Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Nigel Dean World Tour - Sturmey X- RF 8 hub

 Eek - save me from impulse purchases! I bought this touring cycle a few months back as it looked nice, the price was right and I fancied trying out a Sturmey 8 speed hub.

The problem is, apart from having a garage already bursting at the seams, that the frame is way too small for me...

On the plus side I have gotten to try out a Sturmey 8 speed so all is not lost.

The frame carries Jack Taylor transfers but is evidently not a Jack Taylor. I have been reasonably reliably informed that it is most likely a Nigel Dean, a World Tour model, and this certainly seems to be a good match. Either way it is a nicely built machine made with sweet heart-shaped cutaways on the lugs - this style of lug was used by several builders of the eighties and nineties. My Bob Jackson Super Tourist uses the same lugs.

So, the X-RF8 hub. How is it? Well, slightly oddball is the answer. Really the hub was designed for small wheelers such as the Brompton and for this reason it gears up rather than down, meaning that the direct gear is the lowest ratio. So, greatest efficiency whilst climbing steep hills, that does actually make good sense for a hub gear. Gear ratios are wide - 100 to 325% so no problems there. What I do find a bit peculiar is that it is a noisy old beast. If you are used to the regular old Sturmey three speed hubs these have one set of planetary gears and they satisfyingly tick as you pedal along. The 8 speed has three sets of planetary gears and each one has a 'tick' so, depending on the gear selected and the number of planetary gears in action it can create quite a cacophony. On the plus side you know what gear you are in from the noise it is making!  

So, end of the story is that the Nigel Dean has been an interesting diversion but it must find another owner. It's on eBay UK right now....


  1. I always learn something here. I have never seen a bicycle with such a small front sprocket. No wonder bottom gear is "low" and it shifts up. Where is the shift lever, on the bars? Is it a "thumb" shift like the three-speeders? Inconvenient with drop bars?

    1. Hi David. It's a bar end shifter. The cabling runs underneath the handlebar tape. Quite a long cable run but they work ok. Bar end shifters were popular with touring and cyclocross riders back in the day.
      All the best from the UK. Richard