German Approach to a Practical Revolution in Gearbox Tech

For years a small but vocal minority have been heralding the gearbox as the next great revolution in cycling. The advantages over the traditional derailleur system are numerous, and include the ability to shift seamlessly while under load or without pedaling, and their ability to perform flawlessly with virtually no maintenance.

Unfortunately, for mountain bikers (and weight weenies), the current gearboxes on the market are rather heavy, and more expensive than some derailleur options. Unless a frame is designed specifically around a gearbox, like the Zerode, that extra weight in the rear upsets the weight distribution. Furthermore, unless you’re willing to spend over a thousand dollars on a Rohloff hub, the planetary gearboxes are just not quite as efficient. Most importantly, if the gearbox where to break, the vast majority of home mechanics or local bike shops would be unable to service it.

The creator of the Vyro system, Gregor Schuster, claims that his proprietary system “combines all the advantages of gearboxes, chain guides, chain rings, and derailleur systems.” How?

The Vyro system is a unique spin on the dual chain ring. Simply put, the segmented outer rings rest on a tilted pin which allows the the chain to shift up within a quarter turn. This allows riders to shift even while under full load. The segmented outer chain ring, and solid inner ring, are sandwiched between an outer and inner guide to prevent accidental drops. All while maintaining a similar weight to current derailleur systems. The prototype shown above weighs aprx 1400 gm, but standard models are expected to be roughly 950 gm.  The current retail goal is 400 Euros.

My concerns regarding the design include its its ability to shed or function in muddy conditions, the cost of replacement chain segments, and a  fear of proprietary systems.

Left to Right: Upshifting, Downshifting

The companies current focus is on freeride and all mountain applications,  but as R&D progresses, a much lighter cross country or road version could be developed. The companies more pressing future plans include a  7 speed cassette for DH, and a 10-11 speed cassette for other applications, which will operate on the same principals.

In order to get this project off the ground, the company founder is entreating cyclists to pony up, and donate on their website. By investing in their technology the company will provide frequent updates and further insight into how the tech functions. Could some one please get these guys a Kick starter campaign?


Skip ahead to 2 minutes to see the Vyro system in action

Do you think this is a practical solution to the current drawbacks mountain bikers face with gearbox systems? Or are you still waiting for someone to manufacture a more traditional sealed, robust, and light weight  gearbox?

For more visit Vyro

 

 

Comments

Pedantic - 08/06/12 - 2:23pm

*pedaling. You guys really need to keep an English teacher on staff.

Werdna - 08/06/12 - 2:46pm

*who cares. Thanks guys for the articles and features, your site is the first one I check every morning!

Thomas - 08/06/12 - 2:46pm

Vyro is Austrian, not German.

scschredder - 08/06/12 - 2:47pm

@Pedantic- they got you so all is gravy!

Gillis - 08/06/12 - 2:53pm

The advantage of a gearbox system is the elimination of an exposed gearing system. This thing and all its little moving parts are still exposed and it still uses a rear deraileur – the weakest point of the modern drivetrain. This is more like the Hammerschmidt, but possibly worse (it looks worse).

To me, this falls into the realm of commuter/cafe bikes with the rest of most current internal gear hubs.

I’d like to see that Honda system Greg Minaar was using for Dh a few years back. That looked promising.

Matt - 08/06/12 - 3:05pm

Minaar had a derailleur in a box basically, there are pictures of it somewhere on the internet. The real magic in his bike was the showa suspension.

A derailleur in a box isn’t any lighter than current setups, and doesn’t give the full advantages of a full gearbox setup. (shifting while stationary, etc)

I really want to ride a gearbox bike at some point (especially for downhill) but don’t really see all that much benefit for all mountain/xc riding. The current derailleur setup is quite light, low friction, and incredibly reliable.

Matt

Saris - 08/06/12 - 3:09pm

@ Thomas

You’re right. I assumed Vyro was German due to the German flag on the website, but the contact page lists an Austrian address….and Bank Account information?

tajiri - 08/06/12 - 3:25pm

like a cvt automatic transmission on cars… don’t look a defenitive solution, but a first step to evolution… who knows this system will be inspiration for next shifters

drkrvr - 08/06/12 - 3:44pm

A looong time ago from Czech Republic:
http://www.rb-bike.cz/en/racebike-2/revoluzzer-2

jimmythefly - 08/06/12 - 4:10pm

Looks like somebody discovered the Browning/Suntour BEAST system and had a go at improving it!

I’m not seeing that this has anything to do with “gearbox” tech at all.

This is a different method of shifting a 2-ring front set up, right? There really aren’t any of the hallmarks of a gearbox -there are exactly zero gears which mesh with each other -only a chain which rides on two separate chainwheels.

Also, for this system you will be limited in gear choice, because of how the larger “gear” has to be of big enough diameter to fit over or around the smaller.

syadasti - 08/06/12 - 6:10pm

An older and more innovative 9-speed segmented chainring transmission – Royce Husted’s radial gear system developed in the the 80s and sold on the Yankee/Nordictrack Fitness Bike in 1991 for $369 + $20 shipping complete with a rim band brake:

http://ustimes.com/Bicycle/geardrive.jpg

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1992-06-28/features/9202270139_1_mountain-bikes-bicycle-shifted

Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsZJhPGcByQ

More historical fun, the Hammerschmidt planetary gear system was first made popular by The Sunbeam bicycle company in 1903: http://www.localhistory.scit.wlv.ac.uk/Museum/Transport/bicycles/Sunbeam.htm

Mark - 08/06/12 - 6:45pm

Lest us not forget the Browning system that this is a ripoff of… Everything that old is new again.. More CNC’d alloy does not make a new product.

Topmounter - 08/06/12 - 8:44pm

Without knowing the weight, cost, among other things, it is impossible to determine whether this is a “practical solution” or just another clever prototype. I’m pretty happy trail-riding my 2×10 setup, so I’m probably not the target market anyway.

Vodalous - 08/06/12 - 10:06pm

Hey, Top Loader

Did you read the article or just look at the pictures? Expectes weight and price are listed.

I’m a simple 1x kinda person. Interested in this bew Sram stuff

Spandrew - 08/06/12 - 10:12pm

What I like best is the re-finished Xtr 970 (non-drive side) crank arm… I really hope he’s not using a ‘left’ pedal too…

fuzzbuzz - 08/06/12 - 11:04pm

@ Matt – so you’ve listed that being able to shift is an advantage of a gearbox system…..what are some of the other advantages in your opinion? I’m curious.

Gregor Schuster - 08/07/12 - 4:54am

First I would like to thank for publishing this. Second I want to state that I am really wondering that this feedback is that negative… This is the first place where the system was judged like this.
i hope you do not mind that I post here too.

But also I think there are some missunderstandings obvious.

I am convinced that open systems are actually better than closed – you can clean then easily and the mud simply falls off. They just have to be designed clever. All the bolts and screws are there because it is a prototype wehre things needed to be ajdjustable. Actually there are not any in series.
And please have a look to your front derailleur – moving open parts full of bolts and screws.

I am convinced that the geabox is the wrong way at least because of its low efficiency. For me the direct chain drive is the future. It is just a question how simple and relaible we can make this system. And trust me you will be bummed by the final solution.
Gear boxes have one critical point – the momentum is forwarded on very few teeth so they need to have a certain thickness – the sprockets – to stand the high load. This make it necessary to build them quite solit and heavy.

I listed other advantages as well.
Please excuse my English – it is not the best.
If you want to know anything else please feel free to ask here.
Thanks.
br
Gregor

MissedThePoint - 08/07/12 - 5:22am

Matt, that was a joke I thought, with the derailleur in the box. There was so much speculation about it, since it was kept such a tight secret. Who would believe something like that? :D

Matt - 08/07/12 - 7:31am

@Gregor – Don’t take it too hard, the comments section here is a tough crowd. Take a look at some of the other comments and you’ll see what I mean…
Good luck with the funding and development!
Matt

THROTTLEMIRE - 08/08/12 - 12:37am

Like others have said, this is not a gearbox! It’s a glorified front derailleur. Sorry to say, but this is going nowhere. The future is with one chainring/cog and an internal gearbox/BB combination. There’s a German company that has a working prototype and that looks very promising. It has something like 18 gears and uses gripshift.

Hungerpirat - 08/08/12 - 3:12am

It is neither a gearbox, nor a derailleur. The chainline stays the same like on one chainring setups.
Only the size of the chainring changes.
I like the idea, especially because it is promising more efficiency.

Good luck, Gregor!

Krank - 08/09/12 - 2:46pm

Looks really cool, however I can’t be the only one who noticed that something really unfortunate jumps out at you when you look at it from the side…

trip - 08/09/12 - 9:29pm

so basically it just moves a chainring over to keep the same chainline?

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