Roc D'Azur 2012: Cavalerie DH Gearbox Bike

Oct 12, 2012
by Matt Wragg  
 
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For more than ten years now Cavalerie have been working on an alternative for the conventional shifter and mech. At Roc D'Azur this year they presented their range of gravity-ready bikes, fitted with internal gearboxes and carbon belt drives.

Cavelerie Falcon
Cavelerie Falcon
Cavelerie Falcon details 3
  Their DH bike, the Falcon. Vital stats are: 200m travel, 63.5 degree HA, 9-speed effigear gearbox, carbon belt drive and sub-18kgs (39lbs).

Cavelerie Falcon details 4
Cavelerie Falcon details 5
Cavelerie Falcon details 2
  A Gates carbon belt drive transfers the power to the rear wheels - one of the big advantages of the belt drive is that, unlike a chain, it doesn't stretch so all the power is transferred to the rear wheel. One of the big challenges with belt drives is that they need to be under constant tension, so they have used a concentric pivot around the drivewheel to maintain a constant distance between the gearbox and rear sprocket. To further keep the tension on the belt there is a tensioner just after the rear sprocket, although Cavalerie admit that the version here is still a prototype and they are not yet happy with how it performs. With these pre-production bikes they are using a freehub on the rear wheel, but the finished bikes will come with a fixed rear hub as the freewheel slows down the pickup of the system and there is already a freewheel at the crank.

Cavelerie Falcon details 1
  While this may look like a twist shift, it's actually a very different system altogether - it's a sequential shifter. That means that you change one gear at a time - so to drop through the box you would make a series of rapid movements, rather than one, long twist. Effiegear explain that this keeps your wrist position more neutral at the shifter, rather than having to over-extend like you would on a long shift with a gripshift system. Like many other gearbox bikes, it uses a two cable system to operate the gears.

Cavelerie Squirrel
Cavelerie Squirrel
  Sitting next to the Falcon in the Cavaleire range is the 185mm Squirrel. It's got the same gearbox and belt drive, a 66 degree head angle and weighs in a less than 17kg (37.5lbs).

Cavelerie Squirrel details 1
Cavelerie Squirrel details 2
  The Squirrel shares nearly all of its features with its bigger brother, including suspension layout and how the gearbox works with the bike. The close-up shot should show you better how the concentric pivot works - the swingarm pivots either side of the gearbox and the sprocket sits outside all of this.

Cavelerie Squirrel details 3
  While the shifter may look identical to the one on the Squirrel, this one is a more conventional twist shifter.

Cavelerie Gearbox
Cavelerie Gearbox details 1
Cavelerie Gearbox details 2
  This is what's going on inside here. One thing that Effigear have done that we haven't seen before is offer a range of gearing - there is a full nine-speed box on offer, which weighs in at 1.56kg, but there is also a slimmed down seven-speed box that drops the weight down to 1.39kg. This is possibly the first gearbox we have seen that doesn't have a weight penalty either - Effigear claim it weighs exactly the same as the equivalent Shimano Saint setup. It's also worth noting that the spline for the crank is a standard ISIS fitting. Right now you would need to use their specific cranks, but only because of the spacing, and because it is an established standard they are in talks with at least one crank manufacturer to produce aftermarket options for the system.

Cavalerie shifter
Cavelerie shifter details
  This is probably a big deal. We see a lot of comments from people waiting to see a gearbox with a thumb shifter. Here you go. At this stage it is a prototype, but it's a working one...This means that customers will have the choice of how many gears they want and what shifter style they prefer.

What do you think about the Cavalerie bikes? Does the combination of a trigger shifter, gearbox and belt drive at a sensible weight represent the future of mountain biking, or is it an overly complex solution to a problem that doesn't need solving? Have your say below.

www.effi-gear.com www.cavalerie-bikes.com www.ingeartec.com
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253 Comments

  • + 170
 Hell yes. Clutch derailleurs are polished terds. Let's embrace this innovation, and not another cog. XX1 may work great, but it is still a step in the wrong direction.
  • + 61
 100%. I think the pivot need to be higher, but man, what a clean bike. That seven speed gearbox would be ideal for virtually everything I do on a DH bike.
  • + 40
 I like that the gearbox is pretty simple and looks like you could service it home...thats a huge bonus
  • + 17
 It looks pretty beefy, might not ever need to service it...
  • + 19
 My favourite part is, you get a choice of rear hubs it looks like. I hate when something new comes out and it's nearly entirely proprietary.
  • - 93
 my favorite part is... your an idiot.
  • + 4
 Borg is right though. The lack of proprietary gear means you can swap wheels out on the trail without buying a specific spare. You can have the quick engagement of the Halo that they're running, or the completely silent Stealth hub, or the dead reliable Hope. A friend rides a single pivot bike with a stealth hub and belt drive. There is no sound at all besides his janky cables hitting the frame and the thud of the tires.
  • + 13
 Quick engagement makes no difference. The freewheel is actually at the crank end, not the hub. So the hub should ideally be a fixed item with a continually moving belt. Like a 20" mod trials bike.
  • + 3
 The other interesting point is by the looks of things, there could be a lot of room for slimming down that design and actually being a real contender against a standard set up.
  • + 28
 For whoever is voting me down...

The transmission gears in my motorcycle are barely any bigger than that, and they have needed zero service after 23,000km, and are known to last well into the 50k+ area... those types of gears just last a long time... this new Gearbox setup could very well be "maintenance free" aside from whatever mechanism they are using to shift gears, but it looks pretty well sealed up, so maybe we won't even have to worry about that.

As for the rear hub being fixed, that's even better, less weight for the suspension to deal with.
  • - 11
 why not just use a freewheel hub too make it easy then you can run a standard 150 dh hub and eliminate the free wheel in the box that way their is less rolling mass witch =s faster bike eh bang!!! and run the pivot a little higher for rear wheel travel and put a dirt bike linkage on it! Pow!!!
  • + 32
 For whoever is voting me down... Getting voted down around here is often an indication you are on the right track.
  • + 15
 Hey kennynvb ! Please learn how to spell if you are attempting to slam someone.... your as opposed to you're...... that's too funny. Idiot.
  • + 3
 dwdw Seems that way... it is Pinkbike though.
  • + 6
 "one of the big advantages of the belt drive is that, unlike a chain, it doesn't stretch so all the power is transferred to the rear wheel" - yeah, because my chain is so incredibly springy that every time I stand on the pedals, it stretches 6 inches and no "power" is transferred to the rear wheel. Instead, our "solution" to those "stretchy" chains robbing us of power is to use a concentric pivot/sprocket layout that pedals poorly. Yeah, because that's going to be SO much more efficient.

Gearbox good, belt drive bad.
  • + 3
 @borg - anyone can make more torque than the engine at the pedals though - 60kg on a 170mm crank = 102nm of torque, that's for the lightest riders not really trying so it might affect the wear but i agree, these gearboxes shouldn't need more than yearly cleaning and fresh oil, if they do, it's likely there's built in obsolescence.
  • - 28
 that has got to be the ugliest bike since the demo 8. ewwww
  • + 2
 @Socket. Concentric single pivots pedal beautifully, if yours doesn't then you need to sort out the low speed compression on your shock.
I would like to see a chain over a Gates belt though, if only because belts are expensive and hard to get hold of in the middle of nowhere, plus using a chain would give the option to use cheaper bolt in sprockets, making servicing/repairs easier.

Now I want to see a 160mm frame with that gearbox and a full length seat tube, since the one Zerode were apparently making has failed to materialise.
  • + 3
 Belts can last longer than chains no problem. Your alternator belt has a lot more cycles to fail than your bike chain. And your tires will give more than the belt will. It is lighter and better all around. As for a fixie hub, no thanks. I'd rather wear down the hub than the gearbox, especially if it is one of those thread on BMx ss hubs.
  • + 23
 I had nothing but trouble in my old workshops with the Gates Belt Drive on urban commuting bikes (Trek Soho, etc.) - and these are bikes used on road surfaces by casual riders, not ridden in anger by hardcore riders on dirt (think what mud/wet/rock fragment does to an open / exposed belt and cog system?)

belts certainly are the premium choice in automotive and industrial machinery applications, where they are shielded from contaminations

the trouble related to belt tension, and involved premature wear and tear to the rear hub bearings, rear freewheel mechanism, bottom bracket bearings, problems with the belt "crabbing" sideways on the rear cog (due to chainline issues) and actual failure of the Gates belt and Gates toothed cogs where they interface with the rear hub mounting splines

Gates have had to produce belt tension "setting tools" which resemble a 'tuning fork' as too high a tension causes the premature wear issues, and too low a tension causes 'ratcheting' where the belt actually slips over the cog notches under power. we also saw a number of the belts actually fail (split)

setting this tension is tricky (there is a narrow tolerance range), and requires resetting any time the rear wheel is remove (i.e. a puncture). many bike shops have never seen this tool. there were also rumours of a Gates APP for the I-Phone using the microphone to check the belt tension, but I have never seen this either.

this new gearbox bike looks FANTASTIC but I'd leave the Gates Belt Drive well alone and run with the tried and trusted Sedis-style bushingless roller chain that is common to all other bicycles (and many motorbikes)

Gates Belt Drive truly is a solution to a problem that really does not exist on pedal cycles....
  • - 14
 Fixed rear hub? I think of a track bike or crazy bike messanger. If its fixed you can not stop pedaling.
  • - 2
 how would you clean that properly? also i already find it hard to sus out regular shifters, this thing would cause me to have some form of mental break down...
  • - 2
 What if you hit a rock, or get a side hit to the crank and bent that shaft?, i'll tell you what your gonna pay a lot!!!!, and those shifters look biblical.
  • - 3
 i dont know if i like this design
  • + 2
 @ krockstarr66 it doesn't need a free wheel in the hub if it's already got one at the crank, I think the idea is to allow the gearbox to keep rotating even if your notpedalling which would allow gears to be changed regardless if your pedalling or not.

That proto is running 2 free wheels, which I can see causing shifting problems while not pedalling.
  • + 8
 I'm terribly excited so many companies are taking a run at gearbox bikes. It's thrilling to think my next bikes could have boxes instead of those mechanical turds known as derailleurs!!
  • + 1
 I was going to bring up the problems with belt drive... but that's like asking what the "best colour" is for a bike.

@baca262 in a sense... but that is completely wrong... torque through the transmission is much more complex than just saying 102nm from a light guy on a 170mm crank.

The main crank gear in this displayed gearbox is quite large, which means the torque is greatly reduced there, then the second gear that sees the torque is also larger than the spindle... and so on and so forth.

I guarantee you if you could swap out the crank on a motorcycle for a set of cranks/pedals, you wouldn't ever be able to wheelie it.

Comparing the torque of the rear wheel to the torque of a rider at the crank spindle... doesn't even make sense.

A motorcycle easily climbs a steep hill that will put the hurt on your legs.
  • - 1
 minus the belt drive and guess what you get..... a ZERODE
  • + 1
 @ hampsteadbandit
There are belt drives that have paddle like teeth on the "chain" ring, shedding mud and gripping like a chain. I know that this system isn't perfect, but with more demand and more developers working on it I bet it will be way better soon. Also you shouldn't have drive line issues on a SS if the designer has half a brain so that shouldn't be an issue.
How many rotten chains did you replace at the old workshop? I dealt with plenty. Any chain that is not maintained won't last 50 hours of riding. In fact, chains require constant maintenance and are very heavy. It's really a surprise there hasn't been further integration of belts into mtb by now.

The SS layout allows for a simpler chain setup, but there is real merit to a belt system, including unsprung weight savings and simpler maintenance.

@ samminett: does that mean every derailleur style bike is the same in your book? This frame linkage is nothing like the Zerode.
  • + 4
 One nice thing in this adaption... you won't have any chain slap at all. Which means it's a good candidate for carbon fiber.
  • + 1
 I love it and things will hopefully go this direction soon. So many benifits, one that I like is the ability to build up a rear hub with a wide spoke spacing making a good qualty DH rear wheel even stronger and with much less unsprung weight. I would prefer a chain over belt drive just because its simple, reliable, is easy to setup and repair. That could change as they dial in the reliabilty and setup, though. I see good things to come as long as companies dont make a bunch of proprietary components like hubs and cranks and belts. Keep it simple stupid.
  • + 1
 The thing is you only need 3 or 4 gears on a downhill bike,ive never needed 9 gears,so why add more weight thats not needed.
  • + 1
 The mini DH looks more pedally for those who might need more gears to make it up the hill
  • + 1
 Hey im still rockin 26" wheels and a 3x9 setup!!! works for me....

www.pinkbike.com/photo/8780719
  • + 2
 The hub is fixed however there is a freewheel in the crank/bottom bracket! Do you really think that someone would make a fixie dh bike?!
  • + 1
 I know what i want for my birthday
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  • + 35
 Video of the gear box working please???
  • + 10
 Dented rims, scratched up swingarm and cranks. Someones ridden it and I wanna know how well it stacks up to the competition.
  • + 10
 For myself, just want to see that little display rig going at it
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  • + 29
 Finally, some real innovation from the bike industry. Not bullshit 'innovation' like 1 1/4 tapered head tubes or 35 mm handlebars.
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  • + 24
 This looks awsome to me. More ground clearance, lower bottom bracket, quiet, clean to look at and elegant. The sooner we can get rid of the stupid derailleur, especially for Dh and freeride, the better. This looks like the future and they deserve all the success they get.
  • + 2
 Yeah, no more exploding derailleurs, bent chainrings, and tons of clearance...and it looks so simple, almost like a bmx bike. This is the future, just ditch the problematic gates belt drive, make the frame carbon, and put a coil shock on the rear. Things will only get better.
[Reply]
  • + 21
 So excited about the future of these bikes.
  • + 7
 i really hope gearbox frames will be commonplace in 5 years, i can't wait to be rid of derailleurs, rapid chain wear and other crap.
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  • + 18
 Gearbox is definitely the way forward, i hate rear mechs all covered in gimmicks trying to solve all they're inherent problems. I'm in!
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  • + 15
 Looks rad. I wonder how the belt compares to the chain in sloppy conditions.
  • + 1
 There is a reason that we don't see many belt drives on MTB bikes IMO...

I have seen first hand on these belt drives where a stone the size of about a pea gets sucked up into the gear (because the belt acts like a conveyor belt essentially) and the added tension as a result is usually enough to rip the belt or sometimes break it clean. These belts generally have to run pretty tight and according to the mfgr of these drives (or at least from what I have seen in the past) you have to verify proper tension by strumming the belt like a guitar string and listening for a certain pitch...no joke.

It will probably be more quiet than a chain but one may be substituting derailleur drive issues/ noise with belt replacement issues...If you plan on racing this thing...make sure you have an ample supply of back up belts...because guaranteed nobody else at the race will have one and they may be tough to come by at a local shop.
  • + 3
 They'd be better off using a belt that has a continuous central ridge as well as the transverse teeth, which would make it less likely to migrate sideways. That way, you don't need as much tension to retain the belt, and it because a lot more durable.
  • + 3
 They are showing the old carbon drive belts and cogs on these rigs. The new Centertrack Gates belt system is sooooo much easier and nicer to work with. I've ran both systems on my single speed with no problems and the Centertrack belt handles less tension and misalignment.

Oh, and tension is measured by a tool Gates makes called the "cricket" for the tone deaf.
  • + 2
 I'll second the failure issue with the belts... and you need to unbolt part of the frame to change them also. On bikes like the spot singlespeeds, the stays split apart at the dropout, but its not a quick in-the-field sort of repair. Plus you need to have a spare belt and they don't exactly fold into a tight package. A friend of mine had the product rep provide his shop with a demo Spot, and on his first XC ride, he did the stone into belt snappo routine that many belt drive owners are familiar with. Nothing like having to push your bike out of the woods for 5kms...
  • - 3
 yup, it would be optimal to have an enclosed chain in a oil bath, change the oil and chain once a year and that's it.
  • + 0
 what about the motorbikes that BMW makes and are on a belt drive? they work like a charm!
  • + 1
 I don't know much about motorbikes, but I always thought BMW used shaft drive?
  • + 4
 Belt drives dont shed muck well in my limited experience with them. Any good engineer also knows that chain drives have lower frictional losses than belt drives. Chains are also readily available at EVERY bike shop. BOOO on the belt drive.
  • + 2
 Umm, belt drives shine in mud and muck conditions when compared to chain, it's been proven many times over and this is why they are becoming so popular in the cyclo-X world do to the mud condition they race in. I think low frictional lose is mute when it comes to these belt drives since you can't tell if it's a chain or belt when riding what-so-ever. The same Gates belt technology is used on high powered Harley's and blower supercharged engines because they are 5 times stronger than a chain. I don't see how a small rock can break these belts that easily but I'm not saying it's impossible, just really bad luck.
[Reply]
  • + 11
 I want! A DH bike that requires way less maintenance! Whether or not it is the fastest rig, as long as it is at least average in performance, I want it!
  • + 11
 Buy a Zerode!
  • + 0
 I like the look of this better. I'm not a fan of the Zerode linkage, or dual chain system. Puts the weight higher and that much chain, mixed with the gear box and the efficiency is going to be way down. This transfer of power looks more direct to me and therefore more power gets from foot to tire.
  • + 4
 The Zerode isn't about the gearbox as such, its more about the travel path of the suspension. The gear box set up allows it to do that. A couple of friends of mine that i ride with most weekends have them and they are awesome bikes.
  • + 4
 The main advantage of the Zerode is its linkage and dual chain system. While it puts the weight up higher, it allows for a MUCH better wheel path, which translates directly into efficiency. Look up some of Maverick's old ads if you don't understand.
  • + 0
 What about brake jack? I know it has an optimal wheel path for square edge bumps making it super fast, but it looks like every time you pull the rear brake the back suspension is going to take a dip. I have heard it is not a big issue but I want to see for my self.
Also this gearbox design looks more pedal friendly as far as efficiency goes, which is appealing on the mini DH. They are two ways to go about it and I like what they are doing. I could see a zerode mini DH with a lower gearbox and pivot that pushed a horizontal shock, and a belt from crank to gearbox making it lighter and more pedally.
  • + 3
 The Zerode squats when braking. This bike would brake squat also. Not an issue on the Zerode, try for yourself, then write about it, not before, keep the forum info clean ; )
[Reply]
  • + 6
 I like what they have done with the box, but a chain final drive is just a more efficient solution than a belt. The box inherently carries with it an efficiency penalty, the belt would compound that. This is made worse by the idea of removing the freewheel from the hub. I agree that reducing unsprung weight and reducing polar moment by moving things toward the CG is a good idea. However, a belt fixed to the rear wheel means you have to deal with the inefficiency of a belt drive even when you are coasting. Just using a chain after the gearbox would solve basically every problem that bike has, and I would buy one.
  • + 2
 The chain running straight on a gearbox bike, along with it's sprockets last so long anyway, stuff the stupid belt. My Zerode chain has lasted at least twice as long as on a deraileured bike, I'm guessing 4 times longer.
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  • + 6
 Don't know if anyone else has noticed but I do see all the effort goes into the gearbox and quite rightly so but to sell them it would be nice to see them in a nice more modern looking frame a bit like the zerode and they're doing well. These cavaleries look excellently well made and really well thought out but to some people it may just look like an old rocky mountain. Hell I'd buy one just so I don't have to listen to my chain eating my demo's swing arm!
  • + 9
 I love how it looks like an old Rocky Mtn. Smile
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  • + 5
 Derailleurs are the weakest link on a mountain bike in my opinion. Having that delicate and expensive component dangling near the ground is a terrible design. I ride very rocky trails most of the time and am constantly paranoid about ripping off my derailleur or even tweaking it just enough out of wack to render it useless. I'm all for moving forward with a gearbox design to eliminate that pesky derailleur. Internal gear hubs, although not strong enough yet for mtb abuse are also not the way to go because they add weight to the rear wheel. Gearbox is centrally located, low cg and not adding to sprung weight for the rear suspension. Chain or belt driven, gearboxes are the future for mtb!
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  • + 4
 The belt is an option, we will sell frame kit with a chain. The gearbox works better without free-hub, that why on kit frame you have one. It's a 135x12mm so if you want to use another wheels it's possible.

The kit include: trigger + sequential + turnshift (="gripshift") means you can switch when you want to try a new one.

The 9 speeds is equivalent to 24-36 front and 11-34t at rear. 7 speeds is equivalent to 11-34t.
We propose 7, 8 or 9 speed, but you can choose 6 or 5.

Each ball bearings are standard which mean that you can find it on the market and we will not racket you 50$ for 4 bearings.

Gearing replacement will not be as expensive as a full high quality derailleur transmission( that need to be change once or two time/year when you ride a lot).

Ride picture:
rdshoot.pinkbike.com/album/Chatel
rdshoot.pinkbike.com/album/Test-proto
  • + 1
 what is the cost of a frame set ?? and what shock is available ?
  • + 1
 Europe price is fixed at 3900€ for the frame set. It's include frame, gearboxes, shifter (all version), crank, chaine and rearhub.
Shock available is Bos Stoy Rare or Void.
  • + 1
 thanx for the reply
[Reply]
  • + 7
 look out here comes the Cavalerie
  • + 0
 belt drive must be the way forward,need to do it to your Fury dude!
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  • + 4
 imagine having (more than) a few beers and cranking the arm on that demo unit, pointing at it a little too closely, getting all excited and accidentally getting your hand stuck in it and hamburgered... actually, don't
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  • + 2
 SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've been waiting for years for these to finnly start becoming more accepted. Hell I put an old 3-speed hub in an old BMX Cruiser 25 years ago and thought it was the coolest thing ever. A G-box FR/AM/Enduro bike would be SO awesome. I'd love to see a SPecialized Enduro Evo with one worked in, THAT would be my "ONE BIKE to rule them all" rig aye. I can imagine them being really great for DH race bikes too cause you could spec the gear spread without having to resort o special cassettes AND: NO MORE REAR MECH'S to hang up on thing and ruin runs!!!! I really hope ths a sign of more things to come, Zerode seems to be doing well with a simillar concept, now we just need more (bigger) copanies to start pushing the technology...
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  • + 2
 "one of the big advantages of the belt drive is that, unlike a chain, it doesn't stretch so all the power is transferred to the rear wheel"

A most inaccurate statement if I ever read one. Chains are very efficient in transferring power - typically better than belts. Elongation ("stretch") of a chain is a result of wear and doesn't really have anything to do with power transfer. Wear is greatly reduced with a straight chain-line. An enclosed drive system would greatly improve the longevity of the drive system whether it be chain or belt.

Good to see another company making innovation in bicycle technology with the exception of the belt-drive system. While I usually like the "industrial" look, this bike could be improved aesthetically IMO.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 If they can figure out how to mount a gearbox into my balfa, I'm so in. Both bikes are a step forward, I think the thumb shifter is gonna be a huge plus for people looking to jump to the next level of tech. Nice work boys n girls...nice work. two thumbs up.
  • + 1
 If your Balfa is a BB7, the Zerodes as close as you'll find in ride, but stiffer, and with gearbox, and has trigger shifters.
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  • + 6
 Three words,... Take My Money
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  • + 2
 There's rumor of encasing the belt into the swing arm so that one doesn't even know that it's there and putting rollers in the case to ad tension to the belt and covering the drive gear also . These pics just puts the mechanisms into view. It's still a baby but will indeed mature
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  • + 6
 I can't wait to try this!
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  • + 2
 Finally a company who is putting some time and money into sorting out the only thing that puts me off owning a 'gearboxed bike' the thumb shifter is not quite far along the way to perfect for me but at least this company is seriously looking into a way of not running a crappy gripshift. ( when they get it to the point where it is a true 'THUMBSHIFTER' like Saint or Sram where your fingers are only used for braking and hanging on to the bars i'll be in the BIG LONG LINE to buy on. They say the shifter is in 'ProtoType stage, i pray it gets better and doesnt end up being on my 'Come back when you get it right list' like every other gear box bike before it ( apart from Hondas offering but nobodys ever gonna own on of those).
  • + 2
 Zerode: Thumbshifter comes standard.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/6785200
  • + 0
 As awsome as the Zerode bike is i its not classed as a 'GearBox Bike' as it basicly uses a conventual internal 8 speed hub mounted high up in the frame. i think they are quite clever but not a gearbox bike.
  • + 2
 OswestSte, it's a gearbox ya muppet. Take your word games elsewhere. It's gears in a box. It's function is so, IT'S A GEARBOX.
  • + 1
 No need to get arsey Skidmarks fella, would you call a fixe hardtail type bike with a rear hub with internal gearing a 'Gearbox Bike' ? dont mean to offend if you own a Zerode and think its a gearbox bike, i think their ace looking and would try one in a heart beat. Not that its got anything to do with you anyway but i was stating to 'hoolydooly' that the Zerode isn't the answer to the bike i and many other people are waiting to come out, with a propper twin lever thumb shifter and a propper gearbox like this Cavalerie DH combined together.
  • + 1
 Man I don't care what you call it or anyone else. It is what it is, a bike with a centralized gearbox. It's in not relevant in it's general descriptive term, that its gearbox was intended to be a IGH rear hub. It's actually a pretty good way to package a gearbox for multiple design use. I'd like manufacturers to make narrower ones for ease of location, but the spinning gearbox is fine IMO. It has pros and cons like most things, but it is a gearbox by deffiniton.
I too think an up and down change button on opposing sides of the bars would be great.
For explaining any bike with a IGH I would say it has a gearbox in the rear hub, yes.
gearbox |ˈgi(ə)rˌbäks|
noun
a set of gears with its casing, esp. in a motor vehicle; the transmission.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Beefy 7 speed Gearbox, clean frame, thumbshifter. Want. Badly.

One caveat for dh though, belts are not "self cleaning" as a chain is and are finicky to setup. If not perfectly true, they wear fast and creack. So maybe a simple fixie chain setup would solve that and gearing with a simple cog swap is possible.

No bike buy this year. I wait till this thing comes to market. Bye bye Sramano.

Afterthought - Chain setup really a boon.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This does look to be the way forward and may well replace derailleurs completely one day, but im not sure on the belt drive, it does look like it could slip or wear pretty quickly on a DH rig. I think we should take this more in the motorbike direction, gearbox and big beefy chain. its worked pretty well for them and im pretty sure that most cyclists would go for reliability on the descent rather than a couple of grams lighter.
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  • + 4
 Squirrel? Really? That's the best name they could come up with. How about the chipmunk or field mouse?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I'd like to see how this setup measures up to the new Pinion 1.18. www.pinkbike.com/news/Pinion-Gearbox-First-Ride.html. This gearbox looks a bit simpler, and I like the fact that the BB is separate from the drive. But the Pinion's Porche pedigree and 600%+ range sound better. I hope the competition mounts, so that the cost of the gearbox solution comes out of the stratosphere. But durability has never been a priority for the bicycle market, which invented the term "planned obsolescence" over 100 years ago, so we'll see.
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  • + 3
 The sheer ignorance of the shortcomings of belt drives is astonishing. Gates has done a wonderful job of shoving their marketing hype down the bike industry's throat.
  • + 0
 whats wrong with them? im actually curious, ik theyre designed for high speed/low torque applications but thats all I can think of
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great to see someone trying to pioneer gearboxes just like Nicolai have been doing for a while...

www.nicolai.net/159-1-Helius+Pinion+AM.html

lots of those bikes built to a sensible weight as well

forums.mtbr.com/nicolai/anyone-got-helius-pinion-am-yet-784671.html
[Reply]
  • + 3
 I can't wait to the death of the derailleur and chain. Would be great if the belt drive was enclosed somehow so that no trail crap could get into it.
  • + 1
 That would be cool, though might be a pain. Maybe run it through a really fat chain stay? might make changing/servicing it a pain though.
  • + 1
 The guy who made the Millyard bike come up with a chain system that was enclosed in the chain stay , wonder what happened with that bike it seemed so promising ?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I hate the look of gear boxed bikes, always look awkward and cumbersome. Probably not the case when ridden tho i suppose....... But in all fairness this is by far the nicest one i have seen so far, it doesn't look as bulky so has a bit more style, looks more like an actual bike than the others!
  • + 1
 Look at the nicolai E-Boxx bikes if you want really ugly: www.nicolai.net/158-1-ION+20+E-BOXX.html I still want a gearbox, though.
  • + 1
 A Derailleur looks pretty retarded to me.
  • + 1
 You don't have to have a big gearbox up front though to ditch a rear mech, Rollhoff make some great internally geared rear hubs that have 14 speed! Smile
www.rohloff.de/en/products/index.html
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i definitely think that the gearbox is gonna make a big difference on dh. the question is just when. hopefully we will see some gearbox bikes at an affordable price within the next five years.
  • + 1
 Zerodes are cheap for a made in USA frame. Similar price to any made in USA frame with gearbox for free, with minimum maintenance costs time and money wise, they get cheaper still as you save on no drivetrain expense. This bike looks/sounds like the same story(with a chain).
[Reply]
  • + 1
 If it is reliable and end-user serviceable it's almost got to be the future. Thinking outside the box of the chain and derailleur seem like the next evolution of the bike. Would like to see it on some pro WC or Enduro bikes to see just how it holds up. Also need a review from a rider the shreds but doesn't have a personal mechanic rebuild the gear box for him between races. Can it be put through a season of riding in all conditions and not need a complete overhaul in the middle of the season?? What about on different suspension set ups where you have to account for chain growth/belt growth?? I wouldn't buy the first model year but after the kinks are worked out it could be the next great thing.
  • + 6
 You meant to say thinking inside the box, surely?
  • + 2
 Imagine never having to lubricate your chain ever again. Dirty? Hose it down. A little armor all (maybe), and you're done! I would give the belt a two thumbs up!
  • + 0
 On top of that, the belt is light and flexible, you could easily carry a spare to replace it.
  • + 1
 unlike that incredibly heavy long rod of chain that sticks into my back during a ride Wink Joking aside, this looks easier to replace than a chain and would fit in your pocket. I hope 'carbon belts' don't cost a fortune to replace...
  • + 1
 Pretty sure the belts don't fold at very sharp angles.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Not so excited about the belt, but the rest is very exciting. I think they could hone the weight a bit and include a chain drive in the future, but this is a great start. Yay trigger shifting. Big props for showing the world their internals!
  • + 4
 Belts are the future, and frankly I'm glad someone figured it out...
There are places for chains, don't get me wrong, but this combines two amazing technologies that I'm frankly thrilled to see finally getting good production touches!
I know Gates as had a belt drive XC bike out for a while, but this is rad to the max...
I have a feeling that belt vs. chain will soon become like carbon vs. aluminum in some areas; the simpler option is cheaper, but the costly one is superior.
This obviously doesn't apply everywhere in MTBing, but this is a start!
  • + 1
 Belt drive is perfect for the UK weather Wink
  • + 0
 Mammal, your car uses belts for far harder jobs than this bike, and they last far longer than your chain. This is a smart idea, one I'd like to see on more bikes.
  • + 1
 there are no rocks getting between the cogs and the belt in the car, are there?
  • - 1
 I can see rocks being an issue... If they make the belts out of glass!
  • + 3
 well then, by all means get a belt drive bike and report back after winter.
  • + 3
 Couldn't they run some kind of sprung tensioner ( like the one on the rear of bike ) that kind of gives way when some thing is caught in the belt so there is allways a tiny buffer of slack there if needed?
  • + 1
 bigburd, that is a really good idea. But it would be quite a challenge to develop such a tensioning device for production use as the belt tension requirements are quite specific. Does anyone know if Gates belts 'stretch' or lose tension after several 1000kms use? Because that would need to be considered with this sprung tensioner that bigburd proposes.
  • + 0
 Ya I live in BC, it's muddy and gross for half of the season. Belts wouldn't cut it. Maybe for trendy commuter bikes...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Mountain biking is a very innovative field, but this just blow everything out of the water. I really, really hope it lives up to expectations and filters its way into other bikes (AM, XC, etc) soon.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 Hyped to see clean lines!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 like this bike a lot but the rubber belt over a chain? im sure its on there because it works but im a little skeptical about it in mud/rain and slipping and with the front is there any kind of a guide that will keep it from slipping off? love the bike and id love to have one but just not sure about that set up... and how much is this thing going for $$$$
[Reply]
  • + 1
 All they need is some kind of plastic enclosure for the belt. I'm surprised mountain bikes aren't as well sealed as they should be. So many vital components are exposed and get damaged because of it. In fact, I just broke my XT rear derailleur the other day simply going through some mud! I want a nice, sealed, durable, reliable, efficient, and mostly maintenance free drivetrain. This system looks like it has some serious potential.
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I like these type of transmissions, and would like to see them a norm in the future on bikes. My only issue is the shifter, I don't like grip shift. I would at least like to see a pair of thumb shifters, left(up) and right(down).
[Reply]
  • + 1
 looks cool but if your gunna make a DH bike dont use grip shift and thats why were seeing alot of Zerode bikes now because they use a normal shifter which is what i would say all DH riders want.
  • + 5
 Get the trigger shifter described in the article then...
  • + 1
 I actually want to try grip shift on my Zerode. With the Zerodes Alfine gearbox you can dump multiple ears in one movement. This bikes system is also good for grip shift, arguably better as you can more accurately shift maybe. With a gearbox, a mis-shift isn't that big a deal, not that you would anyway.
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  • + 4
 Looks strong. I'm excited.
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  • + 3
 Rode it today during my visite to the Roc... Here is the future guys ! Shifting is so smooth and fast !
[Reply]
  • + 4
 not usually a big fan of gearbox bikes, but DAMN those are sexy bikes!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 This looks awesome! Please make this! Other companies, take note, this is where the industry should be going.
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  • + 4
 yes yes and yes. did i say yes no more stupid derailleurs!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 looks very very nice! just, as i know on motorbikes, if a small rock gets between the gear and belt. it will snap the belt, so i'm wondering if the same will happen whit this system?
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  • + 2
 Alllllls I know is those DH and AM bikes are SEXY AS HELLLLLL!!!!! Matte black yes please, gearbox, and belt drive!!! Fuck me man this is the future!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I can't imagine how much replacement gearing
Would cost?
Also straight cut gearing is noisy, compared to sliding mesh.
Honestly I can't really tell if the gears are straight cut like you would have in a sequential gearbox or sliding mesh like a convention gearbox.
  • + 2
 Straight cut gearing is stronger and this won't be seeing the amount of torque that a car would produce to create the whine that straight cut gears give off. Plus how this shifts is different than a automobile transmission so it doesn't need side cut gears to deal with having syncros to make shifting easier.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Said it before and I will say it again: This is the future. It will get more refined and it will get better and..........................SQUIRREL! So it won't be long before these will be priced...............SQUIRREL!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 clean looking design , as already mentioned i have a concern about the belt and it staying on and how it,s gonna work in real mucky situations , also are the gears steel or hard anodized aluminum ,
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I know it's a prototype and uses the sequential gear change system- rapid gearchange. I want to hear how it sounds riding, the straight cut teath may do you head in after a while.
  • + 1
 It will sound similar to a Rholoff
[Reply]
  • + 2
 gearbox DH BIKE!!!! we neeed them sooo bad, save soo much $... no chain guide, derailler replacent.. etc
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I like it!! Trigger shift, gearbox, nice short looking rear end, so it should be super fun to ride! A choice of chain or belt would be good.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Those damn chain slapping sound is starting to fade…Smile
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  • + 2
 I love it! I think that, when you understand how it works, it is even more simple than a common system....I want one
[Reply]
  • + 0
 whenever I read some of these tech articles my brain hurts...do any of you over analyzing OCD frieks ever ride your frickin bike? sheesh you all think you are splitting the atom?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 with all the inovations in wheelsizes etc. this one actually makes sense to me. I would love to try one of those
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Chains stretch and this belt drive doesn't? I always thought it would be the other way around
  • + 2
 belts have elastic property's so then can stretch but will return to original size , a chain once it,s stretched it,s too big
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I tried this bike last year, the gearbox works well !
More info here : www.ingeartec.com
[Reply]
  • + 1
 The gearbox design with low weight and wide gear ratio and very simple. I like the design. I think low weight is the key feature!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Now please make an aurum frame or a demo with one...
  • + 1
 As long as there's a way to slip that belt in during assembly, that's entirely possible!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Gearbox is the way to go!! Pls.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 wow! is the futur now?......
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I just had a million dollar kickstarter idea. What about a belt transmission like a snomobile?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Decent looking bike. I like the idea of shifting while freewheeling.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Give me a cross country bike with this!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Probably the first gearbox bike, where on first glance I have thought, wow, i'd like to ride that.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Would like to have a go with that new gear, looks exciting...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 i assume that this will need to sit in gearbox oil ?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 To me, a gear box like this would be more beneficial on an all mountain bike rather than a downhill bike.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 verry descent gearbox setup best one i've seen in year but i wonder what major advantage a belt could have??
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Could GT bikes use this because with the idrive technology the drivetrain moves separate from the suspension?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This is the first time ever I feel sexual attraction for a Squirrel. So sexy! (but please no strange shifter!!!)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Looks awesome! No more busted deraillers, no more broken chains! Step in the right direction id say
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So far this the best gearbox bike made yet. The derailleur is officially obsolete!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ok, the belt drive goes safe into a massive hollow single swing-arm with a lefty like hub !?!?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I'd ride the shit out of both of those bikes
[Reply]
  • + 2
 and put a cap or guide on the front. make sure the belt can't come off
[Reply]
  • + 0
 What about a titanium drive shaft inside the chain stay in an oil bath, nothing to bang on rocks and no exposed moving parts!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks good but I bet the price will be ridiculous.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Looks so clean! And the sequential shifting is awesome
[Reply]
  • + 1
 apart from the gearbox i wonder how well the suspension design works , and that fork look sweet
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nicolai is a GOD of gearboxes
[Reply]
  • + 0
 how much power does it take to pedal? I have a hammerschmidt. I am not sold on gearboxes untill I ride one.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 how much is a new gear box after a few rides or years?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This has to happen to every bike !! Please !
[Reply]
  • + 1
 that chain looks like it wants to slip of the chain ring...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 "Vital stats are: 200m travel" lol, cool bike tho ;-)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So much for having shortened chain stays
[Reply]
  • + 1
 BELT RULES! I wish i could put it on my DJ bike
[Reply]
  • + 1
 flip the box the other way and run the cranks through the pivot.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 it works...

it looks stunning...

it weigh 35 lbs...

any discounts?
  • + 3
 also... thumb shifter... and fixed rear hub? it is just a like a pile of simple and bombproof designs and ideas...


I will have one please!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Lose belt drive, add a linkage driving a coil shock
[Reply]
  • + 0
 I'll pass. I'll stick with my 9-speed derailing trigger shifting 26 inch dinosaur.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I hope they sell a frame kit as well. This just might be my next bike!
  • + 1
 around 4000€, with a chain and a rear shock (not a void)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 best looking gear box bike i have ever seen
[Reply]
  • + 1
 my one and only problem with this is.... i like my loud freehub.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Finally! (only need about 4 gears though, save some weight!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Cuantos Pesos? or the conversion... roughly? $$
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Do people really care about shifters and gears on DH bikes? Many pure DH bikes running single speed.
  • + 1
 most do... ive seen more chainless than single speed
[Reply]
  • + 1
 For some... not myself though... design is pretty nice however.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 Anyone else notice all the chemtrails in the sky? Aluminum oxide and barium salts... Mmmmm
  • + 1
 they do it pretty heavily on vancouver island. Canadian govt denies it but the yanks dont. Its a us/canadian 'sky obscuration project' so, in other words, they are trying to reflect solar radiation back into space. probably poisonous but the point isnt to poison people its a dipshit way to deal with a bigger problem ie our dependence on oil products. dont forget canada just backed out of kyoto so were kind of aholes now i guess its a harper thang yall lol
  • + 2
 Well I have heard this before. They claim to be spreading aluminum and barium salts "chaff" into the sky to deflect the sun and slow down global warming... the thing that pisses me off is that these nano size particles are not good for our respritory systems, for animals, plants and we the people never had a say in if we're ok with this. Further, it is believed that their is a much more sinister purpose behind spraying our skies. The tiny alloys and salts make out atmosphere more conductive for the Murican military's high energy antenna array (HAARP) which can be used for weather manipulation, among other terra forming applications. Do the research, check out all the weather modification patents on google patents. It is all based on the eccentric genius Nikola Tesla's early work with scalar wave technology, and taping into the highly energized ionospheric above the earth's atmosphere.

There is also an alarming rise in respiratory issues as well as allergies. This generates billions for big pharma as well as helps cull the weak and elderly. See population control. People have gone missing or have been 'suicided' trying to blow the whistle on this one.

One thing I know for sure is that normal airliner jets do not make clouds that descend low and haze out the sky. That is our first clue something is not right,

We need to fight this people, its our future, not theirs.
  • - 1
 conspiracy hippies.
  • + 2
 Dumbass hicks who are unable to use critical thinking. Keep eating your mcdonalds and voting your meaningless votes bud.
  • - 1
 uh huh. you must be one of those 9/11 was an inside job people
[Reply]
  • + 0
 a grip shift is a grip shift...and they suck!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 im so confused right now
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Now, if they could make a bike thats not butt ugly
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Bike looks great
[Reply]
  • - 1
 another year another gearbox bike. i dunno man, i dunno.
[Reply]
  • - 1
 needs a conversion kit, like the gearbox but hate the frame
  • + 1
 i agree, it would be soooooo doooooope if they made a frame like a p slope!!!!!
  • + 1
 no not that its just everybody is very particular on their dh frames, didnt even think about gearbox slope bikes
[Reply]
  • + 0
 looks heavy...
  • + 2
 nope. 39lb bike. drive train is the same weight as a saint setup.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 looks to whimpy and complacated
[Reply]
  • - 3
 Basically its a cassette in a box, ill stick with my xtr and saint thanks, although the idea is sweet
  • + 2
 Very VERY basically speaking.. Next step down is just grunting.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 No thank you, i will keep my Saint. i do not see the advantage here.
  • + 4
 You can shift every time you want.
  • + 4
 Shifting going uphill under full load with absolutely NO failures in this scenario...
No derailleur to beat to high hell...
No chain to stretch... more centered and (possibly) lower CoG for racing...

Those are all benefits to me, but we have to wait for reliability to be metered over a consumer's use, so GIMMIE ONE!
  • - 1
 as a downhill, things like up hill shifting do not matter to me, and for the cost, and availability of a derailleur i'd rather just swap that out should it be damaged. never mind the extra 3.5 pounds this system would add to the bike, and then there is cost.... call me crazy, but i like derailleurs plenty fine.
  • + 3
 I tested it on a parking, I can't tell you if it works great. But it's really silent.
  • + 11
 If you actually read the article you would of noticed the part where it tells you this system weighs the same as a Saint sytstem , and this will pretty much never need replacing , when was the last time you serviced your car gearbox ? Never ? thought so.

Shift gears anytime you want with out pedalling ? yes please.

Not replacing cassette every year ? yeah i'll have some of that.

Not buying a new chain 3 times a year yes please.

Not smashing expensive mechs into rocks and tree stumps , no brainer.
  • - 4
 there is no way a saint mech, and a road cassette weighs 3.5 pounds, and i have friends who are on their 2nd, and 3rd transmissions in their cars... next.
  • + 3
 Chain device , mech , chain , cassette , freehub easy 3.5 lbs. And it sounds like your mates need to learn how to shift gears properly.....not lifting the clutch unill the gear is fully engaged is a good start and making sure it has oil inside is a bonus. Gearboxes are good for 100,000 miles minimum so long as you you can operate a lever and a pedal in coordination and ensure there is oil to keep things moving . Think of the milage a car does weekly , probably more than a DH bike will see in years.
  • - 1
 automatic transmissions, no user error there
  • + 3
 Poorly engineered stuff then , buy european cars instead Smile
  • + 2
 ohh trust me, i will never own a north american car.
  • + 1
 oh my... basic manual S-10 has more than 200k and still feels almost new. But you are right - n/a cars suck, cheap trucks rule.
[Reply]
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