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Tuesday 19 April 2011

New Sturmey Archer Shifter

Last week some of you may have noticed on Twitter that I snapped the gear cable on the DL-1 whilst I was out cycling. Luckily I was surprised to find that Evans carry the replacement Sturmey Archer cable I needed. When I installed the cable, I discovered that my shifter has also broken.

The trigger shifter which came with the DL-1 was always a bit dodgy, it was reluctant to stay in 1st gear on its own, and would shift into 2nd due to the spring tension from the hub within about 10 seconds unless I held it down. There are several different versions of the traditional Sturmey trigger shifter:


The traditional Sturmey shifter, with the most common style fascia


The same type of shifter with a slightly less common fascia. There are several other fascia types out there designed for this shifter

When mine broke, the need to hold the shifter in 1st became permanent. I like the look of the traditional Sturmey Archer trigger shifter, but this is the second broken one I have encountered, so I decided to invest in a different model.

The Sturmey and SRAM compatible Brompton shifter was an option, but it is not well priced and isn’t pretty. Image courtesy of The Bike List


I also considered the plastic shifter which is similar to the standard 5 speed shifter. I was put off because it looks a bit 80s to me and wouldn’t fit in with the aesthetic of the bike. Luckily, I remembered seeing the new 3 and 5 speed shifters Sturmey recently released somewhere online, and purchased one at the Chorlton green festival. It has the practicality of the plastic shifter whilst being appropriately nice looking.


The new shifters come designed for 22.2 mm bars (such as North Roads) and as bar-end versions, for both 3 and 5 speeds. The 22.2 mm bar versions can be unscrewed from its mount and used as a downtube shifter too. Unlike the trigger shifter, the new shifter locks firmly into each position, whilst also acting as a friction shifter in between “clicks,” meaning an improperly adjusted cable can be compensated for until you get around to fixing it. The whole of the shifter body and clamp is metal, and it just oozes quality.


Those of you familiar with such things may notice that the protruding cylinder of metal shown in the shot above is the end of the cable, making installation very easy. The even-more-nerdy may notice that it isn’t the usual Sturmey Archer cable either, but a common derailleur-type cable. This makes finding replacements easier in a country where derailleur gears are dominant for some reason.

It is very pleasant to have full use of 1st gear for the first time ever on the DL-1, and I am very happy with this new shifter.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the idea if a friction mechanism *between* the 1/2/3 detents.


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