I want to replace the cable of a late 1980s AW IGH. I can buy new cable housing from just about anywhere, and cut it to size -- the end caps on the original housing are removable and I intend to re-use those as at least the shifter ferrule looks pretty specific. My problem is with the cable, specifically, the end that sticks into the shifter. Is there some standard to which these cable ends conform? Is there a newer alternative that will (safely!) work just as well?

Note that the other end of the cable is free and does not have so much as a protective end cap on it, so I am not limited exclusively to Sturmey Archer-branded replacement kits. Also, the bike is a 24" city bike, so I doubt the cable and housing lengths would match up even if I did buy the kit (which, to my knowledge, is made for larger Raleigh frames).

As a visual reference (thank you, sheldonbrown.com), this is the cable end I'm referring to:

sturmey archer shifter, cable housing ferrule, and cable end

1 Answer 1


It is a standard, but it's a standard that fits only a handful of Sturmey shifters, namely the classic trigger style as in the picture.

The choices for the cable are buy a proper Sturmey-compatible cable or go at a normal shifter cable with a file or Dremel.

The real decision in my mind is how much you care about the cable being stainless. I don't think any readily available "classic" Sturmey-compatible kits are, neither the Sturmey/Sunrace ones nor third party.

Personally I don't grind or file cable heads because I don't screw around with lead dust getting in my workspaces or tools, and it's usually hard to get to a good conclusion that any particular cable head is lead-free, and you usually want a refresh of the other cables system parts the the cheap Sturmey kits come with anyway.

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Modern third party kits such as the one shown don't have any obstacles to trimming the housing. You are correct that since it's a 24" bike, you'll probably need to.

  • Well I Have been hoping to find a use case for the dremel tool I bought some time ago :) Having de-rusted the bike with aluminum foil and stuff like hydrochloric acid (and having inhaled plenty while soldering) I think my problem won't be safety or cleanliness, haha! Can't hurt to try, as a shift cable only runs a few euro.
    – jayded-bee
    Feb 12, 2022 at 20:15
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    Regarding the other parts of the AW system, like the tensioner bits, I'd sooner expect a recommendation for a new shifter. But even after having been left standing all rusted likely for 30+ years (indicated by a "Made in Yugoslavia" tube), both the shifter and the other small parts seem to hold well on city rides. Anyway, thank you for the recommendation and the ideas!
    – jayded-bee
    Feb 12, 2022 at 20:18
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    @JariBeguš Sturmey/Sunrace now make a range of new shifters including thumbshifter, bar end, down tube, trigger etc that all take a modern standard shift cable. If you keep the traditional shifter, the classic cable kit is easiest because you get the funny shape ferrule along with the unusual shift cable in the kit, and it's cheap.
    – Noise
    Feb 13, 2022 at 11:01
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    @JariBeguš Any of the three speed shifters will work unless they are specified for the new Rotary Shifting method. The majority of SA three speed hubs still have the gear change chain in the end of the axle and these all work the same way with the same shifters.
    – Noise
    Feb 14, 2022 at 13:18
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    Are the end caps solder then, if you're concerned about lead? If so I'd consider melting rather than filing. But my googling suggests they're a lead-free zinc alloy, and with zinc fumes are more of a risk than dust
    – Chris H
    Feb 14, 2022 at 14:15

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