Bike Pinion Gearbox: Pros and Cons of Buying Pinion for Your Bicycle
In 2010, the first Pinion gearbox bike was installed on a bike that rode the Himalayas. By 2012, at the world’s largest bike show called Eurobike, there were several bikes built around an 18-speed Pinion bicycle gearbox. This particular gearbox impressed cyclists. Today, more than a hundred bike manufacturers build their frames around seven different Pinion gearbox models.
The Pinion bikes gearbox is a fully sealed oil bath with gears on a connecting rod that offers 6, 9, 12, or 18 different gears, covering a wider range of gears than most two- and three-speed transmissions. The Pinion system bolts directly to the frame, designed with this technology in mind, which means you have no chance of upgrading your current frame.
Bike Pinion Gearbox: How Does It Work?
The gearbox is built into the connecting rod, and there are two gears inside. When you step on the pedal, the energy first shifts along with the lower crankshaft and then shifts to one of the six sets of gears in the 1st auxiliary gear. Energy is then routed along the upper shaft to the 2nd sub-transmission, which offers a high, medium, or low version of the initial six gears (6 x 3 = 18 turns).
The energy is then routed back to the crankshaft, where it can be routed directly to the outer chain (these three output cogs float freely on the crankshaft). The job of the gearbox is to change the speed of the chain depending on the gear selected. This means that the chain always spins faster or slower than the crank. Pretty cool!
10 Reasons to Travel with a Pinion Bikes Gearbox
- Hermetical gearboxes. Gearboxes are fully sealed, making them impervious to dirt, sand, dust, snow, and other disturbances. If you spend a lot of time in harsh conditions, these gearboxes might just be your savior.
- Extra-wide transmission range. A key feature of the Pinion mountain bikes gearbox is its 636% range. Compared to any other gearbox, you’ll have lighter gears for steep mountain roads (10 mph (ca. 16 km/h)) and tougher gears for fast descents (120 mph (ca. 193 km/h)+). By comparison, other available transmissions, such as the Rohloff 14-speed hub, show 526% and the Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub 409%. A 30-speed derailleur transmission is the only choice that can come close to that range of Pinion gearbox mountain bikes (620% maximum).
- Durable and long-living gearbox. The only maintenance required for the mountain bike Pinion gearbox is a 60ml oil change every 20,000 miles (ca. 32,187 km) (or every year, whichever comes first). This job is easy enough to do yourself in remote areas if you have the right syringe and oil.
- Straight Chain. The chain line on the Pinion transmission is perfectly straight, which reduces chain wear. This corresponds to a longer life of your Pinion hard tail mountain bike.
- There are very few parts in power transmission gears that are susceptible to external damage. You won’t find any exposed derailleurs, thin holders, or fragile cassettes on the mountain bikes with Pinion gearbox.
- The ability to shift gears without pedaling. It’s an especially handy feature for a loaded touring bike. For example, you can select your gear before you stop at a traffic light, or select the appropriate gear to start on an incline. So, the Pinion gearbox on a touring bike is a perfect match for you!
- Instant gear shifting without the possibility of skipping a gear. As soon as you change gears on the shifter, the gearbox immediately shifts into the next gear and is ready to go – no joke here! Since the Pinion gearbox requires no adjustment as a shifter, there is no chance of slippage either.
- The ability to shift several gears at once. Thanks to the rotary shifter on the Pinion gears, you can shift several gears at once; the limitation is the range of motion in your wrist. You should be able to shift about eight gears at once.
- Minimal cleaning of the drivetrain is required. Cleaning between the cassette cogs, derailleur pulleys and stars is time-consuming and annoying on a bike ride. You can avoid almost all of this hassle with the Pinion gearbox.
- Evenly spaced ratios with small gears. There is a constant 11.5% shift between each gear, which makes shifting very predictable. These Pinion electric shifter ratios are also very small, allowing you to fine-tune your pedal speed at whatever speed you travel. By comparison, the Rohloff hub has a slightly larger shift between each gear (13.6%).
3 Reasons Not to Ride with Pinion
- Price. No beating around the bush here — Pinion gearboxes are the most expensive drivetrain you can buy. Expect to pay at least $4,000 for a bike with a Pinion gearbox. You can somewhat justify the cost of buying a bike with a Pinion gearbox, knowing that you won’t need to replace as many cassettes, chains. But you’ll have to ride the bike for years to get that kind of return. Fortunately, the gearbox will last you as long as you do! And for sure you can later put up Pinion gearbox bikes for sale.
- Special frame. Although the inner gear hub can be mounted to almost any frame, Pinion gearboxes require a special frame design to match the six-bolt design. Essentially, this means that you can’t change your mind and go back to the derailleurs (or inner hub).
- The gearbox design is heavier than most transmissions. The Pinion gearbox adds 200 to 700 grams over an equivalent Rohloff hub and 600 to 1,100 grams over a 3x touring transmission (the weight difference depends on the gearbox model). Pinion frames also add a few hundred grams. When you consider the weight of the bike loaded with luggage, food, and water, these numbers are very significant.
As you may have understood from our review, this gearbox has its pros and cons. The decision to buy a Pinyon is now up to you. We hope we were able to ease your choice!
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