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Pinion gearbox bikes for touring

Old 03-25-21, 06:22 AM
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Indigo82
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Pinion gearbox bikes for touring

I didn't find much about Pinion gearbox when it comes to touring in either touring section or elswhere on bikeforums, hence I will create a new topic.
I've seen some video reviews on YT but it seems there are no detailed long term reviews especially from touring people. People either ride Rohloff or bike with derailleur gears when they go on a long tour.
What is your view of this system in case you use it or had experience with it? Would you try it if you had a chance?
I am aware that this system can't be fixed by an ordinary mechanic and has to be shipped in for the service leaving you bikeless. Personally I prefer well known drives which I can fix in middle of nowhere but still idea of novelty, low maintenance drive is tempting...
Thank you.
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Old 03-25-21, 07:42 AM
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Watch this.

There are times when touring that I wished my Rohloff had a wider range than 526 percent, Pinion offers that. But I am sticking with Rohloff.

That said I have bikes with derailleurs and some of my touring is on derailleurs instead.
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Old 03-25-21, 09:55 AM
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Tout Terrain is pushing them pretty hard I like to think that’s because they have tested them since touring is their business but Rohloff is a known commodity.
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Old 03-25-21, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Watch this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_hx4V9mYuw

There are times when touring that I wished my Rohloff had a wider range than 526 percent, Pinion offers that. But I am sticking with Rohloff.

That said I have bikes with derailleurs and some of my touring is on derailleurs instead.
Thank you. I have seen this video already. Alee uses Rohloff. With all his expertise perhaps he would've already made decision to switch to Pinion if Pinion was better, at least better for his needs. Anyhow, I think we need more long term reviews from serious Pinion tourers. I know Ryan Van Duzer used Pinion on his Great Divide bike packing journey but he rarely speaks about technical part, more about the adventure part. Bicycletouringpro (Darren Alff) had one video together with his co-traveller Kevin Burrett where they talk about their bikes equipped with Pinion. Besides saying the system is awesome they don't say anything else. So we shall see what happens further when more riders use this system....
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Old 03-25-21, 11:17 AM
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this system is hardly new. Waiting for what happens further when more riders use this system is akin to waiting until computers catch on. ;-)

It's just a Pinion bike. It works. It lasts a long time. It protects the drivetrain better from elements. I have two such bikes. The only thing that slightly worries me is the ergonomics of the twist shifting. On one bike the dial is quite robust and stiff and almost makes me feel like I'm going to get a carpal tunnel if I used it for more than 2 consecutive weeks (the longest trip I did with a Pinion)
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Old 03-25-21, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Indigo82 View Post
Thank you. I have seen this video already. Alee uses Rohloff. With all his expertise perhaps he would've already made decision to switch to Pinion if Pinion was better, at least better for his needs. Anyhow, I think we need more long term reviews from serious Pinion tourers. I know Ryan Van Duzer used Pinion on his Great Divide bike packing journey but he rarely speaks about technical part, more about the adventure part. Bicycletouringpro (Darren Alff) had one video together with his co-traveller Kevin Burrett where they talk about their bikes equipped with Pinion. Besides saying the system is awesome they don't say anything else. So we shall see what happens further when more riders use this system....
I think you will find that very few people can tell you any more that you do not already know then. There are not a lot of Pinion systems in use in USA, just as there are not a lot of Rohloffs either.

One of my neighbors is a bike mechanic, he as told me that my Rohloff is the only one he has seen, and you would think that a bike mechanic has seen almost everything out there.

I built up my Rohloff bike in 2013. I saw more Rohloffs during one month of bike touring in Iceland than I have seen in USA in the eight years since I built up my Rohloff bike.

I have never seen a Pinion bike, only have seen photos or videos of them.
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Old 03-25-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
... The only thing that slightly worries me is the ergonomics of the twist shifting. On one bike the dial is quite robust and stiff and almost makes me feel like I'm going to get a carpal tunnel if I used it for more than 2 consecutive weeks (the longest trip I did with a Pinion)
Sounds like your concern is wrist issues, not lack of grip.

I have the second version of the Rohloff twist grip shifter, that version did not last long and it provides rather poor grip. And, that version is soft rubber that easily abrades.

I made an improvement to the ability to grip mine. Shoe Goo is commonly found in stores, it is a viscous liquid that comes in a tube, you can build up rubber shoe soles that have worn down. Comes in clear (common) and black (less common).

I added three bumps to my Rohloff shifter with black Shoe Goo, I think I used two layers, possibly three. I get a much better grip now.

First two photos are five years old. Last photo a year and a half.



The three beads are in the 12, 4 and 8 o'clock positions in photo below.



I use the Hubbub adapter to put my shifter on the right side end of the drop bar.



Not sure if this would help you or not, but it certainly helped me. But that second version of their twist grip was rapidly replaced with a third version because this version was so poor to get a grip, plus it abraded quickly.
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Old 03-25-21, 01:30 PM
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Here are our shifters. The only one I get a feelimg of potential issues is the last one from Co-Motion although ironically that one feels like the one that will last forever and never break down
Rohloff grip shift on tandem




Pinion grip shift

Pinion grip shift by Co-Motion
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Old 03-25-21, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
Here are our shifters. The only one I get a feelimg of potential issues is the last one from Co-Motion although ironically that one feels like the one that will last forever and never break down
...
So, you own both Rohloff and Pinion. Interesting. I bet you have a very nice fleet. Congrats.

Your Rohloff shifter is the third generation. Much better than mine, you should have great grip on that.

If your Co-Motion Pinion shifter is on your handlebar near the stem, I can see where you would need a lot of wrist action to shift it. By putting mine on the end of the handle bar, I twist my entire forearm to shift, rotating the wrist and less bending of wrist.

I initially tried my shifter in a couple locations near the stem, but I found that there were times on steep unhills on gravel and cobbles that I wanted to keep both hands on the bars out far from the stem for steering leverage, and having my shifter closer to the stem made it hard to shift on difficult terrain when I was going uphill. And it was going up a slow hill where I wanted to down shift but had to keep my hands on the bars when I decided when I got home that I would move my shifter to the end of the handlebar. Now I can keep both hands out where I have leverage for steering in difficult terrain AND be able to shift at those times. I am very happy with my shifter there.
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Old 03-31-21, 11:34 AM
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My Pinion equipped Tout Terrain has proved durable. Yes, if something goes wrong with the gearbox there are 'no user serviceable parts inside'. My truck is the same, and I never worry about it. It has a wider gear range than my derailleur bike, but I can always find a hill that requires walking. My sense is that I shift more often since it is so easy, but I do not have a similar sense that that translates into faster riding. One advantage, especially here in hilly New England, is that you can shift nine gears, half the range, as easily as one gear. Almost any ride around here will involve at least one change of incline, and gear, that large, within 100'.
As to durability, potentially, you won't tear off a derailleur, potentially. Potentially, your non-dished rear wheel is stronger, potentially.
I have a chain, but people who have belt drives seem to love them.
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Old 03-31-21, 12:35 PM
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RE- stiff twist grip shifter. I toured over Thanksgiving with a man who had a Rohloff bike with a stiff shifter. It was bad enough that Hank called (Rohloff? Cycle Monkey?) and was told that there should be one continuous length of housing to the shifter. Once Hank made that change, the shifting was much easier.

My husband has a belt drive Rohloff. I looked at the housing. It's two pieces and he has never complained about stiff shifting. IDK? He also has a Shimano Alfine 11 belt drive and has a Pinion 12 belt drive on order. He admits that there is no reason at all to have three very similar bikes - all IGH and all belt drive - he just wants to try them all out.

Bicycles are a less expensive hobby than sports cars or mistresses - what is a new bike in comparison?
BTW, my last new bike was a $425. used one!
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Old 03-31-21, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
My Pinion equipped Tout Terrain ...
I have a chain, but people who have belt drives seem to love them.
I have chain on my Rohloff hub, prefer that too. For riding near home without a load of camping gear on the bike, I use a higher gear range, 44T chainring, 16T sprocket. But touring, I need lower gears to carry a heavy load up a hill, run a 36T chainring, same 16T sprocket, and remove four links. It would be more complicated to do that with a belt drive.

But I concur, those that have the belt appear to have no complaints about them. I met one person that had a belt on his Rohloff bike, he said that he was a bit slower compared to his friends that he was touring with than he had been when he rode with a chain. But otherwise he had no complaints about the belt.

And one couple I met, one had a chain, the other belt, both had Rohloffs. They carried a spare belt because belts would be hard to replace but did not carry spare chain. I carry a couple spare quick links and a few regular links when touring but have never needed them.
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Old 03-31-21, 01:10 PM
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A quick note to readers that are not framiliar with Rohloff hubs, the indexing is in the hub and not in the shifter. They have two cables, both normally slack, you pull on one cable to upshift and pull on the other to downshift. I believe the Pinion system is the same. It can look like it is complicated to remove the rear wheel, but it is actually quite easy and quick.

Originally Posted by Kelly I View Post
RE- stiff twist grip shifter. I toured over Thanksgiving with a man who had a Rohloff bike with a stiff shifter. It was bad enough that Hank called (Rohloff? Cycle Monkey?) and was told that there should be one continuous length of housing to the shifter. Once Hank made that change, the shifting was much easier.

My husband has a belt drive Rohloff. I looked at the housing. It's two pieces and he has never complained about stiff shifting. ...
Rohloff has two cable systems. One option is for inner cable to be visible for a short distance from the rear hub, and there is an internal cable that is complicated to replace that is inside the hub. That version has quick disconnects on both cables for wheel removal. The other version is the EX Box version, that is what I have. With that version you can't see the inner cable, the housing runs all the way from shifter to the hub. In the photo you can see both cables under the non-drive side chainstay, there is a lot of dust caked on the cables and hub gear mechanism, but the moving parts are all enclosed so that dust does not impair anything. You can see how much dust would get inside the outer housing if there was a cable stop down there.

In the photo, I was pretending my bike was a mountain bike, thus no rack or fenders.



My Rohloff bike has continuous outer housing, but it has that for the brakes too. They specifically cite that in their marketing literature as being better in dusty and muddy conditions, that way it is less likely to get dust and dirt inside an outer housing. The bike was built for use on difficult terrain.

One of my derailleur bikes had very stiff shifting, I eventually figured out that a lot of dust had gotten into the cable outer housing where the housing ended at the downtube cable stops.
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Old 03-31-21, 06:02 PM
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Bicycle Touring Pro has a Pinion 18 speed. I have a 2013 Co-Motion Pangea Rohloff. It came with the large diameter Co-Motion shifter that fit the drop bars next to the stem. I didn't like it as much as what I have changed to. I currently have the Velo Orange Crazy Bars and the optional Rohloff left handed shifter. The Rohloff shifter is easier to turn. Because of SS frame couplers my bike has the bare shifter cable section so the cables can be separated. In high gear I can pedal at my normal cadence at around 26mph. This is fast enough for me. I am going to purchase a longtail cargo bike frame and build it up with a Rohloff. Unfortunately it wont have a belt like my current ride. People talk about weight and friction allot. After owning the Rohloff with the gates belt I forgot about all that nonsense. Just remember the Pinion 18 speed weighs around 1000grams more than the Rohloff. My Pangea Rohloff was 17 ounces heavier then the Pangea with derailleurs were I purchased it. The Rohloff is the only modern gearbox that is actually tandem rated and it has the least added friction over derailleurs of any internal geared setup. If your interested in a Pinion for a reasonable price and they have a frame that will fit you should take a look at Priority bicycles. They only sell belt drive bicycles.
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Old 04-01-21, 12:30 AM
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My Rohloff shifter is on my TT, same place as for my 2 SA shifters. Zero chance of damage to it or the cables that don't flop around the front. Soon after I got it, I wrapped a shoelace around it during my first tour in sweaty Vietnam. Now, on top of that I have a rubber cap I found in my dad's garage. I can shift with either hand, very handy. LOL.
I think I tried a belt at a LBS. Not enough to judge it.
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Old 04-01-21, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
.... I have a 2013 Co-Motion Pangea Rohloff. ... Because of SS frame couplers my bike has ....
Interesting, 2013 is the year when I decided to build up a Rohloff bike, S&S couplers, and 26 inch wheels. In my selection process, I planned to build the bike myself, my choice boiled down to Pangea or Thorn Nomad. I picked the Nomad, mostly based on price but also because I owned a Thorn Sherpa that I was quite happy with, thus I had positive experience with that brand. Co-Motion reputation was top notch, I was sure I would be happy with the Pangea if I had picked that over the Thorn.

At that time Thorn did not offer belt drive, but I decided I wanted chain drive so that was not part of my decision.

I hope you have been as happy with your Pangea as I have been with my Thorn Nomad.
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Old 04-01-21, 06:35 AM
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I seriously looked at the Thorn at the time. The belt drive was more important to me than the lower price of the Thorn. The only thing I have a dislike for on my Pangea is the stinking disk brakes. If I hadn't insisted on the frame couplers I would have gone with the cantilever mounts. I have Magura HS 66 brakes on my 1990 Burly Bongo Tandem. I have never found a better stopping bicycle brake. Magura still makes the HS 33 Hydraulic rim brake. The Paul Klampers that I currently use are pretty good. The cargo bike in addition to the Rohloff is going to have a Heinzman direct drive motor on the front wheel. I am getting rid of the dependence on the car.
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Old 04-29-21, 03:15 PM
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Old 04-29-21, 06:34 PM
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What!? no comparison to French derailleur, est-ce possible? (my best translation ) We tour with a Rohloff tandem, a wonderful simplicity of shifting.
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