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I have an SRAM S7 gear on my bike, and I'm not content with it. I find it more or less impossible to get the adjustment right. Supposedly I just have to leave the shifter in position 7 and then assemble the outer part, but that doesn't always hit the spot and the result vary from working as it should periodically, to grinding, to not shifting when it is supposed to. Furthermore the hub is constructed just so that if the chain fall off it gets stuck on an elevation next to the cogwheel, from there it is impossible to get off without picking off the rear wheel.

Point of case, I want something better. I'm looking for reliability and low maintenance. Preferably something that fit's on the same frame. I'd like at least a 5 speed gear, but don't care much for more than that, the current 7 seems a bit overkill.

I'm willing to pay what reasonable quality costs, realizing that what I paid last time probably wasn't enough.

I also wonder exactly how hard it will be to replace the parts, I'm a bit split between doing it myself or paying a shop.

What should I get? Any other advice for my situation?

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Have you taken it to a bike shop to be adjusted? Are you sure the shifter is the right one for the hub? If the chain is coming off the chain angle is probably wrong or some such. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 3 '12 at 14:18
    
The chain just get looser over time, and I had neglected tightening it. That it fell off isn't that surprising, it's that the hub is constructed exactly so that the chain will get stuck on it. The shifter is the right model. An adjustment only gets you so far, it's a bad gear you can't really adjust your way out of that. –  eBusiness Mar 3 '12 at 18:31
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3 Answers

The cheapest option is probably to buy a whole new wheel off the internet. The Sturmey Archer 5 speed with drum brake is my first choice (www.sturmey-archer.com/products/hubs/cid/4/id/33) - costs about 140 pounds for the hub from SJS in the UK. The advantage of the Sturmey hub is that it's designed to work in various frame spacings so you just remove a couple of spacers and it'll work. They're rumored to be quite robust but I haven't tried the 5 speed, only the 3 and 8. But the brand is good (was UK, now Taiwan, which seems to have lifted the manufacturing consistency a bit).

If you can use a disk brake on your bike the Shimano Alfine 8 is a good option, about $US400 with a cheap brake by the look of it. (do not get a Nexus hub, they were a bit of a learning experience for Shimano). They're available with a disk brake as an option, so it comes down to what your bike frame will accept. If it's got an internal brake now it'll almost certainly accept the drum brake, but if it'll take a disk the Alfine is a slightly nicer hub.

With the Alfine you'll probably have to spread it to 135mm, as (from memory) there aren't any spare spacers you can remove. The SA with drop right in. But if your frame is steel you will almost certainly be able to just spread it the 5mm to take the slightly wider wheel. If you're not comfortable doing that a bike shop or framebuilder will be able to "cold set" (ie, bend) it for you. With aluminium or composite frames that's not an option.

(I don't have enough points to embed the third link, sorry)

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It's an aluminium frame. In any case, seems like a good suggestion. Anyone else has an opinion on the Sturmey-Archer? –  eBusiness Mar 6 '12 at 19:32
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The S7 does not get very high marks on any review sites I've found.It seems that it wasn't designed to be shifted under load,you must stop pedaling or at least reduce the load.If you don't the internals get burrs and nicks and it doesn't work right. http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=2713 has a good selection of hubs none are inexpensive.The price does not include building your wheel.You may not be able to use your old spokes if you change hubs.If the bike is not that old you might try complaining to Sram customer service.If it several years old another option is to have the internals repaired and not shifting while pedaling after that.

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It doesn't shift while not pedalling either, low load pedalling is the way to go. When that fails there is pretty much no way around torturing the gear. –  eBusiness Mar 3 '12 at 18:44
    
The damage may already be done and replacement or overhaul maybe the only option.The Alfine generally got high marks for reliability. –  mikes Mar 3 '12 at 19:59
    
The Alfine certainly looks good, however I see that it's 135mm, my frame is 130mm, and as far as I can tell it lacks a brake? –  eBusiness Mar 3 '12 at 21:08
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"Supposedly I just have to leave the shifter in position 7 and then assemble the outer part..."

According to SRAM, the way to adjust it is to shift from 5th gear downward into 4th (which is the middle, 1:1 ratio gear) and then adjust the cable end until the clickbox marks are aligned. I have the similar P5 hub, and it shifts great for me when adjusted in the middle gear this way.

Don't know anything about the results of shifting while pedalling, as was brought up. To me that is like shifting my car without using the clutch... I suspect the result will not be good, and don't want to find out I'm correct.

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It seems that the cable adjustment screw has a way of destroying the thread on the plastic assembly, once that has happened the official adjustment method doesn't work. As I said, it does not shift until I pedal, so what else should I do? –  eBusiness Apr 12 at 7:09
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