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Sturmey-Archer Indicator Spindle Compatibility

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by Sheldon "Indicator" Brown
and John "Explicator" Allen
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Old English T his article gives the lengths of indicator spindles for Sturmey-Archer internal-gear hubs. There is much more compatibility than you might think. Though a shorter spindle may be more difficult to install and adjust, it will work unless its chain sinks all the way in when the cable is loosest. A longer spindle will work unless its chain pulls it sideways when the cable is tightest.

The table below lists the various indicator spindles, along with the hubs with which they are meant to be used. Please read this article in connection with the article on tech tips for Sturmey-Archer hubs, which gives advice on how to install and adjust indicator spindles.

Measurements and markings

Older spindles are thick, and are identified by 1 through 9 hash marks. The effective length is from the base of the threads to the shoulder before the first link of chain (points of the green arrow in the images below).

Indicator spindle measurement

Newer spindles are thinner, as shown in the image below. Each model of these newer spindles has a different-colored painted mark, which may be on the rod, or on the chain. Check the color of the mark under sunlight, because the blue and purple colors can easily be confused under indoor lighting. The red arrow indicates the length from the base of the threads to the mark. No matter where the mark is, the length which most affects compatibility is from the base of the threads to the shoulder, indicated by the green arrow.

Thin indicator spindle

If you are using a spindle which is not standard for the hub, you will have to adjust it by testing operation of the gears, rather than be aligning the mark. That is a good idea anyway.

Thick or thin spindles work in any hub, if the length is OK. We still need measurements for a few spindles. Please feel free to send them in. We will credit you for your contribution.

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Table of indicator spindle measurements

Somw spindle lengths are rounded to the nearest millimeter. Thanks go to Dan Burkhart, Howard Sutherland, Jan Blaha, Elton Pope-Lance, Tony Hadland and David Prosser of Sturmey-Archer for some of these measurements.

Part number Hub type Hub - R: right; L left: Axle length Base of threads to shoulder, mm Mark Base of threads  to mark, mm
K.504, HSA125 Older hubs, short axle AW 5¾" 49 I 49
AG, AB  
AT3 162.7mm
AT5 R 155.6mm
TCW 146mm
SAB 146mm
S5 5¾ "
S5.1 R 5 13/16"
S5/2 R 5 7/8"
K.504A, HSA126 Older hubs, longer axle AT5 R 161.9mm 56 II 56
AW old 6¼"
AWC 152mm
S3C 152mm
SAB 159mm
TCW 159mm
S5 6", 6¼"
S5.1 R 6 1/16, 6 5/16"
S5.1 L.

5 13/16, 6 1/16"

S5/2 R 6 1/8", 6 3/8"
S5/2 L early 5 7/8", 6 1/8"
HSA315 Newer 3-speeds AW new 6¼" 59 III 59
AWC 159mm
S3C 159mm
X-RD3 163mm
SX-RK3 215mm
SX-RB3 215mm
TS-RF3 163mm
K.504B, HSA316 Newer 3-speed coasters, 5-speed left, 5-Star AT5 L all 62 IIII, IV 62
AWC 163mm, 6.4"
AWC(II) 163mm
S-RC3(II) 163mm
XL-RD3 177mm
TS-RC3 163mm
S5.1 L 6 5/16"
S5/2 L early 6 3/8"
5-Star Elite  
HSA420 Newer 3-speed coasters with longer axle, 5-speed left S5/2 L late 6 1/8" 66 V 66
AWC 175mm,
AWC(II), 175mm
S-RC3(II) 175mm
QS-RC3 175mm
HSA615 Brompton?     40 VI 40
HSA 421 5-speed left S5/2 L late 6 3/8" 72 VII 72
HSA716 F30 series, hybrid gearing CS-RF3 179mm   VIII  
CS-RK3 179mm
HSA317, HSA715 Summit 5-sp. X-RD5 Not stated 61 IX,
Light Blue
Disk brake 3-speeds S-RK3,  185mm
Part number Hub type Hub - R: right; L left: Axle length Base of threads to shoulder, mm Mark Base of threads  to mark, mm
HSA490* Newer 5-speeds Sprinter S5.  


Red 64
Sprinter Elite
Sprinter S5C
HSA585 Newer 5-speeds Summit ball. 175mm 71 Yellow 68
HSA651 Newer 5-speeds S-RF5(W) 148mm 57 Green 63
HSA652 Fixed gear S3X with short guide nut 165mm 62 Orange after 1/2 link 68
HSA653 Fixed gear S3X with short or long guide nut 174mm 61.8 White after full link 75.9 
HSA712   AB (new) 175mm 61 Navy Blue 67
HSA713 Fixed gear S3X - use long guide nut 165mm 61 Orange after full link 71
HSA714 Fixed gear S3X - use long guide nut 174mm 71.5 White after 1/2 link 75.9
HSA717 Newer 5-speeds X-RF5(W) 185mm 71 Purple 76
S-RF5(W) w/HMN420 short guide nut;
Part number Hub type Hub - R: right; L left: Axle length Base of threads to shoulder, mm Mark Base of threads  to mark, mm

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Official Site
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Three-Speed Parts from Harris Cyclery
English Three Speeds, Care and Feeding
Internal-Gear Hubs
Sturmey-Archer Hubs, General Information
Sturmey-Archer 1902-1952
Sturmey-Archer 1935-38 Catalogues
Evolution of the Raleigh Sports
My old Robin Hood
Sheldon's old Robin Hood
Martin Hanczyc's roadster pages.
Tony Hadland's Sturmey-Archer Pages
including the 1956 master catalogue
Hubstripping web site
Retro Raleighs
SW Hubs by Brian Hayes
Jane Thomas's site with
Sturmey-Archer service manuals.
Menotomy Vintage Bicycles
Chat forum on English bikes.

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