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, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.