Pinion's production version of their bicycle gearbox was shown to the media and public during the demo day here at Eurobike. We've been following it's development since we first spotted it at Eurobike last year
, and we were impressed when we got to ride one
a few months ago. After several years of testing and refinement they are now confident it works they way they want it to and it will prove reliable out in the wild.
While on the outside it may look very similar to the pre-production version we tested, Pinion tell us that the internals have been massively overhauled. One of the things they discovered with the prototypes was that if the the bike was left on its side oil escaped through the cable entry point. To solve this problem they have added an additional layer of shaft sealing to make sure everything stays inside and not all over your garage floor. The freewheel ratchet has been re-designed to offer more accurate shifting and make the issues we noticed about shifting under load less noticeable. Shaft bearings have also replaced the sealed bearings. Up until now the gearboxes only used CNC'ed cranks, but a forged option is now available.
On the outside there isn't anything to separate this bike from the pre-production version we tried on an Alutech Fanes earlier this year.
At the shifter you can notice a few refinements, but these are only a small tidying up of the graphics.
We genuinely don't know what to make of this Mi:tech bike. A Pinion gearbox mated to a carbon belt drive is something we've seen discussed a few times as the next progression of drivetrain technology. We aren't so sure though - to make the system work there must be zero chain growth as the belt needs to be under constant tension. To achieve this, Mi:tech have resurrected something that we thought had died out along with the Hammerdance and Global Hypercolour t-shirts: the unified rear triangle. For anyone too young to remember these bikes in the 90s, the premise is simple - the bottom bracket is on the swingarm and the whole assembly moves about under the bike. What this means is that the bottom bracket isn't in a fixed position in relation to your hip and they died out (we hoped) some time ago. Having said that, we haven't spent time on the bike so maybe it will be a triumphant return for the URT. Or maybe not...