Staff Rides – Aston's European-Made Nicolai GeoMetron Super Bike

Feb 13, 2018
by Paul Aston  




It's not my intention to kick-start an all-out war in the comments section below over issues such as the global economy or environmental degradation. But I am interested in the concept of buying local; it's a positive thing... it saves on shipping costs, import taxes, fossil fuels, and you have more insight into who produced your products, how they are made and why. Who can argue against that? Actually buying local, however, is often easier said than done. If you want a banana, like really need a banana, and you don't live in Ecuador or Madeira, you aren't going to pop out and buy a bunch from the local farm shop. The same applies with technology, most Westerners want or need a smartphone, but you can't visit your local computer shop and order a custom phone just for you.

Unlike these products, building mountain bikes and components already happens all over the world, though the majority are still produced in Taiwan or China for financial reasons. That said, I have been witnessing a rapidly increasing trend of manufacturing coming back to the EU. We should bear in mind that it was only around twenty to thirty years ago that the rush to the east started. Before that, there were millions of bikes being made in Europe, with a hotbed of activity around Northern Italy and Spain as well as Southern France.

Many companies inspired me to take on this project, fueled by conversations with engineers and manufacturers who were proud of building their own products under their own watchful eyes, instead of conversing over the internet, flying thousands of kilometres back and forth, battling language barriers and calculating long-term inventory and shipping times.

The seed was sown three years ago with the following anecdote: Over dinner, Neil Wilkinson from Superstar Components mentioned that a shipment of his pedals were late by several months. Wilkinson's estimated losses from being out of stock were so large he decided it was better to buy the CNC machine needed and just make his next batch of pedals himself. I won't repeat his numbers, but those machines cost six-figures in anybody's currency.

It got me thinking... Could I build a bike that I actually wanted to ride, entirely manufactured in my home continent, Europe? I'll cut to the chase, I didn't quite wind up with a 100-percent EU-built bike, but the process proved an interesting journey. Here's a low-down on this super-bike, from front to back.


Renthal Ultra-Tacky Push On Grips

So, I thought with all of the 'Made in Great Britain' history of Renthal products that I would just order some grips and a handlebar, and be done with it. Easy. First box ticked, right? Not so fast. It turns out that every straight-gauge bar Renthal has ever made was in the UK, mostly for motorcycles and even BMX race handlebars. When mountain bikers decided they didn't like an MX-style bolt-on crossbar for added strength, we moved to fancy swaged tubes that are thicker at the stem clamping area than the grip area. The production of the FatBar we all know (and subsequently the carbon versions) have all been produced in Asia. Renthal now have a machine to swage tubing for oversize clamping areas in the UK and are making some MX bars, but currently do not have the capacity to add the MTB products to the line.

Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesRenthal grips have always been produced right here in the UK. Wherever possible, we like to manufacture in the UK, allowing us the tightest possible control of production and quality. It also helps speed the development of new products and ensures that our exclusive grip compounds are only ever used to produce Renthal grips.Ian Collins – Cycle Product Marketing Manager

But I could arrange for UK grips. These Renthals are still my favourite grip, and the Ultra-Tacky version in black is grippy as hell – almost bonding to your gloves when riding, they last for ages and have better damping properties than most lock-on grips, plus they are super cheap – less than half the price of their lock-on brothers. The downside of these grips is gluing them on but Renthal's quick drying glue speeds up the process. If you have controls with clamps that allow them to be changed without removing the grips, it's less hassle – less hassle than finding the correct tiny Allen key for the lock on clamps, digging packed dirt out of the bolt head with a needle, and then still rounding off the bolt head...



Magura MT-T Brakes

Paul Aston European Bike

The Magura MT-7 brakes are some of the most powerful stoppers out there. This MT-T is Tibor Simai signature edition version. Simai is a long-standing Magura athlete and general all-around German bike legend. Tibor opted for the HC3 lever, all black with chrome decals to match the polished calipers with mint-green caps, which can be swapped to other colours to customize your ride. The MT-T is a great brake, and I opted for 180mm rotors front and rear to try and keep things simple and avoid silly-sized mountain bike brake mounts and extra bolts. Originally, I was told that the brakes are made entirely in Germany, but after more investigation, I found the calipers are formed in Taiwan, at Magura's own facility. Close but no cigar, I could have gone with a number of other Euro options like Hope, TrickStuff, or Formula which are machined in the EU.

Paul Aston European Bike
Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesIn 2011 we started to build a new facility in Hengen, nearby our headquarters in Bad Urach, Germany. The reason why is that Magura's owner wanted to guarantee our employees' jobs here. As you know, Magura has a long tradition and we will have our 125-year jubilee in 2018. Magura is not a start-up company, but a company with long-term values: knowledge, engineering, Swabian and success. Nevertheless, we also have a high-level of knowledge in our value chain. As you might know, we produce our brakes on our own. Most of the parts for either powersports or bicycles come from our own composite production nearby. This is also one of several reasons to commit to the German factory location. Short delivery distances and having the technology, engineering, R+D, and production close together make life easier and more effective.

Concerning the MT-T brake we have the perfect collaboration of our Magura factories in Asia and Hengen, in the end we say "made in Germany" because the final assembly is in Hengen. The caliper is delivered from Asia to Germany, the master cylinder is produced itself in Germany, The mounting is done by our German facility. The HC3 lever comes from our facility in Asia and is also mounted in our high-end products. One of the most interesting and most efficient things is, that on one hand, we have our own delivery partner - Magura Asia, and our own assembly facility in Hengen. This is important to combine cost control, delivery control, supply chain and in the end keeping the high-level knowledge in-house.
Götz Braun – Head of Marketing



Intend Grace Stem, Stiffmaster Headset and Edge Fork

Paul Aston European Bike

The Intend Edge is a single crown, upside down fork that is made to order by Intend in Germany. Sounds expensive, doesn't it? But at €1749 the Edge is not massively out of reach for some riders... or at least it's in line with some other top-tier forks on the market. In fact, retail price in Europe for a RockShox Boxxer can be over €2000. With 166mm of travel, a downhill standard 110mm x 20mm axle and running on Bionol veg-based oil, this fork is a rare beast. Also, it won't turn up in a pretty box. It's more likely to arrive in a recycled box from another brand, packed with used materials or kitchen sponges that will help keep the dishes clean for months to come. On paper, the fork is the stiffest single crown on the market fore to aft, but the most flexible torsionally. The Edge has plenty of other noteworthy features, and the initial rides were interesting. A full review is in the works.

Paul Aston European Bike
Paul Aston European Bike

I also invented the Stiffmaster headset, and cunningly let it be patented and go into production without any financial benefit to myself. Well, that's not strictly true; after a long conversation with Cornelius about why I think a triple crown fork is so much more confidence inspiring than a single crown, I placed the blame at the top of the steerer tube and stem/headset junction for flexing too much, especially with modern wide handlebars. I think I said, "If only there was a way to fix that," and I could see Cornelius' brain cogs start to turn. A few weeks later he sent me a sample that he had already designed and patented. So what does it do? By using an axial needle bearing on top of a standard headset bearing, a clamping top bearing cap, and conical spacers, the Stiffmaster increases stiffness at the top of the entire steerer tube junction, which should lend a more accurate feeling, like a dual crown fork with a direct mount stem. Intend are currently doing some lab testing and initial reports show a 38% increase in stiffness.

The Grace stem is another beautifully and lovingly-crafted product which is 82 grams light. The downside is that the maximum handlebar rise is only 20mm due to the way it is installed into the two-bolt design.

Paul Aston European Bike
Having to use that thin gold Trickstuff (made in Germany) spacer nearly killed me with OCD, but I didn't want to cut the steerer any shorter.

bigquotesManufacturing my parts here in Germany makes it possible for me to make small series with a very high quality, and to have a great partnership with my suppliers. Shipping times and prices for customers are low and that's a real benefit. For my business size, it would not be possible to visit a supplier in Taiwan or simply call them if there are problems. Here in Germany, I have a direct wire to the milling and lathing company, and that is worth it.Cornelius Kapfinger – Everything at Intend



Nicolai Mojo GeoMetron GPI Frame

Paul Aston European Bike

Finding a European-made frame was the easiest task. There are many brands to choose from including medium-sized brands like Orange or Nicolai, smaller niche companies like Ancillotti, Starling, BTR, MDE, as well as many custom frame builders that can weld something to order.

I really liked the downhill performance of the Ion GPI with the Pinion drivetrain I tested two years ago, and wanted more. I bought this used frame off Mojo, which was an ex-GeoMetron test rig. I love the sizing, slack head tube and steep seat tube. Every time I ride it, I wonder why it's taking so many other brands so long to catch on. This frame is around three years old now.

In the words of the wise Ol' Dirty Bastard, "Ooh baby I like it raw." The raw frame saves money and chemicals on paint or anodizing, and you can leave it to weather naturally, brush it for a matte effect or polish it to a mirror. The best part is that scratching your paint becomes a thing of the past and you can buff out any marks. The worst part? Polishing the frame and then it oxidizing the next time it gets wet.

bigquotesWe used a European supplier because I've always been suspicious of the reasons for going to Taiwan to get stuff made... it's essentially cheaper because there's not so much protection and remuneration for the workers and less environmental protection. I quite like people and our planet! It's cheaper to buy but the planet pays and so do the workers... they essentially subsidize our cheap Taiwanese frames (and the expensive ones made by the same people in the same factories... Factories which don't have logos you would recognize as a 'bike company') I also like to work with local people 'cos I'm not a fan of planes and shipping things in them! Not sustainable... Nicolai have been great with us, very brave! Kalle and the crew have the skills needed to make bikes here in the EU, use 'em or lose 'em (that goes for the EU too)...Chris Porter – GeoMetron Bikes

Paul Aston European Bike

Paul Aston European Bike
Paul Aston European Bike

Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesNicolai is not a bike company; it is a rare species of frame manufacturer with 100% in-house production. And “in-house” can be taken literally in this case. Up until today, the entire Nicolai staff, thus all skills but also the entire machinery, have been located in a reconstructed farmhouse from the 19th century. And how could it be otherwise? Kalle lives in this house with his family as well. This local production is eco-friendly and creates a unique working atmosphere.

Working from home is one reason why Nicolai and his team of engineers, welders, mechanics, and racers are always ahead of the pack when it comes to cutting-edge technology. Nicolai is a pioneer in matters of gearbox technology, belt drive integration and a revolutionary new geometry approach called GeoMetron and described as our “Geolution”. One could think that innovative power and success would inevitably go hand in hand with the material carbon. But for Nicolai, aluminium offers a wide range of advantages: Only aluminium frames can be 100% customized, modified subsequently, up-cycled and reused infinitely. Instead of hydroforming, which is now part of the mainstream, Nicolai banks on straight tubes, almost out-of-space CNC-milled gussets and rocker arms.

“As of spring 2018, we will move to a bigger factory,” Kalle tells me proudly. “With that step, we can make progress in manufacturing technology, run more 5-axis CNC milling machines, start using robot welding and metal printing.” The new home will not be located at an infrastructural hotspot in a new building, but only a few kilometres away from the headquarters in a rural area, a factory restored by Nicolai.
Vincent Stoyhe – Nicolai Marketing



EXT Storia LOK Shock

Paul Aston European Bike

Another thing of beauty. Extreme Racing Shox hail from a motorsports background and have been making mountain bike dampers for a few years. Made in Vicenza, Italy, the Storia LOK features high and low-speed compression adjustment, rebound and the LOK lever for pedalling that closes a separate compression circuit from the general damping circuit.

It looks like something that you could find on an F1 or WRC rally car and comes at a price that may offset the ten-bucks I saved on the lock-on grips. €799 + taxes puts this around four figures depending on where you live, but every unit is built to order for you and your bike.

Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesManufacturing in Europe represents a significant part of EXT Racing Shox philosophy. It provides high-skilled partners and enables us to produce technologies that meet our needs. Firstly, we are a racing company and building here allows us to have everything under control within a maximum 100km range. This helps to constantly improve our technologies and products. It's better to source a component from a manufacturer who is aware of this knowledge and puts high-class craftsmanship in order to deliver a totally high-end and dedicated racing product. We strongly believe in Italian quality and innovations.Daniele Addamo – EXT Marketing



Pinion P1.12 Gearbox

Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesA number of my fellow editors have asked, "Wait, isn't the maintenance-free and super-reliable thing supposed to be the big selling point with gearboxes?"Paul Aston

There are a few reasons why I wanted to build this Pinion bike. First is that the lack of general maintenance is fantastic. Second, I wanted to try it with a chain drive, since I have only used them with a Gates belt in the past. Third, Pinion makes 155mm crank arms. I was interested in trying super short cranks after reading some articles about power generation and why some cyclists in other sports such as triathlon are experimenting with super short cranks. I still haven't come to any solid conclusions on crank length, other than this: Nobody knows why 175mm is the 'standard' in the first place.

There are some downsides to the Pinion of course, like added weight and friction. Oh, and the grip shift-style selector. And I had a few mechanical issues that have severely limited my time on this bike so far. To be blunt, one day the gears stopped selecting properly and I had to send the box back to Pinion for a service, which took a few weeks to turnaround, including shipping.

A number of my fellow editors have asked, "Wait, isn't the 'maintenance-free and super-reliable' thing supposed to be the big selling point with gearboxes?" My response? I still like them and this problem would be solved if they were more mainstream and had a bigger dealer network. But, let's get back to the bike in question. Upon completion of this current build, I snapped two chainrings on two consecutive rides powering up some steep climbs. I put this down to a different location of the jockey wheel tensioners. After moving back to my original setting, I have had no further issues with the chainring, but have been losing the chain. Pinion are about to release some heavier-duty rings aimed towards more extreme types of riding – I think I will go back to the silent belt drive.

Paul Aston European Bike
Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesA Pinion gearbox consists of more than 140 pieces. Each piece is designed and developed by our engineers at our headquarters in Denkendorf, near Stuttgart (GER). As you can imagine, every single piece must work 100%. Otherwise, the precision of the following 139 pieces is useless… For the production of the components, we rely on our regional network of suppliers in Germany. Most of them are regional and we really appreciate to have it the “short way”.

Our gearbox is 100% “Made in Germany”. Our aim was to transfer the technology from a car to a bike. As you know, the German automobile industry is at the top level. Our partners are medium-sized companies that have been working to the standards of the automobile industries for decades. The outstanding quality of the suppliers in the automobile industry is a big advantage for us.
Andrea Escher – Pinion Marketing



Connex 7R8 Chain

Paul Aston European Bike


Connex by Wipperman has been making chains in Hagen, Germany, since 1893. SRAM also produce most of their chains in Portugal, so that would have been another option. I went for the Connex 7R8 single speed chain that should be thicker and tougher than multi-speed chains and it's nickel-plated for corrosion resistance.



Superstar Nano Pedals

Paul Aston European Bike

Most UK riders are familiar with Superstar Components. Starting in his bedroom, Neil Wilkinson was buying brake pads in bulk from Asia and selling four pairs for £20 earlier this century – a quarter of the price of big-branded counterparts. Since then, a lot has changed and Superstar is now a massive operation in Lincoln, North East England. They have some big news coming soon and I can't divulge too much, but they have slowly been acquiring more and more machines and adding more UK-made products to their line. This pair of Nano pedals was one of the first ever created by their UK machine and has lived on many of my bikes – they always seem to be there for me when I need them. A big platform, supplied with short (8mm) and long (10mm) pins and a quality finish. The Nanos have taken plenty of abuse and still spin smoothly. Their downfall has been knocking the pins out along with the threads from the alloy body. At £49.99 they are probably the best value EU component on the whole bike.

bigquotesWe've started manufacturing in the UK as the bike industry and market has changed drastically over the past five years. Venture capital funds have invested money, big brands have been content with making losses to win market share and it’s slowly killing off the direct sale of re-badged catalog goods. Where once we were pioneers, now we’re one of many, and we knew we had to change and make ourselves stand out from the crowd of catalog part pushers. Coupled with this, lead times were causing a nightmare for stock control and the fall of the pound against the dollar left us high and dry. So we changed. We invested. We brought the manufacturing in-house, and we did something different.Neil Wilkinson – Superstar Components Owner



Hope Hubs

Paul Aston European Bike

The EU has hubs covered, and the choice of Hope is probably a less exciting choice than some of the more exotic options out there such as Tune, Acros, or Spada. Then again, Hope's hubs are trusted by thousands, they are simple and easy to source parts for. I was looking for a hub that could work with 15mm and 20mm axles at the front, and I wanted a single-speed option for the 142mm rear hub, to give symmetrical spoke spacing and have some leeway for adjusting the chain line. The Trials/SS hub from Hope features a four-pawl ratchet with 88 teeth of engagement, giving a 4.1º pickup. This is half as much as standard Hope hubs, which I thought could speed up the connection considering the extra slack added by the Pinion freewheel to the system - and the clicky sound is even nicer. Hope explain that their billets come from Italy, the pawls are made in the UK and the bearings are from Schaeffler in Germany.

Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesOutsourcing our production has never been an option. Initially, it was probably due to the facts that all we knew, but over the years we’ve become passionate about keeping things “in-house”. This approach ensures we have control over every aspect of the design and production of our components, from the quality control in every process, through to knowing all our employees work under ethical conditions. We can also guarantee that 100% of our metal waste is recycled and, although small at the moment we’re looking to do the same in our carbon production.Alan Weatherill – Sales and Marketing Manager



Mavic EX830 Rims and Claw Pro XL Front Tire

Paul Aston European Bike

I haven't built any wheels in years, so I thought I should refresh my skills and lace these up myself. When I finally completed the bike build, I headed out for the first ride, brimming with stoke. The dream was over by the second rock when I split the rear tire and set about trying to plug and patch it back together. It was at this point that I saw the 'Made in China' small print and nearly launched the entire bike off the side of the mountain I was descending.

It turns out there was some miscommunication between Mavic and myself, which is explained by Michel below. Anyway, the Mavics are now built up and on the bike. But I chose these rims as they are alloy, cost €75 and look nice in anodized black. If you have problems burping tubeless tires, then these rims are for you. Getting tires on them was very tough, though they are built to ETRTO accurate standards, but once they are installed you will have no further problems (maybe I was unlucky with tire choice but tried four different tires). The softly-tensioned spokes and alloy rims are forgiving, plus they track, absorb and grip superbly.

The Claw Pro XL Front tire is interesting and needs more testing if the ground ever gets softer and damper on my local trails – winter has been too kind recently. Sam Hill used this tire last year to win the EWS, so it must be a decent all-rounder. On hardpack and rocks it's sketchier than a dedicated dry tire, but in medium conditions, it feels safe with a very controlled breakaway. The casing is also tough, though it's not a downhill tire and weighs in at around the 900-gram mark.

Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesSince 1966 our rims are produced in our Saint Trivier Sur Moignans factory, France. Everything is designed in Annecy and then shipped to Romania for assembly – these are 'rims for wheels.' Some basic rims are produced in China under our control when the production process is very simple (pin joint, welded) and when no additional Mavic technology is involved such as ISM4D, Exalith treatment, Fore drilling or others.

Some years ago, we started producing a few road rim models in China. Only the low-end models to avoid any transfer of technology and know-how. This is to reduce lead times and shipping for our Asian-based OEM customers and to reduce the cost for entry-level products. Since 2016, most of our MTB rims are manufactured there too, due to a lack of resources in our French plant, capacity here is used to produce 'rims for wheels' for our high-end models. In 2019, most MTB rims will be produced again in our St Trivier plant as we are currently investing to produce more here.

We want to manufacture in Europe to manage our process from A to Z. France is the home of Mavic since 1889. Manufacture d’Articles Vélocipédiques Idoux and Chanel = MAVIC
Michel Lethenet – Mavic Communication



Hutchinson Toro Rear Tire

Paul Aston European Bike

Hutchinson has been making tires in France since 1890 and is the only bicycle tire producer in France, and produce tires on Mavic's behalf. The relationship with Mavic and Hutchinson goes way back to '99 when the brands developed the UST system together along with Michelin – a system I think has been overlooked in the industry, despite the collaborators trying to make it a standard from day one. Why do I think it has been overlooked? It is not a perfect solution, but it is the only tire and rim system to date that is designed to work in unity – the square locking beads of the rim and tire match each other, both are airtight so no sealant is needed, allowable bead stretch is measured and all of the above need to comply with independent lab testing to be allowed the UST badge. Basically, the UST system solved most of the tubeless problems that people still suffer from today nearly twenty years ago. Anyway, flying off on tangents aside, this tire isn't even a UST version and Hutchinson didn't have the 2.4" size available when I needed it. I opted for the 2.25" option which I split nearly resulting in the thrown bike mentioned above.

I am looking forward to getting the size I needed soon, as I have been impressed by the Toro on short test rides in the past.



DT Swiss Competition Spokes and Squorx Pro Lock Nipples

Paul Aston European Bike

I have had great success with DT Swiss wheels in the past. I chose the Squorx Pro Head Lock nipples as they can seemingly be set at any tension and retain it. I like to loosen the tension off on most wheels from stock, but this can lead to wheels falling apart quickly and needing constant tensioning. The Pro Lock nipples just stay in place and never seize. These spokes were made at the original DT Swiss plant in Biel, Switzerland, and the nipples are from DT's plant in Poland.

bigquotesStarting with the foundation of the United Wireworks 1634, just one mile away from the place where the DT Swiss Headquarter is located today. The home base in Biel, Switzerland is part of our DNA. Nevertheless, to meet the requirements of the big bicycle producers, as an internationally operating company we need to adapt ourselves. That means that we have production plants outside of Switzerland, like in Taiwan, USA and Poland, too.

But especially when it comes to R&D, we find the best conditions here in Europe. Which means the product management, the engineering department and the test laboratories are located in Switzerland. The same is true as well for a big part of the spoke production and the production of reduced and bladed spokes.
Friso Lorscheider – DT Swiss Marketing



Vecnum moveLOC 200mm Dropper Post

Paul Aston European Bike

I am more than comfortable riding with a 150mm dropper, but there are many riders who have a shorter inseam than me and swear by a 150mm drop or more, so I thought I should get a 200mm drop post and get used to riding it. The only other options I am aware of in the same length is from Canadian brand 9.8. Eight Pins offer one too, but it's frame specific. The Vecnum moveLOC does not offer infinite adjustment; instead, it has presets at 0mm, 40mm, 100mm, and 200mm. So far, I don't mind forgoing the infinite adjustment. It's great to have the full height for efficient pedalling and then drop it 40mm for more technical climbing. Yes, I know this is possible with an infinite adjust, but it is also handy to have it click into a habitual place each time.

Probably the best feature of this massive post is that, if I were ordering a custom version of this frame, I could knock about 150mm off the seat tube height, lower the top tube and transform it from something that would be well camouflaged against a prison gate into a racey little number.

Paul Aston European Bike
Paul Aston European Bike

0% Loaded prev 1/5 next


bigquotesManufacturing in our own facilities in Germany, for us, is just much more advantageous compared to manufacturing in Asia or elsewhere. The main reasons here are ease of innovation and quality control. Having design, engineering, and manufacturing under one roof allows very fast innovation cycles from the start of an idea to the finished product. Also, having direct control over manufacturing and assembly without third-parties involved guarantees our high standards regarding product quality and customer service.

Our products are 100% designed, engineered, manufactured and assembled in southern Germany in our own facilities. However, we still source some of our raw materials, such as aluminium blanks, from Asia.
Matthias – Vecnum Marketing


66Sick Espacio Libre Saddle

Paul Aston European Bike

66Sick is a German-based brand offering the Espacio Libre saddle in two different (129mm and 144mm) widths to suit your sit bones. Made in Italy by Selle Italia, the triple layer foam construction is comfy enough for long rides but I found the covering to be slippery with some of my riding short materials. 66Sick have just updated the cover material and are sending a new version over to check out.

bigquotesYes, our saddles are made 100% made in Italy! Our cooperation with Selle Italia provides us with access to highest production quality standards and decades of experience in the saddle industry. It is a great pleasure to work with the industry market leader as our unique saddle shaping and design aspirations require passion and commitment from my whole team and all business partners to deliver a truly perfect end product to our customer. I personally review the quality of every saddle before it leaves our warehouse in Germany. Italy is not like overseas, it is just around the corner, which makes communication and collaboration much more efficient.Sascha Meyenborg – CEO



Paul Aston European Bike

bigquotesWhen you first pose the question about whether or not a product is from the EU, the initial answer will be an assertive "Yes," but after digging deeper you find that it's not always 100% true.Paul Aston

Conclusion

My biggest defeat was being beaten by the handlebar. I could have gone carbon with handlebars made in Germany, including BikeAhead Composites or Tune, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. With all of that glorious raw aluminum on display here, I wanted to keep this machine alloy all the way. I like this old Kore bar that came on my girlfriend's second-hand bike – it's 800mm wide with a 15mm rise. It was also one of the few bars that I had that would fit into the Intend Grace stem (the clamp design doesn't allow you to fit a high rise bar). Of course, you could probably nitpick a few more bits and pieces on the bike as not being truly EU-built. The rear sprockets were borrowed from an old cassette and not every single bolt or pedal pin is made in the EU, and materials are sourced from different places, but sometimes you just have to publish the article!

I also learned this: When you first pose the question about whether or not a product is from the EU, the initial answer will be an assertive "Yes," but after digging deeper you find that it's not always 100% true. Things like pedal pins, bearings and seals often come from elsewhere in the world. Superstar conceded, for instance, that their axles are made by a specialist in Asia. The same cold-forged product can be made in the UK, but the minimum order of one million plus makes it impossible to go EU-built on that small piece of the puzzle.

Finally, I found that just because something is made in the EU it doesn't necessarily mean it will be of a higher quality or perform better than products from the East. It also doesn't mean it will be in stock, arrive on time and or be impossible to break. Oh, and aside from the grips and pedals, it probably ain't going to be cheap either – excluding the handlebar, the bike as it stands is a few Euro's short of five figures.

Is it any good? Well, of course, I love it, I have to after I just spent six months building the damn thing. I've had a few rides on it so far and have been blown away by the grip and downhill performance, though, not so much in the other direction. I will be tweaking the setup to make it more lively in the middle ground, I think I can easily sacrifice some of the traction and still be well within my limits but speed things up where grip is not needed. Expect more in-depth reviews of many of the components in the future as I get more time on them.


290 Comments

  • + 308
 Gearbox broke, chainrings broke, and the chain comes off... You should try a derailleur! I hear they work pretty well Wink
  • + 14
 ^comin' out swinging! Keep stirring.....
  • + 64
 Gearboxes are the future. Maintenance free, less rotational weight, free sexual favours. Don't you read the Pinkbike comments Mike?
  • + 31
 Derailleurs work great until some random rock rips it off or bends it into a pretzel.
  • + 34
 @Boardlife69: At least derailleurs work until then... this gearbox didn't even need a rock. Wink
  • + 17
 @Boardlife69: Nothing pounces like a rock in its natural habitat

but now I want a pretzel...so thanks for that
  • - 27
flag enrico650 (Feb 13, 2018 at 8:43) (Below Threshold)
 #FUGLY
  • + 6
 European derailleur? You mean Acros?
  • + 3
 Not to mention the chain runs too close to the chain stay, probably tons of chainslap !
  • + 12
 @Patrick9-32: Sex and gearboxes do NOT go together. Ow.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: that's a mechanical problem the nut behind the controls
  • + 93
 @mikelevy you’re just grumpy someone built a wackier staff ride than yours.
  • + 20
 I think Im gunna wait until the Germans include a little munchkin in lederhosen who pops out of your gearbox whenever it needs service. Feed him some beer & pretzels, fixes the gearbox and then pops right back in and shuts the door.
  • + 1
 HAHA yup. Everything breaks. Stick with what's easy to fix. Or just don't use it...that should keep it in one piece.
  • + 25
 when @mikelevy comments like a pinkbiker and not an employee
  • + 9
 Strap it to the mini and post a pic.
  • - 10
flag endlessblockades (Feb 13, 2018 at 10:16) (Below Threshold)
 @Patrick9-32: I hate the idea of a gearbox.
  • + 4
 @Boardlife69: But you can remove them or bypass them and ride home. Try that with a seized gearbox.
  • + 1
 @Patrick9-32: Friction box!
  • + 12
 If we started out with gearboxes, we would be overjoyed at the prospect of derailleurs. User-serviceable, light weight, out in the open and easy to work on, low friction, easy gearing changes, adjustable on the trail...
  • + 5
 Thats a sick build, every detail. It looks like a Sherman tank, curious how much weight that rig set you back? Either way probably last a lifetime and plow thru just about anything. Also curious if that fork has the dreaded flex, specially on tech off cambers that many other inverted forks suffer from? Straight forward they are great, and this one looks extra beefy.
  • + 3
 @ccolagio: I am a Pinker, though Smile
  • + 7
 @brianpark: At least mine is functional ????
  • + 1
 @Beez177: Too much ChainSlap is never enough!

chainslapmag.com
  • + 5
 I set up my zerode with a pinion gearbox a year ago, im due to change the oil but other than that haven't changed or touched it since I set it up, same cables too lol
  • + 1
 Maybe you should do this build on a normal GEOMETRON set up single speed. See if you can feel the 7 lbs savings on the hill. Would also cost a crap load less and be well the most reliable......
  • + 0
 @FarmeR57: All that and you can shift under load!
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: lol . Wait, didn't you have to skip several parts to keep it below budget? Or are we discussing a different bike? Wink
  • + 1
 @mikelevy: so you are doing functional biking now? Is this what trail riding is? Enduro was crossfit and trail riding is functional training? Fatbiking is pilates, that would be it.
  • + 2
 @mikelevy: great shirt slogan... with your user name on the rear. I would buy that.
  • + 5
 Might the gearbox issues be related to the fact its a 3 year old ex-demo frame???
  • - 1
 @Ride-More: don't be a Big-S-Tard
  • + 0
 @Boardlife69: It´s called "Brezel" with "B" and without "t" !
  • + 1
 @scvkurt03: they do. I've seen it on pornhub. A friend showed it me. Honest.
  • + 40
 Can we talk about the head angle for a minute?
  • + 19
 Yeah, or a video of the author carving a few tight but fast corners on that contraption..
  • + 11
 I'd say we can talk about it for approximately 3780 minutes...
  • + 7
 I really want to ride this ugly-ass bike.
  • + 10
 How the heck are you suppose to ride it??? On your stomach, superman style??
  • + 7
 @bonkywonky:

Not exactly this bike, but the pole he’s doing these on is pretty long/slack too...

instagram.com/p/BOS310pBRQV
  • + 15
 What I want to know is how slack can a head angle get before dorks start breaking? There must be a limit where a typical single crown fork like a 36 wants to flex upwards on something like a flat drop.
  • + 1
 @husstler: thats exactly what i was thinking.
  • + 4
 @husstler: Dorks break on the forums at below 65 degrees. On bikes, other that dh race bikes, the limit about the same in my experience. Not because of forks (not dorks) flexing or anything like that, but the steering just becomes too unresponsive for slow riding.
  • + 3
 @hirvi: Ha! Autocorrect!

There has to be a design limit though where a fork no longer has the structure to resist bending.
  • + 3
 @euan91m: I don’t think that vid is a good way to say these things will go around corners. If that’s somebodies idea of getting around corners I worry about the ‘experts’ who’re promoting this ridiculous geometry tbh.
If you’ve ever gone from a slack head angle (single crown) to a steeper one there are several benefits of the steeper one. Bushing bind being one. Trail bikes don’t travel at the velocity of DH bikes where slacker angles will be more benefit than hindrance, you can reverse that for a trail bike. I can’t believe people are making trail bikes with these mental angles tbh. It’s rubbish. And reduced offset? What. The. Flip!? All things I’d want the absolute opposite of.
  • + 4
 @husstler: I remember reading an interview with Greg Marsh (Minnar's mechanic) who was saying that in their testing they started having serious problems with the fork binding/flexing at around a 63 degree head-angle
  • + 33
 gold spacer bothered your OCD, but random red pedals didn't?? hmmm, you must be self diagnosed
  • + 26
 That stem is gorgeous.....
  • + 6
 The shock too!!
  • + 11
 That fork....Want.
  • + 1
 @SlodownU: Can we discuss the name of that headset for a minute?
  • + 20
 That is a Dreambike right there. I would have picked Trickstuff brakes, i can't stand those cheap looking plastic Maguras...

Anyway, I'm looking forward to your in depth articles about all this bike porn.

And i'm crazy jealous right now, you sodding B......

Smile
  • + 17
 Fork me, that Intend Edge is sexy.
  • + 4
 I highly recommend following him on facebook (dunno if he's on any other platforms) - he gives good insight in his development and why he does things the way he does them. Very interesting reads and - as far as I can tell - free from marketing-BS. True no-nonsense products from a rider for riders. If I had the money I'd be happy to throw it in his direction (what a sight that would be, a fork that costs more than the rest of my bike Big Grin )
  • - 1
 @wowbagger: perhaps the fork should cost more than the rest of your bike? I mean it’s responibke for the all your front end grip. Shock comes second I guess then other very important things like brakes. Why we’re being asked to pay circa £2k for a frame is insane to me (perhaps particularly if it looks like they just bought it from a farmers market...and is literally just a way of connecting all the necessary parts). Take out £600 tops for the shock....is the rest worth more than all the development and intricacy of suspension (arguments about plastic toy parts in Rockshox products aside)...? Some butted tubes, bearings, a piece of cnc’d billet? What exactly am I paying for here? Welds?
  • + 16
 How am I going to explain this wet spot on my pants to my co-workers?
  • + 23
 Do you also have struggles with the water dish? I have not been able to find a way to not get the water all over myself and the floor and then my co workers crotches afterwards, too.
  • + 14
 Tell them you were masturbating and came all over the place. They wont believe you even if its true.
  • + 5
 I am at this point of a year where I look at Emily Battys instagram feed with her selfie next to a trail head of a singletrack and I think to myself: I cannot believe that I am saying it, but can you please remove yourself from that beatiful view...
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: Ha ha. I was at a car show where there was an extremely gorgeous model parading around the (then) new Lamborghini Murcielago. Guys kept asking her to move out of their shot.
  • + 1
 @charmiller "Incontinence" should do it.
  • + 9
 I was trying to think if this concept could be carried over to a North American made build... Seems to me we'd not be able to source tires, brakes, the complete drive train (excepting cranks and BB), saddle... Not sure if there are riser bars made in N.A. or not.
  • + 1
 I was thinking the same thing and I dont think its possible at this point.
  • + 10
 Go all Canadian. Just use We Are One rims for everything
  • + 6
 Paul Klamper brakes Selle anatomica saddle Thomson bars Paul components derailleur
  • + 3
 If you went single speed you could probably do drivetrain...
  • + 1
 Profile Racing creates MTB and BMX spec crankset in Florida.
  • + 3
 @srhrider07: Just looked into it a little and Thomson's bars are actually made in Taiwan. As are their droppers. Can't trust anybody these days.
  • + 1
 tried years ago.. tires, chain, brakes were the problems..
  • + 1
 Precision Billet rear derailleurs... made in Toronto.
  • + 2
 Enve DH risers are not made N.A.?

edit, nevermind, just wheels...
  • + 3
 @HairyPotter: I think 9point8 still makes their dropper posts in Canada
  • + 1
 White Industries makes cranks and BBs here in California. They also made an awesome 8sp derailleur back in the day but it commands a lot of money because of retrogrouch types - dirtragmag.com/blast-from-the-past-white-industries-linear-motion-derailleur-system
  • + 12
 Holy shit that is the slackest head angle i have ever seen
  • + 8
 I only ride PARK!
  • + 2
 Check out the steepest seat tube angle you have also ever seen.
  • + 10
 Hope provides most of the build spec too. Props for adding some different manufacturers to the mix.
  • + 7
 I LOVE THESE ARTICLES ABOUT MANUFACTURING AND LOCAL BIKE PARTS AND THE IMPACT OF OUR BIKES ETC.!!!!!!! Keep them coming. Also, I would like an intend fork. When building my bike, I used EU and U.S. made parts aside from my dropper, handlebars, and cassette (after I blew through 2 Hope cassettes) (and used crank and rear mech/shifter, which is nicer to my wallet, and the planet).
  • + 9
 Hey Paul, should I continue waiting for your review of the Fast Suspension Holy Grail or was that idea scrapped?
www.instagram.com/p/BQVA5ZGhAkd/?taken-by=astonator
  • + 7
 @Blablablup123: Please don't wait any longer! The shock was way overdamped for me and it went back for tuning after a couple of rides. I never got it back in the end, but was speaking to Fast recently and we are hopefully going to arrange something this year. Thanks
  • + 4
 @paulaston: Thanks for the reply!
  • + 8
 Bought a 2-year old second-hand Nicolai frame myself, it rides better than brand-new mass-market frames I tested. Would love to find a second-hand Intend fork now lol
  • + 10
 Holy Shit those welds are beautiful
  • + 1
 Yep really nice stacks of dimes.
  • + 4
 I love this build. So much better than seeing the same components on a different frame over and over and over again. Hell half of the parts on this build I have never even heard of. It might not be as "pretty" as a new Yeti but damn it's a great looking bike.
  • + 4
 That's a beautiful bike. The welds are incredible. 66Sick saddle is a standout, song with that headset. Tell them to keep making the slick saddle for us downhillers, that profile looks nice on it too.
  • + 8
 That dropper porn gif.
  • + 2
 Now if Vecnum would only ship that post to the US so we could start making our own 200mm seatpost porn.
  • + 2
 @angelfuk: They ship to Canada, unfortunately not to the US because of liability law reasons. I got myself one with the help of a german friend, it's absolutely flawless, best dropper I had so far.
  • + 3
 Nice build. The details about where parts are sourced was great. It is pretty shocking that the west has lost the ability to even do some manufacturing processes anymore because almost all manufacturing has been moved to Asia.
  • + 6
 Hope makes carbon bars: "100% designed, tested and manufactured in Barnoldswick UK"
  • + 5
 There are a few brands that make carbon bars in the EU, including Hope, BikeAhead and (I think) Tune. But as everything on the bike is alloy I wanted to keep it that way. Also, I have seen many more snapped carbon handlebars than alloy and I can't imagine a bar snapping is fun.
  • - 1
 @paulaston: I'm going with the Acros handlebars for my build, they seem to get a very decent wrap.
  • + 7
 @paulaston: snapped carbon anything? you sure??? cause everyone knows carbon is x% stronger, lighter and lasts forever, as seen in the last carbon vs aluminum article
  • + 3
 Carbon has its place, but handle bars ain't it.
Just plain stupid IMO.
I mean, why would you risk that much to save 50g?
  • + 5
 @IllestT: It's not about weight savings, it's about damping with carbon bars. They are much better on the hands.
  • + 1
 @dualsuspensiondave: not so good on the face when they snap though. I just don't see why anyone would risk it
  • + 1
 @dualsuspensiondave: push on grips
  • + 2
 @dualsuspensiondave: Try Spank Vibrocore
  • + 2
 @paulaston:
I have had an Italian aluminum handlebar break on my road bike. It is not a pleasant experience...
  • + 2
 @IllestT: I've seen them break from wrecking hard into a tree or when slamming the bar itself into rocks, but never heard of that happening. More likely to "die in a car crash" scenario. Really doesn't happen with really good carbon DH rated handlebars.
  • + 0
 @dualsuspensiondave: Depends on the bar, the 35mm Easton Havocs I had were stupid stiff.I got rid of them.
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: For sure. I've yet to run a 35mm bar and have heard that many times. My 31.8 SixC and Enve DH bars were awesome. Thinking about giving the Renthal Fatbar Carbon a shot as I love the sweep on the aluminum one I have but the vibration in comparison is awful.
  • + 1
 @dualsuspensiondave:
Iv got a Renthal carbon and a sixc.
I prefer the sixc for vibration Comfort by quite a bit. Renthal is to stiff IMHO. Agree the Renthal has the nicer shape and sweep tho
  • + 2
 @dualsuspensiondave: really Dave? holy cow, where you been man? carbon bars break all the freaking time! in my group of mates and acquaintances (bike shop guys, local elite riders, which ain't me) at least 4 RF Sixc bars broken last year alone. an not from impacts. one guy was bunnyhopping and it broke when he pulled UP! i agree totally, they shouldn't because in theory they should be way way stronger, but there it is, frequent broken bars. cranksets and handlebars, no place for carbon if you look at the failures.
  • + 1
 @jamesbrant: 100% agree.
Admittedly I have never snapped a carbon bar, but only because I've never used one. I have however bent 2 heavy duty aluminium bars, 1 of which wasn't even from crashing, just a new jump so crash-test-dummy, over shot it by miles, flat landing mainly on the front wheel, both sides of the bar bent downwards. But it didn't snap so I'm not eating through a straw
  • + 0
 @IllestT: Damping mostly
  • + 3
 @paulaston millions of bikes are still made in europe today... many major Asia assemblers are investing in factories in europe right now... labor costs in china and europe are not so far apart any longer and the lead time, shipping, and import duty situation combine to make it very attractive to make bikes in europe... imagine that!
  • + 5
 Not going to lie, it looks 9/10 of the way to being a perfect bike in my opinion.
  • + 3
 To all of the small companies doing things your own way, keep it up. To all the people buying said products, keep it up. I imagine it would be challenging to go up against the big players but I'm glad you do.
  • + 2
 It cannot be more obvious than this bike shows it. This entire uber-low-long-slack trend shows the end of the blind road of telescopic forks is near.
What are frame designer and telefork manufacturers going to come up with in 5 years? What another "revolution"?
  • + 2
 Just to say...
Fork fore/aft stiffness should be crucial for given head angle. Fork/frame connection also.
This bike parts are mainly Germany/UK/ a bit of Italy and a sourcing from Poland, some bits from Romania and Switzerland, aren't there really other GOOD quality- and price-wise brands in the old land of Europe? If someone's interested, polish brands Antidote (top quality carbon frames), which is oh-so-pricey, and cheaper, but very popular and good performing brands- NS, Dartmoor (at least i know that most of Dart alloy parts are made in Taichung, Taiwan; not sure 'bout NS) are really good contenders, so if You search for something european, check them out.
Cheers, build is impressive, even with this weird forks haha! Hope they designed and engineered it for some proper riding! Always in search of some other options (ofc big players have it pretty dialled, but just look at a new Formula downhill fork with a solid gazillion ways to adjust its performance, Storia shock, OR fcken Dugast tyres made to order, which were ridden to some insanely good results under Nino Schurter a while ago)
If you're lookin for some really hipster-every-part-numbered-and-signed brands, check out awesome Garbaruk components (Ukraine)- heard of some very light and top-tier chainrings, and Polish brand Candy Ray, which makes some really well engineered carbon parts (both brands are pricey, thou, but this kind of making your own rig so custom, and contact with those guys is on another level.
If you look for something REALLY standout (or weird, or just wtf?!), check out polish Dark Owl brand, they have a steel high pivot made to order (and probably ones preferences) four-bar downhill frame that just looks to get punished and go away unscathed (Antidote's Darkmatter is another example of polish high pivot, four bar linkage frame- with an asymetrical linkage, that drives the shock, just... outstanding) and speaking of Europe there's a brand called Sick! bicycles, these guys take 'low,long and slack' treatment to another level... And of course, so-freakin-innovative finnish Pole, with their CNCed alloy 'machine', that's one of its kind.
Don't forget Bold with their linkin frames with hidden shock, Deviate that makes awesome high-pivot, gearbox driven and well equipped bikes, Production Privee needs no introduces, Starling Cycles and their full-cromo Murmur, that put sme big brands' bikes to shame with it's awesome material-driven riding properties and proper geo, and a lot of manufacturers, that can make the frame to your own needs, with parts chosen by the end user (I still think of polish brand Zumbi, but don't know if they still weld their awesome alloy creations).
There's still lot to be mentioned, I just wrote, what comes to my mind at first, so other cool brands are welcome
  • + 2
 @paulaston

Can you please explain the thinking behind your "softly tensioned spokes" theory? It is an idea you push pretty hard, so I assume you have given it a lot of thought and can provide a more in depth explanation than simply reiterating that you think it makes the wheel more compliant. I really would like to hear your reasoning.
  • + 1
 Strange. none of my comments with paul astons name in are showing up in my comment history on my profile.
  • + 1
 I guess I will have to take your lack of response as a no then. No you are not willing to stand behind an idea that you happily put in print over and over again. Poor show.
  • + 2
 Since the Pinion gearbox has its own "freehub" internally, is there anyone offering a non-freehub rear wheel hub to eliminate an unnecessary added movement? You are basically running two freehubs together, therefore doubling the distance between engagement points right? If you had a mechanically locked rear hub it would be much more efficient, and probably lighter & stronger.
  • + 2
 Aivee made one for the French Gearbox Effigear.
  • + 2
 the chain would move the whole time adding friction/drag while coasting...adding movement...engagement is worse with 2 freehubs but is likely better than the extra drag, worth testing though I think.
  • + 1
 HxR components offer different locking kits to use in conjunction with their Easy Shift crank.
They do kits for DT, Aivee, Duke, Mavic and their own hub, which is compatible with Spank hubs (but not officially).

I ran that crank for a bit and I cannot say I noticed excessive drag.
Anybody wann buy? Wink

@paulaston
Maybe this would help with your chain retention problems. Some dedicated singlespeed cogs might be a good idea as well. Although it might be impossible to find european made singlespeed cogs. There used to be Singlestar, but they or rather he does not produce them anymore.
  • + 1
 I'm not sure where i read it, but as far as i remember this causes issues with coasting and jumping. It was a review on pb, maybe zerode?

Imagine yourself riding down the trail, all the while that chain keeps running between your ankles. Not sure if it is dangerous, but it sure is something to get used to. The jumping is dangerous, because that drag slows your backwheel down, wich in turn starts to rotate your bike nose down as soon as you leave the ground.
  • + 1
 @whoopsy: Interesting!
  • + 1
 I'm using an Onyx hub and it works great! Only downside is the extra weight of the hub and that you minimize the benefit of the lower unsprung mass
  • + 2
 Maybe I am getting it all wrong, but, what's the fetish of buying "all local"? Especially, if we are talking about "all European" or "all North American"?

I am inclined to reward anyone who produces best quality for the best price. If it is an Asian guy, he has a better value for money for a reason - this is because he gets paid less (i.e. - lower cost of labour). Once I buy from him, I essentially make my small contribution to equalize living standards around the globe.

Or should I pay a premium to make a wealthy Western guy even wealthier? Well, why not, but only if he offers superior quality.

Customs duties? Again, what's so wrong about it - this is my small contribution to the social benefits in my country of living.

Shipping / environmental impact? Too difficult to quantify, but... China and India are doing many more than any other country these days to minimize the environmental footprint (I am talking about solar energy in particular). So, I am not inclined to overly simplify this.
  • + 2
 My first good mountain bike some 20 years ago had a lot more N.A., and particularly Canadian content than is possible now I think - Steek DeKerf frame made in Vancouver, Syncros, seatpost, stem, bars and headset made in BC, RaceFace cranks, rings and BB made in BC. Then some Cane Creek Wheels (RIP), ODI grips for American content. Drivetrain of course was Shimano, but then I switched to SRAM once they came out with triggers in about 2000. I'm not sure where these were made, but presumably Asia? V-Brakes were Avid - made in Asia?
  • + 2
 I think SRAM is more like a big consortium that owns several brands and sells more under the same brand name (SRAM). But I think they're still largely separate. That is, I think drivetrain stuff is still done by Sachs in Germany. Not saying all production is there but I do think it goes for development and testing. And I expect this to be a different place to where Truvativ, Avid and RockShox are based. But as you were talking about 2000, it could be that your drivetrain stuff came from Germany.
  • + 2
 Great article and very timely, I'm just about to start building up a new frame and was wanting to try and get as much UK or European kit as possible; I'll definitely be looking into some of the brands (such as Intend) mentioned here.

Regarding the bars, have you had a look at Rust Components (rustcomponents.com)? They do a set of 20mm rise Titanium handlebars that would finish off that bike perfectly (that I'm currently lusting after myself...)
  • + 3
 those Rust Bars are $340 CAD plus shipping,nice bars but not $340 CAD nice.
  • + 1
 @rideonjon: I’ve not ridden them (yet) so can’t personally comment but that seems a fairly standard price for titanium bars (in the UK at least)

Guess it’s the point of the article, you pays your money and takes your choices; whether that’s local and niche or big brand from the Far East....
  • + 3
 ''MADE IN GERMANY'' YA SEHR GUT !!! Soon I will down the main street with my open head tube angle bikers crew. I like it.
  • + 1
 Thanks to the author for all of these details. it seems that the pure European-made has a little alternative with the mainstream mtb industry. Maybe North America-made is more qualified to do this if back to 1980s. But to be a Chinese worker, I am also appreciate this kind of trying, the west actually had helped and supported the communist dictatorship in the past tens of years and it finally will be resulted to the destroying of the whole civilization world.
  • + 1
 "By using an axial needle bearing on top of a standard headset bearing, a clamping top bearing cap, and conical spacers, the "Stiffmaster increases stiffness at the top of the entire steerer tube junction, which should lend a more accurate feeling, like a dual crown fork with a dirct mount stem. Intend are currently doing some lab testing and initial reports show a 38% increase in stiffness".

What kind of stem / stem jig was used for this testing? Size of steertube clamping bolts? Weight?

Can you really feel any improovement in headset alone - when using 90g stem and probably lite 800mm bars? Im sure not... Am I wrong?

OT: nice crafted H-SET Smile
  • + 1
 I can vouch for the 155mm cranks being awesome for mountain biking. I switched to shorter cranks due to knee issues and ended up putting SRAM NX cheapies on. You can pedal through everything, and I find I spend way more time putting power down because I almost never have to worry about strike. There are also some super steep technical uphill pitches that I have struggled with that I can hit every time because I can get just one more pedal stroke in.
  • + 1
 I'm trying to to exactly the same at the moment and find it extremely difficult to actually find out where certain products are actually made. Would be cool if manufacturers, or even online shops actually put that information on their websites.
Aluminium Handlebars are (besides drivetrains other than gearboxes) the hardest to source within the EU
  • + 2
 Does anyone have much experience with the movloc dropper? Looks very interesting, especially the fixed external cable routing. @paulaston: please include this in your upcoming reviews! Thank you
  • + 2
 Yes, I ride one and really like it. I have the 170 mm version and, as it is used in a 31.6 frame, also bought their spacer and the tooLOC seat clamp. Very well made with weight shaved off everywhere plus it comes with ti bolts. I like the quick and smooth action with little resistance when you push it down. Initially this made me miss the first stop often, but after getting used to it I have no problems anymore. The stops are perfectly spaced for my liking, however I don't use the full down much. I got it late last summer, so it saw quite some mud by now. Although I was initially skeptical about dirt potentially contaminating these little holes where the locking mechanism engages, I have to say it is not a problem. They advice to only clean the post when full down to not get dirt in the holes and this is what I do. My version has the regular remote as I wanted the ability to switch it over to a bike with front derailleur. Lever is OK to use, but if you run a 1x I would recommend the shifter style remote. Minor critique is that it seems to be pretty sensitive to seat clamp pressure. My frame was not reamed perfectly I guess, so the post was a little sticky with a regular clamp. The tooLOC clamp solved this. It has also a tiny, tiny amount of side-to-side play but less than my Reverb. Not noticeable at all when riding. Hope this helps.
  • + 2
 @iRiderPB: that's great! Thank you
  • + 1
 As much as I admire Chris Porter, it needs to be pointed out that he's buying into the "sweatshop fallacy" in economics. The workers don't suffer when you buy from them. It pays their bills and feeds their families. When you take that work away, that's when they suffer. It's a well known economic fact, anyone can google it. He is right about the environment though.
  • + 4
 That wheel base and head angle; ep1.pinkbike.org/p6pb7883133/p6pb7883133.jpg
Just saying.
  • + 7
 Fabien and the team that put that machine together were way ahead of the times. I would love to measure that Mondraker and compare it to MY2018 DH bikes, actually, I am seeing Fabien next week...
  • + 4
 word that's a long ass bike I really wanna try it, very classy looking sled right there
  • + 1
 The John Holmes of bikes. Long as...yeah,you know.
  • + 1
 Pedal Magazine tried to do an all Canadian manufactured bike a long time ago. Needless to say they weren't very successful. Frames, sure lots of builders still based here. Some components too. But at the time (mid to early '00s I think it was...) it was nearly impossible!
  • + 2
 Haha so cool, it looks like the bike of the week in the ibc forum.


www.mtb-news.de/news/category/magazin/produkte/userbike-der-woche
  • + 0
 However, bike looks totally retarded (dont mind ride quality of course). And one thing i dont like the most is that drive-side chainstay, way too close to front sprocket, probably even worse with full compression.
Its sick ride tho, somehow 'exotic' Smile
  • + 2
 I have bananas for you man. But sadly no one makes a bike for me locally. Sad to admit I have a huge carbon penalty getting my bikes here. Great read
  • + 4
 So did it feel 38% stiffer?
  • + 0
 Only fore and aft, but they feel like a peanut butter in corners, where some torsional rigidity would be very much appreciated. Jokin, just can not believe that single crown, usd forks with no connection between legs above the upper part of tyre and below crown can be considered as 'stiff', without some square-shaped connection between lowers and uppers. At least even leftys have some single-sided, dual crown. Lowers are exposed to rotation, and they are only connected at the axle. Never rode one besides old Shivers, that were kinda i-want-them kind of flexy shit
  • + 0
 "Hi there, I wondered if you sell a bike that will attract more car-park envy than my current rig, while also allowing me to preach endlessly about the niche components being better than everything else, while drinking my latte outside the trail centre coffee-shop covered in far less mud than I should be..... Oh, you do?"
  • + 4
 Curious about machine welding Nicolai intendeds to introduce.
  • + 2
 Curious to know what you're curious about, it's already used at least on high cadence production
  • + 2
 @Uuno: When I bought my Nicolai, there selling point was that there frames are hand welded.
  • + 4
 This frame, welds and raw look is dope!
  • + 3
 Thats a superbike if I ever saw one. Amazing build. For the handlebar I´m not sure, but maybe Syntace produces in Germany?
  • + 1
 poland?
  • + 2
 Nope!
  • + 2
 @vitality: Polish brand Candy Ray makes some top-tier, high quality and pricey cockpit bits.
Just a touch of having a fully customised bike with carbon bars that are low quantity, rare item.
Sure polish brand Dartmoor make their alloy parts and frames in Taichung, Taiwan, but they're designed, tested, and engineered in Poland.
  • + 4
 Gorgeous bike with a great build
  • + 1
 Could have used Hope brakes very easily; Magura's not made in EU. Oh well, I'll use them anyway. What's the point of the project if you've given up by the second component?
  • + 3
 Magura told me they were 100% made in the EU when they handed me the brakes at Eurobike last year. So I built the bike, and we photographed it, then I wrote most of the article and waited for responses from all the manufacturers involved. Only then did they explain casting in Asia – they still say made 100% in Germany and I explained that in the conclusion that there is more to meets the eye with most things.

Formula, Trickstuff, Hope and possibly BFO are other options made in the EU.

Cheers, Paul.
  • - 1
 Wanted an all European bike. . . . Then immediately ignores the brakes despite all European brakes existing. Same goes for the bars as well.

It's a fun game to try playing for sure, but why just ignore some stuff when it was totally possible to do what was intended?
  • + 3
 Can somebody try this with US manufacturers now?
  • + 11
 Gorilla gravity
  • + 10
 @freeridejerk888: Hilarious that Guerrilla Gravity had to purchase gorillagravity.com
  • + 1
 They also have a raw aluminum finish available on their frames. And you can customize a bit to get what components you want. Looks like a sweet option if you're good with aluminum and are picky about parts.
  • + 1
 I'd be curious how they're going to fill the drivetrain spot. Or is Box made in the US?
  • + 1
 @vinay: it's gonna have to be PAUL paulcomp.com
  • + 5
 Has to have an MRP Ribbon and an 11-6 six on it though.
  • + 1
 @vinay:
Nuvinci with a Gates final drive! But then you need to find a 135 mm read frame.
  • + 1
 @Dangerous-Dan: Nuvinci, that must be the way to go then! Didn't know these were actually made in the US. That's going to be one heavy beast of a bike then Smile !
  • + 1
 @vinay:
They may not be built in the US. I don't know and don't care... But they are heavy!
  • + 2
 Holy Jesus fucking christ no budget spared super bike. God damn fucking ridiculous.
  • + 3
 Now that's a superbike, very fine build.
  • + 2
 "It's not my intention to kick-start an all-out war in the comments section below..."

'Tis a shame.
  • + 3
 Now that's what I call a bike check!!
  • + 3
 Simply the sickest fucking bike ever to have appeared on this site
  • + 2
 That's one impressive build!

But why choose a chain over the Gates Carbon drive belt? Isn't the belt made in Europe?
  • + 2
 looks about as long as the small, under-powered hatchback it is named after
  • + 3
 that might be the most beautiful bike ever.
  • + 2
 Even with lovely weld beads and being built in Germany, this is a PUG of a bike. I.E. not easy on the eyes at all!!!
  • + 1
 I've got a Alcantara version from the 66Sick saddle on my Geometron even better.....
  • + 1
 Lincon is in the North east???? ERM think you mean East Midlands.

Pretty much my ideal bike Smile
  • + 2
 Lincoln is in the NE of England now?
  • + 1
 Confused about the bar choice. Wanted Renthals but rejected them as not made in UK. Then chose a set if Kore bars.
  • + 1
 There are Ryde Trace Rims which are made in the netherlands by Rigida. Exceptionally good ones by the way.
  • + 1
 I shudder to think what would happen if you needed to find parts while road tripping with that bike.
  • + 2
 Them forks look sweet, can't wait for a better in-depth review of them????
  • + 2
 Damn that thing is on fire
  • + 2
 Trigger warning for @vernonfelton
  • + 1
 I live in Santa Cruz and bought Santa Cruz’s so I could bye local then I found out they are made in Asia ☹️
  • + 10
 I just found out my hot sauce was made in New York City!
  • + 4
 @acali: NEW YORK CITY!
  • + 2
 @Doogster: Get a ROPE!!!
  • + 1
 Some brilliant stuff here... like that headset.
  • + 1
 Beast of a bike!!! I like it Smile
  • + 1
 That cassette lockring though.
  • + 2
 And all this cost?
  • + 1
 Its an E-bike in disguise haha fools
  • + 1
 bespoke like I've never seen it
  • + 1
 Why u not fix gearbox your self ?
  • + 1
 That thing is the hippest of hip. Pinkbike loves it!
  • + 1
 Also what's the STA on this bad boy? @paulaston
  • + 5
 I haven't measured it but is probably the steepest I have ever tried so I am guessing 78º or more – it still feels better with the saddle slammed forwards ;-)
  • + 0
 @paulaston: haha awesome. rad bike. And the question everybody wants to know... weight?? EDIT: Just saw your comment below this one!!
  • + 1
 @paulaston: Have you tried running your saddle like Chris Porter does?
  • + 0
 Every time I look at this frame, I think "Balls, have you met toptube yet? I think youll get along smashingly!"
  • + 1
 @paulaston .... How much for the whole theoretical EURO build?
  • + 0
 This bike is a mess, heavy, head angle all wrong, probably can’t steer the rake is bad, and the drivetrain is unessessary!
  • + 1
 I would never change my 100 % made in America (Foes Racing) bike.
  • + 1
 Ohhh god, that Nicolai... Just one word: Linkage plates! Smile
  • + 1
 @paulaston - any plans to go with a 29F 275R (aka the Porter Hybrid)?
  • + 0
 If you brought that dumpsterfire eyesore to my house I'd smash it to bits with a sledgehammer.
  • + 1
 Looks like a... well... I'm not sure!
  • + 1
 No USD fork guards = Urban bike.
  • + 1
 This thing must weigh like a Mongoose Dolomite
  • + 1
 Sounds expensive
  • + 1
 Yep it's long and slack.
  • + 1
 Well done. Jesus.
  • - 1
 The 15mm axle effectively killed any chance of upside-down single crown forks becoming a thing.
  • + 2
 Well 20x110 Boost is comming or already here, so many new standards...
  • + 11
 Almost heavy enough to be fast and with the bulk in the right place ;-)

I guess somewhere around 36lbs, but I never weigh my own bikes as I think light weight is over-hyped – I am working on a series of articles about that soon.

Thanks, Paul
  • + 3
 @paulaston: This is the Chris Porter mantra...
  • + 2
 @paulaston: yeah I saw a video of Voullioz recently saying that DH bikes need to be heavier. His Sunn Radical was steel and apparently "weighed as much as eBikes today"
  • + 1
 @IllestT: but when he made his first V-Process bikes he rejected the stickers his graphics guy made because they were too heavy!
20-20 hindsight
  • + 0
 Sick rig!
  • - 2
 Only a complete f*cking bone head would think there’d be some advantage to 155 millimetre cranks.
  • + 2
 There are plenty of arguments that more ground clearance for MTB is better for avoiding rock strikes and allowing a lower BB.

And the road and triathlon world are looking into cranks length more and more.

www.triradar.com/training-advice/are-short-cranks-faster

www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/are-shorter-cranks-better-188288
  • + 1
 @paulaston: Don't forget about park and dirt jump BMX riders use short cranks like that. Keeps there feet close together for catching the bike after a no footed trick or tailwhip. Helps with spinning 360 also.
  • + 2
 @paulaston:
Haha
You’re quoting triathlete articles on Pinkbike?
That is an entirely different sport. Have you noticed how their bikes are a subcategory of road bikes that barely even share a resemblance?
And their features are shaped by people who value jogging and swimming along with their pedalling?
And they don’t ride them off-road ever?
Sure short cranks are great for avoiding rock strikes.
So is learning how to ride.
But this trend of long slack and low geometry can only be pushed so far.
Bikes are mostly amazing these days but we aren’t all enduroing and short crankarms are a disadvantage unless you’re a short person.
World Cup downhillers don’t even use 165mm cranks anymore because of the loss of pedalling power.
  • + 1
 @jflb: Well, in that case, I will give up experimenting and testing and put the 180mm arms back on.
  • - 3
 All that work and you didn’t want to spring for some Renthal Farbars?
  • - 1
 I was always under the impression that Renthals aluminium bars were made in the UK but read a comment somewhere that said they weren't? Can anyone clarify?
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: its in the article mate, in the section about grips.
  • - 1
 I must of glossed over the Renthal/Asia thing... News to me.
  • - 1
 @stumpymidget: sorry only looked at the piccys. Will have a read tho
  • - 1
 @stumpymidget: read it now. Yeah made in Asia. Still like mine tho.
  • - 1
 @fartymarty: Nothing wrong with made in asia as long as it's made right. Love mine too.
  • + 0
 @stumpymidget: my Surly frame is made in Taiwan and I love it.
  • + 3
 @fartymarty: read the article
  • - 3
 Ran out of money for the carbon handlebar.
  • - 2
 Or do Intense make their tires in the U.S.?
  • - 1
 What a stunner...
  • - 3
 MT-7 brakes = absolute worst 4 piston brakes on the planet and maybe the universe.
  • + 1
 I’ve seen a few pairs absolutely not working.
Considering their small market share that’s not very impressive.
  • - 1
 My god.
  • - 1
 That is one ugly bike.
  • - 1
 Slack attack
  • - 2
 I 'll take the rear shock over the rest of the bike.
  • - 1
 Seat angle! Wrong!!!
  • - 1
 Does it fit 29+?
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2018. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.134476
Mobile Version of Website