Just bought a nuvinci rover - did I make a mistake?

So the wife and just I bought his-and hers rovers with the Nuvinci hub. She has never ridden a bike before so she likes the idea of not have to really shift. Me? I think it feels funny and sometimes it does not feel like it's in the same gear as the little guy on the shifter looks like. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, it just does not feel at all like any bike I have ridden and it's disconcerting for me to not know what "gear" it's in.

Has anybody else had that feeling? Did I make a mistake, as in should I have bought the 8-speed? Of will I get used to it?

Thanks -

Mark in Dowling, MI


  • Don't think in terms of "gears" and don't pay any attention to the little guy on the shifter. This is a "by feel" kind of thing. It took me a while to get used to mine. Now I don't even think about it. And when you "shift" do so with very tiny incremental adjustments.
  • Don't pay any attention to the little guy on the shift indicator... he doesn't know anything or he wouldn't be riding that up-wrong.

    Just feel the back-pressure against your feet and the pull on your leg muscles. Roll the shift lever toward or away from you until it feels right. Ride a few miles of minor up-n-downs, toss in some variable cross-winds and you will quickly come to appreciate how seamlessly smooth and responsive the NuVinci is.
  • Thanks for the replies!

    We took the trikes out to one of our favorite state parks tonight. It feels better than the first time, but I can see getting a larger rear wheel or more teeth in the front chainwheel.

  • Changing to a 24" rear wheel would be about as big as I would recommend. The 26" conversion has the potential for introducing heel strike where you heels hit the ground as you're pedalling.

    Quick rule of thumb for the NuVinci rear cog. The range is from 0.5 to 1.8 times the number of teeth on the rear cog. For instance, the stock 20 tooth is the equivalent range as a 10 to 36 cassette. Your chainwheel is already a 42 tooth so there is plenty of latitude for more teeth up front.

    Don't expect your Rover to be as fast as a bicycle (except downhill) 'cuz that ain't gonna happen. It's designed and geared for a top speed of about 15mph at a 60rpm cadence. If you're looking for speed you'll be disappointed. OTOH, gear things lower and your Rover will climb hills that you might not even be willing to walk up.
  • edited May 2016
    Well, I knew something felt wrong with the NuVinvi hub. When I pedal 100 strokes in top gear, my wife only pedals 76, so something is clearly out of adjustment. It had to be that way from the factory, as I have not messed with it.  I will pick up some speed when that is fixed.

  • edited May 2016

  • So when the bike shop gets the trike, the rear wheel is not installed?
  • edited July 2016
    Update - I took the bike to the shop and they reset the NuVinci. Bettter, but still not enough speed. Put a Patterson 2-speed on it and a 16-tooth rear cog (smallest you can get for the NuVinci) on it. Closer, but still not enough.

    Pattersons come with a 28-tooth chain wheel. Found out from pattersonbike.com that you can order a 36-tooth one for it*. $50 bucks and some easy wrenching later and now we're talking! That made a big difference. No long ride yet, but I am betting I won't be needing a larger tire on the back.

    Just so you know, Sam Patterson from pattersonbike.com is a really nice guy and super helpful. Any question I had he was quick to answer and his product is a well-engineered, solid piece of hardware. Highly recommended!

    *Why didn't the bike shop ask me what size I wanted? You would think they would know what's available!
  • librarymark, so what kind of speed are you talking about?  And, now that you have the speed, how hard is it to stop?

    The one thing I like about my Rover is it stops on a dime.  No skidding or loss of connection with the ground.  In the past, I have had to stop abruptly on a 2-wheeler and it was very scary.  I never have that feeling on my trike.
  • edited July 2016
    Well - this morning we took a ride and I did a sprint up to 20.6mph. The quickest before was 16. But that is with me pedaling like an absolute mad man. Cruising at 13-14 was really easy. Speeds are according to my Garmin GPS watch.

    I also gained on the other end, even with the 36-tooth cog up front. Hills are easier now in direct drive.

    And yeah, if I had to stop quick I would have been in trouble. I would have at least been up on two wheels, and since I have clip-pedals and shoes, it might get pretty ugly. But even when the trike was stock the rear wheel would come off the ground when stopping quick. Compared to a 2-wheeler, however, and I think I would fare no worse. Time to get a helmet, I guess.

    I do get the sense that I am loosing efficiency when the Patterson and the Nuvinci both are in overdrive, and it has a ratchet noise up front that is noticeable but not obnoxious. The chain guides make more noise.

    At this point, I think that I am done trying to trick it out more because any more and I just should have just sprung for a Sportster. But then again, I am too fat for one right now.

    While I was playing with all this, I came up with an idea to create a jackshaft for the rover that would allow a person to choose different ratios, not on the fly (or maybe, if I could use a derailleur). I would use the rear axle of a 10-speed, two chains, and some idlers. I'd call it a "rover ranger". You heard it here first. I love tinkering and if I could make it such that it was a bolt on, I just might try it. I know it would eat up even more efficiency, but it might be fun to try. Something like this only with both chains on one side:


    And jamesr, it was not the sales people that I dealt with on the Patterson install. It was with the tech who installed it. And they have done a few other rover installs, so I am surprised that they didn't even ask me what color I wanted.
  • edited September 2016
    I read all the post in this thread and found them interesting. I don't have a NuVinci hub anymore but my reason was not because the hub felt odd to shifting but because I wanted an electric assist. I really liked the Hub.
    I ended up with a Rover 7 speed with a 24" rear wheel. I changed the sprocket from a 42 tooth to a 44. Doesn't sound like much of a change, but I have the speed right where I want it, 10 to 12 mph average. This morning my top end was 14 mph. Just right for this old guy.
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