Many agree that the simplest form of cycling comes from riding a fixed gear.
With manufacturers like Surly offering a two-cog option - which still needs to be manually adjusted while stopping - Sturmey-Archer has taken it to the next level with its modernised 980g S3X aluminium-shell rear hub.
The S3X is a 3-speed fixed gear with a close gear ratio of 160 percent, with gear steps of 20 and 30 percent. According to Sturmey-Archer's US spokesperson David Prosser, the design is based on a popular Sturmey-Archer A.S.C. model from the 1950s, which collectors have been paying upwards of US$800 for.
At a targeted price of US$150, the 2010 S3X hub also uses a threaded driver for a non-fixed gear conversion with a standard singlespeed/BMX freewheel.
A down-tube shifter - compatible for bar-end (96g), flat-bar/thumbie (77g) and seatpost mounting (80g) - activates the rear hub like a standard 3-speed, with a pull chain and rod. The updated hub design uses an aluminium lock-ring and spacers for an adjustable chain line. Spoke drillings are for 36 holes. Spacing options include 120 and 130mm, with 12- or 18-tooth 1/8-inch pitch cogs and 12- or 13-tooth 3/32-inch pitch cogs.
Sturmey-Archer's own forged aluminium front chainring and crankset works with square-tapered bottom brackets to fit 68mm English-threaded shells, available with 42/44/46/48-tooth 144mm bolt-circle diameter rings in 165/170/172.5mm lengths. Crank weights range from 722 to 797g.
Prosser's Napa, California neighbour Curtis Inglis built a custom RetroTec to hang the custom red anodised S3X bits at Interbike. Felt worked closely with Sturmey-Archer with its 3-speed fixed-gear Gridloc model, and Pashley was showing a prototype Clubman with the S3X as well. Prosser hopes to have the S3X available by the end of 2009.
Follow BikeRadar's Twitter postings at twitter.com/bikeradar.
For BikeRadar's complete Interbike 2009 reports, click here.