Servicing the Sturmey-Archer Gears fitted to Moulton APBs

Moulton APBs have been fitted with the 3-speed AW (APB3), the 5-speed in various forms (APB5) and the Sprinter 7 (APB S7). Here we are going to show you how to grease and adjust the cones and re-lube the internals of all three types of gear. These instructions will also enable you to replace the cones. Instructions on how to adjust the gears were covered in The Moultoneer 53. Please remember that particularly with the 5-speed and 7-speed gears adjustment is very important. If a hub gear is ridden incorrectly adjusted and slips, damage to the internals is highly likely. Once damage has occurred the internals will need replacing.

If you want to service your hub gears further than we show below, the Sturmey-Archer web site is full of useful information. Sturmey-Archer Triumph Road, Nottingham NG7 2GL Tel 0115 942 0800 E-mail can also supply technical leaflets on all their current hub gears.

With all current Sturmey-Archer hubs it is recommended that a good lithium based water resistant grease is used for the cones. The internals should be lubricated with the special Sturmey-Archer grease available through Raleigh dealers. Hub gears with oil ports should be lubricated with a light oil preferably Sturmey-Archer oil. Three-in-one oil should not be used (it’s vegetable oil based and will in time dry up leaving a very sticky residue but multigrade car oil is fine.

As with most Masterclass articles reproduced in tehse web pages, the illustrations ahve been omitted. For the illustrations which go with this article, please see the printed copy in issue 55 of The Moultoneer. Why do we omit the illustrations, as these are so vital to some masterclasses? The reason is simple – we feel that those who pay subs to belong to the Moulton Bicycle Club and thus support production of articles such as these should have some benefits over those who do not belong to the club!

A – Wheel Removal

When you remove the wheel from your Moulton APB it is essential to note the position of the various washers under the wheel nuts. Select top gear (3, 5 or 7 depending on the hub gear) before unscrewing the gear cable.

B – Hub bearing adjustment

Wheel bearing adjustments should only be made on the left-hand side (the side without the sprocket) of the hub. If the right-hand cone (sprocket side) has been disturbed see C8 on how to set the right-hand cone correctly.

  1. Loosen the cone locknut.
  2. Adjust the left hand cone until very slight side play can be felt at the wheel rim, and none at the hub.
  3. Tighten the cone locknut. Check the play again at the rim. If you can feel none re-adjust going through the above steps until the adjustment is correct.

C – Servicing 3-speed and 5-speed hubs

All 3-speed and 5-speed hubs are serviced in the same manner. It is not necessary to remove the internals to simply grease the cones but if you are going to grease the cones you should probably renew the main hub lubricant. too. This should not need doing frequently unless the hub is immersed in water.

  1. Remove the indicator rod, axle nuts and spacing washers from both ends of the axle.
  2. Use a screwdriver to release the sprocket circlip from the driver, then remove the spacing washers, sprocket and outer dustcap (note the order of these parts and the dishing of the sprocket).
  3. Unscrew and remove the left hand cone locknut and cone. Prise the dustcap from the hub shell and remove the ball cage. Inspect the bearing surfaces of the cone and hub shell as described in 6 below. If satisfactory refit the ball cage with the balls inwards and pack with water resistant grease. Refit the dustcap carefully and pack the dustcap groove with the same grease. Figure A 4 Loosen the right hand ball ring with a C-spanner or hammer and punch, and then unscrew it to release the internal assembly from the hub shell. Figure B
  4. Mount the internals in a vice with the right hand cone uppermost. On the 3-speed be careful that the pawl pins do not fall out of the planet cage at the other end of the internals. We suggest you use some tape over the pawl pin ends whilst servicing the gear. Remove the tape when refitting the internals. Figure C
  5. The right hand side bearing surfaces need checking for wear. Firstly check for pitting. There should be a clean even polished circle where the bearing rotates on each part. If a bearing surface is found to be pitted, the part must be replaced as should its ball cage and the opposite part. For example if the cone is pitted the driver should be replaced as well. Remove the right hand cone locknut, spacers, lockwasher and cone. Carefully lever the dustcap from the driver and remove the ball cage. Inspect the inner surface of the driver for pitting. Carefully remove the inner clutch spring and its cap and then remove the driver. Remove the ball cage from the ball ring and inspect the ball ring bearing surface. Figure D & E
  6. If all is well thoroughly coat the ball-rings’s ball cage with grease and replace. Replace the driver. With the latest 5-speed Sprinter you will need to rotate the actuator anti-clockwise as you insert the driver. Grease the driver’s ball ring thoroughly and fit with the balls facing inwards. Carefully tap the dustcover back into place. Smear the groove in the dustcap with waterproof grease. Refit the clutch spring and its cover. Figure F,G&H.
  7. Screw down the right hand cone finger tight. Unscrew the right hand cone by half a turn. Fit the tabbed cone lockwasher. If the washer will not engage with the cone, unscrew the cone slightly. The right hand cone must not be unscrewed more than 5/8 of a turn. Figure I
  8. Tighten the right hand cone locknut. Thoroughly coat the internals with the special Sturmey-Archer internal hub grease. Insert the assembly in the hub shell and tighten the ball ring, turning anti-clockwise first to prevent cross threading. Tighten clockwise using C-spanner (or suitable hammer and punch).
  9. Fit the left hand cone, spacing washer(s) and locknut. Adjust as described in section B above. Assemble the sprocket with its dust cap and spacers in the order as noted when removed. Assemble the wheel into the bicycle and fit washers and axle nuts. Tighten axle nuts to 24-26 Nm torque if you have a torque wrench. Fit indicator and adjust gears as described in The Moultoneer 53. It is essential that the anti-rotation washers are correctly fitted see illustration. Figure J

D – Servicing the Sprinter 7-speed hub gear

This is quite different from the 3 and 5-speed hubs and quite a bit more complex and we’d suggest that you ask your dealer to do this for you unless you’re keen and already a little familiar with Sturmey-Archer hubs.


  1. Clamp right hand (sprocket) end of axle in vice. Remove left hand locknuts, cone adjuster and cone.
  2. Remove hub from vice. Re-clamp left hand end of axle in vice, remove locknut (1) & washer (2), adjuster cover (3) & cable drum (4). Figure K
  3. Using a small screwdriver, remove the sprocket circlip (1), sprocket (2), spacing washer (3), & dustcover (4). To ensure the chain alignment is maintained, carefully note the order of removal and the dishing of the sprocket. Figure L
  4. Remove from vice and, using a C-spanner or hammer and punch, unscrew the internal from the hub shell anti clockwise.
  5. Re-clamp left hand end of axle in vice. Remove locknut (1), support cap & torsion spring (2), lockwasher (3). Unscrew the threaded cone (4), remove gearchange cone (6) and ball bearings (5) together, and remove selector key (7) and spring (8). Figure M 6. Remove ballring & driver assembly. To separate these rotate the actuator plate anti-clockwise to close driver pawls, and remove driver assembly & ballcage from ballring. Figure N


  1. Lubricate the ballcage assembly (1).Place the ballcage assembly on the ballring (2), ensuring the balls are positioned downwards, and locate over the gear ring assembly. Figure O
  2. Grease and replace the 19 loose ball bearings in the driver. Rotate the actuator plate clockwise to compress the pawls. Figure P
  3. With the actuator in this position fit the driver assembly (1) into the ball ring assembly (2). Figure Q
  4. Fit conical spring (1) small end down. Grease and replace the 14 ball bearings (2) into cone (3), locate onto spring and line up the slot inside cone with slot in cam. Figure R
  5. Hold in place and locate key (1) (short end down) into slot. Keeping hold, screw on threaded cone (2), adjust until finger tight, turn cone back 1/2 a turn and lock in position with lockwasher (3). If flats do not locate, undo, until next flat is located. Figure S
  6. Using cable drum by locating its legs into the selector cone slots turn the unit fully clockwise to engage gear one (the gear ring will rotate freely in gears 1 & 2) and then remove cable drum. Fit torsion spring & cap (1) onto axle. Using a small screwdriver, tension torsion spring by moving spring leg back anti-clockwise until it is positioned in the next slot. Screw on locknut (2) and tighten to 7 Nm – that means gently if you don’t have a torque wrench! Figure T
  7. Fit sprocket dustcover, spacer, sprocket & sprocket circlip. Locate cable drum legs into internal (this will only fit one way). Wrap cable around pulley anti-clockwise, fit adjuster cover and locate cable in slot. Fit washer & locknut (tighten to 7 Nm) Figure U
  8. Refit internal as described under 3/5-speed hubs section and adjust left hand cone as described in section B. Thanks to Sturmey-Archer for use of the illustrations

For the illustrations which go with this article, please see the printed copy in issue 55 of The Moultoneer.


Modification, repair and renovation work should only be carried out by qualified people. If you do not have the experience and/or expertise to judge whether any procedures described in Masterclasses are correct, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DO THE JOB. The information given in Masterclass articles is intended to act as a reminder to capable people who are carrying out repair work. The authors, the Moulton Bicycle Club and its Officers accept no responsibility for work carried out by owners or their agents, whether that work is done in accordance with any information contained in these articles or not.