Jim installed an Alfine 11 internal gear hub on his green Quickbeam. He had a shop spread the rear triangle to 135mm, and he’s running a thumbshifter on Rivendell Bullmoose bars. He says when (and if) a dropbar shifter for this hub becomes available, he’ll switch to drops.
E-Bike Stop told me my S3X has a two year warranty, so I called Sturmey-Archer America, and talked to David, the lone American S/A representative, about my broken axle nut, and how I can’t get the shifting to work with the new, longer nut. I had worried that I broke the hub completely, but it still shifted, even with the broken nut. Turns out it’s just the nut, and David’s mailing me a “short guide nut,” no charge. Super nice.
The long “guide nut”* I had gotten as a replacement (the right-side axle nut with the hole for the indicator chain), doesn’t allow the gear adjustment you need. I’m not entirely sure how that could be; it seems like you’d just slacken off the cable, but it sure doesn’t work that way. I think the length of the nut and the cable angle must act like a pulley, and change the amount of travel in the shifter.
If you need to replace your S3X axle nut, get the Sturmey number and call directly. A shop may not be able to get the short one from the usual channels, and it will most likely cost $5 or so.
I actually called David back and asked if Sturmey Archer had a quick release for the cable. He thought I meant a quick release for the hub, and said Coombs Cycling Components is going to be showing him an axle quick release system for the S3X at Interbike in a couple weeks. That sounds really cool. The Coombs quick releases look dorky with a QR lever on each side of the axle, but I had a flat the other week with no wrench, so I can see the value.
The wheel was slipping in the dropouts (yeah, yeah, “fork ends”) after I changed a flat, so I added two links to the chain and cranked down extra hard. Two days later I noticed the end had cracked, but it still shifted.
Yesterday, at the bottom of the hill on Willis Road, it snapped entirely. The top two gears still worked, but the low gear only freewheels. I climbed the hill anyway, and picked about two gallons of blackberries for jam. Then I went to the Hotel Oregon and put my feet up.