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Tag Archive: Nuvinci Hub

Interbike 2011: Urbana Bicycles

I met up with Urbana Bicycles at the NuVinci booth to check out their redesigned bike. First thing they added was a NuVinci hub.
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Then they beautified their frame by smoothing out the welds.
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Their famous RNR rack is still on the Urbana, by the way, this rack is rated to carry heavy objects, as much as an adult.
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They outdid themselves by going with the reliable Gates Belt Drive.
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The rear drop out had to be redesigned to make the belt drive serviceable.
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I noticed something on the frame and I asked what it was supposed to be. Turns out they’re working on a front rack that connects to the frame. Unlike most front racks that are connected to the fork, this design promises to be more stable.
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Another thing I noticed was the bike itself looked shorter. Turns out the Urbana engineers tweaked the head tube angle and brought it in closer. I forget the exact numbers, but the shorter wheel base will help the Urbana become more nimble and easier to handle.
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My Xtracycle is in pieces

A while back I disassembled my beloved Xtracycle. Below was the last rendition of the bike.

I’ve since used the red Ibex frame as my off road single speed. I had stopped using the Xtracycle because I was testing out the Torker Cargo T. As great as the Cargo T is, I missed how much load I could carry on the Xtra.

Well, now that I’m really missing this rig, I’m thinking about how I could assemble it again. But I wanted to make it different this time around. I have my old Gary Fisher Tarpon: it’s a steel frame, the color scheme on it matches the Xtracycle, plus I have a Nuvinci rear wheel that could be mated with the setup.

What do you think should I go with — the steel GF or should I look for an aluminum frame?

NuVinci Hub-What a feeling!

I borrowed Moe’s Ibex RSR bike equipped with the NuVinci hub last week and recently had some saddle time with the bike. I’ve ridden this bike before, but not for extended lengths of time and mileage. I’m please to say that I’ve had some decent saddle time on it.

When Interbike 2006 came around, the NuVinci hub was the biggest buzz in the business. By the time Sea Otter Classic happened in 2007, there were tons of demo bikes, including a fancy Elseworth and a Bianchi that had these hubs installed. Honestly, I did fall in love with the way the NuVinci hub works, and in reality, the concept of the CVT transmission was above me. But I didn’t care, all I knew was that this hub was a dream to ride.

Here’s what’s what I loved about our test bike. Well for one, its not a fancy bike, decent parts, fancy color scheme, but it was the hub that made this bike more valuable than its weight in gold. I’ll try to describe what I’m talking about to you in a way that will help you feel what its like to ride this bike. You see, its simply hard to even go into detail as to the feeling you get when riding a NuVinci…but here it goes….

The hub performs like no other geared bike I’ve ever ridden. You can start off pedaling easy just by twisting the grip shifter. While your moving, and you want to pick up speed, you twist the grip even more and what happens is, you feel a smooth and quiet increase in speed without a big shock to your legs. It’s rather seamless if you ask me. Just think of it this way, if you’re in a luxury car that has an automatic transmission, you accelerate from 0-60mph, the car’s fancy transmission will shift through the gears without you feeling a surge/lunge while going through the gears. Well, the NuVinci is pretty much like that. The seamless variable transmission allows you to go from standing still, to coasting at 15mph without feeling like you have to ramp up your cadence to be able to go that fast. Suer you feel your legs working harder, but its not working as hard as it would if you were riding a regular 27spd bike. There’s practically no noise, easy to use, even a monkey can learn how to use the NuVinci.

Our good friend Val of Seattle Bike Supply also provided us a very thorough review of the NuVinci that could be read HERE

I’ll be spending more time on the NuVinci and periodically report on its performance. Tell you what, if you’re in the North OC area and would like to try out this bike, hit us up and we can arrange a time so you can join us for a ride and we’ll set you up on the NuVinci bike.
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NuVinci Hub Review

We were pretty stoked to receive a NuVinci hub from our friends from Seattle Bicycle Supply to test. We met the guys from NuVinci at Sea Otter and we were very impressed with the hub.

Product Description:

The NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) is the first viable CVT drivetrain for bicycles and a revolutionary, new alternative to conventional derailleur and fixed-gear internal hubs delivering a totally unique riding experience. The ride is incredibly smooth, allowing the rider to shift “gears� while pedaling, coasting, or at a standstill. Its elegant, simple design delivers all the advantages of planetary gear sets without the limitation of fixed speed ratios, without wide gaps between gears, and without jolts or jerks to the rider’s legs and lower back.

How does it work?
Check out the Video:

Installation:
We received a wheel with the hub already installed, cables, controller and other needed hardware. I decided to install the Hub on an Ibex B27-R, the Ibex B27-r is Mountain Bike frame with 135mm rear spacing and 26″ wheels with a derailleur hanger.

The instructions of the installation manual are well written and the illustrations helped a lot with the installation. Although my level of mechanical expertise is not vast, I was able to install the NuVinci Hub on my own.

Installation was basically seamless, except for the chain length, I had to use a ‘half-link’ so the chain could be properly tensioned.

Hits:The strongest point of this hub is how easy it is to use. The controller doesn’t not feature ‘number of gears’ but an intuitive display of a road incline. A flat line means you are riding a flat road and you can really ride fast, a ‘hill’ means that you are ready to climb. As you turn the controller to adjust the gear ratio, you will notice a smooth change on pedal tension, there is no clunk or that annoying sensation of a tug on your legs.

Flat line = Go Fast !

Hill = Get ready to climb!

Since my commute is mostly flat, I did experiment riding uphills with the Hub. Here’s were the hub excelled. When you climb on a geared bike, you can be stuck on a higher gear that makes it difficult to climb because you are ‘mashing’ on the pedals or a lower gear that makes you spin too fast. The NuVinci Hub allows you to find that ’sweet spot’ where you feel comfortable not mashing the pedals or spinning too fast.

Another huge plus is the reliability of the hub. Weather in So Cal is not as extreme as in other parts of the country, but the people at Fallbrook (designers of the hub) have tested it extensively at -20 C, or -4 F, with no problems. Since the hub is fully enclosed, rain nor mud are an issue.

Drawbacks:The biggest drawback of this hub is it’s weight. At a reported weight of 11 lbs for the entire system, weight weenies need not apply. The cost of the hub is also another drawback, expect to pay over $400 bucks for the hub.

Where can you buy it?

Your Local Bike Shop (LBS) should be able to order either the hub or a prebuilt wheel from Seattle Bike Supply or you can buy a bike like the Batavus Adagio-Nuvinci or the Ellsworth The Ride that have come with the NuVinci system installed.

Recommendation: The BIG question is: Does the reliability and easiness of use counter the weight and price of hub? From a Bike commuter point of view, the answer would be yes. As far as weight go, most bike commuters are not really concerned with a commuter bike’s weight (see our poll), reliability is top priority. Price? The hub is currently installed on a $99 Ibex B27-R frame, so even with a price of $400, the bike is about $550. Again, most of you would pay more than $500 bucks for a reliable commuter bike. For those ‘extreme’ commuters out there that ride snow/rain/mud or shine, the hub is worth the investment. For those of us that don’t ride extreme climates but want a wide range of gear ratios, value the reliability of a bike and have a little extra on our wallets, the NuVinci hub is worth considering.

We would like to thank Seattle Bike Suppy for giving us the chance to test the hub, and to Val Kleitz for answering questions about the hub. You can also read Val’s review of the hub by clicking here.