Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two Tablespoons a Fortnight.

Anybody that has dealt with Raleigh/Sturmey Archer for more then 30 years will know exactly where the title of today's post comes from.

Proper care and feeding of your Sturmey Archer gear requires a certain amount of oil over time. As it gets colder and if you continue to ride into the winter, the old can of 30 weight may not be the best lubricant for the job.
Sturmey Archer oil and Raleigh oil has been what seems to me 30 weight motor oil. Thin enough to not get sticky and thick enough to not break down over time.
My oil of choice at this time of year is a little thinner.
Marvel Lubricating Oil seems to do the job nicely. Not readily found its best to get it on line. Not to be confused with "Marvel Mystery Oil" the Mystery Oil is for loosening stuck widgets and too thin for the job correctly over time. That said, as long as its thin, its better then thick.

Thirty five years ago I was asked to help with a video shoot on the top floor of the Raleigh Building on Commonwealth Ave in Boston. Boston Video rented the whole floor for film and video rental for pro needs. They also had a 3 camera studio where we were doing a jazz dance shoot.

I rode my 1963 Raleigh Superb with Claude Butler racks, front and rear, Brooks Pro Saddle Sturmey Archer Sports lam mounted on the fork, and Campagnolo pedals in from Dover. I got in the elevator on the first floor to go up. The door opened at Raleigh and 4 well dressed gentleman got in. They didn't know me, but I knew who they were because we used the Raleigh offices for our CRC of A club meeting with John Allis. They first thought that I would be getting out at Raleigh, but I said, I'm going up.
Quiet, they all looked at me,my cleated black leather lace up shoes and my Raleigh. It was one of the nicest bikes I have ever broken.

After trying to figure it all out, one gent said, "You know you need to oil that hub?" And I responded with what I had read from the side of the then, antique can. They all smiled and wished me a good day as I got off the elevator.

But as it said on the can, "Two Tablespoons a Fortnight" it was always a question on how to get a tablespoon of oil through the spokes of your wheel filled with oil and how do you pour it in? Typical British, these are things you are supposed to know. If you have to ask, then just maybe you don't deserve the hub gear at all!

I like to think I know. I never use a table spoon of course, but pour what I think is enough as to not drip out of the hub. Too much won't hurt the hub, just your floor and your pocket having to buy more oil sooner than you would need. Check the link below for a source of Marvel brand oils.


1 comment:

  1. I always used a 10W30 multi-viscosity motor oil on my Sturmey Archer Hub. It seemed to work well and I never had any problems.

    In the spring or anytime I came across a hub that hadn't been used for a while. I'd spray some WD-40 into the hub to free up the workin's. Then follow it up with the 10W30.