The cycling industry is flooded with solutions looking for problems. This never-ending search for innovation seems driven not be any real need to make cycling better for you, but rather to ensure you keep upgrading your bikes, and buying new bikes.
After all, if everyone rode the same bike for 20 years, new bike sales would seriously flag! Take QR-skewers, for instance. There was a stage when on all bikes you needed a spanner to undo the wheel nuts. QR skewers changed that, making wheel releases quick and easy. However, through-axles – the next Big Thing – changed that again.
My bike doesn’t have through-axles, and I see no reason whatsoever to change that. Through-axles offer no real measurable benefit to me. Importantly, upgrading for the same of upgrading is stupid, and doesn’t fit in with the changes we all need to make to help combat climate change.
Forget about electronic shifting, or even indexed gears. Forget about the million+ different, mostly incompatible types of bottom-brackets. Forget about all the different, mostly-incompatible gear shifters.
Instead, look at your drive-train. For over a century, it has mostly remained the same: a chainring that drives a chain, and the chain drives a sprocket on the rear wheel. Yes, we’ve had some innovation on the drive train: better chains, better chainring and sprocket designs. There were also various innovations with derailleurs and more, but the drive mostly remained the same.
I want to start by pointing out something important: I am in no way affiliated with New Motion Labs, nor will I be compensated in any way for writing this. Enduo is the new drive-train offer from New Motion Labs, and it’s mind-blowing.
For starters, they make some lofty claims: they say that your normal chain will last at least 3.5 times longer when used with Enduo chainrings and sprockets. Lot’s of companies make lofty claims about their products, but unlike New Motion Labs, very few use data from other companies to back such claims up.
What makes Enduo different?
When you look at the pics of the chainrings and sprockets, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are far fewer teeth on each. The teeth design are different, too.
New Motion Labs explain that the Enduo design reduces drive-train loss (by around 50%!). They say that your normal chain “hugs” each tooth, reducing chain movement. That’s crucial, as that’s where the efficiency gains, and reduces wear and tear comes into play. Those efficiency gains make New Motion Labs confidently say that Enduo is the fastest drive-train available for use on the track.
With e-assisted cargo bikes, New Motion Labs have real-world data from a huge cargo-bike partner in Germany, pointing at a huge cost-saving per cargo bike, per year, compared to using traditional drive-trains.
The currently-available Enduo components are made of stainless steel, which makes sense for cargo bikes. I didn’t get an answer if in future they’d change that to alloy, to please the weight-weenies.
Marcel is the person who came up with the idea of Enduo. When I spoke with him, his enthusiasm for his invention was obvious. Then again, if I invented an actual game-changing product, I’d feel the same way!
Some of the tings Marcel told me were fascinating! For example, their advanced measuring found that the bulk of power-transfer happened from just a single tooth on a normal chainring-sprocket combo. Which single tooth that is on the chainring, and which single tooth on the sprocket, obviously changes as the components rotate.
Very few people ever get the chance of being the person that made this big a change to the cycling industry, and Marcel is one of those.
For now, Enduo doesn’t support derailleurs, and so is only available for bikes that are single-speed, or that uses hub gears. New Motions Labs say they’re working on that, but there’s no time-scale for making that happen.
What I have no doubt about is that, when (if?) Enduo becomes available for derailleur shifting, I would LOVE to upgrade my bike’s drive-train to it. That would be an upgrade that makes a real-world difference, both extending the life of the chain (remember, by at least 3.5 times!) while giving me a more efficient drive-train.