Sturmey-Archer X-RD5W Pashley Sovereign

This week, another Sturmey-Archer X-RD5W equipped wheel in for repair, from a Pashley Sovereign bicycle. The customer reported the gears were slipping and sure enough it was clear something wasn’t quite right internally. The Sturmey-Archer X-RD5W, introduced around 2010, offered a wider gear range of 256% vs the 225% of the X-RD5. It also comes with the 70mm drum brake (there was a 90mm drum option in the form of the XL-RD5W). Of note, it also ditched the clever but flawed ball-lock mechanism of the previous version. Sheldon Brown explains some of the problems with this on his site here. The sliding key lock that the X-RD5W uses has its issues but as a whole, the more reliable of the two designs.

This is why I always say servicing is so important. Waiting until things go wrong is false economy. However in this case it was all good news. Two of the pawls showed signs of wear and damage (see photo). You can clearly see how much damage it takes before the hub starts to slip. Although not causing any problems, the axle key also showed signs of damaged (quite common) and was replaced as a matter of course.

Do you have a Sturmey-Archer hub that has similar problems? See my hub-gear workshop for more information.