We don’t usually put mechanical bike stuff up here, but I suspect many bike lovers will consider Efneo the Yo or Clinkle of bike improvements. It’s a front gearing system that has one gear and three internal switches. The gearing changes just like a regular front derailleur system but it uses a planetary gearing system to handle the changes.
Why is this important? First it’s a labor of love by a father and three sons. The family lives in Poland and has multiple patents on the technology.
“My father invented the mechanism a bit by chance”and as soon as we realized what a great product he invented, we decided to make business out of it,” said one of the brothers, Franciszek Migaszewski.
The team has just opened pre-orders on their site and they hope to manufacture in Taiwan with a Japanese partner. Attaching this to your bike may take a few smarts, but it looks to be an easy replacement if you know what you’re doing.
The gearbox ensures there is no chain skewing, faster starts on first gear, and effortless changes. The three gear ratios are 1:1 in first gear and then 43% of crank in second gear and 79% of crank in third gear. In short, it gets easier to bike the higher you go.
“Single-speed cyclists who want to upgrade their bike with an Efneo gearbox ensure that it still looks clean and smooth like a single-speed, but it’s much more comfortable to ride,” said Migaszewski. “It also works for trekking and urban bikes.”
The story is fascinating. The oldest Migaszewski, Stefan, was an inveterate tinkerer and was working on a little stair machine for himself.
“We are all from outside of the bicycle industry but are avid cyclists. The story began when our father, who is a natural-born-inventor, tried to build a more convenient fitness stepper for himself. Just for fun he wanted to make it a stepper and electric dynamo in one. To transmit energy from the stepper to the dynamo he used a three gear Shimano bicycle gearbox. And as he is an inventor, he disassembled it just to see how it looks inside,” he said. “Then the idea came to his mind ‘I can make this gearbox in a simpler way.’ And he did it. Together with us (his sons), who are economists by education, he realized very quickly that his invention can fill a gap in the market which has been seeking for years a light and efficient three gear front gearbox as a replacement for a rather awkward front derailleur.”
It’s a clever and cool project that might be interesting if you’re into bikes, cleverness, or coolness.