Showing posts with label sram. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sram. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SRAM Automatix (A2) vs. Sturmey Archer S2C

I'm in trouble. I've been thinking about my "next" winter bike. That is bad news, because I have neither the time nor the spare cash right now. Then again, I'm only thinking... thinking is free, right?

One of the most common problems with riding in a combination of salty slushy muck and sub-zero temps is that brake and shifter cables sometimes don't want to work properly. Careful attention to lubing them and "sealing" them from the elements helps, but careful attention isn't exactly my style. I have also been thinking about trying skinny rather than fat studded tires this time, but that's not what this post is about. Another post, perhaps.

With winter bikes, less is often more. There are two internally geared hubs on the market I am interested in (see title). Both offer two speeds and a coaster brake and both would eliminate the 2 cables normally running to the rear of the bike. In addition, a coaster brake will never be affected by wet/icy/slippery rims or brake rotors. For these reasons I am excited to build a winter bike that uses one of these hubs.

The SRAM Automatix (A2) shifts automatically. The S2C features a "kick shift", meaning that a little back-pedal will switch it between it's two gears and a harder back-pedal will engage the coaster brake. Gearing is very similar, with the S2C offering 100% (direct drive) and 138%, while the SRAM Automatix (A2) offers 1:1 and 1:1.37 gearing. The SRAM site shows a "bandwidth" spec of 124% while the Sturmey site lists an "overall range" of 138%. I must confess I'm a little confused... shouldn't the "bandwidth" of the SRAM be 137%? I'm hoping somebody smart will read this, comment and sort me out.

Another consideration is that the OLD (over locknut dimension) on the S2C is 116mm (although the axle is long enough to space it out far enough for 130mm rear spacings) while the SRAM OLD is 130mm. I tend to favour the 130 for potential frame (as in a bike I already own) reasons.

I almost wish one of the hubs was significantly less expensive than the other, but they both appear to retail for 60-80 bucks US, which is awesome in my opinion, considering what more elaborate internally geared hubs sell for. I'm further torn by the manual vs. automatic issue... if the auto works well, it is one less distraction while I'm riding in conditions demanding my full attention. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want to give up control of when the bike shifts! Arg!

So, what on earth am I gonna do? I've read some bikeforums stuff, but as usual there are arguments for both and they're most often about Bromptons and bikes like that. Can you, dear reader, offer me any insight? (Cafiend, any thoughts?) If so, please comment. Can you instead offer weird, incomprehensible ramblings? You should comment too, but I warn you that I might actually get you.

Note, July 24, 2012: When I wrote this post, I had no experience with either hub and still don't. However, there is a bunch of useful experience / performance info in the comments now. If you're considering a purchase, I strongly encourage you to read the comments on this post.

Yer Conflicted Pal,

Friday, June 12, 2009

%^&*$! Powerlink!

My "new" commuter was built using a SRAM chain, which includes a Powerlink, a special link in the chain that is designed to come apart when you push the bushings together from both sides of the link, making removing the chain for cleaning "easy". I chose that chain largely because I am a lazy person when it comes to caring for my chain. I never squeak, because I lube the chain quite often, but I clean it way too infrequently, and I thought it might help me mend my evil ways. I did get around to removing the chain for a proper cleaning sooner than usual. I struggled with that powerlink for something like twenty minutes. I fashioned a link squeezer tool from a spoke... no dice. Eventually I caved in and did the equivalent to asking directions when you're lost; I checked online to see if others had been having the same problem or if I was just stupid.

Yes, I do work on my bike while wearing business attire. Business attire is the only clothing I have, because living my life is my business, and I figure I had better dress accordingly and toe the line. I don't want to get fired from living my life! The only alternative would have been to work on my bike naked, which is not recommended while working on a fixed gear.

So, anyway, I wanted to know if I was just stupid or whether anybody else had been in the same position. It turned out that as with so many things, it was a little of both. Other people had also struggled. I needed to squeeze the side plates together while doing what I had already been doing, which I should have figured out. I got that sucker apart eventually, but even with that extra information, it wasn't easy, and my homemade tool came in handy. I don't remember any instructions coming with the chain. I remember experimenting with the link, and of course it worked fine when perfectly new and clean.

SRAM is a very popular brand of chain. Up until this one, I had been using Shimano. Just the same, I feel a little sheepish that as a "mature" cyclist and newly-minted builder of bikes I couldn't figure this out on my own. When I'm feeling insecure, nothing helps like asking a bunch of strangers on the Internet to opine on whether I'm a loser. So, if you have any experience with Powerlinks, please respond to the following poll!

Rantwick is...

If you answered "a", you're just a big mean jerk face, and I don't like you.

July 6, 2009 Follow-Up: I took the chain off for cleaning again yesterday. I had that thing apart in less than 10 seconds. After all that initial frustration, I now officially like Powerlinks.
Ride all over this weekend,