Pinion’s new mission is the ON.E ebike edrive system – the first self-contained ebike transmission – combining both a powerful mid-drive motor & a wide-range electronic shift gearbox into a single lightweight, compact, and durable solution to both drivetrain AND powertrain. Until now, pretty much every geared ebike on the market had essentially just added a powerful new motor into an existing bicycle drivetrain initially designed solely for human pedal power, with various levels of shifting success. Now, Pinion leverages their internal gearbox expertise to combine motor and gearing into a single integrated ebike drive system designed to provide powerful, smooth pedal-assist support and the simplicity & security of direct chain or belt drive to a rear wheel without a derailleur.
Pinion Mission ON.E combined ebike motor & gearbox
Pinion’s ON.E drive is truly the first mainstream self-contained ebike powertrain – electric pedal-assist motor & electronically shifing transmission in one. Pinion calls it a MGU solution: motor + gearbox unit. A development project 12 years in the making, now all ebike drive components – motor, shifting system, sensors, and control tech – have been developed from the ground up as a single system, designed to work seamlessly together.
Connected as one, the MGU of the Pinion ON.E eDrive system always knows what gear the rider is in, what cadence & pedal-power the rider is inputting, and can adjust the speed & motor power support accordingly for perfect internal shifts & smooth power output to the rear wheel. The ON.E means an ebike that “knows when to shift, shifts precisely, reliably, instantaneously and – depending on the setting – can even shift for you“. Pinion says the result is an ebike with “unmatched reliability and performance in a package of similar size and weight as other current mid-motor e-bike drive systems with external shifting components“.
This is what the e‑bike world has been waiting for for years! Drive and gearbox in one housing. The benefits are so obvious that it was clear that sooner or later this product had to come. The fact that Pinion, a German medium-sized company, is outsmarting the global corporations and being the first to come onto the market with a motor-gear unit is not just a nice underdog story, but also proof of its innovative strength.
– Arne Bischoff, Pressedienst-Fahrrad
The new made-in Germany Pinion ON.E integrated both a ‘wear-free’ brushless motor and transmission into a single lightweight die-cast magnesium housing that protects both sealed systems from outside weather and trail contamination.
At just around 4kg complete, it also is one of the lightest ebike systems available, factoring in both motor and gearing combined in one.
Pinion rates their new powertrain as outputting a max virtual 85Nm of torque to compare it to other systems (based on a 1:1 gearing ratio.) Since their system actually combines motor and gearbox in one, its real torque varies by what gear you are in – it tops out at a real 160Nm at the rear wheel. But that also means that you don’t lose nearly as much energy/torque/power in the drivetrain itself. It’s also the same reason why comparing ebike hub motor and mid-drive motor torque is difficult, so we’ll assume Pinion’s 85Nm figure is comparable to standard mid-drive motors.
And of course, one of the most important features of even a standard Pinion gearbox is its combined low maintenance and longevity. For the new Pinion ON.E eDrive system, all you have to do is change the oil inside every 10,000km.
Pinion offers the new ON.E system in their typical 9-speed (568% gearing range) or 12-speed (600% overall gear range) options to suit wide applications from city ebikes to aggressive eMTB, too. Each model is also available in both the standard 25km/h speed-limited version with 600W peak power output, and the higher speed S-series with 800W short-term maximum power for S-Pedelecs. The ON.E system is rated not only for high-speed, but also pretty heavy ebikes – with max allowable system weight up to 180kg/400lb!
Pinion ON.E eDrive availability
Of course, either a motor or a gearbox needs an ebike/bike to make it work, so you can’t just go out and buy a new Pinion ON.E eDrive system on its own.
It doesn’t just bolt into the same holes as other mid-drive ebike motors – and uses a new larger bracket relative to existing pedal-power-only Pinion-ready bikes.
As of today, several new ebikes from city commuters to mixed-surface trekking & touring ebikes to high-performance trail eMTBs can be found from well-known ebike producers including Bulls, Flyer, Pegasus, Rotwild, Simplon, Tout Terrain, and several others.
Pricing is generally expected to be at the mid- to high-end of ebikes, just as you would see with Pinion gearbox box bikes. We’ll dig into a few new Pinion ON.E eDrive powered ebikes in the coming days and weeks for more detail.
To me the combined ON.E powertrain seems like one of the first genuinely innovative solutions in the ebike sphere in a long time, and I’m curious to ride it, and see how the ebike market adapts to more integrated drive solutions.