Bicycles

Efneo gearbox is made to replace a bike's front derailleur

Efneo gearbox is made to repla...
The Efneo gearbox is claimed to be equivalent to a front crankset equipped with 28t/40t/50t rings
The Efneo gearbox is claimed to be equivalent to a front crankset equipped with 28t/40t/50t rings
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The Efneo gearbox is claimed to be equivalent to a front crankset equipped with 28t/40t/50t rings
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The Efneo gearbox is claimed to be equivalent to a front crankset equipped with 28t/40t/50t rings
It can shift gears even when the bike is not in motion
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It can shift gears even when the bike is not in motion
Pricing for the Efneo gearbox is estimated at somewhere below $300
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Pricing for the Efneo gearbox is estimated at somewhere below $300
It weighs around 1,000 grams (35 oz) and is activated by a cable-connected handlebar shifter
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It weighs around 1,000 grams (35 oz) and is activated by a cable-connected handlebar shifter

While shifts between the sprockets on a bike's cassette are generally quite fast and crisp, going between the chainrings up front is definitely a slower, more awkward affair. In an effort to make things quicker and easier, Poland's Efneo has developed a 3-speed planetary gearbox to take the place of the front derailleur.

As is the case with rear planetary hub transmissions such as those made by Nuvinci, the Efneo can change gears even when the rider isn't pedaling. Additionally, because it doesn't involve moving the chain sideways between multiple chainrings, the chain line remains relatively straight and shifts occur much more quickly.

It features an overall gear ratio of 179 percent, and is claimed to be equivalent to a front crankset equipped with 28t/40t/50t rings. The second gear is intended to serve as the "middle ground" setting that most riders would use on regular roads, with first gear used for climbing hills and third used for descents and tailwinds.

Along with replacing the existing front derailleur on multi-speed city/touring bikes, it could also be used to add gearing to single-speeds. It weighs around 1,000 grams (35 oz), is activated by a cable-connected handlebar shifter, and isn't recommended for heavy-duty off-road use – sorry, mountain bikers. A belt drive model is also in the works.

It weighs around 1,000 grams (35 oz) and is activated by a cable-connected handlebar shifter
It weighs around 1,000 grams (35 oz) and is activated by a cable-connected handlebar shifter

There are already similar products that offer two gears, such as Truvativ's Hammerschmidt crankset. According to Efneo CEO Franciszek Migaszewski, however, two just isn't enough for urban use. "One more gear makes much more difference than it may look at first sight," he told us. "All 2-speed systems have a gear ratio of at least 66 percent (the difference between the gears). It is almost as much as between 1st and 3rd gear in a three-chainring front crankset ... When you upshift you feel too much resistance. When you downshift you feel like your leg is falling down in a hole."

Pricing for the gearbox is estimated at somewhere below US$300. If you're interested in getting on the waiting list, you can register via the link below. The Efneo can be seen in use in the following video.

Source: Efneo

3-speed front bicycle gearbox

12 comments
Bob Stuart
I just don't see the point in introducing the inefficiency, weight, and cost of gears where the derailleur is a more elegant solution. You need a chain drive, so it may as well serve two functions.
juehoe
A similar system is already on the market for more than 10 years. See here: http://www.schlumpf.ch/hp/schlumpf/getriebe.2012.engl.htm
Michael Logue
I'm not sure why they are not demoing this with an internally geared rear hub. Seems to be the logical thing to do.....
zevulon
mid-drive motors for electric bikes, combined with bracket or frame mounted gear switching system is where future insane performance will come from . otherwise--------the age old gear innovation game will continue on.......and on ...and on......
StWils
I think the next, and best step is to integrate this with a dc motor under the crank, with the pedals having an integral freewheel. The objective would be to get the best effect of a pedelec and permit the rider to NOT have to pedal all the time. I look forward to seeing this on the market but at a much lower price point. Three Bill$ is way too high to be a viable aftermarket modification for most riders.
snowdenikoff
A 2-Speed Patterson Metropolis lower bracket competes with the Efneo with a savings of about one hundred bucks. The chain-ring is not replaceable but comes in two sizes. A major stumbling block is the inherent drive power needed to simply run the gears in high. I got used to 1:1 up front to start from a green light then used high for lightly walking the pedals down a slope. I've had both the Metropolis front and Shimano 8-speed rear systems installed on a bike at the same time. Hoisting that bike onto a transit bus bike rack then up a flight of stairs to get home was a test of strength in and of itself. The Shimano and Metropolis internal drives are re-packable (lighter grease) in order to decrease the internal drive losses that a rider has to put up with.
Ralf Biernacki
@juehoe: The system you are linking to 1. has only two speeds---you have to choose at time of purchase whether you want the low gear or the high gear; 2. costs about twice what the Efneo costs (based on a quick google search---the manufacturer is coy about a price list, I wonder why). 3. is shifted by kicking at the hub, a less convenient action than Efneo's cable shifter.
Michael Crumpton
For an urban bike a 3 speed sturmey archer rear hub (for about 1/2 the price of this) with a fixed single chainring is just fine for urban riding, unless you live in some place like San Francisco.
unklmurray
Looks to me like the next step would be to get a Shimano internal hub along with this....and then get a belt drive!! talk about clean quiet nice........I like this!!.....LOL
unklmurray
Well,I don't know butt just for kicks and giggles lets take one of these internal derailleur's in front and a 7-11 speed internal hub in back and now we can get one of those pretty belts and get rid of the chain!!No more grease,torn pant legs!!.....LOL :-)