Mountain Bikers have been talking about the perfect gear system for decades.
- Imagine a drivetrain system which was quiet and sealed from the elements?
- Imagine a drivetrain that had all the weight where you wanted it?
- Imagine a drivetrain that promised maintenance free miles??
- Imagine a drivetrain with even spacing and no overlaps?
But we have gears on bikes? Why make it more complicated?
- Derailleurs are the Achilles Heel, needing to be maintained and cleaned.
- Single speed is too restrictive for some riders.
- Internal gear hubs put too much weight on the back wheel.
Internal Gear Hubs:
Since the invention of the bicycle, the internal gear hub has been around. The 3-speed Sturmey-Archer did the work un-noticed by many. Modern Internal gear hubs still use the planetary gearing system, sometimes going through 2 planetary systems to get 14 gears. Some of them are a bit like grinding coffee. This is not a huge problem if you want to ride at your own pace.
Gearboxes tick all the boxes – but it has not happened over night. Like everything the gearbox has evolved…
Honda had a go..
Nicolai had a good go trying to standardise the G-Boxx format.
and there were a few others that did not make it...
Pinion came a long in 2011 and blew the competition away. Smaller and more compact than existing gearboxes – it was a product that the cycling industry had been waiting for.
In 2015 OLSEN Bikes ventured away from derailleur and single speed bikes and developed a Gearbox hardtail. But what do they ride like?
With evenly spaced gears, you will find yourself riding in the correct gear for longer. The shifting is precise. If the shifter fails you can manually shift gears directly in the gearbox.
In reality, the additional weight is approximately 1.5Kg over a conventional derailleur drivetrain, but it does not feel like that. The weight is central, so the bike feels balance on the trails. The only time that you feel the weight is when you lift it over a fence. The rear wheel can be single speed and therefore stronger than a dished cassette wheel.If you ride all year round? If you do a lot of miles? Then a gearbox bike will give you maintenance free miles. Instead of cleaning your bike you could be riding.