8 Reasons to Ditch your Derailleur


At the heart of every Zerode Taniwha lies a Pinion gearbox - an internal drivetrain system that sets the bike apart from most others in its category. If you’re wondering how the gearbox works (mechanically as well as functionally) and how it compares to external shifting (derailleurs), you’ve come to the right place. This post compares the merits of the gearbox to help new users decide whether or not it’s time to ditch their derailleur for good (clue - it is).



There are fewer external parts to damage from impacts

Dropping your bike is part of mountain biking, and the Pinion gearbox removes the derailleur and associated parts most likely to break in a crash or bail. The bulk of drivetrain is contained inside the gearbox and is protected from impacts that can damage external systems.



Shifting performance is the same in all weather conditions

The lack of external shifting components also ensures reliable shifting in all weather/riding conditions. Derailleur systems see deteriorating performance when it is wet and mucky, making this benefit more pronounced the worse conditions become. Unlike a derailleur, you can literally bathe your gearbox in mud and it will still function the same.



There is no need for regular maintenance or adjustments

No shifting adjustments or maintenance means you will no longer wonder whether or not your bike will shift properly when you pull it out for your next ride.



You’ll spend less time and money replacing parts

Pinion’s dramatically superior durability means that drivetrain components do not need to be replaced regularly as they do with derailleur systems. The external sprockets and chain will wear over time, but they can perform effectively with far more wear than those on a derailleur bike, because the chain is always operating in a straight line. Singlespeed sprockets like those that can be used with the Pinion gearbox feature a different tooth profile than those found in a cassette. The shape of the teeth is designed to maximize wear life, efficiency, and chain retention (which is compromised when a chain needs to be forcibly pushed off sprocket teeth). The gearbox itself can be expected to reliably cover many tens of thousands of miles with only periodic oil changes.



You can shift instantly and without pedaling

Unlike derailleur systems, where the chain needs to move across the sprockets one at a time to reach the new gear you want to select, the gearbox will engage the new gear as quickly as you can move your hand on the shifter. You can also shift without pedaling, giving you the freedom to instantaneously drop as many gears as you would like—through corners, while transitioning from a fast descent into a steep climb, or even while in the air.



You can choose narrower, more technical lines

Without a derailleur dangling treacherously close to the ground or trailside obstacles, you can choose narrower, techier lines without fear of damaging your drivetrain and incurring a costly repair.



Your chain won’t fall off

Since the chain/belt never leave the single front & rear sprockets, it is extremely unlikely that the chain will hop off, even during the roughest descents.



The ride will be quieter

The gearbox avoids nearly all of the noise of the chain bouncing around and hitting the frame.

Rob Metz