Pinion Drive System = E-bike Porn

May 18, 2012
The Pinion E1.8  electric bike drive system will make any decent E-bike enthusiast’s mouth water.  Pinion is another German manufacturer who is making huge strides in the high-end electric bike world. Pinion has spent the last 5 years designing one of the sexiest components for E-bikes that we have ever seen. Small brushless RC motors are highly efficient, small, and lightweight, but they cannot be run straight to an Ebike rear wheel because they spin at too high of an RPM…some kind of gear reduction needs to take place.  For more  explanation of the complexities of mounting an RC motor to an ebike read our Astro Powered Ebike article here.  The Pinion E1.8 is remarkable in that it not only accomplishes the gear reduction, but it also uses a gear box built into the bottom bracket to provide 8 speeds for both the motor and the peddler. This is like having a Rohloff built into your bottom bracket.  (check out our Rohloff on an ebike article here).
Pinion Gearing


The Pinion E1.8 also has a torque sensor which allows the motor controller to automatically apply power to the drive-line the harder you pedal.  This pedal-assist feature is found in some of the best high-end bikes (usually called a “pedelec”), and it effectively eliminates the need for a throttle.  When riding bikes like this they give you the feeling of being “bionic” riding  a bicycle with super human legs, rather than riding like a motorcycle with a throttle control.

The E-pinion gives you 457%  gear range in its 8 gears, and comes stock with a 750 watt motor capable of getting you over 30mph in top gear, and climbing the steepest terrain in 1st gear.

The gears run in an oil bath much like a Rohloff. The company claims the only maintenance that is required is a oil change every 10,000 km, or annually (whatever comes first)

The Pinion E1.8 weighs only 9 pounds, a remarkable feat given it is a gear reduction, motor, controller, and transmission all in one package. Comparable gear boxes for pedal bikes (Sun Tour vboxx) without motor , gear reduction or controller weigh more than this unit.

Expect the Pinion E1.8 to be fairly expensive for this kind of German engineered E-bike sexiness. As of now, Nicolai is only offering their frame with a less powerful (and less sexy) Bosch system, but they are currently adapting and testing a prototype with the Pinion e1.8 as its drive system.

No prices have been released as of yet, but we expect it will be sold at a premium.

An added benefit to this system is it eliminates the need of  unsightly and clanky derailleurs  and allows for a completely clean chain line. Also, there’s  no need for an internal gear hub (such as the Rohloff) which adds unsprung rear wheel weight and extra expense ($1500 for Rohloff).

To see an example of a frame that is planning to use this drive system, check out are article on the Nicola Ion20 .

Nicola will be one of the first frames outfitted with the Pinion drive sytem

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.


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