Late 2021, Kindernay introduced their new internal gear hub, the Kindernay VII. This is a 7 speed drivetrain. Watch our video for the long and illustrated version of the test, or keep reading.
The Kindernay VII costs € 999. For that you get the gear hub, the shifter and a cog for the hub. You also get a “hub cage”. The rear wheel is built around this cage. You have the option to buy additional hub cages to build more wheels. The hub can easily be moved from one wheel to another. If you install the gears on a full suspension bike, you will need the chain tensioner as well. And you’ll need a chain, or a belt.
The gear with the chain tensioner and all other necessary bits is about 1.900g. This isn’t much for an IGH. The new ebike specific Shimano XT 11-speed drivetrain is about 1.700g with a steel cassette body hub. More details in our introduction to the Kindernay VII article.
The Kindernay VII is developed to handle high loads. An electric cargo bike will put a lot of stress on the drivetrain. The Kindernay gear hub is designed to handle this load. The gear will of course work fine on an emtb. And, naturally, it will work well on a non motorized bike.
The range of gears is 428%, this is about the same as an 11-47t or 10-43t cassette. These are usually 10 or 11 speed cassettes. So, the gap between each gear is pretty big on the Kindernay VII. Does that matter?
When we used the bike for commuting, with or without a trailer, we noticed the gap between gears was substantial. For this kind of riding, I want to find the optimal cadence and pedalling force to ride as efficiently as possible. With the Kindernay VII, I occasionally had to chose a lower gear than I wanted. I believe the 14 speed Kindernay XIV would suit me better for commuting. But this a matter of personal preference.
Riding trails is what matters to us though, and here we never desired a smaller gap between the gears. We prefer the cheaper and more lightweight Kindernay VII. Having fewer gears has us shifting less on the trails, and the motor helps us out when the cadence gets a bit low. We almost never need to shift multiple gears simultaneously. With regular external gears we suddenly end up shifting more than one gear at a time, Then we have to pedal carefully to avoid snapping the chain or damaging the cassette. We don’t have to worry about that with the Kindernay. And we don’t have to worry about smashing up the rear derailleur. This is quite liberating!
Pretty much everyone must have experienced stopping on the trails and finding out they’re in a too heavy gear to start riding again. We’ve come to accept this, and we lift the rear wheel and downshift while trying to pedal. But it doesn’t have to be this way! An internal gear hub can typically shift while stationary, the Kindernay can too. If you come to a halt in a high gear, just downshift and the lower gear is engaged instantly. This is so easy getting used to, and we miss it when riding external gear bikes.
A new shifter
If you’ve ridden a Kindernay hub before, you have most likely used the “Twosie” shifters. There’s one lever on each side of the handlebars, one for upshift and one for down. We’re riding the new “Onesie” shifter with both levers on the right side of the handlebars, like we’re used to. Shifting feels confident and precise. The Twosie shifters we tested a few years ago wasn’t as precise, but they have been upgraded since we tested them. Regardless, we like the Onsie shifter, it’s the obvious choice for mountainbiking.
The Kindernay VII solves some of the problems with an external gear. The risk of mid-ride failure is greatly reduced, and less maintainance is required. Also, the downsides of chosing an internal gear hub is reduced. The price has improved and so has the weight. I would be happy to ride the Kindernay VII on my next bike.