not the road king – i just polished the brass bell !!
I hadn’t ridden this bike for some time due to a wonky rear wheel, and was thinking of fixing and selling it, but of course as it was one of my favourite early rides, I had a feeling my thinking would come around !
The frame is a nice size( 58-59cm ) and the original 1984 model bike was only little used and straight framed, but the old SunRace derailleurs were clunky and have a splined freewheel in an old size that I can never find a tool for.
two-in-one – no cables ! and an 120mm O.L.D.
Then along came a new Sturmey Archer S2 Duomatic 2-speed hub laced to a 700c Vee-style rim at a price too good to overlook. These hubs have been available for a few years in their modern version and I had seen them fitted to some new cruiser bikes too.
The hub has a normal ( direct ) gear and one that is an 1.4x ( or 40% higher ) overdrive. My take on this is not to have ” high and higher ” but to have a useful low gear and a normal gear. To that end I used the inner 42T ring on the double chain set and adjusted the chain line in this case by using a dished 22T rear cog with the concave facing inward, to give a straight chain line.
The wheel came fitted with an 18T straight S-A cog – that would have been OK on a 34-36T ring for my purposes.
the new look
The 42 x 22T combo gives a first gear of around 51 inches and a top gear of 70 inches, giving brisk acceleration in low from low speeds and the equivalent of around a 42x16T “urban” top gear. If you are the sort of rider who likes to chase down road bikes you will want a smaller rear cog, but with this combo you have an all-round flexible top with a bonus low for those short sharp hills. In this form, it is the rough equivalent of the second and fourth gears of a classic 10-speed, so the idea is to coast, not pedal, down the big hills.
the protector ring hides the redundant outer 52T chain wheel
As a rider who likes to always remain seated I find this a great set-up, and on a howling windy day like today i could appreciate the headwind cutting ability of the lower gear.
crikey – try pedalling against that !
On a ten-speed on flattish ground I will often change from the big to the small ring all day, as required, leaving the rear mech. set around the middle cog, and this hub gives a similar feel …
new reflector, no rack
The S2 makes two distinct types of freewheel clicking noises when coasting in either gear, high-loud and low-quiet. This is a simple way of telling the gear, and your gear will hold while coasting unless you pedal backward.
Gearchange is via a quick back-pedal, and while it takes a bit of getting used to it’s really no more fiddly than the trimming of friction shifter gears. The up-change is almost foolproof, backpedal to the first click and you are there ( approx. one-eighth revolution ), changing down is quieter and more tricky, though it’s not a problem to have to have a couple of goes now and again.
hiding from the wind …
Other alterations to the Road King included changing of the brake levers and callipers, bending the calliper arms to correct the toe-in, a 1/8″ single speed chain, new handgrips, a longer and lower stem, and of course removal of the redundant gear mechs. and levers.
The 27″ wheels are now 700c with Duro ‘Ene Ciclo’ 2-tone tyres and a Brooks B17 saddle replaces the trusty sprung B66, due to the less upright seating.
The bike is now refreshingly simple and a bit lighter, though the S2 hub is pretty hefty – similar in weight to a coaster brake or a 3-speed hub.
Even though the seating is only semi-upright, I found it a real ‘sit-up’ – since I have been mostly riding with drop bars lately !
new stem, no shifters
I would really recommend this S2 hub as a simple yet clever bit of useful gear. I can only assume the coaster brake version may be a little more difficult to use because of the possible shift/brake movements conflict, but I am only guessing in this case.
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