Derailleurs are great, if well-adjusted, clean and used in dry conditions they work just fine. When out mountain biking we often end up in less optimal conditions where water, mud and sand affect drive train efficiency. Internal gear boxes really shine in such conditions, in combination with a belt drive, the shifting and operation remains incredibly smooth and efficient, regardless of the conditions. An added advantage of gearbox systems is the ability to shift multiple gears rapidly without pedaling and a chainline that is always perfect, regardless of the gear you’re in. Aside from this, the amount of maintenance that a derailleur system requires is far greater than any gearbox system. Time spent cleaning, lubing and adjusting is time not spent riding!
If we ever make a gravel racer or another type of bike where derailleurs offer a superior solution, we’ll consider fitting them. In our current line-up of bikes the choice was not so much between derailleurs or gearboxes then, but more between which gearbox to use. When it comes to gear boxes there are two leading brands with two different gearboxes suitable for mountain biking. There is Rohloff, a solid, but perhaps somewhat conservative brand that manufactures the most reliably gear hubs in the industry. And Pinion, a relatively new manufacturer that is rapidly gaining momentum with its bottom bracket centered gearbox: A difficult choice between two high-end products. 11ANTS has a lot of experience with Rohloff hubs, and Rohloff hubs have been around for over 20 years. Pinion is a relative newcomer in the field of internally geared systems. Our first experience with Pinion dates to 2013 years and we’ve been hooked ever since. The quality of engineering and design is very good. Pinion had some teething problems in the early stages of manufacturing, as Rohloff did, but is currently a very reliable gear platform. In the end we figured choosing between the two was not possible. Both have a number of unique strong points that appeal to different types of riders. As such we decided to offer them both.
COMPARING THE TWO
As such the choice between Rohloff and Pinion is yours. We listed some of the specifications that we feel are important to consider.
Both brands use a grip shift system to change gears – and more importantly they use both two cables to actuate the gears. Why two cables? Pinion and Rohloff use two cables in contrast to derailleur bikes, which have a single cable under tension. The two cables in both gearbox systems are far less susceptible to malfunctioning from cable stretch, which means less adjustment of the shifter cables.
An advantage of the Rohloff hub is its lower weight compared to the Pinion. Weight placement also plays a role and here the Pinion has an advantage. the gearbox is centrally mounted and it is has a better weight distribution. The range of of the Pinion is a bit greater with smaller steps in between the gears. Warranties are excellent with both products, Rohloff guarantees flawless operation of its hub for 2 years after purchase, whereas Pinion offers a 5 year warranty. In practice both systems last far longer than that.
The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 has been developed for both pros and performance oriented hobby cyclists who can appreciate it because of its reliability, perfect single gear ratios, wide range of gears, low maintenance and easy operation; its weight and efficiency are ideal even for pro racing. The sealed gearbox ensures reliability and durability even under the toughest conditions. The even increments of 13.6% between gears make it possible to ride continuously at peak performance. The overall range makes sure that you always have access to the right gear regardless of situation.
The SPEEDHUB 500/14 is operated by a twist shifter which shifts simply by pulling separate cables up or down. The indexing of the shifting lies not in the shifter as with common designs, but inside the hub. There is no wear on the indexing system nor need to adjust it.
Ever since it was founded, the Pinion brand has epitomised innovative German gearbox technology. Since then, more than 50 international bicycle brands have placed their trust in the quality and function of our P1.18 transmission. With the P1.18 gearbox, Pinion has revolutionised the bicycle transmission: 18 evenly spaced gears integrated centrally in the bicycle frame.
Our objective is to develop transmissions for the best bicycles in the world. Close cooperation with renowned bicycle manufacturers and detailed feedback from our customers spur us on to keep developing our technology further. As a result, we are very proud to present the new Pinion product range to you this year. As well as the tried-and-tested P1.18 gearbox, we now offer the P1.9 and P1.12. With the precise gearshifts you are accustomed to, each of them has been especially configured for the requirements of mountain bikes, pedelecs and urban bikes, as well as for satisfying the discerning expectations of their riders in terms of gearshift and riding comfort. We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to you for the confidence you have placed in us, and we hope you derive plenty of pleasure from our transmissions that carry the “Made in Germany” cachet.