Introduced six years ago, the Pinion gearbox is a sealed gear-shifting mechanism that's located adjacent to a bike's bottom bracket. Not only will it not get gunked up like a derailleur, but it's also better protected against damage. Now, German company Cinq has introduced a system that allows it to be shifted more conventionally.

Ordinarily, Pinion users switch between gears by twisting a ratcheting shifter (aka a "grip shifter") located toward the center of the handlebars. Although it does shift gears effectively, the device isn't as easy to reach as conventional shifters, nor will most cyclists be as familiar with it as they are with levers.

That's where Cinq's Shift:R for Pinion system comes in.

It consists of two main parts: the Shift:R Box and the shifters. The Box gets bolted onto the Pinion gearbox, where the ratcheting shifter's cables were attached. Riders then utilize the cable-connected bar-mounted Shift:R shifters to … well, to shift gears. Buyers can choose between finger-lever shifters that are built into a set of drop-bar-style brake levers, or thumb-lever shifters that get mounted beneath a flat-bar bike's existing brake levers.

Once they're out riding, users simply press on the left lever to shift up, and press on the right lever to shift down … or vice-versa, as the system can be set up either way. It should be noted, however, that Shift:R for Pinion will only work with Pinion's 6, 9 or 12-speed C-line gearboxes.

We had a chance to look over the system at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, and it is now the subject of a just-launched Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of €279 (about US$317) is required for a flat-bar Shift:R Tour setup, while €539 ($612) is needed for a drop-bar Shift:R Road system. Assuming it reaches production, delivery is estimated for September for the former, and May for the latter.

Product page: Kickstarter

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