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Is The Quintessenz The Most Adaptable Long-Travel Bike? - Eurobike 2018

Jul 9, 2018
by Mike Levy  
Eurobike 2018

Kineticworks' Ulrich Bahr, who happens to look a lot like a mad scientist, is a man you who clearly likes to tinker with things, so it's no surprise that his Quintessenz long-travel bike looks like it's made for exactly that type of rider. The 190mm-travel design employs a small threaded link that, with the help of a large wrench, allows you to tweak the angles by up to 3-degrees without being locked into an exact number like different shock mounting positions would force you to be. The same link plays a large role in Bahr's claims of the Quintessenz's extreme efficiency, too, and how he designed the floating bottom bracket section means that you can mount a Pinion gearbox, an e-bike motor, or leave it empty and go with a normal drivetrain.

To borrow a phrase from my good friend the Burger King, the Quintessenz is all about having it your way.

Eurobike 2018
With 190mm of rear wheel travel, an immense amount of adjustability, and the option to mount a Pinion gearbox or e-bike motor, the Quintessenz ain't your normal long-travel bike.

Bahr has been designing, building, and tinkering for the last twenty years, but the Quintessenz is a much more recent project at around year and a half old. He's come up with quite an interesting bike in that time, and immense adjustability aside, his other main focus was extreme efficiency - he wanted his 190mm-travel rig to pedal far better than bikes of similar intentions. He calls what he came up with a ''self-stabilizing system'' and says that the heart of the design is the rocker link that's home to the bottom bracket (or gearbox, if you mounted one) and rotates on roller bearings. According to Bahr, as pedaling forces are put through the rocker, the opposing forces of the chain on the suspension act on the main pivot, while the threaded geo-adjusting link sits in front of the axis of rotation of the rocker.

That last point is important because Bahr says that it creates a ''mechanical toggle effect,'' and the outcome is self-stabilizing torque.

Eurobike 2018
Single pivot? Kinda.

The location of the idler pulley is a big factor, too, and I'll let Bahr explain why via Google Translate: ''All variable chain run-off points become mathematically constant by the deflection roller to the fulcrum. This is the special feature of the kinematics: For the first time, not only drive influences are compensated, but the forces have a self-stabilizing effect. This effect is due to the proportionality of the forces occurring in the mechanically acting toggle lever.''

It all sounded a bit much to me, but then I watched Bahr sprint hard on his Pinion-equipped Quintessenz, and the damn thing refused to go into its travel. It didn't even move.

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There's up to 3-degrees of geometry adjustment from this threaded link, and you can set it anywhere between fully extended and fully threaded in. Check out the difference between the tire and 'ring in the two photos above.

And then there's the threaded link that lets you tweak the bike's geometry by a full 3-degrees. If that's not interesting stuff to you, Bahr has also designed a hydraulic setup that replaces the threaded link with a self-adjusting system that reacts to your body position.

The hydraulic link wasn't at the show - Bahr was concerned about someone pilfering his soon to be patented idea - but it consists of two connected cylinders; one at the stem and the other down at the link.

''The cylinder on the stem controls the cylinder on the connecting element via a valve on the handlebar,'' Bahr explained to me. ''By shifting the weight of the rider on the stem, it moves the frame [geometry]. The hydraulic system is self-contained. It does not require additional electrical power. The system influences several parameters such as seat position, head and seat angle, as well as chainstay and wheelbase.''
Eurobike 2018
A small clamp on the link keeps it from moving position while you're riding.

Bahr's creation can also be configured a whole bunch of different ways. Want an internally geared hub? Sure, you can have that thanks to the slotted axle clamps that allow for a chainstay length between 425mm and 460mm. Want a gearbox or e-bike motor? Sure, both can fit right into the gap between the bottom bracket rocker arms. Want carbon fiber? Nope, you can't have that.

The aluminum Quintessenz frame is manufactured in Poland and goes for €2,050, or €3,500 with a Fox 36, Fox shock. Complete bikes start at €4,800.

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 89 5
 Boutique European brands make ridiculous bikes. Long may they prosper.
  • 10 5
 You mean they make absurd bikes that invite ridicule? I disagree. I think they make great bikes that are very interesting.
  • 5 3
 @jaame: shhhh relax, no one is making fun of your Frankenbikes.
  • 74 2
 Perfect! Ideal for group rides when you either want to cruise in the background (standard drivetrain), be the center of question-asking attentionn (gearbox), or be universally hated by the purists (e-bike)!
  • 3 6
 Email address? Website? Phone number?
  • 54 0
 Not often we something truly unique - Nice one!
  • 25 0
 And it's on par price wise with other brands!! Pinkbike, please review. This guy deserves a spot in the industry
  • 2 0
 Absolutely. I hope that this can be available to test long-term! Bravo, Ulrich!
  • 22 0
 Absolutely gorgeous concept and execution. Love the fact that even if it never reaches mass production, Ulrich ultimately had an idea and then made it a reality. Respect!
  • 12 1
 Trying to figure out whats going on here...

Looks like as the suspension compresses, the linkage pushes the bottom bracket forward...like a reverse i-drive I think. But since the main pivot holds the idler and there is no derailleur you essentially wind up with a concentric single pivot...or something? Makes sense that pedaling forces don't affect the suspension (which looks to me like it'll end up with a pretty linear rate). Is it extremely efficient? Probably, but that means you're likely giving something else up that may be more important if you're looking at a 190mm bike.

Anyway, looks cool and a ride report would be awesome. The biggest issue I see is it can't fit a water bottle... *ducks*
  • 8 2
 Whoaa this guy just made rear shocks with pedaling levers and platforms useless ,and could conquer the holy grail which is completely independency from suspension interaction with the pedaling forces with just a toggle link,what can be even more perfect?? The same link also varies the entire frame angles as a group in 3 whole degrees without loosing its pedaling effectiveness,head tube angles goes from 65° to 68° and got defined by enduro and xc bikes ,thanks to this design we can have both bikes in one! Stunning! I can only think about Felt and a bike design they got with a tension link holding the chainstay with the rocker arm from making the suspension work during pedal forces....was a great idea but this made the bike very insensitive being a full suspension, DW link has a similar way to isolate pedal forces but it needs the body of the rider in a different position to make this happen ,none of these models had a close option to vary angles without at least some headset cups in case you want to spend some money on it or maybe a talas fork with travel regulation,definitely if this new bike design is patented I can only see Scott or high end brands paying for the use of this great step upward tech ,we will just see them putting their carbon fiber technology on it haha, only if Bahr decides not to produce 1st the carbon model and introduce that hydraulic way to switch geometries on the run, this guy deserves a beer seriously .
  • 1 0
 Pedal/suspension interaction is important. But for a long travel bike i'm more interested in brake/suspension interaction. Years ago I had a 7" high-pivot single-pivot bike that was pretty much a hardtail when the rear brake was used. I ended up installing an after market floating rear brake mount. It was kinda cool, involving removal of the hub end cap an replacing it with a brake mount that pivoted around the rear axle. (Brake Therapy) It completely transformed that bike, making the suspension actually work while braking. Similarly, hitting a large bump wouldn't cause the braking force to be affected.
  • 2 0
 @dfiler: Hello,
the braking forces/ torque in the swingarm depends more backworking forces and down rotation at the "Leveler"pivotpoint at the swingarm, this generate a proportional torque against the brakeforces.So the Suspension works if you brake Wink This Effect is also working when you hit objekts with high speed, if the backworking forces rising up also the stabelising forces at the leveler rising up I call it dynamicprogression. (sorry for my english writing ) btw.if you realise 190mm of travel you need control.
  • 2 0
 @carlomagno and yes its patented DE 10242945 "Fahrrad" Wink
  • 1 0
 @ulli23: Thanks for the reply. Not sure if you're disagreeing with my comments on brake/suspension interaction. It's definitely something I'd like to see more of in bike design. Bring back floating brake mounts!
  • 9 1
 Derailleurs suck! I welcome any idea that involves making them extinct.
  • 9 3
 I officially would like to apologise Nicolai Bicycles for saying that their frames look ugly. I'm very sorry and I promise I never say it again.
  • 5 1
 Carry a pipe wrench to adjust it on the fly.
  • 2 0
 @PinkyScar: it's a bear protection unit ;]
  • 7 4
 I like the idea of a gearbox but as of right now it would be a nightmare to find parts for WHEN it breaks (if its mechanical it can and eventually will break). Derailleurs work great for me, but I learned a few tricks over the years to keep them in top shape.

1. Always do your maintenance, on your bike and lady...or man....whatever I don't judge. I have friends that ride lefties
2. Don't crash but if you do, lay the bike down on the left side.
3. Don't hit things with the derailleur like a tree when whipping off a big step up in Whistler
4. Don't ride drunk with your buddy Ben on a new trail, get competitive and then try to make a new trail at speed....

If you obey these simple rules the trusty Derailleur will serve you well
  • 5 1
 I think I'm going to change the name of my bike shop and call it pinkbike shop ha ha you guys really rocks keep up the good work.
  • 6 0
 seems like the welds were a bit too wide for the linkage there.
  • 2 0
 Looks like some clearance issues there.
The first thing that struck me was how much force will be applied to all those links, pivots and welds around the bb area. Not an insurmountable design problem but i'm not sure i would expect the current construction method to last long. But hats off, the concept looks great. A bit like an adjustable upside down high pivot GT aos/iDrive
  • 1 0
 Curious to know what the leverage ratio is on that DPX2 to get 190mm of travel. [Serious] Love the whole concept. Just eager to know more about the fine details. I would really love to see some vid of one of these in action. Your move, Paul Aston - show us the goods!
  • 4 4
 Too bad he put the pivot for the adjuster link in a fairly rigid spot. I can see the walls wallowing and the welds cracking in short time. It's hard to judge the torsional rigidity without seeing the main pivot at the BB, but I suspect there's going to be a lot of movement there - further degrading the lifetime of the frame at those welds. No mention of how chain rings impact the 'efficiency' of the system either. Looks to me like you're stuck with the ring he's using currently, and changing the ring negatively impacts the efficiency. Fun concept, sure it was a hoot to design.
  • 16 0
 I am guessing you don’t get invited to too many parties:P
  • 1 0
 Where is another fixed point he could put it that is less rigid? Every part of every frame that doesn't move is "fairly rigid".
  • 4 4
 "Efficiency" and "gearbox" in the same paragraph. Have there been recent advances in gearbox tech that make them as efficient as a standard derailleur setup? I haven't heard of them.
  • 2 0
 What do you mean? What kind of efficiency numbers do standard drivetrains have in comparison with gearbox drivetrains?
  • 1 0
 @ssteve: No one knows, especially as Pinion don't state any numbers, but I bet better than gearboxes. Modern drivetrains like Eagle (and possibly the new XTR) run super smooth and because you always have more cogs spinning under power in a gearbox system, a loss of power is mechanically inevitable.
I hope someone will test this as it's not that difficult with some power meters and a roller trainer... if they are accurate enough.
  • 3 0
 @jzPV: After a little internetting, it looks as though the bicycle is very efficient. That being said, there's a lot of conflicting information. A standard drivetrain is more efficient in ideal conditions, whereas the gearbox would theoretically be more efficient when things were shitty (mud, dust, less than ideal oiling of the chain, cross chaining).
All the blah blah blahing aside, someone noticing the (estimated) 3-5%, depending on delivered power & under ideal condiitions (based on interwebz) must have really, really sensitive legs.
But I really would still like to know where the OP got his numbers from, because I couldn't find anything conclusive.
  • 6 3
 And my water bottle goes where exactly?
  • 1 0
 Remembers me of a grossman bike I owned once. Adjustability was really a great benefit also able to Switch between singe and double crown fork
  • 4 0
 Holy crap this is COOL!
  • 1 0
 This is awesome! Great idea. I like how he’s thinking outside of the box. I’d be interested in a review to see how it rides
  • 1 0
 @seschuba: that was cool. Not sure if I like the BB consult moving though. Reminds me of the GT iDrive
  • 2 0
 @beeboo: as I construkt/find these solution i was also affraid of the BB movement ,but then i thought wait until anybody notice that and say anything or had bad fellings etc. but no one came!! It fells like 2-3cm "more travel".
  • 2 0
 @beeboo: thanks a lot. Don't make you thoughts about the BB moving. These fact isn't negative at riding.
You have actually no handicap only pros. If you get a hard landing, the reagent of BB approch the landing impact, you stand still & savely on the pedals.
I am not the best in english language, hopefully you are understand me correct. : )
  • 1 0
 The wrench-altered-geometry is similar to the Ancillotti system (the italian company). They used to have it on their Dh and AM bikes
  • 3 1
 That black frame looks $$$
  • 1 0
 nah man black looks fast!
  • 1 3
 Just wondering why they didn't go boost? Seems like it'd be sensible to cater to those who want the frame to last, I realise standards change pretty frequently but surely the writing was on the wall for 142 axles when the frame was designed. I for one am seriously interested though, It'd be on my list when time to change comes around
  • 2 0
 it has 142 mm and boost will follow Wink 79 mm space for tire Wink
  • 4 2
 But where do I put my water bottle?
  • 1 0
 For fucks sake please put a Brose motor in that and i'll bite yer fucking hand off!!!
  • 2 0
 btw. its possible to mount TQ, barfang, brose, steps and perhaps more Wink
  • 2 0
 Bada$$..Thinking outside the box..Love it.
  • 1 0
 Now we just need a company with some industrial design sense to take this idea to the next level.
  • 2 0
  • 1 0
 The black frame is that build up with a rohloff hub ?
  • 1 0
 Yes Wink
  • 1 0
 sorry with alvine but rohlof is also possible
  • 1 0
 The quintessenz in slow mo action

  • 2 0
 Just wow!
  • 2 0
 New super enduro plus
  • 1 0
 Its got just a hint of Steampunk
  • 1 0
 All it needs new is the Motion fork
  • 1 0
 *now not new
  • 2 0
 Mind. Blown.
  • 1 0
 Really love long travel bike.
  • 1 0
 Can I please have one with a motor?
  • 2 0
 witch one barfang, TQ, brose, steps8000 ? the modular konsept allows us to work with many motors in the future a steps 8000 proto is still running.
  • 1 0
 @ulli23: Have tried brose & steps8000 so would rather have 8000 but would also like the chain sealed too make
it last longer but can do that my self
  • 1 0
 @aljoburr: we also think about sealed chain ways for speedhubs etc. but now we have to work at the basics Wink
do you want a speedhub?
  • 1 0
 @ulli23: No I want an e bike with a gear box not a geared hub, but currently got a 6 fattie levo with a sealed driven mech that works just fine, but would like to try a e bike with a gearbox
  • 1 0
 What size wheels/tire widths will fit?
  • 1 0
 the swingarm is 79mm wide
  • 1 0
 The most adaptable bike still goes to the intense m9.
  • 1 1
 thats cool i must have missed that.... my bad
  • 3 3
 Couldn't adapt a water bottle cage?
  • 6 8
 Nah, I'll keep my derailleurs! Simple, cheap, light...all 3!
  • 11 3
 Derailleurs are none of those things.
  • 3 0
 you forgot strong... but simple work good to
  • 3 0
 im a fan of shifting methods other than derauillers cuz i keep bending or breaking them and $70 everytime is not cheap combine that with my wife bending/breaking them it adds up quick so i really like gearbox especially with trigger shift like effigear!
  • 2 0
 @its-joe: awesome and true
  • 1 1
 @drivereight Yo did see them running a derr on the blue one right?
  • 2 1
 Ah yes a 500g cassette + der. on the back of your bike... The best place for weight!

Every Trier running single speed or No Chain? Try it- the Suspension works way more efficient.
  • 1 0
 btw. in the past I built a proto with this little roller for the chain that change the 3 ! gears in front very precisely.
  • 2 0
 btw. there is also a solution for the front deraileur in the box Wink
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