlier hub, ask me how I know.... :roll: ) but the shifter mechanism is not in fact well made; you will probably find (as I did) that there is also too much friction between the detents which in turn are somewhat sloppy. The net effect is that the index positions achieved can be different on the way up to on the way down. Given the sensitivity of gear 4 to maladjustment (see earlier post), I think it probable (if not in fact guaranteed) that a 3-4 shift can be OK where a 5-4 shift will leave the clutch 1mm lifted off its seat. Given that it only engages by about 2mm and the parts are radiused, you can see how this could cause slippage..... I am working on a mod for this lever, so that it doesn't do this, and another that will allow it to be used on a non-(W) hub.

My advice to anyone using the alloy lever (in an unmodified state) on a (W) hub is when downshifting, to pull the lever back onto its detent position after each downshift; on the levers I have seen the springs are not strong enough to do this automatically, and even if they were, a little extra cable drag would soon stop this anyway.

If anyone is curious to know what failed on their SA 5s hub, please send me your dead centres/hubs (PM me first!); once received I will (at your choice);

a) dismantle and identify the worn parts, or
b) quote a reasonable price for repair if this is practical, or
c) return the parts to you at your cost.

I will post the results of any post-mortems here; (I have a few already).

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

paragonman
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby paragonman » 28 Mar 2014, 6:41am

Thanks Brucey for your informative posts about the 5 speeds, I'm going to bide my time
and see how the c50 5speed turns out.
Many thanks, Chris.

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breakwellmz
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby breakwellmz » 28 Mar 2014, 8:58am

Surely as you have the new internals you need the new shifter to go with it.
Note comment from SJSC on usage of this trigger-

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/5-speed-stur ... prod24028/

Does the ratchet ring on the inside of the hub wear out over time,or is just the engaging pawls?

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Sweep
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Sweep » 25 Apr 2014, 9:32am

update and calling Brucey with 2 simple (possibly simple-minded) questions.

I changed the chain, rear sprocket and did some more fiddling with the adjustment (the indicator rod patch of blue must surely be the worst adjustment indicator ever invented?) and all seemed pretty well/very well for some time - and I deliberately did some rides with a different terrain including some where the gears would be under significant loading.

Now a few more occasional issues.

Is it fair to assume that a "slippage" soon after changing gear is far less serious than one some time after you have made the change - on the basis that this may just be a problem with initial engagement of the gear rather than an inability to stay in that gear? (If I get a slippage I always change to another gear immediately though this may not have always been the experience of the gearbox - the gf rode it once and despite being asked to tell me if she encountered slippage during a ride chose to tell me at the end).

Another question. I have noticed that SOMETIMES when wheeling the bike backwards (as you might briefly when manoeuvring it when walking with it) I get a clicking from the gearbox and even a resistance to this backwards movement. Is this a sign of anything?
Sweep

Brucey
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Re: S.A. 5speed

Postby Brucey » 25 Apr 2014, 9:56am

breakwellmz wrote:Surely as you have the new internals you need the new shifter to go with it.
Note comment from SJSC on usage of this trigger-

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/5-speed-stur ... prod24028/

Does the ratchet ring on the inside of the hub wear out over time,or is just the engaging pawls?


When I spoke to SJS about the shifter a while back they seemed a little fuzzy on this, despite the note on the web-page (which may have variously appeared and disappeared).

The hub ratchet can wear out with persistent slippage, but this is rare. By contrast worn pawls are commonplace. If the hub bearings are not adjusted properly, or the internal parts are able to rotate eccentrically for some other reason, the pawl tips will 'squirm' under load. I think this may cause premature wear (and occasional slippage even when the hub appears to be OK.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~