5 New Bicycle Gearbox Drivetrains (Revolute Hub1, 3X3 9, Pinion)

New bicycle gearboxes are coming onto the market faster than at any time in historical past.

Till not too long ago, Rohloff was the solely gear hub choice that you simply wanted to find out about. Some Rohloff prospects have ridden greater than 430,000km on their hubs, which is a testomony to the superb engineering behind the product.

Pinion later got here alongside and provided even wider gear ranges and smaller gear steps with their dependable crank gearboxes. And lately, we’re seeing extra premium manufacturers similar to Kindernay providing light-weight, sturdy and environment friendly gear hubs, and Effigear, which have not one however two gearboxes of their product vary.

The following wave of gearboxes is presently being developed round e-Bike use, and what you’ll see immediately is barely the tip of the iceberg.

Mid-drive e-Bike motors put a variety of pressure on derailleur drivetrains, leading to sooner part put on. Because of this, you possibly can count on to see many extra low-maintenance, hassle-free, and sturdy gearboxes coming quickly.

Let’s take a better have a look at the newest choices.

3×3 9 Gear Hub

The three×3 9 inner gear hub is a neat new choice for e-Bikes. Picture: 3×3.bike

3×3 is a brand new model by engineering firm HB-Hightech, and their first bike product is a nine-speed inner gear hub.

Alright, listed below are the numbers on this German-built gearbox. It affords a 554% gear vary, which is wider than each the Rohloff (526%) and Kindernay hubs (543%). Which means once we peg the bottom gears of all of those hubs, you’ll have the power to trip at a barely greater velocity with the three×3 hub.

Nevertheless, there are fewer gears throughout this gear vary, leading to gear steps of a relatively massive 23.76%. That is nearly twice as a lot as Rohloff (13.6%) or Kindernay (13.9%), so it’s clear that 3×3 is targetting the electrical bike market with their hub. As e-Bikes speed up sooner, it’s not unusual to search out your self altering 2 or 3 gears without delay. The bigger gear steps remedy this downside however make the hub much less appropriate for normal bikes.

The three×3 hub is round 2kg/4.4lb, which is a contact heavier than each Rohloff and Kindernay. However the hub can also be rated for 250Nm enter torque, which is considerably greater than each of these (130 and 160Nm, respectively). Meaning you possibly can run a really highly effective mid-drive motor in the event you like.

The three×3 9 hub on show at Eurobike 2022.

Curiously, the hub is lubricated with grease as a substitute of oil.

Why did 3×3 select grease? They’re hoping their hub doesn’t want any upkeep for 25,000km. That’s 5 instances additional than Rohloff beneficial for his or her routine oil adjustments. I ought to word that greasing the three×3 hub shall be extra labour intensive than the straightforward oil adjustments of the Rohloff, but it surely’s good that it doesn’t have to be tinkered with as usually.

Those that have learn my Alfine hub useful resource know that if inner gear hubs aren’t grease-packed appropriately for moist environments – water can and can work its method into the hub shell. This is likely one of the downsides of grease lubrication, so let’s hope the three×3 hubs are well-sealed from the manufacturing unit.

Moreover, grease is a bit much less fluid than oil within the sub-zero temperature components of the world, which can lead to gears sticking and a lowered drive effectivity too. Hopefully, 3×3 select appropriate grease for the coldest areas.

The three×3 9 digital shifter.

There may be an digital shifter obtainable that’s wirelessly managed. This may hook up with an inner battery within the body or on to an e-Bike’s energy provide. Alternatively, a twist shifter can be utilized, which appears to suit on each drop bars and flat bars.

The hub will match each fast launch frames or these with 142/148mm thru-axles. You’ll discover the three×3 hubs fitted to a spread of bikes subsequent yr and can later be capable of order one individually.

Revolute Hub1

A prototype Revolute Hub1 constructed right into a wheel for testing. Picture: Revolute.de

One other cool German-made gear hub that’s coming quickly is the Reevoluteh Hub1. It is a six-speed hub with a gear vary of 400%, leading to gear steps of over 30%, making it greatest suited to e-Bikes.

This hub has just a few distinctive options.

Revolute says that the Hub1 is the one gear hub that means that you can shift correctly beneath a load. It’s additionally the one hub that makes use of helical gears, though the Shimano Alfine 11-speed makes use of a mixture of helical and spur gears.

Helical gears have angled enamel that interact extra easily and silently. Picture: Revolute.de

The benefit of helical gears is that they’re particularly quiet. It’s because angled gears distribute stress progressively alongside the entire tooth, and this gradual engagement permits them to interact far more easily and silently. As compared, spur gear enamel contact right away and maintain collectively for an extended time period.

So, why don’t all gear hubs use easy and silent helical gears?

It’s principally as a result of they’re a bit much less environment friendly. Because the gears mesh, additionally they push other than one another (axial thrust), which generates a rise in friction (warmth). The distinction in effectivity isn’t big, however inner gear hubs are already much less environment friendly than derailleurs, so each little bit counts…

The Revolute Hub1 appears good all anodised in blue. Picture: Revolute.de

…. till now. With batteries and motors, we will simply masks the slight effectivity loss right here. That’s why noticeably much less environment friendly CVT hubs just like the Enviolo are fashionable on e-Bikes, however a little bit of a drag on common bikes.

One other attention-grabbing characteristic of the Revolute hub is that it doesn’t spin backwards! Which means whenever you cease on a hill, you don’t want to tug your brakes to stop the bike from rolling backwards. This shall be particularly useful with heavily-laden cargo bikes however could be good on an everyday bike too.

The Revolute Hub1 comes with a impartial gear to assist manoeuvre your bike. Picture: Revolute.de

By way of bike manoeuvrability, you’d assume a one-direction hub is impractical. Properly, Revolute has gone and added a impartial gear. You’ll be able to entry impartial by pushing the protection button on the shifter and downshifting past the primary gear.

Because the rear hub doesn’t spin backwards, it’s a requirement to have a freewheel on the crankset to maneuver your pedals backwards – that’s whether or not you utilize an e-Bike or not.

Like the three×3 hub, the Revolute will deal with a monstrous 250Nm of torque, making it splendid for nearly any mid-drive e-Bike. The hub is round 2kg because of this, which is on the heavy aspect for a 6-speed. Contemplate that the Kindernay 7-speed is 40% lighter compared.

Not like the three×3 hub, the Revolute runs on a extra widespread oil lubrication system. The oil change intervals are 5000km like most comparable hub designs.

The Revolute makes use of commonplace six-bolt rotors and even the 9-spline cogs from a HG cassette physique. The straight pull spoke design appears cool however makes spoke substitute a bit simpler too. It’s obtainable for fast launch or thru-axles, and the value shall be round 1200 Euros.

Pinion Sensible Shift Gearboxes

The Pinion Sensible Shift gearbox is all-new for 2023. Picture: Pinion.eu

Pinion has been producing 6, 9, 12 and 18 velocity gearboxes for over a decade now, however has solely simply acquired round to introducing digital shifting. This new digital set off shifter is sadly not backwards-compatible for present Pinion gearbox house owners and is barely obtainable for e-Bikes.

The Sensible Shift gearboxes are literally an all-new product for Pinion. They’re internally completely different to the present P and C-line gearboxes as they require a distinct shifting mechanism and varied sensors. However they’re based mostly on the lighter and narrower C-line gearboxes. There shall be 6, 9 and 12-speed variations.

The Pinion TE1 is the primary set off shifter from Pinion. Picture: Pinion.eu

The brand new shifter affords lightning-fast shifting speeds and a lighter shifting motion too. It has a grippy rubberised button floor in your thumb and haptic buttons so you realize exactly whenever you’ve made your shift. Moreover, you possibly can customise the buttons to shift how you want. The inbuilt gearbox sensors then can help you know your gear indication on the LED show.

There may be an computerized begin gear characteristic that means that you can select a desired gear that’s mechanically engaged when the bike is stationary. Which means you’ll at all times have the proper take-off gear.

With this stage of tech, I feel we will assume that computerized gear shifting is probably going within the works.

Intradrive Gearbox Powertrain

A prototype Intradrive 8-speed gearbox and motor. Picture: Intra-Drive.com

Intradrive is a Scottish firm that has been working for six years full-time on an built-in gearbox and motor unit.

Their prototype gearbox affords eight gears throughout a 430% gear vary, leading to gear steps of round 23%. That is primarily the identical gear vary and kit steps as a SRAM Ex1 derailleur drivetrain, nevertheless, the primary distinction is that the big spur gears are protected against the weather inside a sealed oil bathtub enclosure.

One of many coolest issues about this British-built drive unit is that it may be hooked up to any bike constructed for Shimano EP8 motors. Even the 630Wh Intradrive battery shall be developed to suit the Shimano battery mounting factors. Which means bike producers can match the total powertrain to current bike fashions, and present Shimano EP8 customers can simply make the swap too.

Intradrive integrates a motor and gearbox into the identical quantity as a Shimano EP8 motor. Moderately spectacular. Picture: Intra-Drive.com

One of many largest benefits of this method is that it’s going to put on by way of fewer drivetrain parts. It’s going to additionally cut back the unsprung mass on the rear wheel of full suspension bikes, enhancing the load distribution and suspension efficiency in comparison with derailleurs, however much more so when in comparison with the interior gear hubs I’ve beforehand mentioned.

The motor will supply upwards of 75Nm of torque, which is decrease than comparable built-in motor/gearbox techniques however needless to say this gearbox is pitched in direction of mountain bikes, relatively than cargo bikes.

The shifting shall be digital, with the potential to run the gearbox and motor utilizing computerized shifting.

With Intradrive displaying that an built-in gearbox and motor can match onto commonplace body mounts – I’d prefer to predict that we’ll see one thing comparable from Pinion within the coming years. In any case, Valeo and Effigear have been testing their motor for just a few years now.

Categorised Powershift Gear Hubs

An exploded view of the Categorised Powershift hub. Picture: Categorised-Biking.cc

I’ve been in search of an excuse to speak about Categorised hubs for a short while, and I feel now could be my time.

These planetary hubs are a two-speed design and supply the identical performance as a entrance derailleur. In the event you match a 48-tooth chainring up entrance, you get an efficient 33-tooth chainring when utilizing the discount gear within the hub.

Categorised hubs had been initially launched with full gravel bikes a yr in the past, then as full carbon wheelsets from the corporate itself. Now, Categorised has partnered with Enve, DT Swiss, Mavic and extra wheel manufacturers to make their hub extra accessible.

A better have a look at the Categorised Powershift Hub’s planetary gears. Picture: Categorised-Biking.cc

The hub makes use of a thru-axle design and it’s the axle that receives the wi-fi sign to shift. Categorised says that the effectivity within the discount gear could be very excessive (99%), you can also make shifts at 1000-watts energy output, and the shifts are nearly instantaneous – sooner than any entrance derailleur.

The explanation these hubs are nice is that you simply get the simplicity and vary of a 1X drivetrain however with out the big gear steps of a wide-range cassette. This implies you possibly can keep nearer to your most popular pedal cadence at a broad vary of speeds.

Categorised drivetrains additionally ditch the extremely inefficient 9 and 10 tooth cogs which might be usually discovered on 1X cassettes, and are designed round bigger and extra environment friendly entrance chainrings too.

I’m really excited most in regards to the soon-to-be-released MTB model, permitting off-road riders who trip on flatter terrain to suit smaller cassettes (ie. 11-40t) as a substitute of the ever-present 10-52t fashions presently on supply.


3×3 9 hubs shall be obtainable on Nicolai full-suspension and gravel bikes in 2023. Picture: 3×3.bike

I hope these new gearboxes acquired you a bit of bit extra enthusiastic about this rapidly evolving drivetrain tech.

Let me know within the feedback in the event you come throughout any prototype gearbox drivetrains in growth, as it might be nice to analyse their designs in future articles.