a bit of bad luck...

I've struck upon some bad luck with my Raleigh Superbe, I've managed to strip both rear axle locknuts.   The non-drive side I stripped last night whilst adjusting the wheel position when I was truing the back wheel last night.  Today as I did a test ride to scout out a commute route, I found I suddenly couldn't shift into first gear, I had a quick look and noticed that the right axle nut had come a bit loose.  I tightened it up and felt it give, a lot like how they normally give when they strip their threads...

Looks like very few typical bike shops in London carry Sturmey Archer axle nuts, let alone know all that much about them; I called about 2 or 3 major shops and the most they could come up with was a non-drive side locknut.   The threading is the same from the older hubs to the current crop, after some googling I found that they are 13/32" x 26tpi which is a non-standard BSC (British Standard Cycle) threading, essentially they are unique to Sturmey Archer hubs.

  From my experience with older hubs the drive side locknut usually came in a one piece unit integrated with the indicator rod window, at one point in time they changed it to a two piece unit, so the locknuts were the same on both drive and non-drive sides and the indicator rod window bit was a separate bit you screwed on top, I guess this may have been to save money.  They discontinued this and went back to their old one piece design soon after, I think I know why now because the two piece units have less thread area and are more likely to strip, I was unfortunate enough to have these on my Superbe.  I've ordered a new set however, a one piece drive-side locknut and a domed locknut for the non-drive side; I observed in a bike shop that the new Pashleys, also with Sturmey Archer rear hubs have domed locknuts, probably because they look nicer but they also have more thread area which reduces the chances of stripping.

My previous order also arrived, I got some Sturmey Archer grease for internal use.  Sturmey Archer changed from oil lubrication to grease lubrication sometime in the 80's, the current crop of hubs don't have oiler holes like the old hubs and they require a special type of grease.  The grease itself is a special super viscous grease, it has the consistency of custard.  Knowing myself, I would have expected to be more of a retrogrouch and would have converted the hub to oil lubrication,  however the drum brake hubs can have problems with oil leaking into the drum sometimes which would be not so nice... so I opted to stick with the factory grease.  Grease lubrication also means less maintenance, requiring an overall every few years instead of dropping oil into it every few weeks.

Earlier on, I was slightly undecided whether to completely overhaul the hub, however I was quite glad I did because when I opened it up and took it apart I discovered one of the low gear pawls was actually cracked!  I did notice a slight click noise when I shifted into low gear when riding it sometimes, but I'm not sure if this is related or not. I bent the pawl a smidge and it broke in half like you can see below, good thing I found this now otherwise it would have turned the hub internals into a metallic mince pie.  New pawls are also on their way so hopefully it should be smooth sailing from now on.

That's all for now, hopefully I should be able to get my Raleigh up and running again soon.  Thanks for reading.


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