Danson gearbox...now with added weirdness.


Retrobike Rider
I thought I'd post this here.
My Danson Pinion hardtail 2017

A few of you saw it around at Mayhem this year and suggested that I post it up here.

I bought this Pinion gearbox for a R&D handcycle project for my wheelchair company back in 2013.
We ended up not using it, so it sat unused on a shelf for several years looking at me mournfully. :cry:
I finally got my act together, sourced the tubing and parts to build myself a frame for it this New Year. :D

The frame is based on an Eastern Woods Research OWB frame (which I have always liked the look of and IMO don't get enough recognition), but built for 650B/27.5".
Weighs 2200g without the box, but with paint and all fittings, dropouts etc. Could be lighter with some work.
Trad UK XC spec: 69 degree head, 73 degree seat, 23" top tube, 426mm chainstays, 55mm BB drop.

  • -This Pinion P1.18 gearbox model is the heaviest and widest range unit which they make, with 18 gears evenly spread over a ridiculously wide 636%. (Rohloff = 526%, SRAM Eagle 1x12 = 500%).
    -2700g incl box, shifter, chainring, sprocket and cranks, about 1500g more than SRAM Eagle XX1, or 800g more than XTR 950. They do now make (up to 700g) lighter 12 or 9 speed versions (600% and 568% ranges respectively) with a magnesium shell.
    -Currently only available with a twist shift, which I get on fine with. (For some reason, some people seem to loathe anything twist shift with a passion. I never used Gripshift much BITD, so maybe I'm coming to it without the baggage). There are a few small machine shops currently experimenting with underbar options, but nothing available yet.
    -Indexing is in the box itself, so cable tension etc is far less critical than Gripshift stuff. The shifter just pulls a loop of cable around like a Rohloff.
    -Can shift when stationary across the range, 5-6 gears in either direction with one wrist move possible while riding, as expected there's a need to ease off a little to shift sometimes, like almost any gear shift.
    -Completely sealed. Only servicing required is an oil change every 10,000km.
    -Belt-drive fittings available.
    -Q-factor is a bit wide IMO at 174mm, but the new magnesium shells have a q-factor of 166mm (and a there's a fatbike version :shock:).

  • -Tubing is 7005 aluminium from various sources (Dedacciai, Fairing and Nova), cut and TIG welded by my own fair hand:

    -Dropouts are from Mike Ahrens, with Paragon Machine Works sliding inserts.

    -Internal routing for rear brake hose and double gear cable via interchangeable bonded-in aluminium plugs, also with stealth dropper post compatibility (Down with the kids, y'know :cool: )

    -Fox SC32 100mm travel fork, tapered steerer.
    -King 1.5/1.125 headset,
    -Hope Pro3 front hub,
    -Italian Wheelsbike rims,
    -Schwalbe Rocket Ron 27.5 tyres (with tubes, old school ;) ),
    -Pinion branded Acros singlespeed rear hub, is a bit loud and clicky for my taste, so will be changing to a silent Onyx hub soon.
    -Whiskey components bars and seatpost,
    -Hope X2 discs
    -Thompson stem
    -Total weight 12.2Kg

Rides beautifully, stiff but light feel, with great traction, good standover height.
Despite the extra weight, compared to a 1x12 or Alfine hub set-up, it handles well with the centre of gravity low down and between my feet.
Feels like less drag than a Rohloff which I once owned, and certainly easier to hop without all that weight at the back wheel.
Might need a longer top tube, shorter stem combo on future bikes.

All the best,


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The History Man

Retrobike Rider
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Re: No, it's a gearbox NOT a bloody motor...

It's no Bugatti T72 but it's a lovely piece of engineering.


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Fantastic, really looks great I'm and EWR fan too and reckon you've nailed it!


Retrobike Rider
Re: No, it's a gearbox NOT a bloody motor...

It's no Bugatti T72
No, but I quite fancy building a replica of the 1947 Ettore Bugatti bike sometime :

All the best,


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