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Completely automatic shifting comes to this combination mid-drive motor/gearbox while still offering riders adjustability and manual override.

Pinion's Motor Gearbox Unit Gets Big Update

Pinion made a big splash with the introduction of the Motor Gearbox Unit, or MGU. The MGU is a first in the e-bike world—a transmission that combines multiple gears with a mid-drive e-bike motor. Now they are announcing a new update that will make what was already one of the most-coveted e-bike motors even more attractive—automatic shifting.

Automatic shifting is a software update that improves upon what Pinion already offered with the MGU. Previously, Pinion offered a mode called Pre.Select that would change gears while the rider was coasting. I would compare the rider’s speed compared to a preset target cadence and then select the gear most appropriate to that cadence. Now Pinion has added two more shift modes, Auto.Shift and Auto.Shift.Pro.

With Auto.Shift the MGU automatically shifts—even under a full pedaling load. Pinion is careful to note that the automatic shifting isn’t predictive, but instead is reactive. The system monitors a number of inputs, according to Pinion, and while they don’t detail those inputs, it’s easy to connect the dots and conclude that some of those inputs would be cadence, speed and the amount of torque the rider is exerting on the pedals.

Because cadence is to some degree a matter of personal preference and riding style, Pinion allows a rider to define their preferred cadence range so that the MGU doesn’t shift at cadences above or below the rider’s preferred range. They can do this dynamically while riding with the TE-1 E-Trigger.

Pinion also offers Auto.Shift.Pro which allows riders to override the gear that the Pinion MGU has selected by using the E-Trigger. Pinion says this allows a rider to derive all the assistance of an automatic transmission without losing the dynamic edge that comes with shifting manually.

Automatic shifting systems have been a dream held by riders and detested by engineers for almost as long as multi-gear shifting systems have existed. What most get wrong is the dynamic nature of cycling, how in some circumstances a rider might pedal with a lower cadence (such as when climbing) or a higher-than-usual cadence (such as when going fast on flat ground). The inability of most automatic transmissions to accommodate the idiosyncrasies of individual riders has been a strike against them big enough to prevent most manufacturers from trying to build them.

With the Pinion MGU both the Auto.Shift and Auto.Shift.Pro modes seem, based on their descriptions, to allow for enough on-the-fly adjustment to make them an exciting addition to what is already one of the world’s most intriguing motors for e-bikes.

Visitors to the Eurobike trade show in July will be able to will be able to try the new modes out on demo bikes there.

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