For my B-day a couple of weeks ago, my wife got me a new rear wheel from Platy, with a Sturmey Archer 5 speed hub (just like he put on his Huffy). And for my father's B-day in a few weeks, I took the money he gave me (because he's not supposed to give me presents) and got him some woody fenders for his new Trek hybrid. While I was ordering his fenders, I noticed that they guy that makes the woody fenders also sells fender scraps. So I bought a pack of fender scraps and pieced some together any made myself a set of mix-and-match fenders, taking the hardware off some of my old fenders.
Combining both projects took me a while. The wood that these fenders are made of (a total of 3 plys) is thicker than the plastic Planet Bike fenders, so getting them to not rub on the tires was a PITA. The front still has a tiny bit of rub. Then, the rear wheel was no easy feat, even though Platy made it sound like it was a non-issue. Maybe for an old bike, but not for a newer one.
The fenders were a bit of a fun project that I worked on in the evenings last week. I put sections together with 3" (ish) lap joints. It worked really well. Luckily, I tried to fir the front one on before I did any finishing. I had to take a lot of wood off and make it pretty narrow under the fork and brake, and it still touches the tire a tiny bit at one spot of the tire. They're just a lot thicker than plastic fenders. I finished fitting them on Friday evening and Saturday morning, and On Saturday, I put 3 coats of varnish on them.
Today (Sunday), I started putting the rear wheel on the bike.
First things first. I couldn't even get the wheel into the frame because it turns out I have 120mm spacing, and the hub is a 135mm. I don't know if they make a 120mm hub, but I screwed up and ordered the 135. So I took a pipe clamp and reversed the parts into spreader mode and spread the drop outs. Thank God I have a steel frame. It opened up pretty nicely, but is a tiny bit snug. No biggie.
The hub has an internal drum brake, which is great. Especially for the fender. My plan was to use my existing bar-end lever on my bullhorns. First issues was that the brake cable was finished with barrels at both ends, so there was no way to get the barrel at the lever end into the lever. Queue the dremmel tool. With a cut-off wheel I cut a slot for the cable to pass through. Then because of the way my brake lever is designed, the cable was too long compared to the housing. So I found an attachable barrel end for the hub end and was able to cut the cable shorter and use that. Guess I didn't need to alter my brake lever. Oh well. But the housing isn't long enough. It needs to be about 3"-4" longer. It pulls pretty hard if the bars spin all the way to one side. It seems they include a lot of parts with this hub that you may or may not need, and don't bother to tell you which hub uses which parts. So you are left to piece things together like a 3D puzzle.
Then the shifter.... As it turns out, Sturmey Archer (SA) thinks that everyone who uses this hub, attaches it to a bike with 30 year old, really small diameter bars. Queue the Dremmel tool! I had to bend the aluminum bracket open and Dremmel it with a grinding wheel to get it to go onto the bars and keep it somewhat round. I couldn't get it near the stem because the bar diameter gets bigger. So I mounted it out near the front of the horns. The instructions are anything but clear. But after an hour or two of playing around, I figured out what was supposed to happen. Then I had to re-tape the bars..... Hmmm. I guess it'll do, although getting it into 1st gear requires repositioning my hand completely.
SA also doesn't consider that you might have fender mounts near the rear hub. Queue the Dremmel tool! Cut away some plastic on the protective cover to get it to snap all the way into place.
Also, I bought some tug nuts (Deez Tug Nuts in yo mouf??) when I placed my order from Platy, because I didn't want to have to crush the axle nut so damn hard. Turns out they don't work with this hub because of some washers with tabs that fit into the dropouts to keep the axle from spinning. I would think that SA would understand that pretty much every application of this hub is on horizontal track dropouts, and that people use tug nuts to keep everything from sliding forward when you put serious pressure on the cranks. Oh well. If I ever convert it back to a single speed, I'll have the tugs.
I finally got it done this afternoon. I have to say, I'm not thrilled with the drum brake. It's not possible for me to lock the back wheel with slick 28c tires. I could lock them pretty easily with Kool Stop Salmon pads on road brakes. I also might have some tweaking to do on the shifter cable. But I think I'll have plenty of gearing for my commute. I'm also a little annoyed with the fender rub. It doesn't slow the wheel, but I don't like the noise, and I'm sure it will rub the varnish off.
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