NuVinci N360 Harmony—We Need This.
When Fallbrook Technologies introduced their CVP (continuously variable planetary) drive train, the biking world was interested. It didn’t take the world by storm, but did make it on some bikes. Then came the N360 with increased performance and lighter weight. That drive train is on dozens of bikes now. Enter the N360 Harmony. It looks like the time has come for this great piece of innovation.
With servo actuation and a computer to run the show, this hub can make all the difference for lots of riders. How many of you have not bothered to shift your bike due to the hassle, or the misunderstanding of how it all works? Your answer is here with the Harmony. As you ride, it does the thinking and work for you. How does that sound? True auto-shifting with no clunks or bumps.
You may have read my previous article on the NuVinci N360. Using no gears or detent shifter, it gives you a very smooth and easy way to select your shifting needs. I loved the way it practically found the sweet spot for my riding with almost no effort. Take that feeling, multiply it times ten and you have the Harmony. And with auto and manual modes, you can still be in control if you have the need.
The NuVinci Harmony I am testing is mounted on a great German E-bike. The Kalkhoff ProConnect has bottom bracket drive and is very efficient. It makes for a great ride, but the Harmony just makes it all that much better. The electronics for the harmony feed off the motor battery of the bike and come on automatically as you start to ride. It uses very little power and will turn itself back off when the ride is done.
The Hub’s shifting is controlled by electricity, a fly-by-wire set-up. It uses wires from the shifter to the hub instead of a wire cable. This is getting more common on everyday items nowadays. Little or no maintenance and adjustments are a big plus here. A small servo motor at the hub is actually moving the shift mechanism. This is all run by a microprocessor and sensors that should prove to last a very long time. With the hub being an oil filled sealed unit, no maintenance seems to be called for or needed.
When it is used on a non E-bike, a small rechargeable battery will be mounted on-board. Charging will most likely be done by a front hub generator, although other options are being explored. E-bike or no, the ways it changes your ride are unmistakable. It allows you to concentrate on the fun of your bike ride, not the need for finding the correct gear with every change of the road and speed.
What the NuVinci Harmony does is to allow you to select the cadence (speed) of your pedaling. You set the hand control to the pedal speed and effort you want, and the hub automatically shifts as you change speeds and grades. The twist shifter is mounted close at hand like a standard grip-shift. In the auto mode you will see a set of blue lines that show your setting. Push the one button and it goes into manual mode with red indicator lines.
The red lines in manual mode shows a flat road or a incline to give you an idea of the ratio chosen. As you twist the shifter, you can feel the change at the pedals. It offers wide ratio changes from the lowest of gears to the highest. This mode is great for people who want to shift for themselves and get the full biking experience. Just a nudge of the shifter brings the ratio you want into play.
In automatic mode is where the magic continues. The N360 hub shifts up and down to match your needs. You can make changes in the setting, but if you are like me, you will find the sweet spot and stick with it for most of your ride. As you start out the pedals turn easily, and as the speed increases, the Harmony up-shifts seamlessly to the perfect ratio at all times. And it does the same when slowing too. The need to move the shifter is not needed as your ride flows through different speeds and terrain.
I do have to admit that for riders like me this can be a little boring. I love taking my bike through the gears during my rides. So the option of manual shifting is a great idea. I toggled between auto and manual mode quite a bit to get the full effect of all the features this NuVinci 360N Harmony has to offer. As much as enjoy shifting, the automatic mode allowed me to let my mind flow into the fun of riding and sight-seeing.
Fallbrook Technologies offers this hub with the option of a three-position automatic system too. With no manual shifting involved, you just pick one of three levels of auto-shift (slow, medium and fast) and ride. The hub does all the thinking for you and shifts to match your setting. Does it get any easier than this? The bike I am testing doesn’t have that set-up, but I can fully imagine how perfect it would be for the mass of riders would just want to enjoy their time in the saddle.
I’ve ridden so called auto-shift bikes before. Believe me when I say they were terrible. They would shift when you didn’t want, shift under heavy pedal pressure (causing grief and a possible fall) and just generally make you wish you could turn it off and shift for yourself. Never once did the N360 Harmony make me feel that way. Rock solid smoothness is what it offers. If you’ve ridden the NuVinci hub before, then you can probably imagine how good the auto-shifting Harmony works.
So you’re riding along and hit a grade, the downshift happens seamlessly and smoothly. The grade turns into a slight down hill, same deal, the hub knows what’s happening and puts your needed ratio into action. No muss and no fuss. You come to a stop and when the time comes to go, you are in low gear ready for the take-off. No need to remember to down-shift with every stop. Before long you and the Harmony become one. Harmony (what a great concept).
Thanks to Fallbrook Technologies for letting me see into the future of bikes, Turbo Bob.
“To travel by bicycle is a humble, nonagressive way to get close to people. It is a way of saying we are passing through with no thought of invasion or conquest, only the simple will to share a part of the road.”—Claude Herve.
Link to Fallbrook Technologies’ home page
Link to the N360 Harmony page
See my video on this drive train on my You-Tube Channel