Nicolai First to Reveal a Production-Ready Bike With Lal Bikes' Supre Drivetrain

Jul 12, 2022
by Seb Stott  


We've reported on Lal bikes' Supre drivetrain several times before. But now, for the first time, there's a production-ready bike that you can actually buy using the unique gearing system.

To recap, the Supre drivetrain is the brainchild of Canadian engineer, Cedric Eveleigh. The idea is to keep the derailleur out of harm's way by splitting the gear-selecting part and the chain-tensioning part. The gear-selector pulley sits high up, above the bottom of the cassette at all times, making it less likely to be struck by rocks, while the chain tensioner pulley sits above - and concentric to - the bottom bracket. As a bonus, this allows the tensioner arm to use a hydraulic damper hidden inside the downtube; compared to the basic friction clutch found in most derailleurs, this is claimed to reduce chain slap and make shifting smoother. It's claimed to be slightly more efficient than a conventional drivetrain with an idler too.
Nicolai Nucleon 16 Details
• Intended use: "enduro racing, freeride and bike park"
• High pivot with Lal Bikes Supre drivetrain
• 1x12, 10-51 tooth, regular Shimano cassette, chain & shifter
• Superboost 157mm rear hub
• 165 or 178 mm rear travel, 160-180 mm fork
• 29" or mixed-wheel compatible
• 78.6° seat angle, 64° head angle
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Price: From €7,499
More info

The system only works with high-pivot designs and - much like a gearbox bike - the frame has to be designed around the requirements of the drivetrain. Cedric told us he was working with several frame manufacturers who wanted to use it, but we didn't think we'd see a Supre-equipped bike this soon.




The Bike

Nicolai have built bikes with unconventional drivetrains before, so it isn't surprising to see them come to market first with Supre. The Nicolai Nucleon 16 is a long-travel monster with Nicolai's signature lengthy sizing. The frame delivers either 165 mm of travel with a 60 mm stroke shock or 178 mm of travel with a 65mm shock. Nicolai say it works with 160 to 180 mm forks, but given the rear travel, I suspect most will opt for the higher end of that range. It can be run with a pair of 29" wheels or mixed sizes.

The gear selector bolts onto the frame with two bolts.
The rear part of the swingarm also encloses the calliper. I think the two bolts allow the rear part to be interchangeable to provide different chainstay lengths.

It's interesting to see how Nicolai have designed the bike around the drivetrain. The swingarm encloses the gear selector, giving it extra protection, while the thin upper part of the swingarm fits between the upper and lower chain spans, which are much closer together than with a conventional derailleur.

The gear selector bolts onto the swingarm with two bolts, so you can't hack up a conventional derailleur to fit; but the cassette, chain and shifter are off-the-shelf Shimano units. The 92mm T47 bottom bracket and Superboost 157 mm rear axle are "standard" too, if not the most common options.




Suspension

The Nucleon 16 is a single-pivot bike. The shock is driven by a rocker link at the rear, which is connected to the swingarm by a pair of tie rods. The front shock mount is connected directly to the mainframe.

Here you can see the tie rods which drive the rocker link from the pivot just behind the tension pulley. The cable which enters the downtube below is to connect the tensioner arm to a bespoke spring and damper inside the downtube.

The idler pulley is connected to the swingarm and so moves with the suspension. This positioning gives a generous amount of anti-squat, especially in the climbing gears. Unusually for an idler bike, there is also a substantial amount of pedal-kickback in the larger sprockets as well.

The anti-squat (the resistance to compression when pedalling) varies a lot depending on the gear, from 155% in the largest sprocket to 105% in the smallest, at sag.
Pedal-kickback goes from virtually nothing in the smaller sprockets to levels comparable to non-idler bikes in the largest ones.

The leverage curve is pretty progressive (31% in the shorter-travel mode and more so in the longer-travel setting) - this bike is meant to be sent.
The magnified axle path. The axle moves about 11 mm rearwards over the first 115 mm of travel before coming slightly forwards. That makes it a "proper high pivot", although the axle path isn't quite as rearward as Forbidden's.




Geometry

The Nucleon 16 is offered in 5 frame sizes, designed to fit riders between 1.55 and 2.10 meters (5′ 1″ to 6′ 11″). The larger frames get more reinforced tubes to cope with the extra weight and stresses they're likely to see.

Being Nicolai, the geometry is pretty lengthy (up to 555 mm reach in the XXL size!) and the seat angle is steep, but the 64-degree head angle is more conventional than Nicolai's Geometron bikes.



Nicolai's website says the bike can be ordered now and will be delivered from December 2022. The price for the frame without gears and without damper is €3,099. Complete bikes are available from €7499.






226 Comments

  • 306 1
 Wow.... congrats Cedric!
  • 14 271
flag thewanderingtramp (Jul 12, 2022 at 6:36) (Below Threshold)
 Yes if you add up the number of Nicolais sold then it will be the next big thng for a year , fade away to insignificance but you might even make a couple of thousand bucks for all that effort on units sold.
  • 192 14
 @thewanderingtramp: Or it might be the next best thing in drivetrain tech. Try choosing optimism for a change. You'll be much happier.
  • 13 111
flag thewanderingtramp (Jul 12, 2022 at 7:01) (Below Threshold)
 @danielfloyd: Im happy enough ,You could be right , I mean if you hedge your bets like Nicolai has enough times eventually maybe you might strike gold, based on Gboxx then the following fringe ideas that have gone nowhere either though it would be hard to convince based on previous track records unless niche sales is you thang, optimism is great providing money isnt involved.
  • 64 11
 @danielfloyd: Optimism is great, but it doesn't change the fact the industry as a whole has been dragging its feet when it comes to drivetrain innovation. Gearboxes for mtb have been out for over half a decade but there is not one big frame brand giving them a shot. SRAM and Shimano have the consumers and the industry totally whipped, and every time we get a lashing we scream out "more gears *squeal* more teeth! pleeeease yes right there! GOLD ohhhh OIL SLICK SLXXX EAGLE DXORE+!"
  • 29 1
 @ryanandrewrogers: Thanks. I just want an affordable bike with a gearbox that's all.
  • 10 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: surely you meant half a century not decade....and they've actually been around over a century if you include internal geared hubs....
  • 13 6
 @ryanandrewrogers: @ryanandrewrogers: Jesus,
Easy on the coffee and conspiracy so early in the morning.
What are you doing to move gearbox innovation forward, other than ranting ridiculousness?
  • 6 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: I totally agree, which is why I'm being optimistic that this might be a breakthrough in drivetrain innovation. Even if it isn't the next best thing, it could be the thing that inspires more innovation to find the best possible setup.
  • 9 1
 @ryanandrewrogers: the beatings will continue until morale impro.......uhhh, profits are maximized?
  • 3 0
 CONGRATULATIONS MAN!!!!!
  • 49 2
 @ryanandrewrogers: @colincolin

Hot take: gearbox tech is fine and gearbox mountain bikes are easily available at this point but pinkbikers who claim how much they want them are simply not buying them. There's no conspiracy of derailleur manufacturers. You guys are simply not putting your money where your mouths are. Want brands to do it, then fund it.
  • 12 8
 @bananowy: Well, I'm in college and can't afford it until dentists buy it to make it mainstream so that a direct-sale brand can get me one at a price that actually makes sense. But the rich upper crust of this sport (which comprises 80% of the money spent in the sport and probably 20% of the skill) has decided they would rather count grams on golden chains. There is no conspiracy of derailleur manufacturers, bikers are just so horny for the same old sramano stuff they don't look elsewhere. If you weren't on pinkbike (the vast majority of riders) you'd hardly know gearboxes for mtb existed.

@onawalk: Got a very boring job in Europe right now, spewing obscenities about gearboxes has become the only thing that makes me at least look productive at my desk. I'm just frustrated I can't afford a gearbox bike because they are all boutique manufacturers. I've killed like 4 eagle drivetrains in just as many years if that gets me points in the crusade for gearboxes.
  • 2 1
 @bananowy: I’ll agree with this,
Nicolai is likely to suffer a similar fate with their LAL Supre drivetrain bikes….
Seems to be lots of desire, but little follow through.
  • 13 1
 @onawalk: @onawalk: hey-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y-y...lets not link coffee with conspiracy. Coffee is perfectly legit and conspirators are drinking kool aid anyway. Thanks, the mgmt.
  • 5 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: I did drink kool aid until I found out that the government was using it to slow down mountain bikers on the trail to avoid incidents with hikers....
  • 3 0
 @danielfloyd: DAMN! So wait...my electrolyte is whaaaaaaaat?
  • 2 0
 Monumental! There are two very opposite headlines today, one about e-nnovation and another about real progression of the sport.
  • 8 6
 @ryanandrewrogers: If you want to be taken seriously, don't make shit up. If you're in college and you're not making stuff up, support your claims and cite sources.

The upper rich spend 80% of the money in the sport? My impression is that most money is in the cheaper to mid-level stuff. Deore up to Deore XT drivetrain parts etc. But that's just my impression from what I see around so my reason to question your claim. Now go and support it.

"If you weren't on Pinkbike, you'd hardly know gearboxes existed." With Pinkbike being Canadian (and in English language), Rohloff and Pinion being German and Effigear being French, I'd be very surprised if these European companies would have to rely on a Canadian media outlet to be known. But yeah again, support your bold claims, just like you should in college.

As for them to only be on bikes from boutique manufacturers, it kind of depends on what's your definition of boutique but I'd be surprised brands like Ghost and Alutech were considered as such.
  • 4 1
 @vinay: Bro you expecting a bibliography in a pinkbike comment, it's an obvious shot in the dark, just based on experience working in a bike shop and seeing $15k e-bikes with oil slick axs fly off the shelves. All sold to non-enthusiast rich dudes who aren't on forums/publications like PB or the euro-counterparts (IMB, MTB News, Enduro Mag etc.). If we fleece someone on a single one of those $10k+ bikes (even non-ebikes, they buy gold XX1 spesh too) in a week it comprises more sales than the entire week's worth of selling regular workhorse mountain bikes.

Alutech is quite boutique, with a lot of in-house manufacturing, CNC fabricated parts, an 8k euro pinion bike, and a 16k euro e-bike in their range. Also unattainable in the U.S.
And Ghost offers a shite hardtail I wouldn't buy anything from them anyway.
  • 3 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: @ryanandrewrogers: It's true, there are lot's of rich dudes on fancy stuff. But still most sales are the low to mid level bikes, I have a friend running an actual bikeshop and he does not even try to sell the most expensive stuff and he sales a lot. Depends what you define by "the sport". Anyway, it's true that the customers for high end stuff typically count grams, but I don't think the weight is the problem with geraboxes. They are simply expensive as well. So they cannot go to the low-mid level stuff, and this pricey stuff has actually not enough sales to make them ubiquitous. Would it help if somehow magically all bikes above $5k come with a gearbox? I don't think so.
And then we have ebikes which actually took a big market share for expensive bikes, so the actual market for gearboxes shrunk even more.
  • 2 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: Doesn't matter where the discussion is. If you're throwing out questionable exact numbers, it helps to provide your sources so that whoever bothers to read your stuff can get an idea of what it's worth. But from what you tell me here it is based on your personal experience in a single bike shop. Ok then, thanks for that, it helps. Surprised about your selection of "worthy" magazines too. So if a customer is subscribed to Cranked and buys all the Misspent Summers stuff but doesn't bother with the web-stuff, they're so-called "non-enthusiasts"? Or do you actually check everything your potential customers read? If you base it around their knowledge about gear then yes, chances are you came to such a conclusion as unlike the web-zines, those publications I mentioned are primarily about the riding, not the gear.

I just checked Alutech again and indeed, prices have climbed compared to a couple of years ago, just as it happened across the entire industry. Mind you the inflation of the Euro has accelerated recently so if you're taking the dollar as a reference, the price increase may not appear as extreme. You mentioned you've got a job in Europe (a very boring one) so the fact that it is unattainable in the US isn't quite relevant, is it? Either way, their base level Fanes is well below 4000 euro. You'd probably still want to upgrade to a dropper post (they offer BikeYoke) and many scoff at the NX drivetrain, but you're still getting top quality Formula suspension. I don't think this is expensive compared to the other mainstream brands.

As for Ghost. Someone just won an elite XC race on one. Someone else convincingly won a 4X protour race on one this very same weekend. Their stuff may be shite to you but apparently it is good enough for people who can actually ride. Haven't checked which magazines they read though. These could indeed very well be "non-enthusiasts".
  • 158 0
 Nicolai never not been crazy af and they're still doing it. Props to doing you.
  • 13 2
 Not as crazy as a 2002 Nucleon DH,but yeah.
  • 3 0
 I got a chance to demo one back in the day at an event in Malibu Creek. It was the first really long travel bike I rode you could climb easily with (slowly anyway). Glad they are still around. Seems like SRAM is still trying to do the same thing with Flight Attendant.
  • 120 0
 I feel like this came into being way faster than we all expected. Stoked to see the review tomorrow!
  • 24 0
 Both companies got this together quickly, and the design is visually appealing to me. The rear looks clean, I'll take an idler over an exposed rear derailleur, thank you.
  • 54 1
 Looks like I’m finally going superboost.

I know that the tech and geo isn’t for everyone, but the quality, precision, thoughtful design, and top tier customer support are hard to beat.
  • 3 0
 As for the geo honestly it's totally fine, if you want a shorter bike the "small" is still pretty convetionally sized.
  • 27 1
 It's kind of funny that superboost is my biggest hang up on this bike.
  • 6 0
 @toast2266: this is the first bike that might make me cross that bridge
  • 7 8
 @toast2266: Agreed, superboost can get in the sea, the cons suck and the pros are arguably not even pros anyway.
Superboost cons:
Less clearance, my heals already rub my boost rear end and wider axle and pedals means more strikes.
Need to buy new wheels, i like my current wheels thanks.
Superboost pros:
Wider hub flange makes stiffer wheels but arguably we don't need stiffer wheels.
More tyre/chainring clearance for short rear ends, current tend is longer rear ends with more room anyway so not needed.
  • 2 0
 @Will762: Yea just seems like you need to downsize if you have a problem with their recommended sizing. The medium has almost the exact same reach and seat tube length as what I'm currently riding but my bike has a big L on it.
  • 1 0
 @rustiegrizwold: sizing down tends to put you a bit over of the front on their current geo. The long reach doesn’t feel long at all
  • 13 2
 @maglor: I've been riding SuperBoost bikes since 2019. Just to give some practical real world, long term unbiased opinions... There can be less clearance, but this really comes down to frame design. Some SuperBoost designs are narrower than some boost designs (where your heels end up anyway)... your heels don't reach as far back as the axle, so good design can alleviate this concern. The bike I'm on only changed heel clearance by 1.5mm (from their previous boost designs), but their boost bikes were already quite narrow, so their SuperBoost is on par with some other boost bikes. But it still can be a negative, hasn't been for me in the past and isn't on my SB bikes... depends on the design and the rider.

Yes, new wheels... I buy complete bikes so it's not an issue for me, but if you're bringing wheels to your next frame, I can see how that would be an issue. Also, SB doesn't necessarily have to make your wheels stiffer, but does make them stronger. My wheels didn't change in stiffness, just overall strength.

One of the most overlooked positives is the wider/stiffer bracing possible with the suspension linkage. SB can end up giving you more room up front as well and allows suspension designers to build stiffer linkage designs that keep sideloading away from your shock... leaving your shock free to do what it's supposed to do with less friction/stiction... and less chance of blowing a shock.

Lastly, for some companies that have a wide range of people who ride their bikes, it gives people options. For example, Yes there maybe more space than you need, but if gives that person that wants to run plus tires an option with no compromises, etc.

So, for me, there haven't been any downsides and ever if the upsides are marginal... I'll take marginal gains with no downside over no gains at all.
  • 9 2
 The biggest problem I have with Superboost is the derailleur sticks out more: first time I rode one I ended up smashing an XTR derailleur on a trail I'd ridden many times before with no issues.

Looks like that problem is solved.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife:
Agree on the pros of SB. I ride the new switchblade and it is magical.
  • 3 0
 @Mntneer: It looks like they're increasing stack by 2cm, compared to other models, which should help with over the bike feeling, no? I'm not trying to argue with someone who owns a Nicolai, just thinking.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Yah I have a new super boost rear end bike. I honestly can’t say I’ve even though about it good or bad since ordering the hub to build the wheels. Probably wasn’t needed but it’s not a big negative deal either honestly.
  • 1 2
 @islandforlife: i appriciate your points, but not unbiased as you're argueing the good points and why even the bad things might not be bad in certain scenarios, and i'm not sure how you're quantifying just a wider hub flange made your wheels stronger but not stiffer.
i will concede design plays a big part in heal clearance but if you apply good design to both then you still get more clearance from boost, just becuase SB can be narrower than a wide boost design doesnt mean that's enough clearance.
TBH the only actual good points come from the wider cranks that go with SB, the wider/stiffer sus linkages and heal clearance come from the wider cranks but this still comes with the negatives of pedals and rear mech being more open to strikes and then you have Q-factor, on a DH bike where SB comes from, a wide q-factor doesn't matter so much as you're not pedalling but on an enduro or trail bike that wider stance isn't as effective or comfortable for long days pedalling, research shows a narower q-factor is better for pedalling, even the narrowest of xc or road bikes are wider than most peoples natural position, obviously you need a certain width to fit everything in but making it even wider with SB isn't ideal.
  • 1 0
 @toast2266: Just think that the axle is the most wide the bike will be. Not the derailleur. This bike can be squeezed between rocks that 135 OD would have chills up the chainstays.
  • 53 0
 Nice to see Nicolaï get back to their wild roots, and I’m so stoked for Cedric to see his idea realized in the flesh. We are excited to get on one of these asap.
  • 20 0
 We gotta get some huck to flat action going. Wink
  • 2 0
 When you do, please don't drone on about the too long top tube.
  • 44 0
 Really well executed congratulations nicolai
This came way cleaner than i could have ever expected
What does the spring damper look like?
And yes that rear end really does look very nice
Love it ; )
  • 10 0
 The tensioner damper is explained in this article: www.pinkbike.com/news/a-deeper-look-at-lal-bikes-supre-drive-patent.html
  • 33 0
 Good job Cedric Eveleigh, finally some real innovation regarding drivetrains!
  • 29 0
 This thing looks very cool. I have to admit, I won't be the first person to buy something like this but I can appreciate that they are taking a new approach to some of the bike design issues that most bikes face.
  • 7 2
 I probably wouldn’t but it but I line that they’re challenging the status quo. This might wake up the big companies.
  • 16 0
 yesterday I was riding bike park and a perfectly placed rock broke my XT der in half. The SRAM UDH is too strong, it spun out of the way but not far enough (what happened to der hangers that broke??). Literally my first thought after realizing I had to hike a bike back up to the access road was, "I really wish I had that weird Lal design on my bike right now"
  • 16 1
 This is super interesting and cool. I love that it looks different than anything else....bring back interesting bikes!
  • 15 0
 The only things I can say are.....freakin' awesome/cool and well done Cedric and Nicolai
  • 16 0
 Nicolai back at doing cool bikes ! It was about time !
  • 14 0
 Pinkbike field test, lets see how it compares to the competition. I am all for innovation so this is a breath of fresh air.
  • 12 0
 While the rest of the world wants simplicity and clean lines, they've gone "Hold my beer"
  • 10 0
 Looks amazing, but how much does this beast weigh?
  • 23 0
 its a bit like the price, if you have to ask.....................
  • 9 0
 16.6 kg according to mtb-news Germany.
Weight should go down as some parts are sill printed and not forged/cncd
  • 5 0
 @MrBergfexx: I think that's a great weight for having a coil EXT storia shock and the EXT Era.
  • 1 0
 @fiekaodclked: ext storia is like 50-100g heavier than float x2
  • 1 0
 @Noeserd: The Era is quite a bit heavier than a fox (but worth it IMO).
  • 1 1
 @Noeserd: Without the spring, this is correct. The spring alone on a high leverage Horst bike can add another 450 grams though.
  • 1 0
 @SunsPSD: Nope i was talking about with spring weight, it isnt much heavier than x2. X2 with 230x65 configuration is 680 grams, storia with 400 spring is something like 780 800, they're very light for a coil or maybe x2 is too heavy for air
  • 4 0
 @SunsPSD: The EXT Storia Lok V3 is very close to the same weight as the same size 2022 Float X2 and that is including the weight of the coil spring. It depends on the spring rate used, but it can be as close as only 10 grams heavier than the Float X2 (this was with a 450lb spring). That's when using the EXT Superlight V2 coil springs on a 230 x 65 eye to eye shock. It's impressive!
  • 6 0
 I really like this!
I would be very interested to see a new video with this bike showing how it rides. Also would like to demonstrate how brake pads are changed and how the wheel is removed/installed - that looks trickier than normal.
  • 8 0
 On Lal Bikes' instagram page there is a video demonstrating how to remove the rear wheel. It's like how a SRAM derailleur has the lock stop to relieve tension on the chain.

www.instagram.com/tv/Cb7IdPuLHOq/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
  • 1 0
 You have to run a much heavier spring on a HL bike. In my case my EXT weighed about 1# more than my stock DPX2 shock because of the 650# spring it requires with a Cascade and me at 192#s.
  • 8 0
 Was going to order but it doesn't put the cables through the headset. Get with the times nicolai.
  • 5 1
 The decreasing anti-squat fits what I see here, but not the increasing pedal kickback. Can ever a decreasing anti-squat be accompanied by an increasing pedal kickback?? And the different anti-squat and pedal kickback lines for each cog make no sense to me and make me feel like something is off here, because since the idler is connected to the swingarm the specific cog the chain is in has no influence in anti-squat and pedal kickback, and for the same reason what determines anti-squat and pedal kickback here is the chain line from the chainring to the idler wheel in relation to the main pivot. This does change with suspension movement, but the rest, namely the chain line to the different cogs, is a different and fixed system that does not change with suspension movement, just like a "URT" design.
  • 2 0
 Came here to say the same thing, don't want to be that armchair engineer but the pedal kickback chart is not right, think someone forgot the idler is attached to the swingarm when calculating which means the distance from idler to cassette never changes no matter what gear, kickback will be the same in all gears and the sum of the distance the idler moves with the swingarm away from the chainring and the chainring size will give you a kickback angle. Does make you doubt all the charts when one is wrong like this though.
  • 3 1
 Nah its fine, if you look up the linkage files of the older freeride version of the supreme you can see that it has quite some kickback in the smaller gears. It is also explainable as the further away the chain sits from the rearaxle (on a bigger cog) the more kickback you will get. I always thought that this would have to mean that you also get more antisquat in gears with more kickback, but that is not the case in most designs-just check randomly in linkage, most designs have high kickback in small gears and high antisquat in high gears.
  • 5 1
 This relates to my problem with the bike industry going towards the 'e-bike route'; and it's that they went towards the development of a MOTOR (contrary to what a bicycle IS) instead of trying to develop a NEW, improved and more efficient DRIVETRAIN SYSTEM.

So congrats again to LAL Bikes for creating this truly innovative system that I'm sure riders will support.
  • 4 0
 Holy mackeral! Someone burned the candle at both ends and a 50 gallon barrel of midnight oil to bring a completely new design to production. Incredible final design considering just how wild the whole thing really is. I have always lusted for a nicolai or geometron, and that has not changed. I think I could ignore the complexity and visual confusion, and just enjoy riding it no problem. Probably just buy a regular g1, and faff about with inverted forks and schweet coil shocks, but I am an old codger that takes change as an assault to tender sensibilities. Still utterly impressed.
  • 4 0
 Hell yes Cedric! Thats coming together faster than I think most expected after the announcement! Also the linkage on that bike totally makes me think of a Session 10. Loved that bike!
  • 3 0
 Curious that the rear derailleur is 3D printed in these pics, so I'm guessing that's pre production, not production ready. Also, not to be a snob but it would've been a lot cleaner to SLS print the prototypes rather than this unfinished FDM.
  • 1 0
 Yeah I really hope that's just a prototype. I'm betting it would not hold up to real world use for very long as a 3d printed part!
  • 7 0
 I'll need a bigger backpack to carry that spare derailleur hanger.......
  • 7 0
 Now I can try riding skinnies again!
  • 8 6
 I would be worried about what happens to this bike and the frame if this shifting system does not catch on. How long are spare parts going to be available? At least with a "conventional" frame I can pick between SRAM and Shimano along with multiple options from XX to Deore. I ride a lot of miles off road on some sketchy technical trails and neither I or any of the group that I ride with have had a single derailleur failure over the last 5+ years. Is this a solution searching for problem?
  • 5 18
flag thewanderingtramp (Jul 12, 2022 at 6:38) (Below Threshold)
 It's a Nicolai that question is covered if you look at their history with gearboxes, give it a year and the novelty will be for sale on ebay.
  • 6 2
 It depends on where and how you ride. Current 1x drivetrains hang pretty darn low when your climbing in the largest cog, I’ve had more issues getting sticks stuck in the pulley wheels, clipping roots stumps etc. I climb up a lot of technical singletrack, I end up banging up the derailleur because of that.

I just applaud nicolai for being willing to be an early adopter and risk it all in the name of progress! We won’t know how these inventions perform until they’re on oem specs and getting broad usage.
  • 9 1
 What crazy spare parts? It's basically a derailleur sitting at a new angle. Being protected in the swingarm with all that tensioning gear probably helps too? Derailleurs mostly die because of impact or abrupt tension being added to the system (which is why we've always added tensioners and this bike has a lot a lot of tensioners).

Nicolai has a history of making wacky drivetrain bikes but also of making spare parts for at least 5 years for every frame; they make everything in house so if you had something older than that I'm sure they'd make it for you. Do you know of any other brand their size and pedigree who will still make you anything you want custom-wise?
  • 3 2
 Depends on what you like to ride I guess but I smash a derailleur a year minimum. Crashing alone poses such a risk to my drivetrain, I'm sick of worrying about my several-thousand-dollar toy every time I eat it. I should probably be worrying about my own health but (knocking on wood) I haven't broken anything on my body bad enough to go fetch a bill for it in years. My derailleur though! Don't even get me started on the brake levers, wheels, tires, and shifters I've ruined, at this rate I should stop paying for health insurance for me, it's my stupid bike that needs it lol
  • 2 0
 The upside, other that the mech itself that is pretty well protected, everything else is off the shelf Shimano.. Downside, Shimano 12sp cassettes and shifters haven't been the easiest things to get if you're building from the frame up...
  • 2 0
 @ryanandrewrogers: To be fair it sounds less like a derailleur issue and more of a you need to stop falling so much issue....
  • 3 1
 @nismo325: Just advocating for bikes that are tougher than our bodies lol, cause mine sure ain't. Realistically, most of the time I've snapped derailleur it was a rock and I was absolutely fine... except the one time the chain wrapped the spokes and sent me for another round of shit-eating 20 seconds later.

2 cents if you're not crashing you ain't riding hard enough
  • 6 4
 Looks awesomely what I have never needed!

Think I last hit a mech off about 10 years ago before shadow mechs came into existence.
For no chain growth, the complexities of this solution are mind blowingly over engineered to solve a no-problem.

But I still run 10 speed and a 36T out back because you dont need anything else in the UK for trail centres or up in the mountains. Maybe a 40T in some mountains to save the legs. (I would run lower if I lived abroad though)
  • 3 0
 In the old articles, the chain looked like it would almost be doubled back on itself when in the lowest/fastest gears. Interested to see if you get chain-on-chain chainslap on this thing.
  • 4 2
 Looks good and I always like tech but in 30yrs of riding most disciplines and plenty of crashes i’ve wrecked a derailleur once and snapped two hangers, which funnily were on the same trek Boone within a few weeks of each other, so I won’t be one of the customers for this drive train design.

Also Nikolai always make interesting bikes not matter what anyone says.
  • 6 1
 A guy i rode with killed two hangers within 5 rides. So what does that tell us? Exactly nothing.
  • 3 1
 Honestly, I love the Idea behind it and absolutely like the level of commitment and engineering behind it but it just looks over-build and to much to think about. A conventional drivetrain is so good these days and much less complicated (even if it just looks less complicated).
  • 3 0
 No water bottle bosses? Is that Nikolai giving the finger - or their marketing department decided they wanted to cleanest frame photos available - given how busy the backend looks. Still a looker of a bike.
  • 2 0
 Excellent work, especially for the first version. Hard to predict if this will lead to anything else but at least to the end of derailleur failure for those who want it.

I'm curious how much the chain will be hitting the stays?

How do you remove the damper for service or do you not need to?
  • 2 0
 Look at how that box rear with an enclosed mech could accommodate a small wheel. There’s a world of micro mobility vehicles with dozens of applications for this. The high pivot leaves space for a motor. Maybe Porsche wants to invest?
  • 5 0
 How many chains do I need if I go on vacation with this beauty....
  • 3 0
 2, gold is preferred.
  • 1 0
 In fairness.. after you farmed out like 12k eur for the medium build, the 3 chains will be marginal cost.. =)
  • 4 0
 I predicted Devinci - I was way out to lunch. This is cool to see, congrats Cedric!
  • 11 0
 Correction - per instagram Nicolai is actually not the first company he started working with, they just developed their frame faster.
"So you're saying there's a chance"
  • 2 0
 @AndrewHornor: Devinci just released their new high pivot bike like last fall....
  • 1 0
 @Timo82: I definitely missed that when I was trying to think of bigger Canadian brands that might try something new. Has the Wilson been updated lately?
  • 1 0
 @AndrewHornor: I don't think so, but honestly, I don't really look at those DH bikes so you'd have more chance to know by going on their site! haha
  • 5 0
 I don't understand how this design gets so much pedal kickback.
  • 1 0
 I would be interested to see whether other companies are giving the kickback specs for all gears like this, or whether they just pick one gear and give that number. Might rsch that later
  • 2 1
 I agree, considering that in this design anti-squat is correctly shown to be decreasing with travel, and normally lower anti-squat means lower pedal kickback. However pedal kickback is increasing with travel on these graphs. Something doesn't seem right.
  • 3 0
 @swenzowski: Normally lines are included not for all gears, but more like two or three lines like top, bottom and middle gear. However in this particular system, since the idler is connected to the swingarm, I really don't see what difference it makes what gear is selected, because suspension movement does not affect the "closed" idler-chain-cog system. This seems very strange to me.
  • 1 2
 I don't think you or anyone else here understands how offset idlers work
  • 5 0
 Imagine setting up the rear brake there with all that space Big Grin
  • 4 0
 Applaud the design. Very cool. But wondering if getting my shorts caught in the drivetrain is now a thing.
  • 4 0
 any comment on chain slap noise? looks like it could be noisy. STFU is like, hold my beer
  • 1 0
 That hydraulic chain tensioner had better be VERY good at what it is supposed to do.
  • 2 1
 The weight is concerning. Guess I'd like to know what the additional weight on a Dreadnaught would be, that's the best comparison.

I mean for 320 grams you can just carry an entire AXS derailleur on your bike if so inclined.

The weight & efficiency have to be equal or better than standard set ups for this to really take off.

There is also the little issue that High Pivot bikes might have already peaked as early adopters seem to be moving away from them already.
  • 3 0
 This is the future...derailleurs can suck it! Congrats to Lal Bikes and Nicolai for pushing the boundaries of bike geo and engineering.!
  • 2 3
 still uses a derailleur...
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott "...while the chain tensioner pulley sits above - and concentric to - the bottom bracket."

The chain tensioner pulley isn't concentric to the BB; it pivots along an arc that is concentric to the BB but the pulley itself cannot be concentric as it doesn't share the same centre as the chainring.
  • 1 0
 loving this bike, except where the cable routing for the rear derailleur goes. I just feel that on the wetter rides it is going to get so full of mud the cable is going to stick in no much which will result in a lot of cable routing to keep that smooth feel. Other than that I WANT THIS BIKE!
  • 5 0
 Dope. I want.
  • 10 10
 I applaud the innovation, but I don't think I could ever be convinced that I wasn't wasting a ton of extra energy with that drivetrain. Not sure what the use case is besides lift service. Definitely wouldn't want to race a full 5 or 6 stage enduro on it.
  • 4 0
 It would probably surprise us, how little extra friction there would be. The bigger bigger wheels would be more efficent than the standard derailleur.... but there are more of them ; )
  • 13 0
 It's claimed to be more efficient than a conventional drivetrain with an idler, but not as efficient as a conventional drivetrain without an idler - www.pinkbike.com/news/lal-bikes-supre-drivetrain-an-update.html
  • 5 1
 It's still a lot of weight where it shouldn't be. People would be amazed how much more active the rear suspension becomes when you get rid of a couple pounds off the end of a swing arm.
  • 4 2
 Haha i wondered if i can put my son, who is 1.5m, on my wifes old bike -which has a 400mm reach -turns out Nicolai says i should put him on my current 470mm machine.
  • 2 0
 I like the premise but wonder how easy to service it is. Maybe it will beat the Cracking Commencal as the "best ever" to ride, in @astonmtb view?!
  • 1 0
 Anti-squat chart is interesting but not sure that I would be pedaling when anywhere close to bottomed out. A shading of how much suspension is likely to be in use when pedaling would be more interesting.
  • 5 1
 Forbidden- please adopt this drivetrain for the redesigned Druid/Dread.
  • 2 0
 Out of everything they’ve did be to this bike, the hang up is 157mm rear spacing? People are complaining for the sake of complaining.
  • 1 0
 I'm so happy to see this come into production so quickly! I was stoked when the derailleur design was first revealed and I didn't expect it to be implemented for at least another year. Lal Bikes is on a mission!
  • 1 0
 If you are wrecking multiple derailleurs bashing them into rocks and stuff to the point that this looks like a solution, I'd say the problem with derailleurs might be the way you ride.
  • 4 0
 Bonkers! I love it!
  • 4 0
 I instantly love nicolai
  • 2 0
 Almost 500 reach on a medium. Wow. I really dig the protected derailleur though.
  • 1 0
 You could always ride a small for less reach.
  • 3 1
 it's interesting to go forward...nice...i can only imagine myself hours after a muddy ride trying to clean the bike
  • 3 0
 I was thinking the same thing. The tech and execution as a concept… awesome. For someone who admittedly really like a clean (dirt not lines) bike, this thing looks like a disaster. You'd have to take it apart to get behind the idler, that damper cable, and the tierods. Yikes.
  • 8 8
 What a mess. I hope whoever buys this is either very mechanically minded and skilled or is a dentist and can pay the huge bucks to the LBS to maintain. At least this might help some LBS stay in business.
  • 3 0
 I’d love to see a 1x10 version for the bike park.
  • 8 0
 I'll make a dh version for sure once we've made a bit more progress with this wide range version. Folks tell me that the Supre Drive makes sense for dh even with conventional dh derailleurs being small. (I haven't ridden dh in a while, just enduro and all mountain these days, but I love dh nonetheless.)
  • 5 0
 Congratulations @cedric-eveleigh I can’t imagine how proud you must feel seeing your concept going into production on a bike like this. Brilliant work!!
  • 8 0
 @o-dubhshlaine: I'm proud indeed, and the Nicolai folks deserve to be very proud as well!
  • 2 0
 How did they put one chain on correctly and then the second chain backwards?
  • 5 2
 does smashing derailers really warrant all this?
  • 5 0
 It s not just broken derailleurs. Bent derailleur cages are a pain too.
  • 3 2
 465mm reach at 5ft1, I don't know anyone who is 5ft1 who could ride that. Getting 'reached' out of modern bikes. Supre for everyone (unless youre short).
  • 3 1
 Yeah I wonder if Nicolai is measuring this the same way we think they should be measuring this. The geo numbers make no sense.
  • 6 0
 Steep seat tube angle counters the reach. Reach measurement doesn't tell you where the seat is located relative to the bars, as it were, only where the bottom bracket is located relative to the bars.
  • 1 0
 @zuker81: so steep st angle doesn't counter reach. If the reach is too long, no amount of st angle will make it shorter.
  • 1 0
 Funny that found a way to use a gearbox style drive & did not put it in a box?
I know why, but would still make more common sense as far as efficiency?
  • 2 1
 Has anyone tried to put the deraileur above the rear axle? I mean, if It was pointing to the other side... Much more simple design
  • 2 0
 You would constantly pull it apart while pedaling.
  • 1 0
 @Muckal: why? I can't imagine It...
  • 2 0
 @kannamerano: Or you'd have to pedal backward.
  • 3 0
 But where do I attach my front derailleur?
  • 1 1
 Instead of a water bottle holder you get... greasy calves! Masses of chain next to my ankles is clearly an improvement over standard drivetrain I guess because this really sticks it to the man!
  • 1 0
 It’s a weird bicycle, but at least it’s a bicycle, not a Broped.

Also-this iteration of the drivetrain is clunky, but I’ll be curious to see how it evolves.
  • 7 6
 It must be really fun cleaning all of that BB area... Anyway looks interesting.
  • 2 0
 So how much is a frame with the gear selector?
  • 3 0
 Take my MONEY!
  • 2 1
 490 - 497 Reach on a medium! This is one long sexy MF. Congratulations Cedric.
  • 1 0
 Awesome! Stoked to see this happen so quickly - can't wait to see where this goes!
  • 3 0
 THIS IS SICK!
  • 2 0
 Looks like a perfect bike!! Would love to try one
  • 7 8
 A fully proprietary drivtrain that hugely limits frame design options and doesn't even really solve the problems that a derailleur poses.

Why exactly would I want this again?
  • 5 3
 Cause it's sick
  • 5 1
 hugely limits frame design options [citation needed]
doesn't even really solve the problems that a derailleur poses [citation needed]
  • 4 0
 With you man. I’m also looking at the Hope brakes in a teeny space just ahead of the rear axle and wondering where mid clearance is. Also looking at how complex this design would be to service for a home mechanic. Looks like a bike version of a modern car where you’ve to remove the front bumper to replace a light bulb….
  • 2 3
 @Mtmw: Did you even read the article?

It literally says in the article, how the system is completely proprietary and very much limits frame and suspension design options: "The system only works with high-pivot designs and - much like a gearbox bike - the frame has to be designed around the requirements of the drivetrain."

Also, you can tell that it doesn't solve the derailleur issues by the way that it doesn't. It's still exposed to the elements and rocks and debris could still get flung into it. As opposed to a fully enclosed gearbox.
  • 7 2
 @Muscovir: I read the article. I don't know of any bike design where the frame doesn't have to be designed around the drivetrain. Rear suspension performance and drivetrain performance are always intimately linked, hence the phrase "pedal kickback". Co-design is different form "huge limitations". Many riders consider high pivot to be an advantage, not a limitation. I'd like a citation for your claim of "huge limitations". You have provided none.

"you can tell that it doesn't solve the derailleur issues by the way that it doesn't". No hanger: check. No external RD: check. I asked you to provide a citation for "doesn't really solve the problems that a RD poses". You have provided none. A citation would include a list of such problems, so we could have a debate about which problems it solves and which it doesn't.

Thank you!
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: Now you’re jus being obtuse on purpose. No point in debating you.
  • 2 1
 Defo not for me, but it's great that it's coming to reality and production. Good job to everybody involved!
  • 2 0
 That looks like a great park bike
  • 2 1
 Not enough moving parts for my tastes. Props on thinking outside the box though
  • 2 3
 Go Cedric!!!! And Nicolai for that matter. Kudos for identifying the area that will keep your bikes at the head of the field. The suspension design needed an update. This is a home run.
  • 3 0
 Seems complicated
  • 1 1
 I don't know if I love or hate it but as I like positivity on PinkBike I'm going to say this is a cool looking bit of bike! ha
  • 1 0
 Now who’s going to be the first to buy one?

I wish I had the money to get ine
  • 1 0
 Main issue other than complexity is the frame hangs down as much as a derailleur all the way around.
  • 2 0
 I want whatever mech you have… that magically doesn’t even go below the cassette.
  • 2 0
 Imagine getting a bit of dirt in it
  • 1 0
 Step 1: get a bike with Lal bikes drivetrain
Step 2: install Archer components shifter
Step 3: profit
  • 1 0
 A few more links and a few more links and we have a hot dog. Nicolai and Canadian for the win!
  • 2 0
 Very cool but cleaning nightmare
  • 1 0
 NIkolai bikes have been kinda getting boring these years. Super awesome to see something new with their old ethos.
  • 3 2
 and I thought my 485 reach Large was big
  • 2 0
 Damn. What a sick bike
  • 2 1
 That stack/reach combo is nuts. I still want this bike though.
  • 1 0
 Nicolai for the win! I love my Nicolai, best riding bike ever!!
  • 1 0
 If it wasn't so insanely expensive....
  • 2 0
 I hope it works.
  • 2 0
 Rube Goldberg bike
  • 1 0
 Ok now we're getting somewhere new.
  • 1 0
 Looks great apart from the bracing between top tube and seat mast
  • 2 0
 Freakin legends !!!
  • 1 0
 Seat tube bracket could be lil prettier
  • 1 0
 This bike looks insane...and I love it.
  • 1 0
 I'm to dense for this thing...@trailpov please do a youtube on this.
  • 1 0
 TrailPOV has been off the air for a while. An analysis will probably pop up in the VitalMTB tech thread quite soon.
  • 1 0
 This is very exciting. I look forward to seeing one in the flesh!
  • 1 0
 Very cool. A dream come true for us rock gardeners.
  • 1 0
 can i have one without the ridiculous reach numbers?
  • 1 0
 That looks great! I really like it tup
  • 1 0
 Shine on, you crazy diamond.
  • 1 0
 Two chains on that at least
  • 1 0
 Of course Nicolai
  • 1 0
 Amazing
  • 2 1
 All of the things.
  • 1 1
 They got the antisquat values the other way round.
  • 1 0
 It's really cool.
  • 3 5
 Pathetic, not even an Ebike, Ebike are the future, more fun less slogging my guts out for a small downhill section that sucked.
(its a joke you anti ebike snowflakes)
  • 1 0
 So sick!
  • 1 0
 I want one.
  • 1 0
 TAKE MY MONEY
  • 2 4
 There is no sane excuse for this mess of pulleys and chains. They just tried to make it more eye-catching and extravagant.
  • 1 0
 I feel the next 3-4 altercations will probably make it slightly less complicated. But yeah, for the extra 3 grand that bike will cost in the end, I can buy many, many Rdees.
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