The S2C is Sturmey’s modern version of the Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic, a two-speed hub with kick-back gear change and coaster brake that dates from the 1960s. These hubs have something of a cult following and are hard, though not impossible, to come by. One of my bikes has one and it’s fantastic to ride. A little back-pedal changes the gear (from high to low, or low to high) and a big back-pedal engages the powerful brake. Unlike rim brakes, a hub brake works as well in the wet as in the dry.
Sturmey have built a new version and I believe it’s going to be a hit. Two speeds allows good acceleration from a standing start and a higher cruising gear than on a single speed bike. The kick-back gear change and coaster brake mean that there are no cable runs to the rear wheel. The result is a faster ride than a fixed wheel bike, with better braking performance, but all the simplicity of the fixed aesthetic. Sturmey will bring the hub into production early next year and the retail price is expected to be in the region of £60-£80. Ninon of Bicycle Workshop, who knows a thing or two about hub gears, thinks they’re great. Dan Farrell of Moulton & Pashley (who can claim some of the credit for getting Sturmey to develop the new hub) shares her excitement. Informed sources tell me Sturmey are anticipating huge sales of this hub: around a quarter of a million a year. And no wonder.