1. I have a brand new SunRace-Sturmey Archer SRF3 in bits at the moment for conversion to oil lubrication. The bearing seals etc are the same as the old AW, so it will retain oil just as well (or as badly, depending on your point of view).

    No-one seems to know what the thread is for the Sturmey lubricator/oil nipple, but my best guess is 1/4″ BSC. It’s hard to find a tap for this size unless you know a vintage motorcycle enthusiast, but I’ve found some plastic push-in BB lubricators. These are just over 6mm in diameter so I’m going to cut an M6 thread in them then drill and tap the shell for M6. The gear ring is a pretty close fit inside the shell, so they will need trimming a bit to ensure they don’t foul the mechanism.

    These SunRace hubs are well made – there’s no neutral position between normal and top any more, and the planet pins are nice and fat these days. I’d recommend getting the proper SA spanners for the cones and right-hand ball ring, as the cones are a non-standard size and the ball ring will be marked if you use a hammer and punch, however careful you are.

    I have some synthetic 75W90 Redline MT90 gear oil which I’ll try. It’s about the same viscosity as SAE 30 engine oil (the SAE numbers for gear oil are not comparable).

    • You can oil SA hubs through the indicator chain hole in the axle. It is actually a superior way to oil as it gets to the heart of the guts and works its way out. We use blue marine grease on all bearings and planetary gears. This increases the life of the planets and mixes well with gear oil. Also, it helps keep the oil inside the hub. Make sure you use plenty in the labyrinth seals as well.

  2. tcs

    The Sturmey-Archer HSA106 oiler has a 1/4-28 thread. Taps are commonly available. Pilot drill size is a #3.

  3. Roger

    Well, it was a bit of a failure. The hub works fine, but it leaks like a sieve – the current ball ring race (a combined plastic seal and cage) allows the oil to escape too easily.

    However, I’ve just built an AM/AW hybrid for my commuting bike – the planetary gears are AM and everything else, including the shell, is AW. It works well.

    The S-RF3 shell with the oiler is going to get some more AM internals…if they fit. I think they will.

    • Most leakage is usually through the large bearing race to the left of the driver. This is worse if the bearing race is pressed into the shell so that internals can be removed without unscrewing the right ball cup, and less of a problem with a screw-in right ball cup.

      I suggest using a moderate amoun of Phil Wood oil (available in the USA — I don’t know about other countries), which is rather sticky and so adheres to the internals well. Also, after oiling, lean the bicycle to the left and spin the rear wheel to distribute the oil. You might also use grease in the bearings, to seal them at least somewhat, for a while.

      Oil leakage is messy but also it flushes dirt out of the hub, and especially, out of the bearings. The bearings of an older S-A hub with labyrinth dustcaps will never fail due to contamination if the hub is properly oiled — yet the dustcaps are frictionless. When grease in the bearings begins to dissipate, then the oil begins to leak out. You might take the leakage as a signal to rebuild and clean the hub — though it is still well-lubricated as long as you continue to oil it.

      A hub that has been lubricated with oil rather than grease is easier to clean up during overhaul, too.

      Some leakage can occur between parts that are pressed or screwed together, and in you might use a bit of automotive gasket-sealing compound to seal these.

      • FishBikeSteve

        To keep the oil from leaking out of a S-A hub quickly (the oil dissolves the grease in the labyrinth seals & bearings), use a non-petroleum grease. Super Lube makes a 100% silicone grease that is great for this purpose.

  4. Tony Volpe

    I have an srf3 which has been oil lubricated for nearly three thousand miles. It works fine as long as you don’t over oil it. I just put in a few drops about every two hundred miles and mostly, it stays inside where it is required. If I get over generous, it comes out pretty quickly, but the required oil is still inside there. I find the hub faultless and an incredibly cheap piece of kit.

    My oiler port is horribly crude. I drilled a small hole and tapped it for a very short bold with a rubber washer I made out of a scrap of pond liner. This is just a bit more than finger tight and is easily removed for oiling.

  5. austex


    Any pointer to sources for AM hubs and/or parts?


      have a look at the parts interchangeability chart in the sa master catalogue as am sure that aw parts or at least some of them are interchangeable with am parts
      easiest way to get an aw hub for spares is try and get hold of a raleigh 20 or any other small wheel bike with an sa 3 speed hub as i have found the internals dont get as much abuse on these bikes as on other bikes fitted with aw hubs
      im restoring am internals from a am hub but am going to fit it into an aw shell as the am hub was completely goosed it was so bad it took two weeks of spraying with wd40 every day before i could get the internals out of the shell which as you would expect were covered in grease rusty water and rust

  6. Keith Walker

    Does anyone know if all Sturmey Archer internal hub axle flats are in the same orientation (ie, horizontal, 0 degrees)?

    This seems to be perpendicular (90degree offset) to Shimano Nexus hubs.

    Can anyone confirm?

  7. austex


    The SA axle flats are generally oriented parallel with the drop-out, though orientation is not critical as long as it is held constant by some method, to resist planetary torque. Some drop-outs were made to fit the narrower “flats dimension”, forcing orientation; and SA anti-torque washers also force this orientation, but it is not strictly required.

    Indeed, the Nexus hub axles can be set at a range of angles to accommodate various shift-cable routings (e.g., along seat-stay vs. chain-stay) by using the “wrong” set of anti-torque washers to get the cable stop to point as desired.

  8. Keith Walker

    With the Surly Crosscheck frame, the dropouts are 26 degrees.

    Using the supplied S-A horz. dropouts, the gearshift bracket interferes with the chainline.

    Using Shimano’s 8L/8R (blue and green) non turn washers, it brings the Sturmey Archer RX-RD3 almost into proper orientation.

    I must add that S-A needs to supply their own non turn washers (to coexist in the modern world for conversions) and have clamps for 1-1/2 inch downtubes.

  9. Fabien

    If anyone is interested the new Sturmey Archer Catalogue is out and they have some wonderful new shifters

  10. leonwoodbine

    2009-2010 Sturmey Archer looks amazing! What a change. They appear to making 3-speed FIXED hubs, which take a Shimano style spline cog – in coloured hub shells. More than one fixed rider I know has asked me about that exactly. And the 8 speed hubs now have the cable mechanism inside the frame, rotary style instead of the classic bellcrank on the end of the axle. Great to see.
    Thanks for the link Fabien!

  11. Roger

    Finally done – an AM mechanism in a SRF-3 shell. I’ve been running a couple of them in AW shells through the winter and they’re really nice to use. Just try and get the later 1950s gear ring with continuous splines, rather than the early one with separate low and normal gear dogs as these are prone to slip (SA eventually realised and changed the design).

    Pictures and brief description here:


  12. Johann Rissik

    Hi all,

    I’m helping restore an ols South African-made Le Jeune, fitted with a SA 3speed. All in pretty good condition, except that the left (i.e. non-drive side) axle nut is missing.
    What thread is that nut? I hope to find a replacement at a nut&bolt shop.

    Many thanks

    • Roger

      Sturmey-Archer thread 😉

      You won’t find one at a fastener shop.

      Try Derek at http://www.oldbiketrader.co.uk for any parts like this.

      • Roger

        Just to add – the torque for these nuts is 25Nm (ideally use a deep 15mm socket and a torque wrench) and the threads must be clean and lubricated. The nuts are designed to strip before the axle, but they certainly strip easily if the threads have a bit of grit on them.

    • henry

      It’s a German bike thread standard called FG 10.3, it means 10.3 mm diameter and 26 TPI, (also called 13/32″).

      You won’t find it at a nut supplier, it’s a bike thread standard.

      Don’t knock it, spokes are threaded to an FG thread too.

      • Roger


        Would you say the SRAM and SA hub threads are completely compatible? I thought there was a small but annoying difference.

  13. Roger,

    Thanks for the advice. I will pass it on.

    • Hi Johann
      Dont know if you managed to sort the AW hub problem. The people at Dennehof mentioned you and my son is cycling the
      Swartsberg to Gamkaskloof. If you need any bits I have all in stock and my wife will be in Prince Albert in September to bring them to you from the UK !
      Best wishes

      • johannrissik

        Hi Kevin, That’s synchronicity! The original problem has long since ceased to be my problem;) However, this morning an elderly, partially paralysed man came in asking for an axle nut for his SA 3spd (not sure of model). I had to turn him away as the stuff is no longer generally available in this country. I’ll get him to come back tomorrow and take some pictures. I think it’s the left hand axle nut he’s after. SA 3spd, the product lives on!
        (my email is j dot rissik at absamail dot co dot za ) twitter @johannrissik
        I will gladly help your son find a very special route out of Gamkaskloof, please give him my email address.

  14. J

    Any updates on the reliability of the new 8 speed (w) version? Thanks.

    • Chris Mahon

      No idea, I can’t find even a single review anywhere. I’ve only just found a clear picture if one fitted to a bike.

      2009 Sturmey 8-speed

  15. henry

    Sachs/SRAM use FG 10.5 which is 10.5 mm x 26TPI

    Sturmey Archer use FG 10.3 which is 10.3 mm x 26TPI

    They are not interchangeable, though since the SA is slightly smaller I have put them onto a Sachs axle which took away a little of the looseness due to wear.

    See http://www.fahrradmonteur.de/fahrradgewinde.php for an absolutely fantastic reference, in German. It’s not hard to figure it out. Remember the European practice is to use a comma for the decimal point.


    I stripped and completely refurbished an aw internals for a jack taylor lookalike am building up
    i have am internals which also need restored and have done some of it but it still needs finishing off
    one problem is that the am alloy hub was completely goosed
    does anyone know if the am internals will fit into the aw hub as have as yet been unable to find this info
    one tip though when you strip an aw hub clamp the spindle in the hub length ways and put a screwdriver in the slot and check for backlash just like on a car rear axle, if there is any drift out the pin holding the planet cage and you will find that there is an accumulation of dried up oil and dirt clean it off and recheck and you will find the backlash has gone
    also before fitting the internals back into the hub smear them with grease i use grease sold by a local john deere dealership which is used for the gearbox of triples which has the gearbox facing outwards this grease is really waterproof
    before lacing the hub into a rim fit the hub into a bike fitted with sa 3 speed and set up the right hand cone so that the gears work correctly this will save any frustration after the wheel has been built into a rim it is also an idea to leave the hub in the bike for a few days and work the gears 1st through to 3rd at least once a day this will work the grease through the internals and also show up any slight tweeks which may be needed

  17. I just stripped a Sturmey Archer X-RD5(w)
    Wide Range 5 speed.
    Better sun gear engagement design than the ball bearing type!

    This is my new favorite hub since SRAM discontinued the Spectro 7 Drum Brake version.

    Cheers, Aaron

    PS. This hub comes on the new o-ten Torker Graduate.

  18. Hi Folks,

    Rather enjoying the blog. For the benefit of those that have perhaps never stripped a Sturmey, I’ve posted a video on Youtube showing the basics at:

    With best regards,

    • willy

      Thank you! Thank you!

      As long as I’m leaving a comment, I’m going to ask a newbie question and hope some kind soul answers. I have an old Trek 1000 road bike (2006 model year) and wonder whether I can convert it to use with a Sturmey Archer hub. I’m interested in either a 2-speed or 3-speed. Will any of SA’s hubs work? Thanks!

    • jim

      Thank you so much 4 the video
      i have a Q, how do i remove the indicator chain ? mine is
      broken and inside the axle,
      Thanks !!!

      • With some difficulty! Remove the wheel nut. Try, and generally fail, to get the end of the rod with your narrowest pliers, then working your way through the wife’s tweezers etc until you manage to unscrew it. It’s not gonna be easy 😦

      • jim

        thanks 4 the tip, when i disasambled the hub, it was easier than i thought to remove the indicator chain, thanks so much !

    • Hi Graham,
      Thanks to your brilliant video I have dared to open up these beauties and found a fab new hobby. I currently have 6 bikes with all makes and models of hub gears (I live in Holland where they are the norm). I must have watched all your videos 2 or 3 times both before and during stripping. Love the farting dog!
      I don’t suppose you have any experience with Shimano Nexus Inter-7s do you? Mine is playing up and I’d love someone to make a video for these. I still find it a daunting prospect to open this one up and strip it, although the parts are relatively easy to find here.

      • Simon, I kind of tickled when I hear my video was useful 🙂 so thanks for letting me know. I’ve not done a Nexus Inter-7, but should one ever find its way onto my bench, then i’ll dive straight in. I have a long list of videos that I still need to “get round to” so I suppose I should really get a move on. I’m pleased you enjoyed the farting dog!

  19. Julian

    Can anyone advise please.

    My Brompton folder originally came with a 28 hole Sprinter 5-speed hub.

    The axle developed a crack (common fault) so the internals were replaced with the xrd-5 internals.

    The shift is better and there are no fake neutrals.

    However I have worn out the shell and need a replacement.

    With no Sprinter 5 shells available in 28 hole form can anyone advise on backward compatability please,


  20. Tom


    You’ve worn out a hubshell?

    Hubshell replacement will involve a wheel rebuild. You’ll want new spokes; inspection may reveal a new rim is warranted. I would suggest just building a new wheel with all new parts.

    Sturmey’s current production offerings include the SRF5(W) in 28 hole and 111mm OLD and the XRF8(W) in 28 hole and 120mm OLD.


  21. I have just finished updating the Sturmey-Archer pages on Sheldon Brown’s Web site, http://sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer.html. It now links to rebuilding information on almost all of the newer hubs (exceptions: those for which no information is online).

    • Karl

      I desperately want to build a 28h wheel (406) with the B2C hub (36h). This is my first build so the learning curve alone is steep.

      I’ve thought over building a standard 36h wheel for the hub.

      Finding a 28h IGH on EBAY—lost everyone—getting frustrating.

      My last idea is get a AW 28h shell and swap it over the B2C gears. My question to the hubstrippers is… is it possible? Are the shells dimensions different for every year or can I just pull the shell off any steel AWC and put it over the B2C gears?

      If any one can help with a 28h 2 or 3 speed coaster hub, I would be indebted!

      • carl

        Hi I’m about to build a 20″ (406) 36h wheel with the SA B2C hub. I’m using an alex alloy bmx rim that seems ideal. I do have a spare new one and will sell it for £15.00 plus P&P


  22. KWW

    The only thing lacking in S-A’s lineup is a combination geared hub and dynohub.

  23. RonSA

    I’m looking for the new SA X-RF5(W) 256% hub with a 119mm over locknut since the beginning of the year now. Impossible to find an online dealer (I’m in Europe) and my local dealer have no news about that product.
    I see that some people produce some review about it then I think it is available.
    I google x-rf5(w) OR XRF-5(w) OR xrf5(w) OR x-rf5w OR xrf5w without success. Does anyone have a tip to buy this new hub?

  24. Bill

    I’m looking for minimum chainring size for the CS-RF3 and CS-RK3 hubs. All I see on the SA site is (11-34t) a min and max for the cassette.

    Thanks, Bill

  25. Paul Griffin

    Graham, excellent video, for which many thanks. I notice you don’t mention the two-start thread on the right-hand ball ring, which is referred to by Sheldon and others. How important is this, and what difference does it make to the mechanism’s operation if you reassemble it 180 degrees differently from the original position? Sheldon said the letters SA are punched in one of the two notches, but they aren’t in the hub I’ve been learning on, which came from a Vindec shopper bike. However, my initial efforts to open the hub with a hammer and punch have marked one of the notches just as effectively! Must take more care when I tackle my actual bike.

    • Paul, I’m pleased the video proved useful to you. Unless I have been lucky 100 percent of the time over the last twenty five years, the two-start thread makes no difference, assuming it even is a two-start thread. I’ve never really checked, and wasn’t advised of it when I was taught how to do it by a Sturmey employee at the time. As with most things, I am more than happy to be proved wrong. All I can say for sure is every hub I’ve ever refurbed, which must run in to the hundreds by now, have all worked perfectly well afterwards. Given the internal turns and assuming the ball ring screws in fully, I cannot see what difference it will make. Can anyone re-educate me?

  26. Paul Griffin

    Thanks Graham. It certainly does seem to be a two-start thread but, like you, I can’t imagine what difference this makes. The ball ring will screw in just as far either way, and as it’s circular with no distinguishing features at any part of its circumference (apart from the notches), starting it either way should be just as good. I think the injunction about the two-start thread originally appeared in Sturmey-Archer service literature, and has been repeated faithfully ever since without anyone trying to work out the reason for it. In the old days, SA seemed to give odd instructions sometimes, as in the warning only to use grease in the outside channels of the wheel bearing dust caps and nowhere else. I could never figure out how the wheel bearing races would get any lubrication if you did this, unless the hub were almost half-full of oil, in which case the latter would ruin your tyres. The bearings in the ball ring also seem separated from the oil in the hub, and would surely need lubricating before assembly. I suspect it’s a case of an ounce of engineer’s instinct being worth a ton of written instructions.

  27. Having overhauled hundreds of AW hubs, I have never seen the double-start thread cause any problems. We ignore it!

    Howard Sutherland in his book, “Sutherland’s Handbook for Bicycle Mechanics, Fourth Edition”, page

    • ….page 9-24 says, “The right-hand ball ring may have a double start thread. If the ball ring is replaced in the opposite position, the wheel may need retruing. To facilitate proper reassembly, mark the ball ring at the point nearest the lubricator.”

      Again, we don’t do this and have not noticed a problem. We also check wheel trueness after any hub overhaul.

      I recommend a cold chisle instead of a drift punch to remove the ball ring. If your hub has half round notches, Sturmey-Archer now makes a nice double-handled tool. Your LBS can order it for you from United Bicycle Supply.

  28. Paul Griffin

    Here’s a rum thing. I wonder if any of you old Sturmey Archer hands have ever encountered anything similar? I dismantled a rear wheel with a SA AW hub and discovered that the left-hand end cap of the hub had sheared off neatly at the hub flange, leaving the ratchet ring inside the shell. After I knocked out the ring, it broke easily into several pieces. This was the later type with the splines, rather than the threaded fitting. It was dated 1982, so not ancient. I wonder if this was a quality control issue, or some sort of metal fatigue? On examining the internals, I found there was no oil, and everything had been greased. The hub had an oil port, so I assume somebody before me had attempted to service it. Maybe something they did had resulted in the broken end cap. Thankfully, I had a spare hub to hand.

  29. RonSA

    I finally found in october 2010 a local dealer for the XRF5(W).
    It tooks three monthes for the Sturmey Archer reseller to deliver a wrong reference (the old XRF5). It tooks two more monthes to get the XRF5(W).
    I still missing in may 2011 the good shifter and a 21T sprocket.
    Sturmey Archer distribution is so much bad. I thonk I wouldn’t deal with them again.

  30. Eric Concannon

    Heya. I wonder anyone has thoughts on how to make sure a vintage SA cone wrench (unknown age) gets in the hands of someone who needs one? I’m in the US and would mail it to anyone in the states who asks for it at no charge.

  31. Anonymous

    Eric if it’s the very thin and short one they are not so rare as I see them on ebay all the time. Though hopefully someone in the USA will be happy to accept your kind offer!

  32. Eric Concannon

    Rarity aside, when you really need one, I bet they are pretty tough to find. I’m still quite willing to mail it along if someone wants it.

    • nick

      I’m a vintage builder enthusiast that would love to have it Eric. I live in Kennewick Washington.

      • Eric Concannon

        Hey, Nick. It’s all yours. My mother lives nearby in Lacey, but I won’t be visiting here any time soon to deliver it personally. Send me your mailing address via personal message and it’ll be in the mail the next day: ericconcannon at yahoo dot com.

      • Eric Concannon

        Nick – ready to mail the wrench, but need your snail mail address. Email me with it at the address I posted earlier.

  33. Anonymous

    I have a Sturmey Archer TF2 hub. It’s a 1937 2 speed fixed hub, i have stripped it down to check for wear and refurbish it. I need to replace the ring gear due to a worn bearing surface, does anyone know where i might get one? I realise this may be but a futile search but i’m hopefull someone can help.

  34. I have a lot of very old SA parts that I have not identified. It is a constant process as I overhaul many different hubs over the years!
    Can you send me a picture? aaron@rideyourbike.com

  35. Hey all,
    I have 2 brand new S3X hubs, one of which is fine and the other is giving me grief. I have been trying for a few days now to thread the damn indicator rod in, but it just won’t catch on anything. What are the odds that a brand new hub has been sold with a stripped nut, and is there a way to crack this thing open so I can see what the problem is? The threads on the rod appear fine.

  36. Eben Lenz

    I have a ’93 Sprinter Elite Five speed in need of a shifter. Are any of the newer shifters compatible with this hub? The original Nimbus Shifter for this Hub is no longer manufactured by S-A/Sunrace.

  37. I picked up an S3X hub and had a very hard time getting it adjusted so that the 3rd gear (1:1) wasn’t slipping. I found the servicing instructions in a forum post and adjusted the RH cone to set the travel accordingly, and now it locks in perfect in all gears. I can’t believe SA is sending hubs out unadjusted, and without any instructions for adjusting them. Thanks for the internet.

  38. aaronsbicyclerepair

    We tried Super Lube and found it lacking in corrosion protection.
    We even tried mixing it with Sta-Lube Blue Marine Grease and still it was not enough to combat wet Seattle weather.
    Straight Blue Marine Grease works great and mixes will with Phil Wood Tenacious Oil. We have over 20 years experience using this blend with no problems.

  39. I would like feedback on the use of the CS-RF3 hub. My hub clatters which could be a pawl. When in drive its mute. Take the pressure off and the hub rattles and slips when engaging.

  40. mat

    Hello There,
    i’ve purchased a sturmey archer XL-RD3 (3 speed hub) and i’m currently using a 34 tooth chain ring, with a 18 tooth sprocket. No instructions came with the hub itself, and on earlier instructions (when the same model was produced in Britain) there’s a warning that i shouldn’t be using anything less than a 2:1 ratio between the chain ring and sprocket. Does this still apply, now that the manufacturers have changed? Can i get away with continuing to use such a chain ring, or would i be better of fitting a 36 tooth chain ring, instead?
    Thanks for reading this far,

  41. OIL.
    is it ok to remove the grease and use oil on a new SA 3 speed?
    I have an 80 year old SA which is pretty friction free, my daughters new bike a shimano 3 speed, which is definitely not friction free and make lots of clicking.

  42. Anonymous

    i need parts three speed hub AB sturmey archer bearing made in England.

  43. Thabo

    i need parts three speed hub AB sturmey archer bearing made in England.

  44. Jakub

    Hi. I have recently purchased an 8 speed Sturmey Archer hub X-RD8(W). After few months of relatively light use, I’ve noticed that sometimes the gears No. 3, 5, 7 & 8 are much lighter than usual, and out of sequence – looks like one of the planetary gears is not engaged. It happens especially in cold weather.
    After few minutes of riding, it starts to engage correctly.
    I’ve checked the alignment of the shifting cable and it is OK – the indicator is right in the center when on gear 4. Any idea what to try – before dissassembly?

    • Dale


      I have an X-RF8 with similar issues. I bought it as a built wheel from a person who had tried it and could not get the hub functioning reliably. I can get the hub adjusted on the work stand, but when I test ride it always needs adjustment. It also does not seem to stay adjusted. There is no S/A dealer in my area so I am on my own. I really do like the hub when it is working properly.

  45. Good article and right to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you guys have any thoughts on where to get some professional writers? Thank you 🙂

    • henry sheil

      Do you mean professional writers who are also properly qualified and experienced professionals in mechanical engineering and/or bicycle and/or motorcycle technologies?
      If so, let’s discuss?
      Kind regards,

  46. I have a shopping cart site on Joomla. I want to add my wordpress blog to my joomla site. How do i do this? Many sites suggest using a tool called joomblog, but joomla shut that product down because messes with the core modules of the site. . . What do i do?.

  47. How do I delete computer passwords from a different user on my computer?

  48. There is certainly a great deal to learn about this issue. I like all of the points you’ve made.

  1. 1 Bicycle Sturmey | Xpedition Online

    […] Brompton folding bikes use magical Sturmey Archer 3 speed hubsBeautiful Bicycles: Meet My New Bike!Hubstripping.com #content-body,x:-moz-any-link{float:left;margin-right:28px;}#content-body, x:-moz-any-link, […]

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