So my rear freewheel hub broke on my single speed belt driven (no metal chain) trek district.

Since I have to replace the rear hub, I'm thinking of replacing the rear hub with an internally geared multi-speed one. All the bike shops around here seem to have the Sturmey-Archer 3spd, wheras all the youtube videos of people replacing their Trek District hubs are with Shimano Alfine 8 speed.

I'm riding mostly flats and just need the gears for an uphill bridge (Williamsburg Bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan) that I ride over every day.

Which hub should I get? Is the Sturmey-Archer 3spd fine? How would the gears on that 3 speed compare to the single speed gearing that I currently have?

  • 1
    We don't know what gearing you have, which Sturmy Archer 3 speed you're considering, what size sprocket you're going to put on it, etc. -- the alfine hub is much cheaper, I think, likely gives a bigger range and should be easier to find a pre-built wheel with it.
    – Batman
    Jun 5, 2015 at 20:54
  • is there a difference between alfine and nexus? It seems like alfine only has additions for disc brakes which I don't need, is that correct? I read in a forum that the trek district has gearing of 67.5 (55 x 27 / 22) - and I don't know what sturmey archer models there are - is there more than one of the 3 spd? Jun 6, 2015 at 13:13
  • Isn't the Alfine 11-speed and the nexus 8-speed? At least I only know 11-speed Alfines and 8-speed Nexuses.
    – Nobody
    Jun 8, 2015 at 15:56
  • they both have 8 speed versions Jun 9, 2015 at 21:20
  • The Alfine has needle bearings, the Nexus is cheap junk (I has 3, all failed at 5000km)
    – Móż
    Sep 27, 2015 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


I would upgrade to at least a 5 speed. 3 speeds have been around for a hundred years now and it is time for you to have a technology upgrade. Sturmey AW had production problems with the move to Taiwan but they may have worked that out. 5 and 7 speeds are mainstream. That should be more than enough to get you over the Williamsburg, Manhattan, or Brooklyn Bridges or up any hill in Central Park, Harlem or the Bronx.

More gears that that Higher than that is more esoteric. More LBS can service the Shimanos than the S-AWs. I would go with what your LBS recommends unless you are comfortable repairing these in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. My favorite shop is the one on Grand Street not far from the Williamsburg Bridge. He's been there forever.

Then if you want to drop serious coin there's the Rohloff Speedhub 14 speed, but that's out of most people's league.

Sheldon Brown (RIP) has excellent resources that are dated but still relevant. I'd search for those. But mostly I'd stop reading your computer and just ride.

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