Russ and I took a little trip out to Utah last summer and had the pleasure of riding a fleet of incredible bikes we’ll never sell in Illinois. It was called “Dealer Camp” and a number of dealers were invited out to experience the new goods from a number of smaller upcoming brands. This was a much nicer experience than say, Interbike. We didn’t feel like sheep, for one thing, and we didn’t come home reeking of filth for a month.

One company that successfully caught our eye was Nuvinci. We were familiar with “those weird hub guys” before the trip, but getting to try out their system was what made us take a second look. It’s unlike anything else, and although we can (and I’m about to) use many common words to describe what it’s like, you won’t get it until you get on it.

The Nuvinci N360 in an Internal Gear Hub system that uses a Continuously Variable Planetary (CVP) transmission. In earthspeak, that means that it uses little balls in the hub to create infinitely adjustable gear ratios – not fixed gears like a chain shifting on cassette cogs. The most unique part of this experience is using the grip shifter. Because the ratio continuously changes, there are no “clicks” – just a smooth, silent, shift. You just leave the shifter where the ratio feels good. You can shift from a standstill and accomplish a huge shift with just a flick of the wrist.

The range is pretty incredible: 360° of change. You can have a higher or lower range by changing the chainring or cog.

We’ve built up a couple bikes with the N360 recently and we’re thinking it should be an option for more people. It’s a hassle-free drivetrain for commuters and touring cyclists. It’s perfect for people that want the gear range of a standard drivetrain but don’t want the hassle of derailleurs. And it’s pretty attractive if you’re a just an IGH nerd.

Here’s a video showing the inner-workings of the CVP technology. I’ve watched it a few times now and I still don’t get it.

Elves. I’m just sticking to the theory that there are elves in there changing the gears.

We’ve really outdone ourselves this time.

 

The Trolls have landed.

Check out these hot dropouts:

 

We’ve got a couple on order, and they’re flying out of stock. If you’re interested, call your local Surly dealer at 815.758.2403 now.