For your first hub stripping attempt you should choose a hub with a simple mechanic construction. This makes it easyer and less time consuming. A simple hub is also less expensive and for your first contact with this hobby a perfect start.

You could start with a single speed hub for example a Fichel & Sachs Torpedo or Torpedo Komet hub (both 10,- Euro). These freewheel hubs have both a coaster brake. These kind of hubs are also available from Shimano or Sturmey – Archer. So you´ll have the first contact with a freewheell mechanism and the coaster brake.

For more experienced and motivated persons I would recommend the Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic or Automatic internal two gear hub (both 25,- Euro). The third alternative would be a used three gear hub ( 8,- Euro).

All of these hubs are easy and cheap to get from your local bike dealers. They have normally certain amount if broken or old hubs for spare part reasons. Another interesting aspect are broken hubs. To find the mechanical failure inside the hub is a quite interesting thing.

Another source is eBay! All hub versions are available and especially the older hubs for a good price!

When you have organized a hub you´ll need a bottle (100ml) of standard bicycle (2,50,- Euro) oil and a few cloth. In addition you need the necessary hub tools (depends on hub 3,- to 30,- Euro), grease for the bearings (4,- Euro) and for the coaster or rollerbrake a special high temperature grease (4,- Euro). Thats it!

Hub tools

Tools for the Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic & Automatic hubs for total “stripping”

Finally you need your most valuable thing time! For the first hub stripping you should be very well organized. Put all the parts which you “strip” in the correct order in front of you.

Fichtel & Sachs tool

Starting with the lock nut

Duomatic major parts

First step: Duomatic “stripped” into it´s major parts.

When you have the feeling to be overwelmt by the amount and complexity of parts it makes sense to make some pictures of them.

Duomatic total stripping

Second step: Well organized duomatic hub stripping into it´s all the parts.

I would recommend a Fichtel & Sachs Simple because itWhen you “strip” a old hub you should disassemble it into it´s major parts and clean all parts with standard bicycle oil and tabs. Use no degreaser because this would destroy the oil- and lubricating films of the different parts. A result would be a increasing mechanical wear of slide bearings.

Duomatic before strip

View into the hub casing of a 34 year old Torpedo Duomatic

It´s a great hobby where you directly see the result of your work. Also fascinating is to see and hear (click-clack) the different filigran parts. And get an understanding of the mechanism inside this world of pinions and catches. After a while dealing with the different internal gear hubs you understand what the engineers thoughts were and how they solved the differnt challenges of a long lasting gear hub.

Duomatic after strip

Oil lubricated Duomatic for collection purpose

June 4th 2009

Here I add the recommended grease and tools from SRAM and Shimano for the internal geared hubs and the coaster brake high temperature grease:

sram_internal_gear_hub_grease_high temperature_grease


Where to put the grease, oil and high temperature grease? Jens Hansen has the solution and a overview for all F&S hubs.

  1. John Magana

    Thank you! Very, very useful material. I just studied you site and successfully rebuilt a Komet 161 Super hub.

  2. Edward E. Dolendo

    I have obtained a Sachs fichtel duomatic hub that needs rebuilding. It spins okay but not sure if the 2 speed shifting is working properly. I might as well rebuild it with new grease and possibly some new bearings. Could you send me some instructions on rebuilding it, an “exploded” view or where on the internet I can obtain help on the rebuild. I am really excited to have obtained one and will let you know what I think after the rebuilding and lacing to a wheel.

    Thanks and best regards,


  3. Shin

    I’ve visited your web site with interest.
    I’m trying to strip my old Duomatic hub.
    So please let me know where can I buy the Wrench for Duomatic?

    Best regards

  4. Wolle

    You really made me want a Duomatic, and today I found one in an old 70th folding bike for a few Euros. It works like new and will be the trigger for a new bicycle setup soon.

    Best regards from Cologne (Germany),

  5. Nat

    Gonna have to disagree with one key aspect of your “stripping” advice: you absolutely must use degreaser. without even considering all the gunk and grit that won’t be removed by a mere oil wash, if you don’t degrease, there will still be at least a residue of the old grease on the parts. why is this a problem? unless you use a grease of a compatible base type when you reassemble, the old grease can and will act as a solvent and degrade the “soap” or binding agent of the new grease and severely reduce it’s lubricating effectiveness and longevity. in dealing with hubs that might be half a century old, how could you possibly know what kind of grease was last used? there are at least a dozen grease base types in common use and NONE are compatible with all of the others. once you’ve TOTALLY removed all of the old grease with a solvent, you then remove the solvent with alcohol and allow to dry, leaving the parts physically and chemically bare. and there is no risk of “destroying the oil film of the parts” as you say: you’re slathering on brand new grease, with plenty of “oil film” of its own. so really, the process is not nearly as simple as you say, especially with the hardened, gummy grease you’ll find in an old hub. take the time to do it right and remove all that old grease, coat the parts liberally in fresh stuff, work it into all moving parts, and you will be rewarded. take shortcuts as the author suggests, and you’re asking for trouble.

  6. John

    Hi Nat,

    Thanks for your advice on using solvent when cleaning the hub. I have a couple of questions:

    1) What solvent would you recommend –
    would kerosene be OK?

    2) What grease would you reccomend –
    I am thinking of using
    a grease designed for front-wheels of cars that use disk brakes. The grease is rated up to 150C. would this OK?
    Some people suggest to use the Shimano
    roller-brake grease on the F&S brake ‘shoes’, and another
    grease for the bearings, but I am concerned about
    mixing greases within the hub. What do you think?



  7. Nat


    Kerosene will absolutely work. But it has two drawbacks: it smells pretty bad (i.e. shouldn’t be breathed in or used inside) and because it’s petroleum-based, it’s very toxic and can enter the body easily through the skin. i prefer a citrus-based degreaser (which still shouldn’t exactly be inhaled or slathered over the skin or anything). don’t buy the bike-specific stuff; it’s a waste of money. head to the hardware store and by a gallon jug of it for a few bucks. i buy the ZEP brand, works great.

    As for grease, any automotive bearing grease will work fine. don’t pay the extra money for bike grease. car bearings see loads and speeds unheard of in the bike world, not to mention plenty of salt and water, so the greases used in them are more than adequate for bike hubs. now, coaster brakes are a special case. with the braking mechanism intrinsically linked to the hub bearing, heat becomes a huge issue and i would definitely support your idea of using a high-temp disc brake grease. i never have, and it hasn’t been an issue, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

    and, yeah, i wouldn’t ever use two different greases in the same hub. there’s really no point (unless it’s oil and grease as in an old sturmey archer three speed, but oil and grease are compatible). any grease marketed by a bike company (such as shimano roller-brake grease) is just relabeled grease from a major manufacturer, the same ones that make auto grease. the only reason people are suggesting it for the shoes is that it’s made for high temps, but disk brake grease is made for even higher temps, costs less and is more readily available. the thing with coaster brakes is, once the shoes get hot, the whole hub gets hot and you might as well have high temp grease on the bearings too.

    so, since most any grease will work, pick a color you like. because white and red don’t seem to stain clothes as badly as black, i use them. and they make it really easy to see if you’re getting outside contamination when you open your hubs up a few months later.

  8. Hello Marco,
    I just got a 1980 Automatic hub, and I’d like to strip it. I see you have two special F&S tools to remove the “sicherungsmutters”. What other tools could I use?

    Thanks for the great site – your enthusiasm is an inspiration.
    Very valuable advice about only adding spacers to the non-drive side of the hub as well. My bikes are 120 spaced, so I think I’ll be fine. One has thick dropouts, and one has thin; if I can only use the hub on the thin-dropout bike, that would be fine.

    Thanks also to Steamdriven for the hub measurements! It looks like the right spoke length for a CR18 rim is 292.3mm.


  9. Hi Philip,

    the tool is very simple. Take a 3-4mm thick metal plate and saw it like the tool in the picture. You need only one of these tools to fix the Mutter! The other Mutter can be opend very easy with a screwdriver and a hammer.



    • Philip

      Thanks, Marco, I will consider making one of these tools.
      In the meantime, I took the hub to a bike shop, and they used Park pin pliers on one Mutter, and (carefully) vice-grips on the other to loosen them.


  10. Johan Svensson

    Hi there,

    One question regarding the brake on my duomatic 102. When I brake I need to push back the pedal approx 25 degrees before the brake-force is there, and I also feel a lack of brake-power. Can You “tune” the brake somehow or do I need to replace something to make it better?


  11. Hello,

    I’ve just stripped and re-greased the brand new A2110 Duomatic hub I bought from Marco and it’s making a noise when pedaling. The noise is in both gears and stops when you stop pedaling but the wheel is still spinning.

    It isn’t a single, continuous noise. I’ve taken the hub apart and checked everything. The only thing I can see that might be touching inside is the brakeshell (bremamantel). Both times I assembled the hub adjusted the bearings according to the assembling instructions (tighten nut until axial play is removed, then loosen by 1/5 of a turn before tightening the locknut).

    I’ve uploaded a 30 second film of the hub making the noise at Login name – torpedo
    Password – duomatic

    Any ideas?


  12. If you click on my name you can see a gallery of photos of my hub.

  13. Just thought I’d add…

    This was my first time to take a Duomatic hub apart. I’d been using a 28 holes, earlier type R 102 hub for a year but it kept breaking spokes, maybe because of my 90 kilo weight. It worked very well and the only ‘problem’ was that the brake would grab slightly when first applied. I never took it apart so maybe it just needed new grease. It was the old type with an oil nipple.

    The later 36 hole type R 2110 that I bought from Marco a year ago was without the nipple and I finally got it laced up a couple of weeks ago. Mindful of Marco’s advice to strip it and re-grease it due to the original grease having turned to resin, I set about dismantling it. If you click on my name at the head of this post you will get taken to my Flickr album of photos of my Duomatic disassembled and an original Fichtel & Sachs “Assembling Instructions” guide to dismantling the A 2110 Torpedo Duomatic hub.

    This A 2110 hub is a bit different from the hub I bought from Marco, an R 2110 . The R has an orange plastic part missing from the ‘Driver bush assembly’ (or the Zbs-Antriebsbuchse?) which is missing from the A 3110. Otherwise, I found the Instructions very useful. If you have the R 2110 from Marco you will find the chart very useful and you can download photos of it from the Flickr site. I would scan it but my scanner is too small… maybe I will scan parts of it and somehow put them together and upload them to Flickr if I can work it out.

    Anyway, the first thing this hub-stripping novice was very pleased to find out is that nothing flew across the room when I took the hub mechanism from the hub shell. This was something that I was worried about and couldn’t find anyone mention anywhere on this site.

    In the following description of what I did, all the part names are from the Fichtel & Sachs instructions which are photographed and uploaded to my Flickr album. (Note to Marco: if you would like me to send you the photos of the hub and or the Instructions directly, please let me know.)

    Basically, you start on the non-drive side of the hub and remove the Lever cone assembly and and the Ball cage, which will probably remain in the cone assembly due to grease keeping it stuck there. It might fall out on to the Spindle…

    Then you remove the Brake shell. If you hold the now-open end of the hub downwards it will fall out of the hub, together with the Brake cone assembly although I kept mine on the Spindle and removed it from the other side. When reassembling you should do so from the drive side – when you do the job you will see it is to make sure the little circlip end needs to be inserted into a hole on the drive side of the Brake cone assembly.

    You then invert the hub with your hand holding the Spindle on the drive side. If you don’t hold your hand over the drive side of the hub all the rest of the mechanism will fall out (remember, it was the nuts on the Lever cone assembly that were keeping the hub together).

    You then have the Lever cone assembly, the ball cage, the Brake shell and maybe the Brake cone assembly on one side of the hub, and the Spindle and all the rest of the assembly threaded on the Spindle on the other.

    All you have to do then is clean it all, re-grease it and reassemble it in the same order as you took it apart. I photographed every step of the dismantling process but it wasn’t really necessary with the maker’s Assembling instructions. After I’d cleaned everything (with a de-greaser called Jizer) I reassembled the hub to see how it worked. I took the photos on Flickr when I disassembled it again to re-grease it. That’s why all the parts are clean.

    I wondered about using high temperature Shimano grease for the brake parts but eventually decided to use the same grease for everything. I used Shell Retinax A bearing grease. I bought it about 12 years ago and despite greasing all the bearings on 3 BMW motorcycles for 12 years still have about 250 ml left out of 1 litre. It’s okay up to 150C and as I only use the rear brake sparingly around town, preferring to use the front brake for serious stopping, I reckon it will be okay.

    Now, apart from the noise I wrote about above, the hub work fine. I found actually that when riding the bike the noise seems to stop. Maybe something about the hub being upside down? I can’t imagine so but… Or?

    Hope this is helpful to someone. The hub really is easy to work on. You just have to take your time and make sure you remember which way it came apart. Or use a chart.

    • Hello Hugo,

      good to hear you again. The work you have done is incredible. Thanks for all the detailed pictures and the A2110 Instructions (the A stands for AUTOMATIC… So the instructions pictures show another hub with another shifting mechanism. Check:
      The sound is strange… something is wrong here! Please check the right position of the bearing rings. Then check the Bremsmantel (Part Nr. 9 in the A2110 instructions)! Normally the Bremsmantel is totally covered with high temperature grease. Also the inner side of the hubshell in this region receives a lot of high temperature grease. The Bremsmantel rotates with the axle but is not really mechanical guided. This means it can slack to some extend. When there is not enough grease at the mentioned areas this can cause the noise. During breaking the Bremsmantel will be mechanical fixed from both sides and be spread by the cone of part Nr. 12. The result will be a friction between the Bremsmantel and the inner side of the hubshell.

      Let me give you another pimp tip!

      In the final (bad economical) years of the Fichtel & Sachs company the main task was to reduce costs. They started also to reduce the amount of (expensive) balls in the bearings. This means they started to use the bearing cages to reduce the amount of balls. To receive a even longer lasting hub here is my recommendation.
      Take the balls out of the cage. Buy enough balls (check the detailed size of the balls) to cover the whole bearing surface. Finally you have a circle of balls (Use enough grease to place them!). Now reduce the ball circle by one (1) ball. This is necessary to give the balls enough place / space to rotate. Now you have achived the best bearing / force performance!



      • Ha ha ha! I’ve just looked at the chart I have and I see that you are right. It has “Torpedo Automatic” written on it in very big letters – I don’t know how I missed it! I think I was too busy looking at the exploded diagrams and explanations.

        Thank you for your reply, Marco. It’s good to hear from you again, too, and your advice is very much appreciated. Now I know how easy it is to take the Duomatic apart I shall do it with pleasure. I’ll post here again as soon as I have done so.

        In the meantime, the guide wire you mention, going from the yellow part, clearly visible here, is fully inserted into the part above it in the photo so that’s okay.

        I too think it is the Brake shell (Bremsmantel) making the noise. I did grease it but not as thickly as you recommend so that will be my first job. I will also follow your suggestion to remove the bearing cages and increase the number of ball bearings at the same time – that’s an excellent idea!

        A last question: do you know the temperature range of the grease suggested by Fichtel & Sachs for the Brake shell (Bremsmantel)? As I mentioned, I’m pretty sure 150C will be hot enough for my purpose (light breaking for short periods of time) but I am interested to know what F&S suggested for hard use with lots of downhill braking.

        Kind regards,


  14. Oh, and a couple of corrections to my first 3 posts:

    I bought a brand new R 2110 hub from Marco, not an A 2110. As Marco has pointed out, the A is for Automatic. My hub is a Duomatic.

    The Fichtel & Sachs ‘Assembling instructions’ chart that is pictured on my Flickr site is for the automatic A 2110 hub and not the Duomatic R 2110. However, it is still useful as most of the parts in the A 2110 are the same as the parts in the R 2110 – actually, I am surprised at HOW similar they are.

  15. For anyone interested, I have just added a couple of photos and comprehensive descriptions to all photos in my Flickr album

    I shall be taking Marco’s excellent advice and removing the Bearing Cage and adding more ball bearings, probably this weekend. When I do so I shall take some photos of the job and upload them to the album.

    You can access the Flickr album by clicking on my name at the top of this comment.

  16. Hello Hugo,

    I just added the recommended grease and tools from SHIMANO and SRAM in the post above.

    I couldn´t find a temperature range of the high temperature coaster brake grease.



  17. Philip

    Hi all,
    I just built up a blue Automatic into a wheel, and it doesn’t spin very freely. I’m going to strip it and degrease it, and I was thinking about putting it back together using only synthetic motor oil.
    Is this a stupid idea? It seems like it would lubricate well, have little resistance, and also withstand the heat of the coaster brake.


  18. I think the oil will just run out of the hub. Also, you are supposed to fill the brake shell with grease. Grease stays where you put it whereas oil runs away.

  19. Philip

    Good point. I think the dragginess is actually caused by me not backing the Mutter off 1/5 turn. I’ll make sure I do that when I regrease with actual grease.

    Second bad idea: is there any reason not to grind flats on the mutters, so you can use cone wrenches on them?

  20. Yes, over-tight bearings would cause drag.

    If you didn’t remove too much metal and weaken the locknut (mutter) it should be okay. You can get the right tool, though. There’s an ebay seller in France with 10 for sale right now for $10 each. See:

  21. Philip

    Thanks for the tip! I’d rather have the real tool. It looks like two is ideal, but one is sufficient, maybe?

  22. No, you need two – one to keep the the inside nut from turning while you tighten the outside nut with the other one.

  23. marc5

    hi there,

    I just ordered a automatic hub from marco.

    I am in the process of stripping it and degreasing it.

    Any tips on what kind of grease i should use?

    Is it important that i use a specific grease?

    I actually have a tub of finishline teflon grease and it does say it is suitable for hubs and bearings. Is that advisable? If not, what kind should i use.


  24. Hello again,
    I had some bad luck with my Automatic hub – a hard pedal strike while cornering. Afterwards, the coaster brake makes a horrible clattering sound when I backpedal. The gears still shift perfectly. The problem only comes when I brake or coast.
    It doesn’t always happen, either: maybe 70% of the time.

    I took the hub apart, and there was nothing obviously broken. I put it back together, making sure the spring end went into the gap in the brake, but it still rattles and clatters.
    Do you have any suggestions for what could cause a noise like that?


  25. I fixed it!
    One of the two brass pawls (#16 sperrklinke) had popped out from under the spring (#15 sprengring). I pulled the spring around with a hemostatic clamp so the end was not right over the pawl, and with an Xacto knife and a bent hairpin, I managed to slip the pawl back under the spring.
    It took many tries, but now the hub is silent, and the coaster brake works!

  26. Dan

    Thank you !!!!!!!!

  27. Hello Marco,

    I’m sad to say I broke my F&S Automatic. I have a couple of questions: How could I have broken it? Can I replace the part?

    A Flickr image of the hub and broken part:


  28. John I

    Hi Philip,

    >I’m sad to say I broke my F&S Automatic.

    That’s too bad!

    > How could I have broken it?

    What size front chainring are you using?
    A low gear puts alot of strain on the hub.
    Do you ride very strenuously?

    >Can I replace the part?

    Try this website:

    The site is in German,
    but it is easy to navigate.
    The owner Jens Hansen and he is
    very friendly and will answer emails in English.
    He should have the part you need.

    Good luck!

    John I

  29. John I

    Hi Philip,

    Sorry, I made a mistake in my last post. The website is:

    John I

  30. sean

    My duomatic has a funny noise one in a while.

    When I am in second gear, and I use the brake, then I pedal a bit in first gear, then I shift to second again, sometimes after a few rotations of the pedals, there is a “knock” sound in the hub. I can’t figure out what might cause that.

    Any ideas?

    I plan to reuild the entire hub soon.

    Also, what type of oil is recommended for the oil port on the hub?

    For my SA 3 speed hubs I use chainsaw bar oil which is similar to “phil’s tenacious oil” but slightly thinner and less sticky.


  31. Brian Perkins


    Great Site, well done. Not sure if it has been mentioned but in your photos you show the two different kinds of Duomatic without making mention of this. The first two of the dis-assembled hub are a newer Duomatic. The photo of the assembled mechanism just above the greasing instructions is a different design, the old Duomatic. As will be noted, they are really different. The older one has two sets of pawls that engage in different directions. The newer one has a brown plastic ring that clicks around a bit like the mechanism on the top of a Biro pen.

  32. Rolle

    Hello Hugo! I see that you have a picture on the Torpedo Automatic chart and the sparepart list. The problem is that I can´t see the numbers for spareparts. So could you take a picture on the whole spareparts list so you can see the numbers.

    • Hello Rolle,

      At the top of the picture of the spare parts list, about in the middle, there is a small icon named “ALL SIZES”. Click on that and the picture will get bigger. At the top of that picture, on the right, you will see “Original (3792 x 2715)”. Click on that and you will get a picture which is big enough to read the spare part numbers.



  33. bobc

    Do you want a crank chainwheel with a crazy number of teeth? Or a hub gear sporcket likewise? or an elliptical chainwheel? or eccentric (one leg stronger that the other?)? or customised e.g. with your name in?

    Without breaking the bank?

    Do what my mate did: – he used autoCAD to design his crank and gave the .dxf file to our local laser cutting company. They cut it out of 2mm stainless within 2 days for £25. This is an 80 tooth chainwheel – just try to purchase one of those!!

    Here is a photograph of it on his folder:


  34. www Gday, I absolutely love this site. So much usefull detail. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Cheers!

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