NuVinci’s new N360 Harmony is an electronically controlled, auto shifting internally geared hub that gives you two modes of control.
Unlike Shimano’s Alfine Di2, the NuVinci system “shifts” for you to keep your cadence at a preset RPM. And, because their hubs are a type of planetary gear, there’s no actual stepped gears, so it feels seamless. It’s called Cadence Control and it’s rather unique.
Set your cadence and as you pedal harder or softer, it changes the gear ratio to keep your cadence the same. The cadence range is from about 60 and 85 rpm, but it depends on front and rear gear sizes, and OEM brands can specify tooth counts and program the desired cadence spread.
I rode it around and it feels as uncanny as the concept sounds. Pedal a bit harder and it shifts imperceptibly and all of a sudden you’re going faster without really pedaling any harder or faster. It’s strange, but it works.
The advanced rider controller is shown here and lets you adjust through a range of cadence speeds.
If that’s not your bag, switch modes and you can simply shift electronically. This essentially gives you electronic shifting, but without the stepped gears of Shimano’s Alfine Di2. NuVinci’s planetary assembly runs from hardest to easiest with an infinite range between them because it leverages different diameters of balls by moving the axle path they rotate on.
This system is only available to OEM customers now. All of the electronics are inside the small box outside of the hub, so the system can be retrofittable to existing N360 hubs. They plan on offering it aftermarket next year. As is, it’s designed to pull power from an e-bike’s battery, but for regular pedal bikes, they see a small Di2-like battery that’s recharged by a hub dynamo.
There’s also a basic model that will have just three buttons for cadence speed options and no fancy display on the shifter.