Shimano Gearbox in the Works - Patents Filed on Hybrid Chain-driven Sequential-Shift Transmission

Nov 8, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  
Shimano gearbox patent application

Jack Luke, an assistant editor at BikeRadar, routinely scours the US Patent Office for cycling-related filings. This one was tucked away under the ubiquitous title, "Sliding Component and Bicycle Internal Transmission Device" by Shimano Inc. in Japan. (See the patent application here)

In his comprehensive article, Luke mentions that the word "gearbox" never appeared in the patent. No doubt an intentional ploy to hide the monstrously huge news that the world's largest component maker in cycling has been developing a comprehensive strategy to produce a sequential-shifting 13-speed hybrid transmission that substitutes heavy, draggy gears with lighter, more efficient roller chain, sealed from the elements and bathed in an engineered lubricant. All this, including advanced drawings of how the gearbox will be mounted in production and its programmable electronic shifting controls, are described in detail.

Honda G-Cross DH bike
Honda G-Cross DH bike shared very similar shifting technology. Honda photo


Big news? I'd say so, but the concept isn't new. The famous Honda DH bikes used a similar gearbox. Honda's transmission featured a chain and cassette, sealed from the elements inside an aluminum and carbon shell. It was shifted by a modified derailleur which slid laterally on a shaft to provide a perfect chain line. Rumors point to another large drivetrain maker that "may" have developed and tested a roller-chain hybrid gearbox as well in the not too distant past. What makes Shimano's patent application so important is, um, Shimano.

Shimano Isn't Bluffing

The smoking gun in Shimano's application can be found in the details. The abstract drawings depict a concept that is near production, not a bunch of cut-and-paste bicycle parts adorned with play school cogs and components. The side shot of the bike,
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for instance, depicts a high level of integration and shows how the drive sprocket could be correctly aligned for a modern high-pivot suspension. The three-quarter view of the transmission further illustrates an evolved, working concept.

Shimano gearbox patent application
Abstract drawings rarely depict concepts at such an evolved level.
Shimano gearbox patent application
The cranks overdrive the transmission, which reduces torque and facilitates lighter-weight components.

Special Lubricants

Shimano's application also describes in detail, a special lubricating fluid that when combined with a surface treatment that traps the substance in the metal, will shear at a prescribed thickness and prevent metal-to-metal contact at high pressures. Both the lubricant and the technical details of the surface treatment are detailed in the application. Does that sound speculative? I didn't get that impression either.
Shimano gearbox patent application
Shimano's proposed lubricant and surface treatment work together to eliminate the possibility of metal-to-metal contact.

Why Roller Chain?

Why roller chain? No other strategy can compete with a roller chain for low friction losses in rotary power transfer at low RPM and high torque loads - especially at low power inputs. The enemy of roller chain drives is dirt. Tests at the University of Utah proved that friction losses in roller chain drives were minimal, regardless of the type of lubricant, even when lubricant was absent. Dirt, and angular misalignment, however, contributed to large friction losses in the trials. Shimano's transmission handily solves both of those issues and then some.

Shimano gearbox patent application
Shimano gearbox patent application


According to the application, Shimano's gearbox pairs opposing seven-cog cassettes. A small "derailleur" slides on an angular shaft between them to shift the chain to each gear, while maintaining a perfect chain line in each selection. To extract 13 speeds from only seven pairs, one of the cassettes can be shuttled laterally, which presents six more gearing options. This strategy ensures low friction, because only one pair of sprockets are engaged at any moment, and keeps the transmission simpler, lighter weight and also, minimizes its width.

Shifting to the next gear is proposed in the application to be either electric, or cable operated, but either way, you wouldn't have to figure out which gear you were in. You'd only be pushing one of two levers on the right side of the handlebar. Another plus is that the transmission would be moving as long as the bicycle was in motion, so you would be able to effortlessly change as many gears as you wanted while coasting.

Shimano gearbox patent application
A "derailleur" device moves the chain between two mirror-image cassettes (left image). After seven shifts (middle image), the lower cassette is moved over one space (right image) and offers six additional gears - 13 speeds in total.

What Lies Ahead?

Is there a future for this? Absolutely. Gearboxes that use toothed gears must be constructed from the finest materials, with aerospace tolerances in order to approach the efficiency of roller chain drives on bikes sold at the department store level. Shimano's concept bridges that gap with a protected, permanently lubricated transmission that will operate efficiently when constructed with average quality bearings and moving parts. That means this gearbox will eventually be scalable and thus
Shimano gearbox patent application
Gearing options (light band) between two seven-cog cassettes.
appear at a number of price points. Conventional gearboxes are not - which is why the gearbox bike has never been moved into mass production.

We'll keep an eye on Shimano and report further developments.






363 Comments

  • 321 7
 there we go, i guess shimano wasnt behind of the 1x race. they were secretly jumping ahead. im excited, finally heading in the right direction !
  • 97 27
 Now you need to buy 2 XTR cassettes ad 2 chainrings per bike! Just kidding! Super exciting news!
  • 58 3
 YYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU SHIMANO!!!!
  • 10 0
 Hot damn!!!
  • 18 1
 I am genuinely excited! But I hate being such a killjoy. Let´s remember that a granted patent doesn’t mean the invention will be marketed. Keep your eyes peeled for any new trademark from Shimano though!
  • 6 3
 @WAKIdesigns: You are right.......they will need aerospace tolerances...... Smile
  • 10 0
 This was patented early this year which means we will likely see the first release of this in what, 3-4 years? Oh the suffering of waiting!!
  • 5 0
 @Rodgl: indeed. Very excited but I fear we have much waiting left to do on this.
  • 47 30
 Didn't think your bike was complicated enough? Now you can get a system with 3 chains, 4 sprockets/cogs, and 2 cassettes. All in a large housing that significantly limits suspension design, shock, and water bottle placement. Everyone wins!
  • 10 21
flag Cro-Mag (Nov 8, 2019 at 18:30) (Below Threshold)
 @dthomp325: more evidence that "mountain cyclists" are suckers.....spend your bucks when its fresh and feel extreme......
  • 27 2
 @Cro-Mag: I'm an Aerospace machinist and engineer. Pretty much any mill/cnc made within the last 10 years will be +/- 0.002 .
Design, material, tolerances. In that order.
  • 9 1
 This is way cool, too bad Shimano wont have it in stock until 2 years after it hits the market.
  • 46 33
 @dthomp325: I don't get the fuss over drivetrain "tech".
Every mountain bike I've owned in the 15 years has shifted just fine, every 6 months half turn on the adjuster, you can do this as you ride along.
Quicker shifting whatever. Just give me the ratios I need to make it up the hill.
It's all just a bunch of BS.
  • 46 2
 @Ritgut: Gearbox's mean better suspension, it's not all about ratio's
  • 25 1
 Its not really about shifting ability it’s more about cassette wear, chain wear and the fact that things break so easily on a conventional drive chain @Ritgut:
  • 11 2
 @MikeAzBS: and the old adage about engineers rings true again. ????
  • 16 0
 Oh that sound you get after you ride through a puddle on a sloppy day and then change down a few gears. Crunch crunch grind grind on your £300 drivetrain. That is a sound I never want to hear.
  • 18 13
 @MikeAzBS: similar tolerances to machining dentist equipment I am told...
  • 15 2
 From reading Vitals write up it sounds like the mount would be the same as Shimanos ebike motor which would make things interesting. Being able to switch between pedal and ebike could be a game changer. I would assume Shimano has designed this to be integrated with an ebike motor.
  • 5 1
 Sorry bikeradar not Vital.
  • 1 1
 @MikeAzBS: you just made my point right there...
  • 13 1
 This is my new #1 reason not to buy a new bike for 2-3 years.

This looks good but it will obviously require all new frames and kit. I’m sure they’ll take the opportunity to muck around with hub standards too.

If we thought changes in wheel size made old 26ers die out fast. Imagine seeing a clunky old 1x setup when these are everywhere!
  • 2 5
 Somebody please explain to me how you're gonna get same ratio as 12 speed 500% with two 7 speed cassettes (say 11-2Cool and only shifting one cog for the second 6 gears (jump between 11-13or even 24 - 28 is never as big as 26/36 old chainrings which were necessary for 500%)

Am i missing something???
  • 32 38
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 9, 2019 at 3:08) (Below Threshold)
 @wildedge586: thank you for reminding us how more ratio, more speeds, more dropper drop, more megapixels, more lenses in a phone idiots can hinder development of potentially successful innovations... won’t buy the Shimano gearbox cuz it has only 400% and Shimano 12sp is 510% and Pinion has 600% - yes, good fricking luck with that. This generation is geared to fight for transgender rights, boycott Saudi Emirates by texting from a car with ICE, “climb” Everest with 100 sherpas around, demand medals for baking bread at home, brewing own Kombucha, putting up with bitter ass craft beer or eating a salad - yes...
  • 12 0
 @wildedge586: I would be more than happy with 400% as I currently run 11-42 cassette which is 382% if my maths is right. We do not have the biggest hills in southern UK but there are some punchy climbs, you just need a little horsepower and some lungs to power the meat pistons.
  • 7 0
 @fartymarty: nine is fine
  • 2 0
 @jaame: exactly
  • 4 1
 @Altron5000: this actually why I am choosing to buy a new bike this upcoming season. 29 geo has matured nicely and while being tweaked seems to have settled and the related parts have been in market long enough now to be reliable and application-appropriate. Electronics and gearing will keep the tinkerers and marketers busy so they hopefully move to a mini refinement phase in “traditional” bikes... so I can buy parts for my new bike for at least a few years Smile
  • 8 10
 @jaame: As soon as my DJ/XC bike is ready I will make myself a 26” wheel with Hope SS rear hub. I’ll Buy 2 cheap 10sp cassettes and make a custom 11-32 - 6 speed cassette out of them.
11-14-18-22-27-32
  • 4 1
 @robwhynot: agreed. IMO this gearbox won't be mainstream for another 5 to 10 years (probably sooner on ebikes tho) While I love the idea of gearboxes my 10 speed drivetrain is so cheap and works relatively well to change. Plus if someone makes a wide 5 (wide range 5 speed drivetrain) I would be all over it.
  • 10 15
flag jason475 (Nov 9, 2019 at 5:49) (Below Threshold)
 @WAKIdesigns: I think the world could use a new MTB drive train more than it needs any more shitty tasting craft beer, IPA's or sour beers. Makes you appreciate and understand the German beer purity standards.
  • 4 1
 @wildedge586: yes. With the 19/42 cassettes they are getting 450%. Just change to a 17/42 and you go past 600%.
  • 11 1
 And they didn’t explain the shifting very well. Actually wrongly. The system walks the chain one gear at a time swapping which cassette moves each time. So the chain doesn’t move on both cassettes at once.
  • 7 0
 FINALLY!! Still love my Pinion, but more players in the field will drive the thechnology forward.
  • 1 1
 @dthomp325: I'm all for gearboxes but that's my main concern here, suspension design. Unless it was much fuss for nothing. You also have the dropper, many want a 200mm dropper but then if you have a gearbox and shock in the way that's getting difficult.
  • 2 1
 @Bhaack: oh right, it’s actually 14 speed?

About the number of gears thing. I always find myself wondering what the point of those gears between the middle and the top of the cassette is. On an 11 speed cassette I use the middle cog to the bottom cog a lot, and I use the biggest cog a lot, but those gears in positions 2, 3, 4, 5 never seem to get used other than to get it up to that big one. A high end version of Shimano Mega Range like my daughter’s bike has would be sweet. I could live with a 35-50t jump for my bailout gear. It would not be for everyone, but it would be fine for me.
  • 4 2
 @Altron5000: unless your buying an ebike I don’t think you’ll need to worry. I doubt these will be marketed heavily towards non-motorized bikes
  • 1 1
 @SacAssassin: agreed
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty:
But even 11 - 42 doesn't really work out. Say 11 42 has a spread of 3.82 and 11to 13 is ratio 1,18 than the total result is 451% and you get like 5 if those 13 gears which are overlapping/almost the same ratio so my honest question is what am i missing. 9 speed with 450% is already available...
But feel free to rant about your party talking points...
  • 3 0
 Waki rant misses my question but true nonetheless But if the cap fits....
  • 3 0
 @Bhaack: I just read it. 13 speed. I always come to the comments after reading the headline.
  • 4 2
 singlespeed = no worries
  • 9 3
 @jason475: I'd rather have many interesting options with a few bad apples than the same stuff over and over...German beer is great for what it is but it's certainly not known for its variety or uniqueness.
  • 10 6
 @RadBartTaylor: bold statement

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_in_Germany

You're playing with fire :-) 5000 beers from 1300 different breweries should qualify for some kind of variety...

American beer on the other hand is a world renowned water purification, except those ipa micro breweries
  • 1 0
 @jaame: 7 is heaven Wink
  • 3 1
 @wildedge586: what’s the similarity between (insert beer) and having sex in a boat? It’s f*cking close to water.
  • 3 2
 @fartymarty: same. I run the 10-42 and haven't been above the 36 tooth in months.
  • 3 0
 @wildedge586: I prefer German styles to Belgian but I'm sold on IPAs, sours and other from micro breweries specialy northen European. It could be said that German beers are somewhat uniqueless due to the strong tradition and strictness in the past so you have styles that don't allow a big variation. That is good as you have basicaly only good beer but also can be bad if you want something new.
  • 4 0
 @wildedge586: with two 11-28 cassettes you go from 11-28 to 28-11. So the total ratio is:
(28/11)/(11/28 )=28*28/11*11. This equals 648 %.

It works. I literally had a similar idea a week ago. Talk about timing...
  • 1 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 9, 2019 at 10:32) (Below Threshold)
 @Primoz: it makes no sense to use gearbox for anything that would make use of 500% or more. I could argue for 420%. Unless you attach a motor to it. The inevitable efficiency loss of the gearbox coming from smaller rings and additional chain in the system makes it a no go for any longer ride. The whole system makes sense only for gravity riding.
  • 2 2
 @jason475: IPAs and sour beers can adhere to the purity law just fine.. just sayin.

Am I the only one concerned about weight though? Trail bikes have gotten heavier the past few years and this doesn't seem to change that trend..
Sorry, I know we're not supposed to talk about weight ????
  • 2 5
 @wicol: at least 600g more. Each cassette will surely weigh more than Dura Ace 11-28 cassette, harder steel, more durability required, so 250g each? + 2 additional chainrings inside 50g each, We're at 600g, then cover and bolts, mounts 100g, then chains 150-200g. axles, 100g, Chain between the gearbox and the rear cog + rear cog 320g. 1.3kg for the whole thing at least. Regular XTR cassette 375, chainring with spider 60, chain 250g - around 700g. So at least 600g more for the gearbox. Fine for DH/park bike. Not for Enduro Bros willing to give up tyre stability and using exo casings, just to have it easier on the way up. Then efficiency loss... you need a motor or lift/shuttle to sell it to all da Joes.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: no way they can use lighter materials because of the way the load is distributed. And because it's protected.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: In cassettes there's less material as it has less speeds so less cogs? Otherwise yes it should be considerably heavier and draggier
  • 2 1
 lets not forget the xtr delays and false hopes this year.
  • 1 3
 @MikeAzBS: how can you be an engineer and a machinist? I thought an engineer was just a machinist with no brains! BTW any CNC tooled & fixtured correctly should be able hit +\-.0005 all day
  • 1 0
 Looks like it’ll be heavy, which has killed every other gearbox. Two cassettes and a housing with layshafts etc.
  • 1 0
 @enduroNZ: even a gearbox bike still needs a front and rear ring, a tensioner and a chain that travels past the dirty back tyre.
  • 1 2
 @thatgeeza: say what? how do gearboxes mean better suspension? Surely slapping massive gearbox hardware in the tight real estate of the lower bike frame compromises the positioning pivots, linkages and the rear shock.
  • 7 1
 @Ritgut: unsprung mass gets lower by 1lb and is moved to a place where it least matters: BB
  • 9 1
 @WAKIdesigns: did you even read the article that we are commenting under or did you head straight for the comment section and tried your hardest to go full retard?

Why is the 420 % the magical number? Because Sram used it on 1x11 and it's so much better for whatever arbitrary reason it worked so much better than Eagle? Because i will NEVER go back to 420 % when i have Eagle, since we actually need the range here where we have some decent hills.

But to get back on the topic, if you read the article you could have seen that the patent describes a system, where the first stage after the input is a 'high' geared stage which increases the rotational speed of the two cassettes. That means, for the same power going through the system, less torque (power = torque * RPM, roughly). Less torque means lower forces. Second part is the coating and lubrication system. Third part is the encasement. And the fourth part of the equation is the chain running straight by changing the sprockets it's running on both cassettes simultaneously. These things all add up to MUCH lower loads than we have in our current drivetrains, which all means lighter components can be used without sacrificing durability. Hell, they might even be able to use aluminium sprockets, that would add quite a lot of lightness.

Plus, it is clearly written that using a chain will not decrease the efficiency to the same degree classical gear pairs would. And you don't rotate all the components at different speeds like you do in a car/Pinion/etc. transmission, adding to the losses.

I might sound like i'm all praise, and i am from a technical, idea-wise standpoint. But this being patented worries me what will happen with the competition. You will get a bunch of gearbox only bikes from brands that work with Shimano and a bunch of classical bikes from brands that work with Sram. Two distinct camps if you will with no interoperability.

I would not be surprised if this is in fact used for e-bikes first and foremost due to their integration (you have to decide which motor to use when designing a bike anyways) and am eager to see what this will mean for classic bikes.

@EarIysport: But it still has the possibility of being much lighter than say a Pinion. The shifting mechanism is much simpler and lighter (moving the chain instead of engaging distinct gear pairs), the gears are thin and light, you only power one gear pair at the time, etc. And the loads going into the casing are different.

@Ritgut: But the chain can be thicker and thus stronger, it runs in a straight line, etc. Factors improving the durability of the chain which is the main benefit here. And only having one sproket on each side and a simple tensioner that we've known for years from single speed bikes, which doesn't need to work as hard since you don't have as much chain slack, etc.

@Ritgut: Not neccessarily. With rear wheels growing, the suspension geometry is actually getting compromised. The instant centres of rotation tend to be getting lower in regards to the rear axle, to achieve a desired anti-squat, which means less reaward travel. This means suspension performance suffers (rear wheel doesn't move away from the obstacle as much) and makes frame design harder (the rear wheel moves towards the frame instead of away). With a gearbox with a higher positioned output gear, you can effectively go for what is now known as a high pivot, but don't have to deal with the inefficient and noisy idler gears.

What you get, in fact, is even more freedom when designing your suspension. You could possibly even rotate the gearbox around your BB to influence the height of the output gear and tune the suspension layout this way.
  • 3 0
 @Primoz: I get your points. I would back Shimano over Stan because I think they make better gears.
As for the 420%, you don’t need more than that. All you need is a climbing gear to suit your local hills. It could be a single speed. On the way down you don’t need to pedal. Gwin won a World Cup race with no chain! For riding on the road bigger gears are useful I’ll give you that, but 30ks an hour is pretty fast off road. You don’t really need a 32-10 top gear per se.
  • 1 2
 @jaame: I had a chat or few about it with him in the past... some people just want more megapixels.

and he carefully reads an article where it says that additional chain won’t decrease efficiency. Because additional rotating component and chain engaging teeth is causing no future resistance by the power of love of immaculate heart of virgin engineer...
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Well in that case i strongly back Sram given the current state of the market. 12spd Shimano does seem tempting, but not enough to lure me from the tried and tested Sram i've been using for the past 11 years. And i've had no problems with GX derailleurs that most people mention, so i might be a bit biased.

As for the range, yeah, you could, if you actually had no pedalling going down the hill (sadly i'm not Gwin and i brake too much into corners and sometimes have to pedal out of them) and if you only had to go up. Besides having steep ascents i also have flat approaches to the hills so i actually use most of the range on offer by Eagle a lot of the time. While instances of 32-10 (actually 30-10 for me on my 29er, but i had a 32t chainring on my 27,5" bike, where the rollout is very similar) use are very rare, they do nevertheless happen. It's usually on asphalt or gravel, either going to the hill or going back home. Having a slight descent here helps to use the 10T in the back. It's not all offroad, sadly. So i don't mind having that gear there. And it's more about the 50T on the upper end. I had an 11spd on my 27,5" bike and upgraded to Eagle on it. Boy was that the best decision ever.

@WAKIdesigns: so i guess you run single-speed fixed gear hardtails only? With an encased chain running in a pool of lubricant? I mean you want ALL the efficiency for your ride so you look fresh when taking that 100 Mpix selfie to post on Instagram, don't you? Can't have chain tensioners, freehubs, derailleurs and jockey wheels, bent chains, etc.

Classical gearboxes (Pinion & co) suffer from inefficiencies, it's a known fact. Pinion's 12spd gearbox has 14 sprockets rotating and meshing with only 4 powered, has a lot of bearings and selectors. The Shimano patent has a lot less components. It's also written in the article that a roller chain is the most efficient to transfer low power at low speeds, more than classical gear pairs. Could it be that a combination of an encased, clean gearbox with the chains in it running straight and the main driven chain running straight to the rear wheel comes close to the efficiency of the current drivetrains where the chain is dirty, unlubricated and bent to extreme angles? As far as i've read, dirt and off-centre running of the chain is the main enemy of efficiency.

I never said gearboxes are not inefficient. They are, it's a known fact. Shimano, with this patent, tries to solve this. And the premise is good. I'm ot saying it will be more efficient than what we have not, but it sure looks like it will be a lot closer to the current state than the likes of Pinion. And if you get robustness and maintenance free running for a minimal loss in efficiency (does anyone even measure it on current systems?!), isn't that a net gain?
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I guess sram didnt see unsprung mass as important when they killed off the fd and gave us dinner plate cassettes and massive rds that dangle in the rocks. At least no fd meant we could now fit 29" wheels with fat minions to, wait, further increase unsprung mass. Oh, and rotational inertia isn't important now either. The whole mass gig is skewed which ever way to sell us new shit.
  • 1 0
 @blackthorne: Just a Derailleur in a box so just make covers for your current drive & it will last a lot longer
  • 3 0
 @wildedge586: what u r missing is it’s virtually maintenance free. No dirt in the system, no clutched derailleur to mess with the suspension or get torn off, no derailment problems and centralized weight for better sprung and unsprung weight mass distribution. Win/win.
  • 5 1
 @rivercitycycles: Ha, yeah it's a small company and I wear a lot of hats. I actually prefer it. Less disconnect with efficient manufacturing. As fan as .0005, no way if you are hoping to meet ANSI. No shop would ever quote that job. Even carbide endmills would need to be changed so often, it wouldnt be reasonable. If you are talking about a couple prototypes, maybe. But I'd hate to see ur scrap pile.
  • 1 0
 @wildedge586: it's great for what it is and its tradition, but it's not constantly evolving like the beer in the US...
  • 1 0
 @wildedge586: Yes, if they are put on ebikes it won't matter that it's less range.
  • 1 0
 @Cro-Mag: And aerospace salaries.
  • 1 1
 @Primoz: No I just told you that if you have a regular drivetrain you have one chain and two cogs at a time. Here you have 6 cogs rotating at a time and 3 chains total. It may be moreefficient than pinion but still isn't as efficient as standard bicycle drivetrain - as simple as that. Factoring in chain being crossed is half arsed as most of us don't ride on extreme sides of the cassette for most of the time. At least those who have some sub 80RPM cadence torque in our legs.

It is as if you had two chainrings on the crankset, one each side and you would attach the second one to a freewheel in the downtube of the frame that does nothing. There will be more weight to move - each of addiitonal rotating components has a mass that needs to be accelerated. Furthermore those cogs are smaller, the smaller the cogs the less efficient is the system. That is why roadies don't use 9t cogs and some even use 12-28 cassettes with larger rings in the front. Any gearbox will be less efficient than a chain and two chainrings - It is plain as ice.

No sane person, capable of taking balanced decisions, being able to weight several factors into an equation, who rides anything else than long travel bikes with emphasis on bicycle handling will use any gearbox.. They just won't. It is less efficient and weighs 500g more, each of these factors being enough to put away most folks on it's own. Add two together and this is good only on E-bike or descend oriented bike
  • 2 0
 Everyone's banging on about Pinion inefficiency but have there been any tests done to back this up?
  • 1 0
 @excavator666: because all the gears are 100% of the time meshed. All of the possible drag is allways present. Gear selection is done by fixing one of the free wheeling gears. since you have more material in contact, there will be more drag. Direct contact gears, or spur gears, will only have less friction in MTB case if they achieve a way of meshing only 1 pair of gears at time. the most reliable way of doing this, today, is by chain.
Then there is Effigear from France. I don't even know how those have more efficiency. But they lack the spread MTB requires.
  • 3 0
 @Notmeatall: I own a pinion and find the drag to be negligible. There are other factors to take into consideration such as cross chaining, chain suck/slap and gunked up drivetrains which reduce the efficiency of derailleurs as well.

Until i see a lab test which compares the efficiency of both styles of drivetrain, I'm disregarding all the BS being spouted from people who've never even rode a gbox and using my own real world experience which tells me that Pinions are f*cking awesome!
  • 2 1
 @excavator666: no, but I know a dude who bought a hardtail with it and as post purchase rationalization wore off, sold it and rides regular drive train. He started his adventure with hammerschmidt and single ring rear, then Rohloff in the back HT, then single speed, not so long ago pinion, now he finally landed... I see him very rarely and eery single time he rides some whack bike. To my surprise last time I met him he had a normal fricking bike... he sait it had too much drag for long rides.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I genuinely do not find it draggy tbh. Mine has about 1.5 years of regular riding on it and is properly run in by now.

I seen an entry on the Zerode blog that says the more a Pinion gets used, the more polished the gears get and the more efficient it becomes. This corresponds with my experience.

Even if there was a little weight penalty and even if there is a little drag penalty, everything else about the Pinion is so vastly superior to derailleurs that it's gonna be a gbox for me every time.
  • 2 0
 @excavator666: please note, I am commenting only on what market expects, if they run 165 cranks, Eagles, exo tyres for longer travel bikes, then they won’t put up with ANY notion of efficiency loss. They can’t handle the bike so how will they appreciate improved handling. What do you think gave birth to downcountry? Or super long trail bikes? Striking incompetence on downs (which is fine by me) masked by tons of BS about efficiency, more feedback and “earning skills” (which is not fine by me). I personally would ride gearboxes 160-200 bike, the only problem for me is price. Nothing else
  • 1 0
 @MikeAzBS: we have DMG Mori NLXs, Matsuura Cublex and Nakamura NTX that hold +\-.0005 in a production environment with mixed metals
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: It's cool dude, I see the logic in most of your perspectives.

f*ck the market, I'm not affected by marketing BS. I would honestly ride a Redalp if they worked.
  • 3 0
 @excavator666: I have been on one for over 3 years and I can't say I can feel at the pedals any perceptible drag with the Pinion. And from other customers they would say the same. The Pinion I would say seems like a better box than this thing. Although they could have tightened up the POE on the hub inside the box. Would never want to go back to a derailleur.
  • 2 0
 Well I would be really very happy if they bring us gearboxes soon, but honestly I think they will come with a gearbox for e-bikes first, then it will take another years to shave the weight etc to bring it to mountain bikes
  • 2 0
 @bok-CZ: I can see a big market for an e-bike gearbox but not for pedal bike - as you can read above most people are either hung up on weight or efficiency for it to ever really take off - they're happy carrying 12 cogs and a dangly piece of metal from their rear axle.

PS for the record I would love Shimano to release this for meat powered bikes.
  • 1 0
 @bok-CZ: Gearboxes aren't as brutally heavy as people are making out. My Taniwha is 15.3KG with heavy casing tyres on. That weight is pretty average for an enduro bike and to put it into perspective, my last Vitus Sommet was 15.0KG with heavy casing tyres on it. I use a set of luggage scales out of pure curiosity.

Even if it is a little bit heavier, most people absolutely will not notice the difference no matter what way the marketing bull shit tries to tell you that the lighter your bike is, the more pro you are regardless of skill level.
  • 1 0
 @excavator666: Everyone knows its not the weight that makes a rider pro, its the wheel size. ????
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: yeah I know, they simply haven't tried it
  • 3 0
 @excavator666: That's lighter than my Murmur which has Exos. Weight smeight, I would gladly take another 1kg at the BB over 500g at the rear wheel.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: weight smeight precisely dude.
  • 1 0
 The best thing about most patents is that they stop somebody else making the same mistake. Look up Revonte system if you want to see the future.
  • 1 0
 @Notmeatall: Effigear is same as Pinion, but they only have a single stage in the gearbox, not a two stage like Pinion does. And the freehub is inside the gearbox, so you must use a freehubless rear hub for the gearbox to work. Otherwise you need to backpedal to shift in one of the two directions (i forgot which, but this info comes directly from them when i inquired about it a few years ago).
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I am well aware of the fact that this Shimano patent has three gears in action. 'Accelerating mass' is a stupid argument to make when you then talk about not riding on extreme sides of the cassette, surely you're so much pro that you can have a very constant pedalling stroke?

But i digress. Sorry, 80 RPM is really uncomfortable for me, i prefer to spin away at higher RPM. And i'm not the only one. Plus i'd be happy to see you come to Slovenia (I think we've talked about this a few times already), i'd love to see you slog on the 32 or 28T of the Eagle cassette up some climbs. Me? I'm happy to do it in 30-50t on my 29er. Time-wise, on an average ride, i probably spend 50 % in the 36T, 42T and 50T gears. So yeah, a bent chain is a real consideration. Even more so on a mountain bike that is, often, used in the hills. Road bikers can and love to do 200 km rides with ~1000 m of vertical. I usually do that in ~25 km.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Sounds like you should, build your own casings too fit round your current drive, in theory it is not that hard?
This will be almost as efficient as your current drive, in fact more efficient than your current drive once your chain gets dirty!
Will post some pics soon, but for now you will have to do with this?
www.pinkbike.com/video/218538
  • 1 0
 @Ritgut: no bent hangers tho!
  • 1 0
 Keep it short 50 words or less @WAKIdesigns:
  • 124 12
 I'm glad that Shimano patented this and not the other big manufacturer... Should be more reliable.
  • 11 3
 amen!
  • 9 0
 @eugen-fried I'm sure Sram have a secret Area 51 style bunker full of prototype gboxes as well.
  • 12 1
 @excavator666: Yes, gears made of sugar and BBQ sauce as the lubricant. But they will have a cool marketing strategy behind it though. hmmm.
  • 2 0
 @excavator666: it’s their pro riders.
  • 3 0
 @excavator666: and the bunker is built entirely on multiples of 28.99 mm. Sram's ratio, one could say.
  • 1 0
 Should be slow to market, if at all?
  • 99 7
 Long term review coming tomorrow?
  • 51 2
 Nope, first look tomorrow. Long term review the day after. Can’t rush these things.
  • 5 0
 Just a first look.
  • 3 1
 @chezotron: successful first date
  • 42 3
 I think I'll wait on buying a bike for the next 4 years. Seems like tech is going to be changing a lot very soon.
  • 38 3
 It looks like this design will:
- Shift under load
- Weigh less than a Pinion
- Be compatible with a trigger shifting mechanism
- Have unprecedented drivetrain efficiency

That blows the Pinion out of the water.

But it strikes me that Shimano didn't go with a Continuously Variable Transmission setup. CVTs often use fluids like Shimano mentions to transmit their torque so as to minimize friction and contact surface area. Imagine combining Di2 technology with a CVT transmission to set your own gear ratios, shift distances, custom functions, and more--the opportunities, so to speak, are infinite. I had been thinking of an idea much along the lines of the Shimano patent, a nice combination of Nuvinci's idea, traditional gearboxes, and the bicycle derailleur. It may just end up being the best way to move forward for gearboxes, even if it's not as elegant as a derailleur alone.

Finally, Shimano serves a very wide bike market, from touring to World Cup racing. It may be this gearbox is not targeted for all of our luxury bikes, but rather the lower-end/urban/touring market.
  • 15 0
 I tested a Nuvinci hub on a city e-bike once and it was horrible. Felt like a constantly dragging brake. So chains are definitely the way to go forward, the only thing is the size. It seems this will limit the design possibilities of suspension kinematics and may lead to conformity... even the patent seems to be set on a high pivot bike, which may not be for everyone
  • 3 1
 @jzPV: That was the biggest issues IMO. The suspension design constraints.
  • 6 0
 @jzPV: could get in the way of water bottle mounts too...
  • 21 1
 CVT's are quite inefficient at transferring power. On automobiles they are nice because of the large amount of rpm and power you have to play with. You can always be in the optimal rpm for fuel efficiency or for power..but they do suffer from a loss of efficiency of power when compared to a manual transmission. I think that sounds exhausting on a pedal bike application!
  • 4 1
 @gnarnaimo: And also on cars they aren't very popular due to their slowness so not that many companies use them and rather use single or dual clutch automatics.
  • 6 0
 @gnarnaimo: CVT scooters typically have wheel horsepower figures 30% lower than crankshaft figures.
I believe for a chain final drive it’s under 10%.
So no, I doubt a CVT would be good on a bicycle. Certainly not a belt driven one.
  • 3 0
 CVTs are really inefficient. The clamping load on the chain has to be high to avoid the chain or belt slipping. Which then destroys the traction surface, killing the transmission. By having 2 equal sets of sprockets with a traversing chain, it's kind of like a CVT with steps in diameter. Or in fact, it's a chain drive copy of the variable ratio belt drive in the top of an old fashioned pillar drill. Apart from package size, it looks great. Much lower friction, cost and potentially weight than"normal" gearboxes, which suffer because all the gears are permanently engaged. I'd actually been pondering a system like this last week. Wish I'd tried patenting it now!
  • 3 0
 @sissypants: Check out revonte.com for about all of the points you just mentioned Wink
  • 2 3
 I've had this same idea bouncing around my skull for a few years, where a gearbox uses two road cassettes. What I don't get is how it can shift the chain. You can shift with a derailleur-type system on the non-power side, but on the "top", or the side with the tension from pedalling, you essentially need a front derailleur. I don't get how you can move the chain when the top half is under tension.

Also, any gearbox will never be as efficient as a clean and well lubed traditional system. There is drag in whatever power transfer system you use to get the power from the cranks to the rear wheel. If you add steps in between that, then you're adding drag to the system. A well lubed and clean derailleur doesn't add any steps.
  • 1 0
 @vid1998: Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Ford, Chysler and Suzuki are all brands I can think of on the top of my head that use CVTs currently. They may not transfer power very well but they are very good at fuel efficiency and many brands are more focused on fuel efficiency and a smaller environmental impact than all out speed. BMW and Mercedes have also used CVT in the past for the same reasons, but suffered from reliability issues so they dropped the concept.
  • 2 0
 @gnarnaimo: I would be looking at scooters rather than cars, myself. It’s got to be small, light, and deal with low power figures
  • 2 0
 @gnarnaimo: I meant in transmition speed, they are quite slow at getting to the perfect ratio when accelerating suddenly and need quite a bit of getting used to for city use and this is one of the reasons that practicaly only hybrids use them as the electric engine covers that.
  • 1 0
 @vid1998: Not sure I agree. Almost all of those brands use them in gasoline engine applications. Honda uses them in every vehicle aside from the pilot, passport and ridgeline. They work quite well, I drive them everyday in the city. The only thing you really need to get used to is the motorboat effect of the rpms never dropping for shifts and rpms staying higher decelerating downhill. The control they have over a modern CVT is quite impressive. They allow you to reach whichever is the optimal ratio and rpm rather quickly and hold it there, where a regular automatic has to make it's way through gears to get to the ideal ratio. Aside from some power loss and an odd feeling while driving, they really are good these days.
  • 4 0
 @gnarnaimo: I for one, just love "the motorboat effect".
  • 1 0
 @gnarnaimo: Well I haven't driven te newer ones and older that I've driven really weren't very good. Also I enjoy a nice manual so a CVT is too weird for me and a good auto (from what I've driven only German for now) is much closer to it.
  • 2 2
 To all the inefficient comments regarding CVTs, there's more than one CVT design out there. The Prius drivetrain uses an ingenious CVT using a planetary gear drive. There are no inefficiencies there.
  • 3 0
 @Primoz: Um..you do realize that any gear on gear mechanical contact results in power loss, and planetary gear sets have alot of gears in contact with each other..the power loss through a planetary gearbox is quite significant, hence why there is so much power loss through conventional automatic transmissions. A planetary gearbox on a pedal bike would be incredibly inefficient.
  • 4 0
 FIG 1. seems to tell the story of a back suspension / rigid fork enduro bike so it's anyones guess where they're going with this for sure.
  • 7 0
 @wicol: I dub it a "Hardnose"
  • 2 1
 @gnarnaimo: I do realize a lot of point you're making. But a single planetary drive is still more efficient than an 'ordinary' CVT, since most chain, cone & co CVTs rely on friction to transfer power through the drive. A planetary gear system does not.

As for classical automatic transmissions, it's actually the torque converter that's the leader in ineffciency with those. Since, you know, it transfers torque by being a fluid pump, again, trying to transfer power through friction, not through shaped elements (gears). What i've been told/read/etc. is that modern torque converter transmissions also employ a classical clutch-like device coupling the engine and the transmission to remove the torque converter pumping losses from the system. While true, that there are much more gear pairs in an automatic, that are also mostly powered (as opposed to only one powered gear pair in a manual or DCT transmission), they are nevertheless much more efficient than older automatic gearboxes. A lot of work has been done on them and these days cars with automatics have lower fuel consumption than manual versions with the same engine (though this is not due to a higher transmission efficiency in itself, but most likely due to increased number of gears, better choice of engine RPMs for a given speed, etc.).

As for a planetary gearbox on a pedal bike, have you met Rohloff? Or Kindernay? Or almost any e-bike mid drive? All of these use planetary gear drives. Which, given the efficiency talk we're having, is ironic to me when talking about e-bikes. A few drives have plastic planetary drives in them. I wouldn't be surprised if making a much more efficient mid-drive unit would result in smaller batteries and lighter system weight as well. But that's the situation we have when all of the major players just take off-the-shelf automotive solutions and repackage them for e-bikes and sell you all the power you want, thus creating an electric motorcycle... But i digress.
  • 1 0
 @hirvi: Thank you for bringing us up in the conversation!

indeed, a CVT based gearbox can be made with high efficiency, especially for e-bike use. Check out an article about our system here: www.pinkbike.com/news/revonte-launches-a-stepless-e-bike-motor.html
  • 1 0
 @Primoz: Yes a torque converter does introduce power loss (but also power multiplication), and I do understand the cause of efficiency loss in CVT transmissions as I have been learning and working on them for 16 years. I was addressing the efficiency of the gearing itself. Also automatic transmissions (with the converter clutch engaged) still exhibit a measurable power loss in any ratio when compared to a manual transmission vehicle in the equivalent ratio due to the increased amount of mechanical contact. Literally the only thing making them more efficient these days is having a ridiculous amount of ratios to choose from. Which also has made them far less reliable, less serviceable and incredibly heavy..
If we are strictly talking planetary gearsets they will always be far less efficient than a roller chain setup like shown here.
  • 2 0
 @Primoz: the Prius CVT isn't actually a CVT at all. It's a differential with 2 electric motors that vary the "wheel speed" on each side of the diff, to give an effective gear ratio. There are a couple of good animations and a mini web app where you can change the ratio to help understand it. It avoids the losses due to hydraulic pumps etc in a normal chain CVT, but you then add in the conversion losses every time you go from mechanical to electrical energy and back again.
  • 1 0
 @gnarnaimo: agreed on all points.

@mountainsofsussex: It is a continuously variable transmission as in it doesn't have any steps. If that's not a CVT i don't know what is. You're probably thinking about the cone and chain type, but CVTs come in multiple different shapes. It's not the cone and chain that defines them, it's in the name, 'continuously variable transmission', a transmission with no steps in the ratios.

As for the Prius, the first gen uses a planetary drive with the wheels connected to the ring gear, the ICE to the planet carriers and the electric motor (first one) to the sun. There's another motor mounted between the planetary drive and the wheels, but the motor on the sun gear can either brake or accelerate the drive in order to change the output gear going to the wheels.

Later generations have much more components and are more complicated, so i prefer to talk about the first gen. It's just so simple, clear and ingenious! Smile
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: Just put a motor on it/?
  • 1 1
 @gnarnaimo: Yes all motor companies are spending all available millions trying to catch up with Tesla!
  • 1 1
 @Primoz: TRUVITIV HAMMERSHIT?
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: what are you trying to say with Hammerschmidt?

And Tesla is just the first company to make a dedicated electric car. At the same time they completely failed at all point that the automotive industry had learned not to fail at. They are a startup playing in an industry that has long been completely different and requires a different approach. The automotive industry is a battleship. It has been turning for a while now and Tesla will soon be in the crosssight of the big guns it has. Much better cars than any Tesla are coming. Cars that are actually designed and manufactured to be cars and be used as cars.
  • 1 1
 @Primoz: Hammerschmidt failed as was less efficient than regular drives even though was very close
Remember wondering why Peaty did use one, then I had one for a little while, worked good as a over drive single speed
Tesla are light years ahead of automotive industry
  • 2 1
 @aljoburr: I know all of that, what was your point?

Tesla is light years ahead at being shit. They don't know the first thing about making cars well and making cars that work everywhere. They are a typical hacking startup doing everything they can wrong. I'm talking about making cars, not about making a new electric vehicle platform. They have panel gaps with the consistency of yogurt. The suspension arms are snapping. The 17 inch screen is a total UX failure. They are saving money by not having any buttons on the dash because it's expensive to make a button that actually works reliably so you have to open the freaking glove box via the stupid screen. That shouldn't even be there in the first place. They have to replace complete infotainment units because they have the software architecture done in a failed way where they saved log files to the a cheap flash chip. Which of course gets worn and dies. Because of a few dollar chip a 2000 usd unit needs replacing. They were bragging that model 3 won't be tested, only simulated during the design process. They are insisting the only cameras will be enough for autonomous driving and that it will be available... It should already have been available. Level 5 autonomy is multiple decades away, if it is even coming, ever.

I can assure you, from experience, these are decisions that do not work, especially the simulation only part. The product is something new for the market (at the time). And it's shiny, different. And the business model is different. And the owner has a cult following that was beaten only by Steve Jobs. But that doesn't mean that, as a car, the product is not shit. And if they have a different platform while "the industry is stuffing batteries into golfs" that they are light years ahead. The industry is using proven platforms and adding unknowns (electric drive components) to those. And learning. And testing. And adding other things. And when the industry will have a handle on the product, they will put out well designed, usable and reliable products and Tesla will be dead in the water. They will have a platform that was light years ahead but will at that point be offered by everyone, they will have a shitty product and they will have a company that isn't able to do automotive development at the level of the big brands offering similar designs with better implementation. They will be uncompetitive.
  • 1 1
 @Primoz: Talk a lot of shit, Why not try thinking in a positive way or get into politics
Just because you think you know what your taking about, does make it right!
  • 2 0
 @aljoburr: I just read through the last couple of posts. He seems to know what he's talking about to me.
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: He definitely knows what hes talking about.. You honestly sound like a fan boy and back your previous comments up with attacks instead of any real facts.
  • 1 1
 @jaame: Yes I know just not look for an argument?
  • 23 1
 Looks amazing. But it makes a Pinion looks pretty compact. I’m sure that further development could shrink it down, in fact I’d be happy with fewer gears and a lighter, smaller system.
  • 10 2
 I wonder about a comparison with a Pinion too. Specifically weight and affordability. Otherwise in my opinion, this Shimano is the biggest, ugliest drivetrain i've ever seen.
  • 30 0
 C'mon, it's a patent schematic, awfully hard to judge size/scale in the real world.

Obvious question will be 1) weight, and 2) Standardization of layout. Would ideally want a standard for gearbox attachment such that future generations can be swapped in and/or moved between bikes from different manufacturers. Yay, more standards!
  • 10 0
 @Drew-O: As usual, across the pond you could gather much more knowledge from a single article. The Bikeradar piece states the patent lists the form factor as the same of the Shimano STEPS motors. Makes sense, as it'll help Shimano minimize the development and crush the competition at the same time. Let's not forget Shimano kept the "enclosed drivetrain" approach to the gearbox battle after Honda yielded their two infamous patents to them. And they have used it before to kick the PeteSpeed out of the contend.
  • 3 0
 @southoftheborder: Interesting, thanks for the info. So now the real downside emerges: If you run one of these your ride will be indistinguishable from an eBike!
  • 2 0
 I have a pinion: I’m a very happy person
  • 5 1
 @Drew-O: Shifting on the Shimano gearbox will be electronic, so you'll end up with a battery wether you like it or not!
  • 1 0
 @enduroNZ: I want a Taniwha but can't afford it. Combining the Pinion gearbox with 5Rot hydraulic shifters would be icing on the cake!
  • 1 0
 The way too shrink it down would to use a different pitch of chain, some times I wonder how bike companies sell stuff when do not offer customers what they really want!
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: There is a much easyer option, Just put standard drive n a box!
worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=GB&NR=2434565&KC=&FT=E&locale=en_EP
  • 22 1
 Y'all been saying Shimano been playing catchup to SRAM eagle for years, but in some big ass tower in Tokyo there white coats have been laughing there asses off developing this crazy shit! Bravo.
  • 17 2
 their
  • 1 0
 Sram is probably working on some gearbox of their own, heck, they may even be communicating with bike manufacturers and shimano to standardize one gearbox shape. Sram has AXS going for them, which could be used to shift, control your dropper, and in the future maybe even your suspension live-valve style. This is great for the consumer, as more options drive the prices down. Win win!
  • 20 0
 What no one is mentioning is Shimano's plan to popularize the rear suspension only bike, perhaps called a hardnose or soft tail
  • 1 0
 YES. Was scrolling down for this post.
  • 2 0
 IIRC Cannondale had one in the early 90s.
  • 4 0
 GMBN beat them to it.... youtu.be/2tmJqIiR4-c
  • 1 0
 I had one of those for a while and really enjoyed it. 12,46kg, did XC races and marathons with it... The geometry and riding position felt great and I think the suspended rear gave me less fatigue over many km than the opposite would have... www.pinkbike.com/photo/17962738
  • 19 0
 Look at that reduced offset fork though
  • 6 0
 perfect setup for trialsduro
  • 1 0
 Making the right comments
  • 3 0
 Actually, it has plenty of offset. The legs are straight, but they are at an angle to the headtube.
  • 17 1
 id place strong money thats this is fully Ebike centric. Sorry Grumpy Derailier haters
  • 2 0
 @bigbobojoylove: or an ebike motor could bolt right in; unless thats what your saying. In that case, ditto.
  • 1 0
 Agreed.
  • 2 0
 Bingo, another step towards moto
  • 5 1
 It's the same form factor as Shimano's ebike motor, so it's one or the other, not both.
  • 1 0
 @hllclmbr: This comment will age poorly..
  • 13 0
 Shimano Xylence hubs died for this!

Im all in for a Shimano Gearbox

Let’s gooooooooo!!!!
  • 2 0
 Maybe they go inside!? I'm wondering what kind of rear hub you would use with this. Some are saying the Honda had a fixed rear hub. If that's so, a silent freewheel makes sense in a way. Something has to coast! If both the hub and the gearbox freewheels, does that mean you can coast backwards too?? Things to contemplate 20 minutes after 4:20. Eek!
  • 4 5
 Coasting chain is a ridiculous idea. I hope this system doesn’t have it since substantial drag is inevitable. Ble bladi ble, It allows you yo shift while coasting, - but you only coast Jerry! The last time you tried to pedal down the hill you hit a rock and broke your jaw through you fantastic Enduro fullface!
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Greg Minnaar said the same thing in an interview, I forget who with. He said they tried everything to reduce coasting drag, and ended up with the whole internal chain/cassette in an oil bath. He said it was the biggest downside to the bike.
  • 7 0
 Really cool how they're shifting the one cassette back and forth to get more steps in the gearing range. I don't think the article was correct in saying that "After seven shifts (middle image), the lower cassette is moved over one space". It looks to me like the lower cassette is going to be shifting back and forth on every gear change.

The neat thing about this is that the chain will only be jumping gears on one cassette at a time, never 'floating' during a shift. It's a pretty clever design, and I bet the shifter mechanism to move everything will be even more interesting. Definitely gotta respect the engineers over at Shimano.
  • 5 0
 Interesting. It would seem that Hayes planned to market a very similar idea based on the PeteSpeed concept:

mbaction.com/hayes-to-market-chain-driven-gearbox-system-oct-5

www.facebook.com/MTBVR/photos/pcb.1746318255618298/1746313558952101/?type=3&theater
  • 7 0
 Shimano got the two original Honda patents and after the PeteSpeed got bought by Hayes/Manitou, they used them to keep the PeteSpeed out of the market.

TL/DR, you can't out a chain inside a gearbox because Shimano will sue your ass off.
  • 1 0
 @southoftheborder: Thanks for the info!
  • 2 0
 @southoftheborder: I would think that those patents would have expired by now? Perhaps this new version is a way to extend the patent.
  • 1 0
 @southoftheborder: Patents are good for 17 years, article you linked is from 2004, so any patent is likely already expired.
  • 10 0
 @dthomp325: That's some Marty McFly maths right there.
  • 4 0
 The PeteSpeed system was the most promising,I was super excited when it was showed in prototype form many years back. Can't believe it suffered a shutdown move from a big company,feels like something GM would do to a little inovative auto maker...
  • 2 0
 If i am not wrong, Alex Morgan (BCDBCD handmade CF bikes) was working over the same concept, but lost the patenting by a short time frame....
  • 1 0
 @dthomp325: The Honda patents are from 2004 IIRC .
  • 6 0
 I now the guy who wrote that...
  • 1 0
 @RichardCunningham:

If i remember right, Alex had a hard time digesting the fact that his idea was (also) patented by another guy. If i am not wrong, Alex never applied for a patent.
Some other names, do surface:

-Pete Speed
-Phaser

Am i wrong?
  • 5 0
 "Another plus is that the transmission would be moving as long as the bicycle was in motion, so you would be able to effortlessly change as many gears as you wanted while coasting."

Hang on, are you saying the hub is fixed? That sounds like allot of unnecessary feedback forces to deal with, along with wear and tear and probably noise.
  • 3 0
 dude, you can have a bit of downshifting hopping of the rear wheel, but this have been already addressed in moto long time ago (at least in my gsx - oh i love suzuki!)
I bet that it is not that big issue on mtb/dh in max speeds of 70km/h.
I am sold to this new gearbox. I want DH bike with it!
cheers!
  • 3 0
 @maddiver:

I don't understand your post?

But if the whole drive train is moving while you're coasting then you're looking at allot of drag and other feed back which is only going to slow you down.
  • 2 0
 @TobiasHandcock: I’d think you’d also be putting more torque through the freewheel more often if it’s before the drivetrain, plus the likelihood of the gearbox being bigger if the freewheel is in it.

Overall a cool concept, but skeptical of that part...
  • 2 0
 @mtallman2:

Yeah, no reason why you can't slap a regular old hub in it though, unless of course the standard axle widths all change... someone will do a free hub to fit it. I can't stand the idea of having all those moving parts under me.
  • 6 0
 I see this as well timed as now there’s a nice giant space created for ebike motors as a standard that Shimano and bike builders can choose to fill with a gearbox instead...
  • 2 0
 Yep you get it. Any manufacture that has an ebike with a Shimano motor could run this gearbox on other models. In other words this can be a thing pretty quickly. Maybe just maybe in 2-3 years when I'm ready for a new bike...
  • 3 0
 @reverend27: explains all the big mfg’s jumping on ebike train if the base motor/gearbox molds would be the same.
  • 1 1
 @Grosey: except the number of people (talking about people from 2022 here) who would pick a gbox over a motor will be minute
  • 8 0
 Gosh, I’m going to miss 1lb rotational weight out back and ripping $150.00 off on a rock in the blink of an eye...
  • 6 2
 What you need to now is that making a bike with less mas at the back and centering the mas es the key thing on tge gear box!!! Suspension will work at its best wen it needs to work with les mas!!!!
  • 21 0
 les mas? no mas, por favor.
  • 2 0
 @noisette: brilliant. Love it.
  • 2 0
 @noisette: sorry i ment Mass i dirent now this is a spelling web
  • 8 5
 Really not clear why people want this so badly? Not trying to be a contrarian, but seriously, what gives? Innovation is cool, so no problems there, but do you all hate your mechs or something?

I’ve been running sram xx1 since I built my frame up 5yr ago or so, and it hasn’t skipped a beat.

Does everyone really want to be able to shift under load? I like timing my shifts with cadence and shit, i dno....I don’t consider shifting a skill ceiling per say lol, but this is definitely lowering it...what’s the upside for someone like me?

Genuine question.

1x11 setup? That made a heck of a lot of sense when it first came out and was a serious game changer, I guess maybe this is the next generation of innovation. I just dont see what’s so exciting about it other than shifting under load.
  • 5 1
 Personally I'm all about the absence of a mech that you can rip off your bike. The trails I ride tend to have tight sections that I have to walk because if I messed up, it could mean buying a new derailleur.
  • 3 3
 It makeszero sense for Cross Country, Down Country and AM due to efficiency losses compared to a regular drive train. It makes most sense for park bikes and DH bikes. And... all Ebikes... Excellent shifting under power was already achieved by 11s XTR, current 12sp XTR is even better
  • 1 0
 @Pedro404: that’s a good point, didn’t think about that
  • 5 1
 I’m sure its so bulky because it’s attached to an motor below. So it’s more likely to become a motor-gearbox-combination for future e-bikes. Their future is brighter anyway and weight and drag are less of an issue.
  • 3 1
 5k bike is now 6.2k bike. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for new technology. Roller chain has been around for for a hundred years or so. I clean my chain after every ride. Ride almost every day and the GX cassette only lasts 11 months. SRAM ( shifting really annoys me) Maybe it’s XTR time.
  • 3 1
 I just got a bike with XT 12 speed. I've only got 2 short rides on it but it's amazing. It shifts under load perfectly and the shifter feels so nice. Definitely liking it better than my GX I've been riding the last few seasons. As long as it holds up long term it's going to be the best setup. I just had lots of problems with 11 speed xt so I'm hopeful
  • 1 0
 But note that you'll be able to use more robust chainring, cog, and chain (like singlespeeders do) and, for example, a Rohlof hub will do 100,000 miles and still be fine (with regular oil changes and service).
  • 3 0
 I used to get excited about the whole gearbox thing but years of proto chit chat and twist shifters, not to mention the fact my derailleur works fine has made me lose interest, still, good to see Shimano get involved.
  • 2 0
 From what I understand, a major source of drag in conventional drivetrains is the friction in the chain when it engages with a cassette sprocket and disengages with the chainring (both occur in the upper, highly tensioned part of the chain). If my counting is right, the concept covered in this article has six of these frictiony engagement and disengagement points whereas conventional drivetrains have two. Whether the chain alignment and fancy lubrication makes up for these added friction points, I don't know.
  • 1 0
 I was looking at that too. I think it must move back and forth to stay sequential. *he said, with very little confidence*
  • 2 0
 6 points and no free hub so they are always engaged, even while coasting.
  • 7 1
 Meanwhile at SRAM.... work continues on new bottom bracket standards ????
  • 3 0
 Maybe even working on a Hammershmidt 2.0!
  • 2 0
 With the developemnt of e-bike, gearbox might get a boost. Both a motor or a gearbox disrupt frame design then maybe they could shared some standard mount. It would help frame manufacturer to rationalize some tooling. Maybe the Shimano gearbox could adopt a similar form factor than their electric motor...( or it could be combined)
  • 2 0
 I remember older motorcycles having their entire drivetrain protected by a rubber sleeve. This kept the chain lubricated longer and reduced maintentance massivly. I'd like to see something like that on mtb too, but with a deraillieur in the back this would just look awful. So maybe Shimano is taking a step in the right direction here.
  • 1 0
 I can say that Shimano will not go in that direction!
  • 2 0
 Knowing Shimano the patent filings, at least for now, were meant to beat Sram to the punch and force them back to the drawing board in case they had similar ideas. Additionally the bike frame you buy dictates the drivetrain you're stuck with. I'll wait out this latest innovation like I have so many others in the past 10 years. I've saved thousands of dollars doing so.
  • 1 0
 Original Honda patent was filed in 2004 so will have too wait till 2029
  • 3 1
 Yes, please. I've been saying for years that we need to switch to gearbox systems.

If only I could get the thousands of hours of my life back that I've spent installing, adjusting, bending, aligning, cleaning, and cursing derailleurs...

Not that gearboxes will be zero maintenance and won't break (everything fails at some point and under certain conditions), but compared to the vulnerable and finicky derailleur systems at present, there is promise here.
  • 1 0
 This gearbox was the SHHHHTTTTTT!! Was/ is it lighter than current gearboxes? I would love for someone to interview former riders of the Honda team to get their take on the gearbox and Honda. Why was this stuff never available to the public?
  • 3 0
 Honda prototypes are never available to the public. Whether it's Moto GP and SBK bikes, Formula 1 cars or even the famed RN-01 DH bikes they either go back to Honda, to a museum after being fitted with display build kits or they go straight to the crusher. Exactly what Honda were testing with the DH bike only the people at Honda will ever know. It was rumoured to be about Trials bike frames and improving their aluminium forming, but that's as much as anyone guessed. It was a real shame, a Honda production DH bike would have rocked.
  • 3 0
 I'm not positive if it is lighter, but I don't see why it wouldn't be. The honda system was basically the derailleur system we know today, except it was all packaged inside a box. The two twists were... the chain ring moved on a shaft so that the chain moved in a perfectly straight all the time. What I'm not sure of with the shimano system is the external chain. The honda's had the freewheel in the gearbox and the rear hub was actually a fixed gear. This meant that as long as the bike was moving, you could shift without pedaling because the chains always moved. Long story short, there's a good potential we won't see a big weight gain. The honda system was proprietary to honda and they never intended to build mountain bikes for public sale. Every night at the races, the gear box was removed and each mechanic was responsible for looking after it and keeping it locked in their hotel rooms. None of the RNO1 bikes exist anymore except one at honda HQ and one in Greg Minaar's shop.
  • 4 0
 @BEEner: The biggest benefit is the weight moves from unsprung to sprung.
  • 1 0
 good info there, I never knew the freewheel was at the gearbox. Reminds me of those old junior racing schwinns used for shifting in the turns of crits
  • 5 0
 There’s quite a few podcasts where Greg and Brendon talk about the Honda bike and they talk about it having a lot off drag.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: Not sure "biggest" but very big ...yes.
  • 1 0
 @BEEner: I thought the PeteSpeed gearbox from B1 (or BeOne) was quite similar to what Honda was using. Unfortunately the iconic B1 got bought by some American company and subsequently went out of business, but Hayes bought the PeteSpeed patent. So they currently just sit on it and apparently do nothing with it.
  • 3 0
 @jclnv: this is what I noticed when we rode ebikes at a demo after an enduro race.

It wont be as dramatic as the ebike but traction and suspension performance on the pivot ebike (just a fox 36 and DPX2) was on a whole other planet compared to my bike with AVY tuned that I thought was dialed AF.

If moving only a few pounds to the center gives 10% more traction its worth it. Ask anybody who pushes hard in corners and washes out a race they spent a month prepping for and more money than they promised themselves they would (ie everyone).
  • 2 0
 The question is, would this lead to standardized gearbox mounting points or would there be competing mounting standards from the different brands; locking you into one drivetrain manufacturer?
  • 9 0
 @scatterbrained: of course they wont be standardized! Logic is so 1900’s.
  • 2 0
 When Sram/RS introduced metric shocks, they talked to bike manufacturers and fox about it, so there's a good chance they are trying to come up with 1 mounting system.
  • 1 0
 @Pavel-Repak: Thats not as jaded - but its more likely.

I hope this turns out to be what many here are speculating - with a standard mounting protocol and the ability to run a normal drive and e-bike drive on the same bike.
  • 2 0
 Would the bike in Fig 1 need some sort of chain tensioner as the swingarm pivot isn't rotating around the drive shaft from the gearbox? Could that be got round by using a belt drive with some minimal capacity to stretch?
  • 3 0
 OMG!!! Please Shimano can you release this next week. I think its love at first read, Best News EVER easily! Sorry to my kids and wife if you ever read this.
  • 1 0
 Interestingly, Section 0082 of the patent actually describes a layout with a concentric rear axle pivot for both seat and chain stays...

"As seen in FIG 1, the second frame B32 is coupled to a hub shaft of a hub assembly of the rear wheel B62...The second link B35 it rotatably coupled to the rear wheel B62..."
  • 1 0
 One more addition to the Rear Derailleur system to reduce friction due to chain misalignment is to have a floating front chainring [single ring], having it float the full width of the rear cluster would be hard but I can see floating half the width.
A floating chainring will tend to "self align"
I am surprised it never has been tried out, floating pulleys/sprockets are used in many applications to stay in perfect alignment.
  • 1 0
 I'd say there isn't really room for that. IIRC chainline was one of the excuses for boost and the fact you got extra 3mm around the tire.
  • 1 0
 @MrDuck: Of course there would have to be a frame built to accommodate a floating chainring [RH side of the bottom bracket and chain stay modified, also a special crank with splines for a chainring hub to float on],definitely doable, any prototyping department of a bike manufacturer could do it.
If a manufacturer did this, they would have a significant selling point that would stand out from all the other bike companies.
  • 5 0
 So a derailleur in a box?
  • 4 0
 Yeah I feel like we should start calling these the "chainbox" instead of a gearbox.
  • 1 0
 Hope it will be finished and worls grest. Would be happy to a have a gates plus gearbox which shifts under load, is not that heavy, with long service intervals and is almost immune to dirt. Carbon gates is akso a nice change to fast wearing and often ripping chains :-)
  • 1 0
 How is that short chain going to shift from one pair of cogs to the next pair? On a "normal" bike, the length of chain from chainring to cassette, plus the spare in the derailleur itself, allows the chain to climb onto the next cog. I can't picture how this would shift.
  • 1 0
 It moves from the big cog to the small one on cassette 1 and from the small to the big on cassette 2, so I guess the chain length doesn't change much overall. That's also why it's sequential I guess.
  • 1 0
 I get that much. I just don't get how the chain lifts off the teeth on either cog without any spare. It would be like taking the chain off an SS without slacking off the rear wheel.
  • 1 0
 @26AD: Oh, indeed, it would supposedly need a bit of spare with a tensioner, maybe the "small derailleur" is acting as a tensioner as well ? Pulling on the chain as well as sliding from left to right ?
  • 1 0
 It changes pairs of cogs so no chain-slack & chain alignment issues, sure I have patented information related too this, but no one wanted to know, but expect to see this on an e-bike before any regular bike?
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: Well, I'll take your word for it but I'd expect there would need a bit of spare anyway to jump from cog to cog. If it's too tight it won't change, and if it's loose with no tensioner it's not gonna go well.
Also I can see it working in one direction, when the chain first drops from a big cog to a smaller one then the rest of the chain, now a bit loose, climbs from a small cog to a bigger one, but in the other way, having first to climb from a small cog onto a bigger one, I'd expect it too crack.
But it's some pretty intricate stuff so there's probably a lot of thing I can't quite picture in my mind.
  • 1 0
 Or maybe it works if the "derailleur" acts on both the "upper" and "lower" chain path at once.
  • 2 0
 Umm, I’ve been riding a 12 speed gearbox enduro bike for several years now .... Zerode Taniwha.
This just looks like an outdated concept compared to Zerode’s smaller Pinion gearbox unit .....
  • 1 0
 I honestly don’t think the patent has anything to do with the fork. Really I don’t. It’s a concept drawing no lines or labels going to the fork. Not getting the fork jokes here. The rear suspension however which is mentioned and has lines and numbers all over it looks very much Trek specific.
  • 1 0
 I have prior knowledge

p>CLAIMS/p>

p>1. A drive transmission apparatus for a pedal driven vehicle, the apparatus comprising a two stage drive mechanism mounted on or in a swinging arm, wherein said swinging arm has a first end pivotally connected to a frame of the pedal driven vehicle and a second end connected to a driven wheel of the pedal driven vehicle./p>

p>2. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the first end of the swinging arm pivots, in use, about a pedal driven rotating shaft of the drive transmission apparatus, said shaft being rotatably mounted to said frame./p>

p>3. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2 having a two stage drive mechanism wherein drive is transmitted by belts or chains from the pedal driven shaft to the intermediate shaft and also from the intermediate shaft to the driven wheel./p>

p>4. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 1 or claim 2 having a two stage drive mechanism wherein drive is transmitted from the pedal driven shaft to the intermediate shaft by means of intermeshing gear wheels./p>

p>5. A drive transmission apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the intermediate shaft of the two stage drive mechanism is located above the line between the pedal driven shaft and the centre of the driven wheel./p>

p>6. A drive transmission apparatus according to any preceding claims wherein the intermediate shaft of the two-stage drive mechanism is located closer to the pedal driven shaft than to the driven wheel./p>

p>7. A drive transmission apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the two stage drive mechanism is single speed./p>

p>8. A drive transmission apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 6 wherein the two stage drive mechanism has variable gearing./p>

p>9. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 8 wherein the variable gearing is provided by different sized gear wheels, which intermesh in use to provide drive between the pedal driven shaft and the intermediate shaft of the two stage drive mechanism, and are moved in and out of engagement by a gear change mechanism./p>

p>10. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 8 wherein variable gearing is provided by a derailleur gear system./p>

p>11. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 10 wherein gear sprockets or drive wheels are mounted on the intermediate shaft and/or the pedal driven shaft of the two-stage drive mechanism./p>

p>12. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 10 or claim 11 wherein gear sprockets or drive wheels can be displaced along a shaft during gear changing./p>

p>13. A drive transmission apparatus according to any one of claims 8 to 12 wherein the gear changing mechanism for the variable gearing is selected from the group consisting of cable, hydraulic, pneumatic, electromagnetic and servor-assisted mechanisms./p>

p>14. A drive transmission apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the two stage drive mechanism comprises a freewheel mechanism./p>

p>15. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 14 wherein the freewheel mechanism is a clutch mechanism./p>

p>16. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 15 wherein the clutch mechanism is an automatic clutch mechanism./p>

p>17. A drive transmission apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the two stage drive mechanism is enclosed./p>

p>18. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 17 wherein the swinging arm encloses the two stage drive mechanism./p>

p>19. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 18 wherein the swinging arm can be opened./p>

p>20. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 18 wherein the swinging arm has access ports with moveable covers./p>

p>21. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 17 wherein the two stage drive mechanism is enclosed by covers./p>

p>22. A drive transmission apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the swinging arm is reinforced along its lower edges or faces./p>

p>23. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 22 wherein reinforcement is provided by means of a skid plate./p>

p>24. A drive transmission apparatus according to claim 22 wherein reinforcement is provided by a thickening of the swinging arm material of construction./p>

p>25. A drive transmission apparatus according to any preceding claim wherein the swinging arm or its associated reinforcement is formed and arranged to protect other components of the pedal driven vehicle./p>

p>26. A bicycle comprising a drive transmission apparatus according to claim 1./p>

p>27. A bicycle according to claim 26 wherein the drive transmission apparatus provides drive to the rear wheel./p>

p>28. A bicycle according to claim 26 or claim 27 wherein the bicycle is a mountain bike./p>

p>29. A drive transmission apparatus substantially as described hereinbefore and with reference to the accompanying drawings./p>

p>30. A bicycle substantially as described hereinbefore and with reference to Figure 1 of the accompanying drawings./p>
  • 1 0
 Please bike companies keep spec’ing eagle on bikes and this will be here sooner than later. I haven’t seen a high end build not axs in months. Shimano died a little when di2 flopped it should have been wireless. Imo this change in tech will creatE standards for frames. So being the first to mass market could be huge.
  • 1 0
 I made a bike and gearbox like this in 2005, though I called it the infinite improbability drive, from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. Mine was just two cassettes, one mounted on the bb axle, and a freewheel at rear wheel. I just aimed to get the derailleur to tilt shift - so effectively moved one chainring then one second cassette gear as you changed, giving 12 speeds out of a 6 and 7 speed cassette. I never got my tilt shift to work proper so just rode it as a wide range 6 speed
  • 1 0
 has no one pointed out their patent drawing bike has a rigid fork? haha funny stuff.

for real though, This is gonna be gamechanging technology, because it is evolutionary not revolutionary. those motorcycle style gear transmissions will seem unrideable when compared to chain driven transmissions that have already become incredibly efficient, durable, cheap, and light. eliminate chainline issues and seal it in a pot of super lube and this will be insanely efficient and robust while also likely being simple to manufacture. Bravo shimano!

The real question is will they seal in the drive chain with the rear swingarm? seems very feasible and would totally protect from the elements!
  • 1 0
 Maybe Shimano want to build a bike?

And the only way you can have this gear box is to buy a Shimano bike?

Haha it's an evil scheme to take over the bike industry.
  • 2 0
 I wish they would make mag wheels, put pegs on the front and rear of mountain bikes, and also maybe do a cool remake of RAD racing.... not to mention foam nut savers for my top tube and stem.
  • 1 0
 With companies racing for larger cassettes, the only logical progression was a lightweight gearbox design standard. How much would you sacrifice in weight for zero possibility to sheer a detailer, need to worry about gummed up chains. I for one would love a gearbox design that wasn't exposed to elements, didn't require constant maintenance and could be shifted while coasting or stationary. I am curious if sram has also been secretly designing a lightweight gearbox with all this extra eagle money because i haven't purchased a Shimano component since x01 came out. in fact i have put more than 1000 miles on my x01 cassette and it still shifts fine. i would love this design for a lightweight sloppy winter hardtail 29er front 130mm and 27.5 plus rear.
  • 1 0
 Have Ridden and owned TWO gearbox bikes, although they are Zerode G1 and G2 and the gearbox isnt really a gearbox its more of a (Hub). I will say all bs aside with not being able to shift under load and the extra weight, the only reason I enjoy it is having no issues with maintenance or breakage, Guess I'm trying to say is RELIABILITY for me
  • 1 0
 What is making the chainline bend as it leaves the front ring? Looking at the plan, the chainline looks like it must run on a pulley after it leaves the ring as there is a bend in it. Or is it a housing for the chain so it is enclosed? If so, is there a roller included?
  • 1 0
 Oh FFS this ruined my day.

This exact same concept has been sitting in my "to do" list and never taken beyond basic design because I'm too much of a wimp to dedicate myself to it and kick other priorities to the side.

Literally two days ago I dusted it off and started looking at off the shelf free wheel driven cranks to work on this.
effffffffff
  • 4 0
 Where's Levy? Promoting the derailleur!
  • 1 0
 Genuinely excited, but I hate being a killjoy. Let´s remember that a granted patent doesn’t mean the invention will be marketed. Keep your eyes peeled for any new trademark from Shimano though.
  • 1 0
 Somebody should let Shimano know they're going to have a fight on their hands if they intend to utilize that concentric rear pivot. And let's be honest that rear suspension layout looks a bit like a Session. Wink
  • 1 0
 I'm amazed a patent was granted for overlapping two holes into one. Or maybe what is basic now was pretty clever and original before it got patented ?

I understand patents may be usefull but it also seems to drastically slow down progress sometimes, that Honda bike for instance. There should be a clause : If nothing worth it has emerged after 5 years the patent goes free for use.

I'm not even mentionning how unfair it is when Mr nobody has to use all his savings to patent a bright idea when whatever Big Corp may sometimes patent crap just to prevent competitors from developping similar but different idea.
Well that clause I just talked about would be much more tough for Mr Nobody who just spent all his savings on the patent and has no more budget to actually develop his idea...
  • 1 0
 Are you saying Trek should be upset Shimano is maybe copying them like they copied Dave W.
  • 1 0
 @Bhaack: I'm saying that it's strange that a description of a concentric pivot is even within scope of this patent for a drivetrain. It's almost like they have a specific or exclusive application for it in mind. Trek, DeVinci, or Salsa. Only one of those may have the clout and volume to justify an exclusive agreement.
  • 2 0
 @Will-narayan: Tell me about that, see my home page for patent blocked from by Shimano as university I was studying at & Shimano had same patent agent, may be I will look out my claims
  • 1 0
 @UtahBrent: fair point
  • 1 0
 i cannot wait!! i love gearbox drivetrains but they wont catch on until big companies start making them! hopefully there are some major bike brands that have some frame designs in the works
  • 1 1
 The reporter needs to know what they are writing about.

The first Honda Gearbox was In No Way an inverted gear set and derailleur. The second, Was.

I've a printed copy right in front of me of the European Patent Application .

Here are the European Patent details :

Application number : 03006371.3

Date of Filing : 20.3.2003

Date of Publication : 3.12.2003 Bulletin 2003/49

EP 1 366 978 A1

"Continuously Variable Transmission For Bicycles"

B62M 9/04


It was a unique, linkage drive set up. with moving pivot points, to give varying 'sweeps' of the linkage, to produce varying gear ratios.

An ingenious thing. I believe it was much more than an 'experiment' for bicycles. For 'other' applications as well, or, predominantly.

BUT, for real world testing, under high torque loads, at very low rpm, using human power, I doubt you could find a better way to test for efficiency and smooth shifting. Any 'hang ups', would be brutally evident, and any parasitic loses, the same.

Once the testing on that was done, they went to the infinitely simpler, inverted gear sets and sliding derailleur set up.

Look it up, it's quite the thing...........
  • 1 0
 I believe the term is peristaltic loss, but parasitic loss is perfectly descriptive, as well Smile
  • 1 0
 It seems to be common knowledge in the comments that this will shift under load, but it doesn't seem obvious to me.

Could somebody please enlighten me as to how they know this?
  • 1 0
 Why not try it, Still feel best solution is a normal drive in a box
  • 1 0
 Exactly the kind of news I want to read.
I've always thought the gearbox is the future of bike transmission, but until now I've never been convinced by any project/product.
This seems to be something really promising...
  • 1 0
 How long does it typically take from patent application to production in the industry? Assuming this does go ahead (and E-Bike seems like an obvious early adopter) when will we see a mass release. 2020, 2021, 2022....
  • 31 32
 Classic PB comments, "We want gearboxes!!!" "Big companies need to work on gearboxes". Then freaking Shimano has incredibly promising patent that solves issues with current gearboxes. Pb comments: "Not the kind of gearbox I want."
  • 40 0
 What? The vast majority of the comments are praising this. Are you reading the same comments as me?
  • 21 0
 @sherbet: Made the comment when there was 6 comments with 5 out of 6 negative. Pleasantly surprised by the change in tone since.
  • 7 1
 @Wormfarmer: Fair enough mate, sorry to be a cynic. I'm stoked as f*ck on this!
  • 1 0
 Funny that no one would listen?
This is how to make your drive last longer!
worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?CC=GB&NR=2434565&KC=&FT=E&locale=en_EP
  • 2 0
 I'm very excited about this! I really hope they have a solid engineering start on this and that it will come soon.
  • 2 0
 If it is as light as current drivetrains, I would be interested. I can do without derailleurs and metal chains.
  • 2 0
 There is also the benefit of sprung mass vs unstrung mass. Having a big-'ol cassette, derailleur, chain, etc. hanging around the rear axle of a suspended bike does no favors for the suspension's performance.
  • 1 0
 Will not be as lite, but a derailleur in a box will stay clean, so will work better!
  • 3 0
 So the front derailleur is now back?
  • 2 1
 You can keep your dinner plate on the worse spot of the bike if you want.
  • 1 0
 So if... In 5 years future, you'd want to have n+1 bikes, all with only one set of reliable and efficient gears... and option to also mount e-thing on it... ?
  • 1 0
 That depends if you want the option to look ridiculous.
  • 1 2
 From all posts, somethings that make me think:

Shift Under Load
I must be doing something terribly wrong, because it's something I don't due... or even try to!

Better weight Distribuition
That's really interesting... really! Even after seeing people ride their long bikes, with their ASS in the Rear Axle Plane

Better suspension due to low sprung weight
It's true... but really... Have you ever seen people adjusting their tyre pressure before a ride? With a gage? Let alone suspension setup!


I'm not willing to spend more money, to the same shit I do with a traditional derraileur! Yeah... system sucks... but it cost less than 150€(SLX)/200€(XT), to replace it. Why bother with it...
make bikes less expensive and more worthy as a product.
  • 2 1
 As illustrated, this bike has an advanced drivetrain and rear suspension set up without front suspension....what would you call it this; a "Hardnose" ?
  • 1 0
 This works.. This is what we need.
And with the loss of unsprung weight, I can finally run that motorcycle brake rotor I’ve had lying around!
  • 2 0
 Please read the comments before doing a joke about the rigid fork, it's very old already Smile
  • 1 2
 While I am all for gearboxes, as long time derailuere hater, have always been pro-Shimano and quite anti-SRAM, I think this is one big ugliness. Hopefully designated for ebikes. This is going to be large component and more complex than current 1xZilion drivetrains. It'll have almost no advantage for DH or gravity application. For trail, XC or touring it's useless. So it must be for ebikes.
  • 1 0
 Wonder why they stuck at 470% when they could get range bragging rights by going a little further. 550-600% would be a nice number.
  • 2 1
 I would have thought a company like Shimano would have noticed how gearbox bikes have failed to become popular and realized it's just a novelty product.
  • 1 1
 Craft beer is not for people that like beer and ride bikes
It’s for little millennial hipster posers that want to be like the hard bearded men of the past that worked real jobs and rode single speeds because they had too.
  • 6 3
 Cool I guess.
  • 7 2
 "Cool, I guess."

Exactly how most PB users (including myself) are reacting to the news.
  • 3 0
 Looks like an e-bike
  • 2 0
 I'm holding out for the 14 speed version.
  • 3 0
 FINALLY!!!!!!
  • 2 0
 So i guess no need to get a mocrospline adapter for my king hubs
  • 3 1
 Her bars are too wide... oops ...sorry...wrong post!
  • 2 0
 shimano also has a patent for a 14 sp drivetrain with a rollerless chain.
  • 3 1
 Hell yes Shimano, hell yes.
  • 3 0
 laughing loud in pinion
  • 2 0
 as long as i can do the maintenance myself i don't mind
  • 2 0
 It really grinds my gears that this isn't available already.
  • 1 0
 Just make your own cover for regular drive & see how long your gears last?
  • 2 1
 How do you put an oval chainring on it? obviously a flawed design because everyone knows oval is the future lol
  • 2 0
 Looks like an Ebike transmission to me.
  • 1 1
 I'm waiting for double disc clutches coupled with electronic nano-second paddle shifters to handle my massive torque! The manual transmission is DEAD Smile
  • 1 0
 Shimano should buy Cavalerie’s patents...those guys have the best gearbox out there!!!!!!
#cavaleriebikes ROCK
  • 8 9
 Not exactly the gearbox I want... Still has internal chains and is very large and looks... But it's a step in the right direction! Let's go gearboxes!
  • 29 7
 Whatever removes 1lb off the rear wheel brother...
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Yes! I nearly spring for a pinion bike but decided to keep my unsprung mass on the real wheel and take advantage of discounts haha
Still wondering what my bike would be like with a gearbox instead
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: exactly, AND moves it low and center. I’m all for it
  • 5 0
 So what gearbox are you waiting for, even less efficient?
  • 2 0
 @catfish9797: then you can use SS hub in the rear getting even better flange spacing than 157 DH
  • 1 0
 Only way to make it smaller is to change pitch of the chain?
  • 1 1
 Oh Boy, I better head to the shop and stock up on popcorn, this could be epic.............
  • 2 1
 It better have 13 speeds so we're safe for at least 2 years
  • 1 1
 i want to know more about this rigid front, suspension rear bike... #newstandard?
  • 1 0
 Good god, the gods are good.
  • 2 1
 No way this is for high end mtb.
  • 1 1
 So it will last longer ?wright ,and with the growth of e bikes where are they putting the gear box on them ,but ok good luck
  • 1 2
 Who cares....what they have now is just fine....might as well throw a motor on it...legs and lungs baby..thats why I bike...Smile
  • 2 1
 Probably a really good design for all the new e-bikes!! Ughhh
  • 1 0
 It will never work - The forks on that bike are terrible. Wink
  • 2 0
 The day has finally come
  • 2 1
 The rigid fork and no space for a water bottle are deal breakers for me.
  • 1 0
 I'd like a 5 or 7 speed internal gear box in my Santa Cruz v10.
  • 1 0
 Yay not all bikes can look like ebikes
  • 1 0
 Now
  • 1 0
 No, thank you! I don't get this gearbox hype, what's the point?
  • 1 0
 Syndicate on gearbox bikes next year >>>
  • 1 0
 Um, just get a Pinion everyone. This is not going to be as good.
  • 1 0
 guffaws loudly and pedals off into the distance......
  • 1 0
 This must be a gag, spoof, April Fools joke.
  • 4 4
 I still don't think I want one
  • 1 1
 Hell yes! Time to go full moto (minus the high mounted fender)
  • 1 1
 Is there room left over for an electric motor?
  • 1 1
 It will weigh a tonne right? No thanks
  • 1 0
 Take my money !!!
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