18 speeds in your bottom bracket? You better believe it

We're hoping this catches on. Gearbox bikes have largely been restricted to downhilling until now, but German gear-meisters Pinion are bringing that technology to the masses. The moneyed masses for now, anyway. But hopefully it'll be the first of many.

Why? Well, hub gears make a lot of sense for all kinds of riding, with two provisios: they make your rear wheel heavy and it's a faff to change a puncture. Move the gearbox to the bottom bracket, however, and you've solved both of those at a swoop: an entire gear system protected from the elements, with the centre of gravity in the middle of the bike. Whet's not to like there?

Pinion's system features 18 evenly-spaced gears with a range of a whopping 636%, more than any other widely used system we can think of. It's still in development but very close to production, prices are TBC but you're looking at thousands rather than hundreds for a frame with the gearbox in. Here's hoping for a cheaper, simpler, 10 or 11 speed setup next...

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.


pmr [198 posts] 6 years ago

wow that could be the future! I think we could be taking our bikes to a mechanic every time the gears need work though. (mind this could be low maintenance)

davebinks [153 posts] 6 years ago

I was in France this year looking at the old bikes in a cycle museum.

There were many examples of gearboxes built into the BB on bikes made in the early 1900's

There is nothing new.

peasantpigfarmer [46 posts] 6 years ago

ppf Wow! another gearbox! Can't wait to add to my collection,nexus7 and 8, rohloff,I think this will be a natural progression to have more range and for the weight to be in the middle of the bike. Be interesting to see how it will be intergrated into different frame materials. Agree with binky,It's all been done before,but anything new has got to be good for cycle development,just like electronic shifters etc,be good if they make a lightweight version as well.