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Bike Review - Crossmaxx 28" Pinion

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Bike Review - Crossmaxx 28" Pinion

Old 06-01-23, 02:50 AM
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Bikes: Saracen Conquest. Claud Butler Majestic. Viking VK500. Crossmaxx 28" Pinion.

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Bike Review - Crossmaxx 28" Pinion

Subject: Bike Review - Crossmaxx 28" Pinion



Replacing an ‘80s Tourer

My old ‘80s tourer was perfectly fine, had been steadily upgraded over the years until the only original item was the Reynolds 531 steel frame. I’d even got a disc brake adapter for the rear wheel (punctures consequently requiring a workshop visit). Its key plus-point was that with bits of rust here and there on the frame, it did not look particularly resaleable, so could generally be left unattended without worry. However, given the arrival of a bit of spare cash, I figured it was better spent on a new bike, than a new car – the former being the healthier option. So, I set about finding a replacement tourer.

Along with Dawes discontinued manufacture of its Galaxy series of touring bikes in 2020, I gather that the classic ‘tourer’ has disappeared from the marketplace – defined as a heavier-duty, drop-handlebar road bike equipped with meatier tyres, pannier racks and other accessories convenient for long distance journeys.

It seems this area has exploded such that there is no longer a simple ‘touring’ bike. It’s now a matter of choosing the base bike according to expected terrain mixture, distance, and rider performance, and the luggage+accessory configuration accordingly, i.e. racing/Audax, cyclocross, gravel, mountain, city, hybrid, etc. Even so, the classic tourer is probably best obtainable by buying one second hand rather than trying to recreate it, e.g. by putting panniers and mudguards on a gravel bike.

Arriving at Maxx Bikes

Having consequently researched this area, and realised things had evolved in the last 40 years such that I wasn’t going to end up with something resembling my classic tourer, I figured that a Pinion 18 speed gearbox based bike would be a worthwhile improvement from my old derailleur setup. This also narrowed the range of bikes I had to choose from. A further narrowing criterion was that my envisaged terrain was predominantly tarmac, occasional gravel or rough tracks, with rare off-roading. Thus seat-pillar suspension would be sufficient.

Having checked out the various suppliers of Pinion based travel/expedition/trekking (but not touring) bikes, I arrived at a short-list of Van Nicholas, Maxx, Bottcher, Tout Terrain, and Fahrradmanufaktur. Ultimately, I plumped for Maxx Bikes, given their frame’s long chainstay length, excellent configuration choice, and mid-range pricing.

Thus, I end up with the Crossmaxx 28” Pinion. https://www.maxx.de/en/bikes/trekkin...x_pinion_tour/

Bike Configuration

The Maxx online configurator allows:

1) Entry of rider height & weight, inside leg, and saddle height, displaying consequent data regarding the frame geometry.
2) Preference of riding position: comfort/normal/sporty (affecting later config assistance).
3) 6 frame sizes.
4) Extensive colour choices (frame, mudguards, rack, Maxx decal, custom text, etc.).
5) Pinion gearbox: 12 vs 18 speed, crank length 170/175, pedals.
6) Chain drive vs belt (and belt cog size).
7) Disc brakes (& Front/Rear: R/L vs L/R).
8) Front fork (2 rigid, 1 suspension).
9) Handle bar, stem, and grips .
10)Saddle & seat post (optionally suspension).
11)Wheels & tyres.
12)Accessories: Racks, mudguards, lighting (dynamo), bottle cages, mirror, locks, etc.

The things that are missing, or that I would like to have seen in the configurator are as follows:

1) Choice of Pinion chainring size (30T vs 24T), and rear chain sprocket (30T vs 26T).
2) Choice of saddle to include a men’s Brooks saddle (only B17 ladies is currently offered), e.g. B17 Special.
3) Options of: Pinion oil change kit, disc brake bleed/refill & pads kit, spare chain/belt, spare inner tube(s).
4) Option of Qover insurance policy. See https://www.qover.com/use-cases/bike and https://bike.qover.com/en-de

Maxx offers a consultation for prospective purchasers, e.g. for quandaries as to which configuration options to select.

Ordering

The ordering process is reasonable, with 10% deposit, and balance just prior to despatch. A credit card purchase option was not provided, but would be very convenient, even with a surcharge. Plenty of communication is provided, with the ability to check progress online.

Delivery

The bike was delivered in a custom corrugated cardboard box top, with 2m x 30cm supporting pallet. A fork lift’s tips had accidentally punctured the upper area of one side of the box, but hadn’t penetrated enough to cause any damage to the bike. The bike itself was well wrapped in pipe insulation foam and bubble wrap in various areas.

Naturally, handlebars and pedals had to be installed and aligned before it was ready for a test ride. Otherwise, it was ready to go, with nothing insufficiently tightened or adjusted. Of course, the saddle and handle bar height/angle needed tweaking until perfect. I wasn’t used to the modern headset mechanism, so didn’t realise that the spacers had to be compressed to eliminate headset wobble before tightening everything else up, but once suitably cured of my ignorance, this wobble was quickly eliminated.

Soon after my first test ride, I decided that I preferred the brakes to have a bite-point after 10% of lever travel rather than after 50%. Fortunately, the adjustment was available to achieve this – no tool required. Naturally, the rider has to be very aware of this bite point – the brakes being extremely effective.

The paint job was excellent. I had been a tad worried that the dark RAL colour I’d chosen would be too dark, but as it turned out, it was the perfect shade I was hoping for.

At first glance, I was immediately impressed by the good looks of the frame. It certainly looked strong and durable, but it also looked efficient, with the frame tube diameter increasing along its length, such that it was larger where it needed to be stronger.

Ride & Handling

Upon mounting and after a brief ride, my initial feelings, moving from my 80s tourer to this Crossmaxx, were that it was as if I’d changed from a family estate car to an army truck. The large diameter of the frame’s aluminium tubing (65mm headset, 58mm tapering crossbar), the 2” tyres, 72cm wide handlebars, and the Pinion gearbox Q factor made it feel like I was riding a military bike, designed for extreme endurance and adverse conditions (and battle-ready riders). This bike exudes the ability to cope with transcontinental/year long tours. Moreover, I wouldn’t worry about any limit to the weight of a rider plus fully laden panniers.

I conclude that ‘tourer’ does not sufficiently categorise The Crossmaxx. It is an EXPEDITION bicycle.

As it happened, it weighed about the same as my ‘80s tourer. Even with both being similarly accessorised, the Crossmaxx was 2Kg heavier, but one can put the additional weight down to the items not on my old tourer, i.e. rear kickstand, Pinion gearbox (vs derailleur), front pannier rack mounting, 50mm tyres (vs 40mm), wider rims, larger and heavier duty mudguards.

I had always intended to install my Brooks B17 saddle, but the basic saddle (Selle Italia Garda Gel) the bike was fitted with was ok to test ride, but was otherwise overly firm, if quite grippy. As soon as I’d moved over my Brooks B17 to it, it was like moving from a fence post to a horse saddle. Luxury.

The bike feels a lot more stable than my old tourer, in the sense of a mountain bike vs a twitchy road bike. The wide handlebars reassure the rider that it is they who are in control of the bike’s steering rather than the terrain.

However, one area in which it is a lot less stable, is when it comes to one-handed braking (such as when descending a hill and signalling an imminent turn, whilst braking simultaneously). As the user guide cautions, one must never brake without both hands firmly upon the handlebars. Not only are the hydraulic brakes very powerful (203mm front rotor), but given the 72cm wide handlebars, any significant braking will tend to throw the rider’s body forward, and the rider’s single arm will consequently be pushed forward against the handlebar, causing the front wheel to steer accordingly, and unexpectedly – potentially resulting in a loss of control and the bike falling over. Conversely, in the case of gentle rim brakes, and drop handlebars with secondary upper brake levers relatively close to the headset, it is actually possible to brake one-handed whilst buttressing the body against forward motion, i.e. to prevent that force from affecting steering. Thus one has to quickly unlearn that one-handed braking manoeuvre when moving to wide flat handlebars combined with powerful brakes. The problem remains though, of how to indicate an imminent turn, whilst braking/decelerating for it. A possible solution is to obtain a set of indicator lights, e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B2K3NSZ2

Even so, it gives me great pleasure to have a set of brakes on the Crossmaxx that are powerful enough to lock the wheels (Shimano XT T 8100 4-piston 203/180mm). Even with a disk brake adaptor, I had never been able to achieve this on my old tourer. I was even considering moving back to rim brakes and angle-grinding the rims to get the wheels to lock. I feel it is important to have emergency-stop capability on a fully-loaded tourer ridden by a heavy rider (even if one doesn’t actually brake quite so hard that the wheels lock).

I have ridden the Crossmaxx off-road for short stretches of 300m or so, and the bike seems quite unfazed. It is evidently only a case of how happy the rider is with the bumpiness of the terrain given how much of it is transmitted to their body vs absorbed by the suspension options configured. I found the Suntour SP12 suspension seat-post was quite sufficient for relatively level terrain. Indeed, I highly recommend it – it’s only downside is mild pogo-ing at a certain resonant cadence (low gear ascent).

I also tried a descent that I’d been able to reach 75km/h on with my old tourer (with a following wind), but I could only get up to 55km/h – and it wasn’t for lack of a high enough gear. It’s probably down to a slight head wind, 4 panniers, and a near fully upright rider position.

I recently had occasion to need to use my old tourer for a quick jaunt, and much to my surprise, I felt most unsafe upon it – as if I’d fall over the handlebars upon the slightest bump. That just goes to show how solid the triangular position is that I have on the Crossmaxx – I feel I could collide with a wall at some speed and still remain seated.

Pinion Gearbox

I went for the Pinion’s chain drive option for its greater flexibility and universality, but I understand those who opted for the belt drive are very happy with it.

I’ve not noticed any increase in take-up delay as a consequence of two freewheels. However, I did notice the occasional double-click of the two freewheels engaging, but even this is hardly noticeable after a couple of months. If there was an option of a zero-take-up rear freewheel on the Maxx configurator I might well have chosen it, but it’s not something I feel is worth the expense of obtaining and hassle of installing after receiving the bike.

In terms of whether one can notice the Pinion gearbox having a slightly lower efficiency than derailleur gears when pedalling, the answer is a clear “No”. The theoretical difference is probably comparable to the difference between a well lubricated derailleur chain, and one that hasn’t been lubricated for a year. You certainly can’t feel or hear any whirring of gears in the gear box while pedalling. It feels as much ‘direct drive’ as a derailleur setup.

As to changing gear, one does have to learn a different technique. One can get used to changing just between each power-stroke such that there’s hardly a deliberate pedalling pause at all. However, one can then get so used to such fluid gear changes, that one then starts getting the idea that one can change at any time – and one is then reminded by the clicking of the gearbox not to do this. One also has to remember there’s no need to think ahead and pre-select a setting-off gear when coming to a stop. One can stop in top gear with no worries. However, when stationary, to change gear before setting off, one must be careful not to pressure the pedal whilst doing so.

It’s nice being able to tweak the cadence with a little twist of the handgrip gear selector by one notch. I expect this to become very useful on long roads with a fairly constant gradient. Similarly, one can twist 3 or 4 gears at once (or any number, given a very limber wrist). One slight niggle is that the handgrip shifter is twisted top-towards the rider for slower speeds (lower gears), which is opposite to the handgrip throttle on a moped/motorcycle – because of this, I still sometimes twist it in the opposite direction.

The main benefit of the Pinion gearbox to me is the reliability of gear changes, with no chain to jump beyond chainring or cassette limits, nor to bind up. The indexed gears of my derailleur also misbehaved when I cycled in cold weather (~4C), and no amount of adjustment seemed to cure the indexing problem. So it’ll be good to have worry-free gears.

The Pinion blurb makes a point of having the widest range of gear ratios (compared to derailleur or Rollhoff, etc.), however, it’s important to note that in the case of a derailleur, this is with respect to a standard setup. If you have a 53/42/32 triple chainring on a 11-36 cassette, you may well have a narrower range of gear ratios compared to the Pinion. However, if you swap out the 32T chainring for a 22T one, then you’ll get a wider range of gear ratios than the Pinion.

On Maxx’s configurator it would have been nice if there were 3 chain sprocket options (as there are for the belt drive: 32 + 26/30/32). Ok, it's not too difficult to buy and fit your own, but it would have been good to get the bike set up with the right combo at the start. The only chain option is 30T front 26T rear, but a 2nd and 3rd rear sprocket option of 29T and 32T would have been nice. It's nice to pedal fast down hills, but on a heavily loaded tourer, crawler gears are more important, e.g. when faced with 5 miles of 11-12% gradient. In other words, of the 18 Pinion gears, I'd happily shift them down 1 or 2 places. This is what I felt after testing the 30T/26T Pinion setup on the steep hills I know. On my old tourer I installed a 20T super-granny front cog on my triple chainring for such hills, but otherwise used a granny cog of 22T.

One can visit Sheldon Brown's website to produce gear ratio tables - or tables of Metres Development.

My old tourer had 11-36 cassette (8 speed) + 22/42/52 (Shimano FC-2303).

So, for a 44-622 tyre with 175mm cranks, I enjoyed 1.2m for 20T front + 36T rear, and 10.5m for 52+11. It would be just 1.4m for a 22T front ring. The 20+11/13/16 gears hooked up on the centre chainring (diagonal chain) so were not usable.

With the Pinion P1.18 gearbox (30T chainring, 26T rear sprocket), and 50-622 tyre and 175mm cranks, I enjoyed 1.5m in gear #1 and 9.3m in gear #18.

The Pinion gearbox can be fitted with a 30T rear sprocket, which would give: 1.3m to 8.1m.

In an ideal world, I’d have three ranges of gears: ascending, flat/low gradients, and descending. I’d have 20% increments between the ascending gears, 10% for the flats, and 30% for the descendings. I’d also probably have 6 ascending gears, 8 flats, and 4 descendings. But this is unlikely to be possible in a 3x6 gearbox.

It is good to have the Pinion’s single control for all gears, but in my book, the primary concern for the tourer is not a linear interval range, but a set of gears that enable them to ascend moderate to steep hills, obtain a good cadence when cruising, and keep up with the bike when descending. That derailleur gears overlap is not their primary problem, thus it is not interval linearity across a set of gears that is sought, but reliability, a sufficiently wide ratio, and enough gear variation that a comfortable/optimal cadence can be achieved for most gradients (0-15%). If I was renting a brand new bike for a month long tour, I think a properly tuned 3x8 indexed derailleur (with granny cog and wide range cassette) would still have the edge over the Pinion in terms of ease of use. The Pinion becomes superior in terms of durability and reliability.

A potential enhancement to the default Pinion setup is to get a Sturmey Archer 3 speed CS-RK3 hub fitted into the rear wheel with a 30T sprocket (P8230L). This would effectively increase the 1-18 Pinion gear range with 4 lower gears, and 1 higher gear, i.e. as if there were now gears: -3,-2,-1,0 and 19. The 3 speed lever would serve as ascending/cruising/descending.

The CS-RK3 ratios (-25%,0%,+33%) are roughly equivalent to having a rear cassette of 37/30/23T.

You end up with 1m in lowest gear, and 10.5m in highest gear (1.7-10.5 / 1.3-8.1 / 1.0-6.5).

Now this gives two more lower gears (1.0m & 1.1m) than I could obtain using a derailleur setup with granny chain ring.

Apparently, the Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub has insignificant energy losses in 2nd gear because it's direct drive. The efficiency of its two other gears drops down to 85% though.

However, low gear would only be used for slow, ascending speeds, where the objective is to reduce pedal effort, and top gear would be for descending, where gravity is providing free energy anyway. So energy losses in these two gears will probably have negligible impact on long distance ride time.

Other Fitments & Configuration Options

In addition to providing the frame, and assembling the complete bike, Maxx have also used considerable judgement in selecting various standard fitments, and configuration options from which prospective purchasers can choose.

Standard Fitments

Steering Limiter - Acros Stoplock
The Acros Stoplock turn limiter is jolly useful, and not at all a gimmick. I’ve seen people try to straighten handlebars that have swung round to 160 degrees, by attempting to shift them further to 180, with consequent strain on cables, and damage to headlight, etc. Being limited to 67° each way is very useful, especially if there are loaded panniers on the front wheel.

Kickstand – Ursus King Evo (rear)
I thought I’d be removing the kickstand as soon as the bike arrived. How wrong I was. It soon demonstrated itself to be well worth its additional weight, and I saw the wisdom in the frame having a built-in mounting point for it. It is very convenient to be able to stand the bike anywhere, without having to look for a tree, wall, or lamppost, etc.

Bell
Maybe the bell is a legal requirement, but one can do far better than the standard bell provided, e.g. I recommend the Knog Oi Luxe.

Optional Fitments

Handlebar stem with quick release - Schulz Stem twist Pro

There is a quick release lever on this height adjustable handlebar stem, and a little button that releases the bars from ‘central’, such that they can be freely swung round independent of the front wheel. Returning them back to normal is a simple matter of turning until the ‘central’ button pops up, and then closing the quick release lever.

My initial thought was “What a strange gadget. I can’t see myself ever benefitting from it”.

Weirdly, I used it in three different ways on my first 110km ride.
  • At the end of a cycle path, there was a narrow 50cm gap between a gatepost and wall to discourage anything wider than a bicycle. With my 72cm handlebars (with bar-ends), a bar-end mirror, and front panniers making negotiation almost impossible, it was easily passed upon releasing the handlebars, turning them 90°, then partly closing the quick release lever, wheeling the bike forward, and then restoring the handlebars to normal.
  • I needed to temporarily store the bike indoors, in a narrow corridor. Fortunately, with the ability to twist the handlebars in line with the front wheel, thus enabling the bike to more flush against the wall, the bike presented far less of an obstruction.
  • When mounting the bike onto a car’s rear cycle carrier, the handlebars could be easily twisted such that they didn’t bump into the rear window.

Lighting - SON 28 Disc TA 15x100 hub dynamo with B&M IQ X Senso plus TFL100 Lx
The B&M IQ X headlight (+rear light) with the SON TA hub dynamo provides fully automatic lighting. There’s no need to worry about turning it on, etc. It flashes during the day, and becomes steady at night. The headlight’s beam is also ample.

Pedals - Acros A-Flat MD platform
These top quality pedals with grub-screws grip the soles of your shoes TOTALLY. The only way you can get your foot off the pedal is to lift it off. You cannot slide it off. Consequently, care is needed when initially placing feet on pedals.

Mirror –B&M Cyclestar E712
I could have done with slightly more convexity, and a more rigid adjustment, but this mirror is indispensable.

Lock - Abus frame lock Shield Amparo 4750X NR
Given the attractiveness and resaleability of the Crossmaxx Pinion, a lock is a must-have. It is also necessary should you opt for bicycle theft insurance. As it happens, this particular lock is approved by QoverMe insurance.

Extra Fitments

Everyone will have their own ideas or requirements as to additional fitments or accessories, but in case you’re curious, these are what I’ve added so far:
Panniers: Altura Dryline 56&32 with 9l rackpack.
Additional storage: Topeak handlebar sunglasses case, Topeak Tri DryBag (crossbar sunglasses case), Rhinowalk Handlebar Bag.
Additional lighting: Front flasher. Brake light/flasher. Rear fog flasher. Headlight/power bank (Ryaco 2400 lumen, 5200mAh).
Cycle computer: SIGMA Sport BC 14.0
Smartphone carrier: Headset clamp (Lixada) & handlebar case (waterproof).
Alarm: Fosmon bike alarm.

Conclusion

The Crossmaxx 28” Pinion is ideal if you’re looking for an expedition class tourer, able to take you and a full touring load anywhere on the planet, in any weather, on any terrain, for any duration or distance. It is really well designed and built, and Maxx will help you ensure it arrives with the configuration necessary for your forthcoming trips. That said, it won’t suit you if you want to cruise at road bike speeds, or if you want to cover a lot of distance each day (more than 150km on hilly tarmac, or 250km on flat tarmac). For such Audax class touring, a bike-packing setup would be more appropriate, e.g. on a road or gravel bike. Similarly, although the Pinion will be fine with steep gradients for a short distance, if you’re looking at ascending mountains fully loaded, at 10% for 10km say, then, unless you’re ‘iron man’ calibre, there’s a high likelihood you’ll be walking after 5km – unless you get a larger rear cog say.

I was very happy with my 80s tourer, and having kitted it out to the hilt, I did not believe a modern tourer could be any better. I was wrong. The Crossmaxx is a far greater pleasure, and I enjoy riding it 3-4 days a week. Moreover, I am looking forward to a 12 day tour (involving mountainous terrain).

PS I have just completed that tour (with CS-RK3).
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Old 06-01-23, 03:05 AM
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Thank you .
Can you post a phot of the bicycle ?
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Old 06-01-23, 04:21 AM
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There are photos of the Crossmaxx 28" Pinion at the manufacturer's site here: https://www.maxx.de/en/bikes/trekkin...x_pinion_tour/

A photo of mine is below:




Dark olive, with Brooks B17 and Altura pannier set

NB The CS-RK3 was fitted subsequently.
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Old 06-01-23, 05:25 AM
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Fully loaded, on tour, with CS-RK3 (& LH shifter).
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Old 06-01-23, 08:59 AM
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As it happened, it weighed about the same as my ‘80s tourer. Even with both being similarly accessorised, the Crossmaxx was 2Kg heavier, but one can put the additional weight down to the items not on my old tourer, i.e. rear kickstand, Pinion gearbox (vs derailleur), front pannier rack mounting, 50mm tyres (vs 40mm), wider rims, larger and heavier duty mudguards.
So how much did it weigh?


btw cool looking panniers!
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Old 06-01-23, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus
So how much did it weigh?
btw cool looking panniers!
Old tourer 23Kg. Crossmaxx 25Kg.
Luggage about 20Kg (inc. water, etc).
Me about 110Kg.

Just completed 600km. Mountainous terrain - including 5.5km tunnel at 5-7% gradient (with snow upon exit).
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Old 06-01-23, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Xavier65
Subject: Bike Review - Crossmaxx 28" Pinion
...
It is good to have the Pinion’s single control for all gears, but in my book, the primary concern for the tourer is not a linear interval range, but a set of gears that enable them to ascend moderate to steep hills, obtain a good cadence when cruising, and keep up with the bike when descending. That derailleur gears overlap is not their primary problem, thus it is not interval linearity across a set of gears that is sought, but reliability, a sufficiently wide ratio, and enough gear variation that a comfortable/optimal cadence can be achieved for most gradients (0-15%). If I was renting a brand new bike for a month long tour, I think a properly tuned 3x8 indexed derailleur (with granny cog and wide range cassette) would still have the edge over the Pinion in terms of ease of use. The Pinion becomes superior in terms of durability and reliability.

A potential enhancement to the default Pinion setup is to get a Sturmey Archer 3 speed CS-RK3 hub fitted into the rear wheel with a 30T sprocket (P8230L). This would effectively increase the 1-18 Pinion gear range with 4 lower gears, and 1 higher gear, i.e. as if there were now gears: -3,-2,-1,0 and 19. The 3 speed lever would serve as ascending/cruising/descending.
...
When I first built up my Rohloff bike, I was thinking it would be nice to have more gears, I was thinking like you are. But, months later, I decided that it was best the way it is. The single sequential shifter where each gear change is the same percentage change as any other gear change is a great advantage. If you have a change of slope and your cadence speeds up or slows down, from experience you will quickly get used to knowing do you want to make one shift, two shifts, or maybe three? It is very predictable.

Overall nice writeup.

25kg for the bike? Yeah, that makes it an expedition bike.
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Old 06-02-23, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
When I first built up my Rohloff bike, I was thinking it would be nice to have more gears, I was thinking like you are. But, months later, I decided that it was best the way it is. The single sequential shifter where each gear change is the same percentage change as any other gear change is a great advantage. If you have a change of slope and your cadence speeds up or slows down, from experience you will quickly get used to knowing do you want to make one shift, two shifts, or maybe three? It is very predictable.
It is certainly nice to have a constant gap between gears.

However, I really did need to change my rear cog from 26T to 30T, which meant I could grind up 5km 8% hills (which I did recently). My limit on the 26T was about 5%.

Generally, one leaves the CS-RK3 on direct drive (#2). On encountering imminent ascents of 9-15%, one can knock it down to low gear. For anything steeper, Shank's pony is the best gear. After reaching the summit of a col, one can then knock the CS-RK3 into high gear, and enjoy pedalling at >60km/h. I reached 66km/h recently, but there were opportunities I could have taken to break into the 70s.

So, having installed a larger rear cog, the CS-RK3 can give you back the top gears you've lost, and can provide a couple of extra granny gears for those short steeps.

I've still got the original rear wheel with 26T, but that's now just a backup - I've no inclination to lose the flexibility I now enjoy.

Overall nice writeup.
Ta.

25kg for the bike? Yeah, that makes it an expedition bike.
The Maxx configurator continually updates the weight of the bike. The XL frame with Pinion P1.18 and basic components starts off at 16Kg.

My bike got up to 20Kg with various optional features, and up to 25Kg after I had it similarly accessorised to my old tourer.

Last edited by Xavier65; 06-03-23 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 06-02-23, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Xavier65
It is certainly nice to have a constant gap between gears.

However, I really did need to change my rear cog from 26T to 30T, which meant I could grind up 5km 8% hills (which I did recently). My limit on the 26T was about 5%.

Generally, one leaves the CS-RK3 on direct drive (#2). On encountering imminent ascents of 9-15%, one can knock it down to low gear. For anything steeper, Shank's pony is the best gear. After reaching the summit of a col, one can then knock the CS-RK3 into high gear, and enjoy pedalling at >60km/h. I reached 66km/h recently, but there were opportunities I could have taken to break into the 70s.

So, having installed a larger rear cog, the CS-RK3 can give you back the top gears you've lost, and can provide a couple of extra granny gears for those short steeps.

I've still got the original rear wheel with 26T, but that's now just a backup - I've no inclination to lose the flexibility I now enjoy.
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My Rohloff bike has a narrower range (526 percent) than the Pinion 18 you have, so I clearly understand the lack of range. I use the same wheel sprocket for all purposes, but when I am riding around near home on an unladen bike, I use a 44T chainring. That gives me a range of gears that is nearly perfect for the hills in my area. For that type of riding, the most weight my bike ever has on it is a pannier of groceries to carry home from the store.

But touring, I swap out the 44T chainring and use a 36T chainring. That gives me the lower gears I need for hill climbing with a load. But I spin out on the uphills. But, the lower gears are more important to me than the upper ones that I lack, so I just live with it. I add or subtract 4 chain links when I make the switch.

In that regard, you are fortunate to have the wider range of the Pinion 18. Since you have chain drive, if you still find you want a wider range for different types of riding, you might find you are doing the same as me, changing your gear range by swapping sprockets or chainrings for the type of riding you are going to be doing.

***

Different topic - when you have chain drive and an even number of teeth on your sprocket and on your chainring, it is a good idea to mark your sprocket and chainring so that each time you remove the chain or remove the wheel, you can put the chain back on so that the teeth that had outer plate links still have the outer plate links. The chain links and the teeth wear in together. More on that here:
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/chain-life.html

This is the kind of info that dealers never tell new bike owners, I suspect that the sales staff often do not know this kind of minutia.

The photos below shows my Rohloff sprocket three years ago after I put a lot of wear on the sprockets and had consumed a few chains. Most Rohloff sprockets can be flipped to put wear on both sides of sprocket teeth, I took the photos before I flipped the sprocket so all wear was put on one side of each tooth. I put a small notch in one tooth and I also marked that tooth in yellow years earlier, that way I could always put chain links with outer plates on the sprocket tooth that had the notch cut in it. The tooth that had the notch cut in it visibly has less wear than the adjacent teeth that always had teeth with inner plates.

First photo shows the side of the sprocket that was on the outside of the hub.



The second photo is the other side of the sprocket, this side of the sprocket faced towards the hub.



You have a nice bike there, I am sure it will give you plenty of good years of service.
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