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  1. #1
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    Viral bikes- Domahidy brings pinion gear boxes to the masses?

    http://www.viral.bike

    Whaaaaaaat?

  2. #2
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    Hmmm, not sure that a Ti belt drive gearbox bike necessarily qualifies as "bringing it to the masses" when the "frame and drivetrain kit" is $4500. Add a fork and suitable quality wheels to said bike and you're batting in the neighborhood of $6500-$7000 and it's still not rideable. Cheap out on that stuff and you can come in a bit less, but I'm just not seeing the "masses" aspect.

    I need to get more ride time on gearboxes. I got a short ride on a Zerode Taniwha and I found the gearbox to be strange. I was not able to get used to it on that ride. Conceptually I love the idea, but in practice, I didn't love it. Speaking of the Taniwha, you can get a "frame and drivetrain kit" for cheaper, and it's still not what I'd call "for the masses".

    https://www.fanatikbike.com/products...nt=40523834499

  3. #3
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    Can't speak for everyone, but i've been riding for 15 years now, most of those as an expert... i still haven't mushed a derailleur. Not a single one. That's after ?8? cracked frames, innumerable mangled rims, plenty of hub issues, 2 bent forks... I'm destructive, i've ridden all over the planet, and gearboxes are nonsense.

    I totally don't understand the lust for a gearbox. It's an inferior fix for the best part on a bike. Shimano clutch derailleurs are fantastic.




    That said, lifetime warranty is rad. 5 year warranty on a pinion... well it'd be damn expensive if i had to replace it once every 5 years! An XT rd is like 60$.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  4. #4
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    not terribly excited about this myself, but I like the potential to shake up the industry with something new.

    I don't know much about Pinion gear boxes, but they have been an interesting mystery for a long time. their literature says all you need to do is change the oil in it once every 6000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first.

    4.25 pounds for the Skeptic frame- I assume that is the frame alone and not the gear box included?

    the carbon one-piece handlebar/stem is interesting too.

    from what I remember, Niner was never particularly fond of BB drop, but the BBs on these bikes are high!

  5. #5
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Can't speak for everyone, but i've been riding for 15 years now, most of those as an expert... i still haven't mushed a derailleur. Not a single one. That's after ?8? cracked frames, innumerable mangled rims, plenty of hub issues, 2 bent forks... I'm destructive, i've ridden all over the planet, and gearboxes are nonsense.

    I totally don't understand the lust for a gearbox. It's an inferior fix for the best part on a bike. Shimano clutch derailleurs are fantastic.




    That said, lifetime warranty is rad. 5 year warranty on a pinion... well it'd be damn expensive if i had to replace it once every 5 years! An XT rd is like 60$.
    I've trashed a few RD's. Not in a LONG time, though. The ones I trashed were all the old school ones that stuck out a lot from the frame. Ever since Shimano introduced "shadow" RD tech that tucked the derailleur in closer to the center of the bike, with fewer protruding bits, I haven't mangled a RD. Working in a shop, I've seen it plenty, though. Mostly from being out of adjustment and/or a bent hanger, where the lower pulley catches in the spokes and destroys the RD and the wheel.

    There's an aesthetic about the moving shifty bits all being enclosed in a housing. Less to clean off is nice. Not that wiping/lubing a chain is especially labor intensive, but chain maintenance is something you have to pay attention to. Replace the chain soon enough and you get more life out of a cassette and chainring. Fail to pay attention and you've gotta replace all of it at once.

    We're also getting into the time of year where leaves like to insert themselves into cassettes, so picking them out of the cog teeth after being mashed up is going to become routing. I have to carry a little bottle of extra chain lube on rides in my neck of the woods. Too many deep stream crossings and my chain lube gets washed off, and I need to reapply. I've also had shifting performance get really iffy during a winter ride where the derailleurs start icing up.

    The part I've found odd about Pinion gearboxes is that there's a hesitation when you shift that's different than traditional external shifting. Like I said, my only ride on one so far was too short to get used to that, so I want a longer ride to see if I can get used to it. That Zerode demo was super popular and they had a limited number of bikes. I didn't grab one in my size soon enough, and I had to limit myself to a short spin on one that was too small while the rider who was going to take it onto the trails filled out his contact info for the ride. I'm also a bit less of a fan of twist shifters than of other styles. I think I'd even rather have thumbies than twist shifters. I can manage, though, but the two-cable twist shifter that the Pinion system uses has more resistance than I like, also.

    One thing that's really nice about external shifty bits is that the whole system is accessible and fairly easily serviceable. Long term maintenance on a Pinion would be...interesting. How long can one go before the internal gears and mechanisms start to wear out? Will Pinion support servicing one to that level? Do you have to send the whole thing to them for that work? If so, that's a bit of a drag because one of the nice things about bikes in general is that serviceability. Sure, 6,000 miles is a nice service interval for oil changes. But that's not all that will EVER need to be done to one.

  6. #6
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    prediction: belt drives and gear boxes will be ubiquitous on most bicycles within a decade. most of us will look back at chains and derailleurs and laugh the way we look at rigid forks and inner tubes. only a few retrogrouches will insist on having metal chains and shifty bits.

    If I wanted gears on my bike, I would give a gear box a go (except they're expensive). belt drives also interest me but so few frames have that option.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    not terribly excited about this myself, but I like the potential to shake up the industry with something new.

    I don't know much about Pinion gear boxes, but they have been an interesting mystery for a long time. their literature says all you need to do is change the oil in it once every 6000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first.

    4.25 pounds for the Skeptic frame- I assume that is the frame alone and not the gear box included?

    the carbon one-piece handlebar/stem is interesting too.

    from what I remember, Niner was never particularly fond of BB drop, but the BBs on these bikes are high!
    Oh I'm sure the weight is frame only. IIRC, gearboxes are a little heavier than external shifty systems, but the advantage is the low-centered weight of them, which improves handling somewhat. I'm not impressed with one piece carbon stem/bar combos. Nothing unusual to me. I've seen plenty of those over the years. Super common for tt/tri bikes to use that setup because aero. Seen a few regular road bikes with that, too. I also think Syntace has done the one piece stem/bar combo for mtbs before. I think ENVE has done it, too. Makes it a bit of a PITA to adjust fit, honestly.

  8. #8
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    Just another unneeded expensive gadget in my opinion. Trying to fix a problem that doesnít exist.

    Although I respect the ingenuity and design.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

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    I think the real advantage is getting rid of the near-constant cleaning, lubing, and adjustment of external drivetrains. That alone makes it very attractive to me. And I almost always ride in good conditions.

    I've never destroyed a derailleur, but I've bent the hell out of them and hangers and ended up limping back home. This spring my son broke a hanger which ended his day. I'd gladly take a pound or so weight penalty assuming there is little to no loss in performance or efficiency...but I'm not sure that's the case.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by prlundberg View Post
    I'd gladly take a pound or so weight penalty assuming there is little to no loss in performance or efficiency...but I'm not sure that's the case.
    From what I understand, and from what I felt on my spin on a Pinion, there is some drag in the Pinion in some gears. Sorta similar to Rohloff, I suppose. Supposedly a Pinion does "break in" and shift better over time. Belt drive also has a little drag. I've ridden belt drive bikes a little more, and I love them for commuting. Not 100% sold on them for mtb so far.

    If you take into consideration the suspension design thread, you can say that another advantage of a gearbox for a FS bike is that since the chain isn't moving around, the frame designer can tweak suspension movement more precisely, because the suspension characteristics won't change depending on which gear you're in. Zerode refers to this in their marketing language.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Can't speak for everyone, but i've been riding for 15 years now, most of those as an expert... i still haven't mushed a derailleur. Not a single one.
    I ride on the east coast, surrounded by trees that leave sticks and branches all over the ground. I have broken 3 derailleurs in the last 2 seasons because of sticks getting caught and either breaking the derailleur or sending it into the spokes which broke the derailleur.

    I am not an expert though.

  12. #12
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    https://youtu.be/-eIuDiNczwo- this video talks about the subjective effect on suspension design.

    I'd like to ride one, but I would have little to which I could compare it.

  13. #13
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    Beyond less vulnerability, maintenance, etc., it provides a constant anti squat to build any suspension platform around. Thus it will be easier to factor out pedaling and breaking forces from go when designing a bike. I've destroyed plenty of derailleurs, hubs, cassettes, freewheels, and snapped chains have caused me two serious crashes. Gearboxes...bring'em on.


    *Edit:^^ Harold beat me to it
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    ..the carbon one-piece handlebar/stem is interesting too.
    seems stupid to me. you don't even have the ability to 'roll' the bars into your perfect position...


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by .WestCoastHucker. View Post
    seems stupid to me. you don't even have the ability to 'roll' the bars into your perfect position...
    Yep, which plays a big part in dialing in your cockpit.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  16. #16
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    The obvious next step is motorization.
    It ain't supposed to be easy.

    Make
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    The obvious next step is motorization.
    shut your damn mouth!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    shut your damn mouth!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by life behind bars View Post
    The obvious next step is motorization.
    They're way ahead of you....

    https://www.kervelo.com/transmissions/quartz/

    https://ebike-mtb.com/en/mubea-e-mobility/

    https://en.nicolai-bicycles.com/bike/ion-g16-eboxx-e14/

  20. #20
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    I ride with a guy who bought a one-off REEB that they built with the Pinion gearbox. Really cool idea and design, but I would be VERY surprised if it ever caught on in the mountain community. It's heavy and awkward, which is the exact opposite of what people want these days.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSpeedSteven View Post
    I ride with a guy who bought a one-off REEB that they built with the Pinion gearbox. Really cool idea and design, but I would be VERY surprised if it ever caught on in the mountain community. It's heavy and awkward, which is the exact opposite of what people want these days.
    I saw one of those at the NAHBS show in Louisville. Cool bike.

    Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

  22. #22
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    When gearbox bikes aren't a "drag"...they'll catch on.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  23. #23
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    Harold's comment on shifting caught my eye. I ride a Priority Bicycles 600 with Pinion gearbox and belt drive, and I like it a lot for around town and exploring gravel roads and doubletrack in the Hiawatha national forest. But on singletrack....

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I'm also a bit less of a fan of twist shifters than of other styles. I think I'd even rather have thumbies than twist shifters
    ...give me left and right paddles-- one for each wire. I believe there's a third-party vendor now that has some available for a crazy high price of $250 or $295 or something like that.

    The ultimate solution is going to be electric shifting that's synchronized to the pedaling so that riders can just hit buttons like we currently are able to do on geared bikes. The energy to shift a chain comes from your legs. With the Pinion gearbox, your wrist is doing all the work. The solution is to go electric.

  24. #24
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    I've got a Taniwha for sale if anyone wants to try one at a budget lightly used price.

    The bar caught my eye too, but it needs more backsweep, IMO

  25. #25
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    Viral bikes- Domahidy brings pinion gear boxes to the masses?-img_1718.jpgIve got a pinion Gearbox bike I've put a few hundred miles on it so far and can clear some things up with some real experience instead of educated guesses. Firstly, the gearbox has surprisingly little drag, like about the same as a regular derailleur system bike, Ive also ridden a rohlhoff, a broken in one, and a new one, and for that geared hub, the drag difference was so noticeable I sold the new hub after a few rides. Ive noticed after putting a few hundred miles on the pinion that its getting better with time, but with it being so unnotticeable out of the box, drag is a non issue. Weight on the other hand is going to be an issue for most people. That weight listed on the website is definitely the frame only, without the box. I have a titanium hard tail with top end parts on it, carbon wheels that are light as hell, and it still weighs 30 pounds. I have plus tires and a dropper so If I wanted to I could get it down to 27-8 pounds i could, but for a 8,000 dollar medium sized hard tail, well thats heavier than most folks would want. Other than that issue though, the drivetrain is literally maintenance free, and thats why I think its worth it. I set the sliders, and never touch it again. Shifting is flawless, maintenance on the gearbox itself is mute, because there is none, other than the damn oil change. I have broken derailleurs, and had greasy chains gunk up with shit, I ride everyday and admit it or not a drivetrain takes constant daily maintenance when you ride at that frequency. The grip shifters once again, not ideal, but the other benefits outweigh the negatives for me and my type of riding. On the bike shifting, once I got used to it, i absolutely love it. Being able to shift 3 gears in a millisecond on a climb by pausing my pedal stroke for less than a half a second for me is the bees knees, it can't be shifted when it has power being put into the pedal, which for test riders/reviewers seems to be the achilles heel of the pinion, but none of them note that with practice and a half dozen rides you can get the shifting down patt, and its the best part about the entire system. Never skipping gears, never hearing a chain pop, its flawless and with no discernible drag, its the zombie apocalypse system man, because you could ride it forever without ever having to adjust a thing. Not for everyone though, but I love mine.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottzg View Post
    Can't speak for everyone, but i've been riding for 15 years now, most of those as an expert... i still haven't mushed a derailleur. Not a single one. That's after ?8? cracked frames, innumerable mangled rims, plenty of hub issues, 2 bent forks... I'm destructive, i've ridden all over the planet, and gearboxes are nonsense.

    I totally don't understand the lust for a gearbox. It's an inferior fix for the best part on a bike. Shimano clutch derailleurs are fantastic.




    That said, lifetime warranty is rad. 5 year warranty on a pinion... well it'd be damn expensive if i had to replace it once every 5 years! An XT rd is like 60$.
    Repetitive destruction of rear derailleurs was literally the major driving factor in my beginning to singlespeed exclusively all those years ago. I bought like 4 in a year, and that was the final straw.

    I 100% acknowledge that it's geography dependent (rocky terrain), and if you said "learn to line-choice newb" you'd not be wrong.

    I'd ride a pinion gearbox in a heartbeat. SW US dust, dirt and rocks are hell on shifty-bits.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

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