Guys, here it is; the belt-driven, electronically shifting, gearbox equipped, coil-sprung, 160mm-travel enduro bike that should be the answer to, well, everything? Jokes and the Nicolai's Bosch CX motor aside, this German-made monster is pretty rad regardless of your feelings about e-bikes. It'll also cost you somewhere around $10,000 USD if you want your own, but at least no one can make that old ''It doesn't even come with a motor!" comment this time.
As with any Nicolai, there are some neat details to check out.
Nicolai used to be known for their wacky geometry, but it turned out that they were just ahead of the curve and the numbers they use now, while certainly still on the extreme end of things, are no longer viewed as being too wild. I'd say they're still a step further than what's common, though, especially the 160mm-travel bike's 63.5-degree head angle and 77-degree seat angle. There are a few rigs with the similar travel and angles, but very few are as adjustable as the big Ion.
You can run the rear-end from 461mm to 474mm, 27.5'' and 29'' wheels, up to a 2.8'' wide rear tire, and tinker with the bike's angles until the cows come home.
Ion G16 Eboxx E14
Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
Wheel size: all of them
Frame material: aluminum
Motor: Bosch CX, 500 Wh Intube battery
Drivetrain: Gates belt,14-speed Rohloff hub, electronic shifting, 526% ratio
Head angle: 63.5-degrees
Reach: 520mm (large)
Price: approx. $10,000 USD
More info: www.nicolai-bicycles.com
I wouldn't call it pretty, but it is distinctive.
Every time a gearbox bike pops up somewhere, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a few wishful sounding comments about electronic shifting. Well, that 14-speed Rohloff hub on the back of this Nicolai is a gearbox, and it's controlled by Rohloff's electronic E-14 push-button system. There are two parts to it; the electronic shifter on the handlebar, and the shift control unit down at the hub that it talks to.
You can shift one gear at a time, of course, or it'll run through all fourteen in a ''fast sequence'' of three. Don't forget that you can shift a Rohloff hub while you're coasting, pedaling backward, upsidedown, or not moving at all. This electronically controlled one probably won't shift underwater, though.
All the bolts and all the geometry options.
The E-14 shifter talks to the Bosch Intuvia Performance system that controls the motor, and it's actually able to limit torque applied to the drivetrain when you shift. That shift takes just 180ms, by the way. The motor and rider's power is delivered by a Gates belt drive, while a burly-looking spring-loaded tensioner on the side of the motor keeps it under enough tension.
I feel like there was probably a sleeker solution to belt tension, but this setup is distinctly Nicolai and looks clever in a weird steampunk-ish way.
I'm not sure how many pounds all that adds up to, but I don't think it'd be fair to judge a bike like this by its weight. But it was heavy AF, if I'm honest. With it being a porker, having a wheelbase not far off an Australian land train, giant tires, and a downhill bike-like head angle, this is one 160mm-travel bike that's probably not bothered by a bit of rough terrain.