Thursday, November 13, 2008

Biria Newport 3

The Biria Newport is a chainless, shaft-driven bicycle made by Incline for Biria. The shaft is sealed inside an aluminum case along with an internal hub. According to Biria, "this means exceptional performance without chain grime, corrosion, or gear-grinding -- and no maintenance." It also means no chain grease on your clothes as you ride to work, and no pantleg-caught-in-the-drivetrain hazard.

Biria offers two chainless 3-speeds, the Newport 3 and the Cruz 3. Both can be purchased directly from Biria, for a limited time, with free shipping. The Newport is $360 and the Cruz is $430.

A few specs on the Newport 3:

3-spd Sturmey-Archer internal hub
Alloy frame (men's 17" or 19", ladies' 15")
Puncture-resistant tires (manufacturer not identified)
Suspension seatpost
Alloy wheels, stainless steel spokes

If you have any info about the Newport 3, Cruz 3, or chainless bikes in general, please share in the comments.


David said...

The shaft drive is an intensely appealing concept, as evidenced by its longevity: the first shaft drive bikes were introduced in the 19th century! I forget precisely why they didn't become popular then, but I'm concerned that those issues may persist. Love to try one - not gunna buy one - yet.

WestfieldWanderers said...

david; It's probably because shaft drive is somewhat less efficient than chain drive. Chain drive is the most efficient form of transmission yet devised. Derailleur gears are more efficient than hub gears, that's why derailleur is more popular than hub even though it's more vulnerable to dirt and the weather.

Not experienced it myself but I'm told that riding a shaft drive bike is akin to riding through treacle.

Like you. I'd like to try one for myself. Just to see.

David said...

I think the belt drives that have popped up recently hold more potential for "lube-less" drive. Or old-fashion chain-cases.

Johann Rissik said...

Not so sure about derailleurs being more efficient than hub gears. Does anybody have the lowdown (facts, not opinion) on this? So much of this stuff is just about OLD ideas being re-hashed and re-marketed. Single, straight chain for me thanks. Shaft drive works just fine on BMW's motorcycles, so why not on a bicycle? Anybody have more hard fact on this? Thanks

David Hembrow said...

I've tried a shaft drive bike and it was quite obviously inefficient. There are good reasons for this. The bike I tried was brand new (in the late 90s) but the idea has been around for years/

As for efficiency of hub vs. derailleur gears... This has been much debated. Of course, the most efficient thing is a single speed, and in the straight through gear on most hub gears (i.e. 2nd gear on the original Sturmey Archer AW) that's what you get.

Arrange the gearing such that you spend most of your time cruising along in the straight through gear and a hub gear is actually very good.

Even in the less efficient positions they are not necessarily bad, as this report shows.

Also note that it is easier to fully enclose a drivechain with a hub gear. As well as improving reliability, this also improves efficiency by keeping the chain clean and rust free without needing constant maintenance.

That's why hub gear bikes are the most popular in places like this where there is more practical cycling than in most places, and bikes are expected to be reliable.

David said...

Wow, a comment from DH! Now I know we've hit the big time.

I assumed that inefficiency combined with inconvenient wheel removal was the reason for what can only be described as "persistent failure" of shaft drive bicycles, but since I don't have data or real knowledge to back it up, I ducked the issue. Now I want to know: whence the inefficiency?

My first thought is that there must be a good deal of friction in the bevel gears and the change in direction, relative to the amount of forces or power generated by bicyclists: no problem if you've got a 750cc motor, but no fun if you _are_ the motor.

Freewheel said...

Informative comment! I will add Mr. Hembrow to our blogroll.

Anonymous said...


FurnaceFighter said...

"Derailleur gears are more efficient than hub gears, that's why derailleur is more popular than hub even though it's more vulnerable to dirt and the weather." Not really, modern hubs come very close in efficient, the problems are the weight and the cost of a good geared hub. I prefer the hub gears if you are using the bike every day, no snow and crap getting into the works, more dependable than the derailleur, no one is going to bend it or knock it out of alignment in a bike rack, not going to mess it up carrying it on a bike rack, etc. The modern ones allow you to pedal while shifting, older ones free wheeled between shifts. A very enjoyable hub.

FurnaceFighter said...

Some info on them

Anonymous said...

I have one of these 3-speeds and yes it is less efficient, but not horribly so for fairly flat terrain (Gainesville, FL). Certainly not like biking through treacle!

That said, AVOID the Shimano 7-speed hub because it is very doggy in its own right due to the seals being far out on the hub, where they can exert much more drag on rotation than if they were placed close to the axle.

I load this into my girlfriend's van to bike back to my house frequently, and the freedom from soiling her car seats with chain grunge is a big plus here.