Pinion had their 18-speed gearbox on a number of bikes at the expo's demo area. One transmission was opened up so guests could hand-crank it and shift through the range. The twist shifter feels much improved.
Nicolai had a range of demo bikes featuring the Pinion transmission. Nicolai's 27.5-inch-wheel hardtail had a Gates Carbon Drive cog-belt system, which was very promising for those who are in search of a low-maintenance mountain bike.
The left rear dropout must be removable to allow its owner to change out the belt. Note that the belt has a central groove that lines up with a 'fin' in the sprockets to maintain proper alignment. Nicolai's beautiful dropouts require belt tensioners - like a single-speed drivetrain - but the gearbox-equipped bike has seven more gear options that SRAM's XX1 derailleur-based transmission.
The 160-millimeter all-mountain/enduro model is chain driven and includes a short idler near the crankset to control chain growth as the suspension cycles. Weight is around 30 pounds and it features a RockShox Pike fork and Monarch reservoir shock.
Details of the Nicolai show the adjustable 12/142 millimeter dropouts, the ball-bearing chain guide, and its four-bar rear suspension configuration. The gearbox is well integrated into the chassis and the fact that the sprocket diameters never change, means that chain tension will not affect the suspension differently as its rider shifts through the gears.
Schwalbe's First Ride tire program is only available to its sponsored pro racers and hand-picked members of its prototype testing group. All tires in the program have blue stripes or graphics - like this Magic Mary enduro racing tire.
Oh my. You know you are in Europe when three out of four of your friends show up in Spandex - the very same Spandex.
Nukeproof redesigned its 160-millimeter-travel Mega AM range for 27.5 wheels and announced that it will not be offering 26 inch wheels on any of its built-up bikes for 2014 across the board. Diehard 26er users, however, will be able to purchase Mega AM frames in the 26-inch wheel version - and Nukeproof's DH models will remain 26ers, um, for the time being, they tell us. The Mega AM Pro shown here will run $5149 USD and frames will cost $2339 for either the 27.5 or 26-inch-wheel options.
Nukeproof specs the Mega AM with a SRAM X9 drivetrain and matching Avid brakes. No reason comes to mind why they chose a tall 36-tooth chainring for its two-by-ten transmission We'd rather see a 32-tooth sprocket up front. A look at the Mega AM's single-pivot rear suspension suggests that it is capable of taking a beating without suffering in the least. Suspension is led by the wonderful and new RockShox Pike fork and completed by a Monarch reservoir shock.
The Vivax electric helper motor is concealed in the frame's seat tube - where is it at the ready to give you pro cross-country climbing power to crush your racer-boy buddies without subtracting from your finely-tuned bar-hopping and social networking skills. A bevel gear transfers torque from the silent-running gear-driven motor, to a standard SRAM or Shimano bottom bracket axle. The compact battery can be strapped below the saddle, or hidden discretely in a hydration pack for UCI World Cup competition.
Ortema protection looks like nothing we have seen as of late. The neck supports appear to be very compact and the armored vests is designed to fit close to the body so you won't look like a Marvel Comic character in the lift line. We did wonder, however, if the ping pong ball padding on the knees would pop like packing material when we crashed. We will report back later.
KS has perfected its carbon fiber short-stroke dropper post. The Carbon LEV Integre has a 65-millimeter stroke, internal cable routing and a $579 USD retail price tag. For trail riders who most often ride with their long-stroke droppers in the mid position, the LEV Integre offers more reliable and repeatable performance at a lower weight - reportedly, 400 grams.
You know you are in Europe when you - see how hard clothing makers try to keep spandex in the mainstream. Xbionic clothing is designed to make riders sweat early and thus keep cooler. The colors, cuts and compression panels are vintage Star Trek.
Three massively capable tires from Continental: Der Kaiser 2.5-inch and Der Kaiser Projekt 2.4 inch DH tires and the Der Baron mud spike are proven World Cup performers. Continental is showing up everywhere on elite brands next season.
You know you are in Germany when a custom electric bike maker introduces a revolutionary human-powered version without any form of mechanical assistance. Will Europe be ready to adopt this new technology? Seriously, 3-Element builds a range of e-boosted city and trailbikes, as well as pedal-powered models. The E-Spire 29er here appears to be reverse compatible to its electric drive system.
As a matter of fact, our pedals do grow on trees. Crankbrothers gave away Candy and Eggbeater pedals to Demo riders all day. All you needed to do was test ride the pedals and they were yours. Sweet deal.
Blasphemy? By far, the most popular bike at the Scott demo was this one - an electrified Spark XC dual-suspension machine adapted to the new Bosch electric-assist motor called the i-Spark. It has everything its XC racing sibling has, including a handlebar-remote, travel-adjustable Fox-made 'Nude' shock.
The left-side grip sports an electric control for the Bosch motor-drive.The cranks are over-driven with internal gears that power a Shimano XT derailleur transmission. The rear suspension is the same as its human-powered sibling. With the interest we witnessed at the expo, we expect the i-Spark will sell out before it is shipped to dealers throughout Europe.
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