archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

The German Pinion Drive for trikes (and bikes ;-)

Internally geared shifting mechanisms are commonly thought of on the rear drive wheel, laced into the wheel as the hub. For example, I have a Rohloff internally geared rear hub on my ICE Full Fat. Recently, I was personally introduced to an internally geared shifting mechanism that is not a hub of a wheel at all, rather mounted on the frame, independent of wheels. It is called the Pinion Drive, which was developed, and now is hand-produced, in Germany. This internal shifting device does away entirely with old fashioned derailleur systems, and the gearing is protected from external weather elements. There is no lateral chain movement, thereby leading to longer chain life.


Here is what a Pinion Drive looks like on the inside.

From the manufacturer comes this information (translated for me by Google):

Pinion Philosophy

Engineer’s skills, craftsmanship, skill and passion – Pinion is the driving force behind the bike of the future. Our motivation: the pursuit of technical perfection. Our goal: the perfect bike. Developed and produced by hand in Germany, the pinion gearbox is permanently reliable and almost maintenance-free. The compact design allows for an integrally reduced design of innovative bicycles – pinion bikes are superbly balanced and technically perfect. In this way, they reduce the wonderful feeling of riding a bike to the essentials. All Pinion transmissions guarantee unique function in any situation and under all conditions. Four precisely tuned transmission circuits, which meet the highest demands on shifting and driving comfort; On a trip around the world and on the trail as well as in the city and on the weekend tour.

A tutorial movie showing exactly how this internal shifting mechanism works:


A fun movie showing the Pinion Drive on a mountain bike:

Notice on this mountain bike that the power is delivered to the rear wheel via a rubber belt material of some sort, rather than through a metal chain, like we have on recumbent trikes. I wonder if this belt technology could be utilized successfully on a tadpole trike – no more broken links!

Click HERE to visit the Pinion website.

PS: This is the shifting mechanism Ed Wade has on his new Azub Ti-Fly (see prior post).


3 responses

  1. Rodger


    The first Pinion Unit arrived in The U.S.A. in the first week of January 2016 on a Fat AZUB. The User’s Manual was in German. This Fat Trike was taken to Cresented Butte in late January for a event there.

    Now us that have issues in properly reading German – can evan read the Owner’s Manual in English.

    Oh — do I like The Pinion Drive Unit —- you betcha ya !

    February 19, 2017 at 7:51 am

  2. Frank Fortier

    Too bad they only fit purpose built frames. If they sell well perhaps an American welder will come out with an adaption to fit them on recumbent trikes and bikes.

    February 19, 2017 at 9:09 am

  3. trike hobo

    Hi Frank,

    This Pinion Drive is the same unit that is now coming on new Azub Ti-Fly trikes. It is already adapted to recumbent trikes, thus the post. Scroll down to see the post about Ed Wade’s new Azub, which has the Pinion Drive.

    February 19, 2017 at 3:35 pm