It’s an ideal combination for the boxbike (bakfiets): Nuvinci’s n360 CVT internal hub with Shimano’s beefy new IM-80 rollerbrake: a weatherproof, maintenance-free combination ideal for hilly terrain. The rollerbrake (it’s not a coaster brake!) stops heavy loads with better modulation than a disc brake and less likelihood of locking up. That makes it safer. It’s maintenance-free in that, unlike disc brakes, there are no pads to replace, there’s no rotor that can get bent, you can’t contaminate it with misplaced lubricant and, versus hydraulics, there are no lines to bleed. Heat dissipation? Enormous.
The IM-80 rear brake is standard equipment on our boxbikes. The n360 hub is a $200 upcharge over the Nexus Redband premium 8-speed hub.
What’s the difference in climbing ability? Roughly speaking, and with all other things being equal, the n360 gives you what might be called gear 0: the gear you find yourself wishing you had while climbing an especially steep hill. Same at the high end, too. We’ve tried to break the n360 in cargo applications and have failed utterly.