Bicycles

Cinq's Shift:R brings "regular" shifting to Pinion gearboxes

The Cinq Shift:R for Pinion system's Shift:R Box, on display at NAHBS
The Cinq Shift:R for Pinion system's Shift:R Box, on display at NAHBS
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One of the flat-bar Shift:R Tour shifters
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One of the flat-bar Shift:R Tour shifters
The Cinq Shift:R for Pinion system's Shift:R Box, on display at NAHBS
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The Cinq Shift:R for Pinion system's Shift:R Box, on display at NAHBS
The Shift:R Road shifters in action
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The Shift:R Road shifters in action

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.

The Shift:R Road shifters in action
The Shift:R Road shifters in action

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

7 comments
guzmanchinky
One thing I HATE about current bikes is the chains and gears and wires and stuff all over the place in the back. I love how it's all internal in a motorcycle and it sounds like this is where it's going. Can't wait for an e bike that has this built in...
JoelTaylor
Looks like someone got tired of Pinion dragging their feet. Riders have only been asking for this since the Pinion launched. It's ashame that it doesn't work with the P-line (C-line only), I have a P1.18 and would love to get a set, even at ~$300.
exodous
Only negative I see is this adds another freaking cable to the mix, it would be better to have one shifter that shifts up in one direction and down in the other like shifters work now. I kinda see the point of this but then again I ride with flat bars when I tour so this is less amazing to me. I like the 'barrel' shifter they have because you can see what gear it is in just by glancing at it although I don't do that anymore now that I'm used to it. I can see those that use drop bars would like this as there is no convenient place to put the standard shifter for Pinion gearboxes. I'm betting those that use this on mountain bike would like this also. If you're already paying thousands of dollars for a gear box I guess 400 isn't that bad for this.
Thinker
My wife and I had shaft driven bicycles for about 15 years. They had seven speed rear hubs, that never failed. We used them on and off our boat for about ten years, never worried about rusty chains etc. I don’t see the advantage of this “new” pinion gearbox. Our bikes were not cheap when we brought them, but they served us well basically trouble free.
Edwin Austin
@Thinker What brand and model are your shaft driven bikes?
JoelTaylor
@Thinker, the advantage is gear range. The C1.12 has a 600% range compared to ~250-280% on most 7 speed internally geared hubs. The lowest end C-Line, the C1.6, has about the same gear range as a 7 speed at 295%. Pinions are also stupidly durable. Pairing a Pinion with a Gates Carbon Belt system means almost zero maintenance. Oil changes are recommended every year or 10,000km. If you live someplace fairly flat with decent weather then that won't be much of a selling point, but anywhere with moderate hills and salt covered winter roads it is a major selling point.
Thinker
@Edwin Austin: I think they were Oxford, something like that. We bought them in 2000 and retired them two years ago. They were yellow in colour, no choice at the time.