Friday, July 27, 2007

Shifty Shifter

Yesterday, I disconnected the shifter and took it off. The bike is now cable-free, like the fixed gears you see all over the place these days. I actually like the clean look, but I'm not willing to give up gears and brakes to get it.

The picture on top is the shifter that was on there. Note the rust, broken plastic, and the cable casing that has peeled away. The cable itself is also in pretty sorry shape down near the indicator spindle (look at me, showing off the internal gear hub lingo--it's the little chain that comes out of the right side of the hub).

The picture on the bottom is the new trigger shifter and cable I'm going to order from Harris Cyclery. One thing to note is that my original cable isn't adjustable like the one shown here, which can be trimmed to fit, then the anchorage added. Since I'm not attempting a completely authentic restoration, the universal cable and the more modern-looking shifter don't bother me, but if you were doing a hard-core restoration, you can still get the original cables at Harris Cyclery, although I think their quantities are limited.


  1. Great site. I am rehabbing a 1963 Columbia Sports III (black) that is in remarkably good shape. The rear wheel sports a 1972 Sturmey-Archer hub, however, and it is leaking oil on the control side. Any thoughts on the problem and its solution?

  2. Hm, where specifically is the oil coming out? I haven't personally encountered this problem, but you should have a look at the "Sturmey-Archer 3-Speed Resources" section of links in the sidebar at right. You may be able to find something there to help you trouble shoot the problem.

  3. Well, looks like this is a common problem... when you put in more than a small amount of oil. Brian Hayes's site says:

    "The recommended amount of oil in the hub at any given time is great mystery to me. These hubs tend to leak whatever oil they have, especially if you have the old style metal lubricator cap. Sturmey-Archer have suggested two teaspoons poured into the internals upon initial assembly and replenishments of a few drops at a time. It is unclear to me what level of oil, if any, this practice was intended to maintain. Too much oiling doesn’t do any harm to the hub, but it will ruin the effectiveness of the rear brake if one does not keep after the mess. I have adopted a “little and not very often” approach which seems to keep the hubs working well and relatively clean."

    The leak is on the control cable end, at the seam midway between the shaft and the outer diameter of the hub.

    Thanks for the great site, it's been a big help.