Pinion combines an ebike motor and sealed gearbox in its new MGU
For 11 years now, German company Pinion's sealed mid-mount gearbox has offered a tougher alternative to derailleurs. It's now been combined with a motor, resulting in a two-in-one ebike module called the Motor.Gearbox.Unit – or MGU for short.
Serving as the main component of the new Pinion E-Drive System – and as a rival to Valeo's existing gearbox/motor unit – the MGU is located adjacent to the bottom bracket, keeping the weight low and central.
It still incorporates the company's existing gearbox, which is much less fragile than a traditional rear derailleur plus it requires very little maintenance – just an oil change once every 10,000 km (6,214 miles). It can also span several gears in a single shift, plus it's capable of shifting even when the rider isn't pedaling.
The MGU retains all that functionality, and adds an electric-assist motor to the mix. The whole module is claimed to be similar in size and weight to other mid-mount drive systems that work with external shifting components.
Bicycle manufacturers building the MGU into their bikes can choose between two models, the E1.9 and the E1.12. The former weighs about 4,000 g (8.8 lb) and offers nine gears plus a gear ratio of 568%, while the latter tips the scales at approximately 4,100 g (9 lb) and sports 12 gears plus a ratio of 600%.
Both models feature a brushless motor with up to 800 watts of peak power, that produces 85 Nm (63 lb ft) of competitive torque – up to 160 Nm (118 lb ft) at the rear wheel. Power is provided by a down-tube-integrated battery.
Utilizing a handlebar-mounted controller, riders can choose between four support levels. These include Eco for maximum range, Fly for maximum power (when desired) plus Flow and Flex which "adapt the amount of support perfectly to every riding situation and the terrain you’re facing."
The electronic shifting system incorporates features such as Pre.Select – in which the MGU automatically shifts to a gear in which pedaling can easily be resumed after coasting downhill – and Start.Select, in which the MGU automatically shifts to a preselected easy starting gear when the bike comes to a stop.
The Pinion E-Drive System should begin showing up in select bikes starting next year. There's more information in the video below.