Jane had a Schwinn “Collegiate” from Marty’s Cyclery in Lawrenceville. The date on the hub is August, 1981, so the bike was manufactured in late 1981 or 1982 and that’s probably when we got it. I don’t remember Jane riding it all that much and I have no idea why we brought it with us when we moved to Hopewell Township, but we did.  In 2018, I restored my old “English Racer,” but I didn’t do anything to the Sturmey Archer AW 3 speed hub. I was a bit afraid to have a go at the hub. Eventually, I got the idea of “practicing“ on the hub on Jane’s old bike and if I succeeded with that, I would attempt to service the hub on the English Racer.

The bike seemed to be in bad shape. First of all, the pedals could not be made to turn the rear wheel. (Later when the chain was removed, the pedals were very rough when cranked.) The front wheel was rough and the steering was very rough.

The hub on Jane’s bike is a Sturmey Archer S3C which is similar to the AW with the addition of a coaster brake (pedaling backwards forces a brake shoe against the inside of the hub, slowing down the rear wheel).  I tried to be

systematic in disassembling the rear wheel and hub.  And when I got it apart, I discovered there was a broken pawl in the brake mechanism and the pieces were jamming the hub mechanism. So first I tried to order a new pawl. I ordered some pawls snd springs from Harris Cyclery, but they turned out to be the pawls for second and first gear.

Searching the web, I eventually found Rat City Bikes in Seattle and ordered the pawls from them. But they came back and said they didn’t have them after all, but the could get a NOS (new old stock) driver when they put in their next order. So, I said go ahead and order it and I’ll wait.

That was in mid May. I knew it would be a while because Aaron (at Rat City Bikes) said they needed to get a big enough order before sending it in. Eventually, I moved the bike to a corner of the basement and worked on the “ArtSpire.” Also worked on the house and arranged for exterior painting and new gutters. Eventually, late October, the driver arrived and I got back to work on the bike. I found a video by “R J the Bike Guy” showing how he serviced a Sturmey Archer TWC III hub - another 3 speed with coaster brake. It’s not exactly the same, but similar. Also, it’s quite a bit older. After a couple of false starts, I got the hub back together and in the bike. At the point I serviced all the other bearings and generally cleaned up the bike and it seemed to be OK.

But I could not get the hub to go into first gear! I disassembled and reassembled the hub several times with no luck. (By now I was getting pretty good at this!) So I decided to think for a while and I reviewed the Sturmey Archer video describing how three speed hubs actually work. It turns out when the hub is in first or second gear, there are parts of the hub rotating at second gear speed (same speed as the sprocket) and parts rotating at first gear speed (3/4 as fast as the sprocket). In second gear there are a pair of pawls that engage a ratchet that drives the wheel at second gear speed. The pawls for first gear are rotating at first gear speed which means they are moving backwards relative to their ratchet, so they don’t engage. To get to first gear, there’s a part in the hub (the clutch) that pushes on the back of the second gear pawls keeping them from engaging their ratchet. Then the first gear pawls are not overrun and engage their ratchet. Clear as mud, right? I concluded that the second gear pawls were not being deactivated as required. I also recalled that when I assembled that part of the hub, there was some ambiguity in the rotational alignment of the various interlocking pieces. This was not mentioned in the TWC video. In any case, I disassembled and reassembled the hub one more time, and figured out the correct rotational order of the gear ring, second gear pawl ring, ratchet ring, and clutch. Voila! First gear!

As long as we’re at it, what about 3rd gear (mainly so I don’t forget)? In third gear, the clutch (which always moves at the sprocket speed) drives the planetary gears which drive the outer gear ring, so it moves at 4/3 times the sprocket speed. It’s the gear ring which drives what I called the second gear pawls in the previous paragraph, so these pawls drive the wheel at 4/3 the speed of the sprocket (and the first gear pawls are overrun).

Restoration of a Schwinn 3-speed with Coaster Brake, May 4 - November 19, 2020