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Company Switches Gears with Transmission Device

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MAARSSEN, Netherlands (Mar 16) – William G. Klehm, the president and chief executive officer of Fallbrook Technologies, has a good chance he’ll be remembered for sparking a revolution in bicycle technology. The catalyzer in this shift is a transmission device – called NuVinci – that promises to transform the experience of bike riding. Klehm says […]

MAARSSEN, Netherlands (Mar 16) – William G. Klehm, the president and chief executive officer of Fallbrook Technologies, has a good chance he’ll be remembered for sparking a revolution in bicycle technology.

The catalyzer in this shift is a transmission device – called NuVinci – that promises to transform the experience of bike riding.

Klehm says NuVinci is an advanced technology that’s actually simpler to use than the derailleur system.

“Just about every single person who got off the bicycle at our ride-and-drive said it’s amazingly smooth,” Klehm says. After riding it, the head designer of a European bike company said the transmission allowed him to go faster because it dramatically simplified gear shifting.

With a NuVinci bike, riders can shift whenever they want, at any speed, whether they’re pedaling or coasting, going uphill or down.

The technology has already drawn intense interest from bike makers, but premier builder Ellsworth Inc., based in Ramona, claims pride of place in the race to bring NuVinci to market. They’re planning a new line of bicycles around NuVinci.

“We’ll have it available for ordering at the Inter Bike Show in September 2006,” CEO Anthony Ellsworth said in a conference call to Fallbrook Technologies’ boardroom on Monday.

Klehm sees an enormous range of applications for NuVinci.

“Our transmission technology is scalable from bicycles to wind turbines,” he said.

The simplicity of NuVinci’s geometry – an ingenious mating of rings and spheres orbiting a spindle and packaged in a hub not much larger than a conventional bike’s rear axle – translates into the virtual elimination of retooling costs for manufacturers.

While production planners the world over rejoice, today’s bike buyers must be patient. The Ellsworth bikes will not be cheap.

“They will be for people that like the best, have a sense of style, and are early adopters,” Ellsworth said.
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