SRAM World Bike Relief Power Take off 3 speed kick back hub (3)

Amongst all of the high zoot show bikes of NAHBS, SRAM had something new that was decidedly not as sexy, but still very important. Bolted onto the back end of a World Bicycle Relief Buffalo bike, SRAM was showing prototypes of their new 3 speed kick back hub. Simplicity and durability are important, especially when you’re talking about a bike that will reside in remote villages in Africa without a modern bike shop close by. So to offer more speeds without the need for a shifter or cables, SRAM has upped their sealed kick back hub to 3 speeds. Offering a 186% gear range, shifts are carried out by back pedaling slightly which clicks up to two, then three. As soon as you brake on the coaster brake, the system resets to first gear.

The hubs will make their way onto bicycles for regular consumers as well, but for the Africa bikes, the hub includes a special feature…

SRAM World Bike Relief Power Take off 3 speed kick back hub (5)

SRAM World Bike Relief Power Take off 3 speed kick back hub (6)

SRAM had various hubs on display including the coaster brake, a hub for rim brakes, and a potential disc brake version in the works. When you look at the shifting mechanism on the axle, it looks pretty simple but according to SRAM’s engineer for the project it was a fairly complex problem to solve. Parts of the shifting mechanism are made of plastic, but they are pieces that simply slide horizontally to engage the shifter. Since no torque is applied to these pieces, SRAM says they should outlast the hub. The first version offered will be the coaster brake version…

SRAM World Bike Relief Power Take off 3 speed kick back hub (1)

Which will be installed on the new World Bike Relief Buffalo bikes. These are the bikes provided to rural Africans through purchases, work-to-own & study-to-own programs. In addition to the three speed kick back mechanism, the Africa Bike hub has another trick up its sleeve.

SRAM World Bike Relief Power Take off 3 speed kick back hub (2)

SRAM World Bike Relief Power Take off 3 speed kick back hub (4)

That’s right. Can your bike shuck corn? Equipped with a PTO cog on the non-drive side and a rear wheel stand to lift the back off the ground, all of a sudden the bike is a different kind of machine. Obviously equipped with a corn shucker here, but as you can imagine the possibilities are huge. Water pump? Grain mill? Sharpening stone? If you can hook a chain to it and make it run, there is potential. This may seem like an odd addition to a bike, but when it’s your main transportation and equipment, maybe for an entire village, it could change lives. SRAM hopes to have the new coaster hubs shipping by the end of the year – to both World Bicycle Relief and consumers.


  1. Urb Anwriter on

    Good show. I hope it lasts longer than the 9 speed, both in-service and in-market, and when the local distributor can get one I’ll try it out. The coaster first, and I hate (dislike) coasters, and then I’ll hold out for the PTO version.

    And, look, a real stand for the bike! Can I get it in carbon?

  2. tom on

    @Mindless- No shifter. All shifting is controlled through the pedals.

    I like how it automatically resets to low gear when you brake. Thats an awesome feature. Thats the annoying part about riding a Bendix two speed. Always puts you in the opposite gear unless you shift before braking.

    Sram- I want a PTO version too.

  3. christinayo on

    if Sram and Buffalo are interested, there is plenty of PUBLIC interest for the PTO version throughout the world!!!!!!

  4. tynityres on

    Nothing wrong with plastic as an engineering material, but I don’t see any front brake on that bike which means that all that potential energy from descending the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro with the owner, his/her family, plus all the stuff they are transporting to market is going to end up as heat in that rear hub. Can the plastic parts really withstand that temperature. Maybe some big honkin’ heat sinks and liquid coolin’ might do the trick. Otherwise really neat stuff.

  5. David Skipper on

    I love this and hope it becomes available. The three speed is a great selling point but love that they are working on add ones. I am all for helping others in third world areas but I can see a market for anyone who likes to live as green as possible

  6. Ben on

    I wrote SRAM back in 2015 (where they still did not have a release date) and in 2017 (where they had scrapped the project).
    They have the hub in their archives – who knows what would happen if more people wrote and asked about it – the world needs this hub;)


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