[CR]Lubrication - Sturmey Archer - putting it all together

Example: Humor:John Pergolizzi

From: "Raoul Delmare" <Raoul.L.Delmare@worldnet.att.net>
To: "Sheldon CaptainBike Brown" <CaptBike@sheldonbrown.com>, "C.R. List" <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>, "Bruce C." <BruceCumberland@comcast.net>
References: <BAY1-F7iGEDZkQ5XvJb0004bab3@hotmail.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 11:02:21 -0500
Subject: [CR]Lubrication - Sturmey Archer - putting it all together

Hello All,

Sheldon, I'd really like to hear your thoughts.


Here's what I know:

1.) The problem with "3-In-1 Oil" is that it includes things which become SERIOUSLY GUMMY with age. Perhaps they have changed the formula in recent years? I doubt it. I've heard it includes some vegetable oils? Very fresh castor oil in your Bugatti's crankcase is one thing. Old rancid vegetable oil in your bicycle's rear hub is another thing entirely! 3-in-1 = GUM

2.) Again, let me mention that years ago I was lucky enough to speak with an engineer who was actually on the team involved with developing what became "WD-40". As if we didn't all know it already, WD-40 forms SERIOUS VARNISH. But here's what I can tell you. It was DESIGNED to form varnish! The development team was given the task of creating something which would form a varnish-like barrier, to keep big steel equipment from rusting, before it was painted. It penetrates through water, to form a varnish-like-barrier. It was never intended to be a lubricant. WD-40 = VARNISH

3.) Actual, genuine, real Sturmey Archer Oil, always looked thinner than "30-weight" to me. I'm fairly sure that "30-weight" is thicker than what Sturmey Archer chose for their hubs.

4.) In the automotive world, they worry about lubricants designed to work in machines which have steel teeth which mesh together. Key terms; Hypoid Drive, Hypoid Drive Lube, Gear Lube, High-Pressure Lube. Obviously, "90-weight" rear axle lube is much-much too thick for your Sturmey gear . However, something in about a "20-weight", but containing "high-pressure" "gear-lubricants", might be theoretically the best thing for your S.A. rear hub.

5.) Currently there is much heated discussion among the owners of very high-performance motorbikes. What lube to use? Are new oils TOO thin? What to use when your engine shares its oil with your gear box? The result? Some, I say again some, oils for motorcycles actually do contain different "gear lubes", which automobile oils do NOT contain.

Here are my questions:

1.) Would a graduate of the Schwinn Training School, or someone with strong ties to Sturmey Archer, please confirm ?? Was the actual factory recommendation for lubing your Sturmey Archer rear hub; "two drops of oil, every fortnight" ?? Perhaps it may have been "two to four drops of oil, every fortnight" ??

2.) What is the BEST thickness of oil to use in a Sturmey Archer hub? S.A.E. 20 weight? S.A.E. 30 weight? Personally, I'd bet the very best "weight" (thickness, viscosity) to use in a Sturmey Archer hub would be perhaps 5W-20 . Of course, that's using the U.S.A. system of measuring viscosity. The W indicates it acts like a 5-weight oil in the Winter. Meaning it doesn't get as stiff in the cold weather.

3.) When cleaning the "gum" out of an old Sturmey Archer hub, without taking it apart, is automatic transmission fluid actually a really fine thing to use as a solvent & as a cleaner ? I'm talking about using a junk tire here. So it doesn't matter about the tire getting coated with chemicals which will make it rot. You fill the hub with some solvent. Spin the wheel. Let it sit overnight. Perhaps repeat, if the hub is really nasty. Then fill the hub with lubricant. Spin the wheel. Let it sit overnight. Perhaps repeat. Then fill the hub with lubricant again, and actually take it out for a gentle pedal around the block. Careful! The rear tire is slippery! Wait a couple of days for things to drain. Clean up the mess. Install a good tire. Then lube on a regular basis, only a very little, every fortnight.

So, what do you folks think ????

Oh, and P.S., yes, paraffin (U.K.) = kerosene (U.S.A.) and, petrol (U.K.) = gasoline (U.S.A.) Which leads to, Science teachers in the U.S.A. having to explain to children that "gas" (gasoline) is a liquid. "Gas" is not a gas.

Raoul Delmare
Marysville Kansas

----- Original Message -----
From: "sam Lingo"
To: ;
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 10:11 PM
Subject: RE: [CR] Lubrication

Raleigh recommends using their oil. New Departure says to use SAE-20 engine oil. The "Big Book of Hubs" says don't use "all purpose"(3-in-one)(WD40) and not to over oil and let the oil run down on the tyres/Raleigh also says not to get oil on tyres. Raleigh says you can clean freewheels with paraffin.Paraffin is candle wax to me--any idea what Paraffin means in the Queen's English?

And BTW Raleigh/T.I. had a lot of chemists and scientists on the pay-roll. They may not have refined the oil,but they very well tested oil for their needs.

I use Singer sewing machine oil--singers were also a product of England so I'm close at least

sam lingo pleasanton tx

----- Original Message -----
From: "reelfishin"
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 8:54 PM
Subject: Re: [CR] Lubrication

S/A hub oil, I believe was just 30 weight oil, depending on where and what temperature your operating it at, I would think that the main concern is to have an oil that is heavy enough to cling to and lube the internals, while not so thin that it leaks out of the bearing cup threads. I do usually use a straight 30 weight synthetic oil, but not so much for the improved performance as a lubricant, but to avoid the oil from "drying up" or varnishing if the bike sits for any length of time.

Joe McKishen
Vineland, NJ

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 8:17 PM
Subject: Re: [CR] Lubrication

Kohler states:
> The other essential is gear oil for Sturmey-Archer hubs. This seems to be a
> bone of contention among some who believe you can inject any old motor oil
> into the hub and be done with it.

My S-A's are lubed with VooDew which came with my Rohloff. Smooth,crisp changes. Only time will tell on the cleanliness. Craig Montgomery in Tucson

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 3:30 PM
Subject: [CR]Re: CR-Sturmey

I have it on accord that some English based swindlers bought Sturmey Archer for nearly nothing but promises to move the works so the building could be sold to the University. The swindlers drained the bank accounts and may have headed to South America. SunRace hired the management and engineers and bought what was left to resurrect the product. This was a good thing. Sun Race seems to be doing well by them if they could keep up with pent up demand.

Tony Hadland wrote the Sturmey Archer Book and his website documents most of it as I recall. http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hadland/

Yours in Cycling,

Gilbert Anderson

North Road Bicycle Company 519 W. North St. Raleigh, NC 27603 USA Toll Free Ph: 800.321.5511 Local Ph: 919.828.8999 E-mail: cyclestore@aol.com

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 10:03 AM
Subject: RE: [CR] Lubrication

I don't know if Campagnolo grease is any different from others, but being "period correct" with lubrication is important on practical rather than aesthetic or "curatorial" reasons. Most pre 1960s bicycles, especially British ones, were designed and built to be lubricated "little but often". There's nothing a British bike doesn't like, beyond an open road, than oil and the manuals all suggested lubricating every fortnight. It really is essential to, as they charmingly suggested, to "ensure sweet running". Pre-war, it was a common beginning of season ritual to repack hubs and bottom brackets. I suspect more modern synthetic grease negates the need for this. And Cyclo-Benelux derailleurs absolutely demand frequent oiling and cleaning.

The other essential is gear oil for Sturmey-Archer hubs. This seems to be a bone of contention among some who believe you can inject any old motor oil into the hub and be done with it. Sturmey made, of course, their own cycle oil which was specially made for hub gears being non-gumming and highly refined. That ended with Sun Race took over. But you can still get the same oil under the Raleigh name and also Halfords in the UK. It's essential to use this and not motor oil; a S/A gear is not a motor, it's a gear and so many gear problems arise from using too thick or gumming an oil. The closest to S/A gear is sewing machine oil. I've seen S/A gears dating from the 1940s opened up and absolutely clean as a pin thanks to using the right lubricant whereas others look like the EXXON VALDEZ at low tide. A simple expedient to clean out an old gear is to flood it with WD40 first and then use proper gear oil.

Peter Kohler
Washington DC USA