[CR]TF Woes and in Praise of Parts Stashes

(Example: Framebuilders:Jack Taylor)

From: "cmontgomery" <cmontgomery15@cox.net>
To: "ClassicRendezvous" <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 23:18:21 -0700
Subject: [CR]TF Woes and in Praise of Parts Stashes

This is kinda long, so if you're not interested in Sturmey-Archer don't waste your time. But then again, if you like parts stash stories you might like this.

A couple weeks back I received a Sturmey-Archer 2 speed fixed (the TF) won off ebay . As we all know, you take your chances with ebay. You're dependent on the veracity of the seller and your own judgement, good or bad. Sometimes you know what questions to ask, sometimes you don't, sometimes you forget. Sometimes you just lust. I could tell by the seller's description she wasn't too familiar with the unit, so its true condition was up in the air. I bid anyway, got it reasonably cheap for an S-A fixed hub, and kept my fingers crossed. It arrived with OK chrome, adequately smooth bearings, and a functioning chain toggle/indicator rod. So I built it up, hooked it up, and rode off, only to find it didn't shift. Devastation. I like Sturmey hubs, but I'm an enthusiast, not an aficionado. Have had my AM apart and hope that I never have to attack the FM or ASC. And I knew what had to be done. Fortunately taking a TF apart is a lot easier than one of the large shelled hubs. Just take off the axle nuts and cones. The innards are exposed and the axle slides right out. They really are wonderous little gizmos. I'm always amazed how those itty-bitty little gears can take such a pounding and last for decades. I cleaned everything, checked smoothness and sharpness of gears, felt for play, regreased bearings. Upon reinserting the shifting rod I discover the sun gear is not shifting sideways into a fixed sleeve to allow it to engage the planet gears. First thing I do is email Pete Paine, a most wonderous creation in his own right.

Then I proceed to stare at and fidget with that axle for an hour or so (while I watched Stagecoach for the 600th time) , trying to figure out how that Sun gear might be forced into action. A sleeve or spring on the indicator chain might do it. Got out my Hadland and went over the blow-up diagram a couple of times. Then I put on my glasses(duh). Lo and behold, there was an anamoly! The diagram showed two springs belonging to the shifting rod. The one over the indicator was missing. So off to the parts stash to see what might come from 30 years of throwing stuff into boxes. This is the best part! At the bottom of box #3 I found a dust and grease covered spring, amidst the rat turds, from an ancient Campy 1010 drop out adjusting screw. I think it belonged to a Dawes Super Galaxy. Will the luck of the Irish hold out? It slid onto the indicator rod and then it actually slipped easily into the axle. Too early to celebrate though. After connecting the toggle chain and rod in the axle, I pulled the chain and damned if the sun gear didn't slide into the fixed sleeve. Oh the excitement! At one in the morning I throw the wheel onto the bike, clamp on the S-A Quadrant gear changer, and roll out into the darkness. At the pull of the lever there was a snap (greased the bearings but didn't put in the oil), a nanosecond of fear and disappointment, then ka-chunk, I go from a 68" gear to a 50" gear. Almost 70 years old and this TF is back on the dance floor. Better'n a kick in the pants I'd say. So who says drop out adjusting screws are worthless? The next morning Pete emails me and says I'm probably missing the spring on the indicator rod!

So now the TF and I are back in business. And not the restoration business either. Nosirree. I'm gonna use this thing like an Englishman would have 70 years ago. It's going on my pre-War Bates along with a hodge-podge of new and vintage parts, sleeping bag, stove, lean-to, clothes, tools, scotch, and coffee; and it's taking me fixed gear touring just like Nic and Andy's Uncle Ron: http://www.bikebrothers.co.uk/ron.htm

Craig Montgomery in Tucson