Sturmey Archer S3C - 3 Speed with Coaster Brake

There are so many different Sturmey Archer hubs and variants within the hubs that there is always something new to learn. The S3C is certainly not the most common and is one of the more interesting. I bought this one on eBay because although I had a good understanding of how it works I'd never actually taken one apart. So today I put this right and I dismantled my newly acquired Sturmey Archer S3C.

Sturmey Archer S3C Hub

This is one of the more complicated gears that Sturmey Archer produced. In order to ensure that the drive is alway completely disengaged during braking the gear ring pawls and the low gear pawls are each on pawl rings separate from their respective assemblies. the other complication is the NIG type clutch and driver which allows direct braking without using the planetary gears.

I replaced two broken pawl springs; One was a gear ring pawl spring which was a standard HSA120 spring but which I fitted with the pawl still in place as the pawl pins are not easily removed. The second was in the driver which had me scratching my head until I realised the the spring is not the standard pawl spring but is in reverse of the usual design. A carefully adapted HSA120 pawl spring soon had the pawl working nicely.

Thankfully all the other parts were in good order with very little wear. Finding some replacement parts for this hub would have been difficult. This Sturmey Archer S3C hub is now reassembled and fully functional.

Follow me!

9 thoughts on “Sturmey Archer S3C - 3 Speed with Coaster Brake

  1. Brian Ring says:

    I'm rebuilding a sturmey archer s3c hub and am looking for the has 469 pawl spring. will the has 120 spring work for me and if so can I order them from you.

  2. Dennis gonya says:

    Hello, everybody. I have a interesting question for you.I accuried this schwinn tandem.rough shape and want to put it back toghter. I ended up buying a strumey archer 3 spd hub with no coaster brake arm. some i see with out some with.If it does need it and how much would it cost, it has the small oil cap on top. tell me if you can help me

  3. Dennis gonya says:

    Hi guys My name is dennis gonya I recently bought a strumey archer 3spd hub. It appears to be missing the coaster brake arm. O does it need it. ? Tell me if you can help me so i can get this bicycle running. The hub has the cap on the top side for oil.

  4. Vince Warner says:

    You would need to straighten out the bent "leg" of the HSA120 pawl spring then put a 90 degree bend in the other "leg".

  5. Vince Warner says:

    I'm not sure where you are Dennis, but in the UK parts are scarce for coaster hubs as they have not been used a great deal here.

  6. Hmmm- lots of interesting comments. As the Sturmey guy here in the Bay area it seems those old parts are really difficult to find. Rather than look for them I just find another hub-wheel or bike and tear it apart for what I need. Have done a bunch of the Tricoasters and am hesitant to bend a spring that breaks after decades anyway. But thanks for the hint Vince. I resort to that which I despise in others -being the use of used instead of new parts. My best quote is that this is antique restoration whether we want it to be or not. That's the way it is

  7. Mark White says:


    I know it's been some time since you posted this about the Sturmey Archer S3C hub, but I'm in the process of restoring a Schwinn Fair Lady for my wife's birthday, and found the HSA 469 pawl springs broken in the hub. I bought two hubs on ebay, but both hubs had broken pawl springs. It looks like your modification of the HSA 120 might be the only viable solution. Do you have more details about what you did. Was a matter of bending the pawl so that it was the inverse? Thanks. Mark in Kennewick, Washington.

  8. Vince Warner says:

    It's as simple as straighten out the bent bit and bend the straight bit.

  9. David Doepel says:

    The S3C pawl spring problem was severe enough that Schwinn issued a Special Service Bulletin early in the '80s. My recollection was that the Schwinn factory issued repair "kits" which included updated "beefier" springs; I always assumed the springs came straight from SA. Schwinn used the S3C on children's models, adult ltwts, and adult trikes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *