The Four-Year Story of Fin Woods' DIY Carbon Enduro Gearbox Bike

Apr 23, 2020
by Mike Levy  



Pulley wheels, tiny bolts, and unrecognizable pieces of bent metal scattered in the dirt. Your chain twisted and jammed impossibly deep between spokes and cogs. A broken derailleur hanger that's probably out of stock for the next two months. Sound familiar? We've all been there or will be there, no matter how good modern drivetrains get; on our knees trail-side trying to piece things together so we don't have to walk out of the forest.

Not even a diehard derailleur devotee like myself can deny that, for some riders, these spring-loaded things can be fragile, finicky, and prone to exploding.

Sherpa Details

• Intended use: Enduro
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear-wheel travel: 170mm
• Fork travel: 180mm
• Head angle: 64-degrees
• Seat angle: 76.5-degrees
• Reach: 450mm
• More info: Sherpa Cycles on Instagram
Fin Woods, an industrial designer who lives in Mount Maunganui, just outside of Rotorua's Redwoods Forest, is one of those riders. The New Zealander set out to do something about it.

bigquotesA gearbox equipped enduro bike that was nicely designed, competitive with the derailleur-driven bikes, and I had a bit of stab of what bikes would look like in a few year's time. Woods on his goals with the Sherpa


Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
Woods originally designed the Sherpa back in 2016, before high single-pivot suspension was popular on anything other than downhill bikes.


Woods' answer is a 170mm-travel, carbon fiber enduro bike that he designed himself. It employs a 12-speed gearbox from Pinion, along with a futuristic-looking suspension layout that combines a high main pivot, concentric axle pivot, and a low-slung shock compressed by a compact linkage near the bottom bracket.

It's an impressive looking bike that could easily be from a derailleur-less future but was actually designed in 2016, and the journey from sketches to a kinda-rideable prototype has been a bumpy one.

''For all of my life, I have had issues with derailleurs. So many rides have been ruined by snapped hangers, bent cages, broken cables, or all of the other problems that come with those bloody things,'' Woods told me. And then, back in 2016, when he was in his final year of university, Woods had to design and develop his own product. ''I had some different ideas for what I could do, but what made my decision was when I was going for a ride; I pulled my bike off the rack and the derailleur cable was snapped.''

That broken cable was one ride-ruiner too many, but the first step, he said, was to figure out why derailleurs were so pervasive, especially given the rate at which he was going through them.


Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
Some of Woods' early sketches and ideas for the Sherpa.


He came to the same three conclusions others have: A lack of consumer knowledge, that many gearbox bikes are poorly designed or too bespoke, and the kicker is that gearboxes haven't seen anywhere near the development that derailleur-based drivetrains have over the past decades. ''Although not all solvable in a design project,'' he said, ''this is what defined the brief: A gearbox equipped enduro bike that was nicely designed, competitive with the derailleur-driven bikes, and I had a bit of stab of what bikes would look like in a few year's time.''

His project culminated in a proof-of-concept scale model, but Woods wanted something that he could ride, not just look at.



The Gearbox Mindset

Once you've had a few too many rides ruined by exploding derailleurs, having all those fragile bits tucked away safely inside a metal box surely seems like the better way to go. But the gearbox bike has never progressed past the point of wild-looking concepts and, at best, relatively low production numbers.

Opponents, including myself, usually cite cost, drivetrain inefficiencies, and how they can require a different shifting technique as the reasons, three strikes for many of us who haven't had the headache-causing derailleur issues that Woods has.


Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods

Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
From drawings to relatively simple cardboard cutouts to a hand-shaped prototype complete with a mock Pinion gearbox.


''It really comes down to the kind of riding you do in relation to drag,'' he counters. ''For flatter kind of riding, gearboxes don’t make too much sense. But as soon as you add a decent amount of gravity into the mix, their benefits really come into the light. The drag is actually super minimal in the lower end of the gearbox, so riding up is virtually unaffected by it.''

bigquotesIt’s just a mindset thing, and not everyone lets themselves adjust. Woods on why some riders might not gel with gearbox bikes

While I've probably written tens of thousands of words pointing out the negatives of gearbox drivetrains, for Woods, those are obviously outweighed by the positives.

''It’s funny, I’ve taken people riding that have barely ridden any kind of bike before, and they find the gearbox shifting much more intuitive and easier to learn than a derailleur,'' he says. ''People get stuck in their ways and find having to adapt a negative when, in reality, if they embrace it, they can open up possibilities in their riding not previously possible. It’s just a mindset thing, and not everyone lets themselves adjust,'' he added without actually using my name.



Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
The high single-pivot layout delivers 170mm of travel, with an aluminum link rotating above and behind the bottom bracket compressing a Fox shock. Oh, and a bungee cord to hold up the chain tensioner.


High Single-Pivot Suspension

While there are a handful of high single-pivot bikes to pick these days, from downhill sleds to burly trail bikes, that wasn't the case back in 2016 when Woods designed the Sherpa. So, how did he end up using this suspension layout four years before it became the up-to-the-minute way to do things? ''The gap between enduro and downhill bikes is constantly closing, and I wanted the bike to be ahead of the market, so I knew it would have to have downhill-influenced suspension,'' he answered.

Woods is referencing how a high-pivot layout provides a rearward axle path, something that's said to be a key ingredient when cooking up a fast bike. A rear wheel that moves back slightly can get out of the way of rocks and roots quicker than one that can only move straight up and down, thereby letting you carry more momentum over rough ground. When your races are three-minutes long and sometimes decided by tenths of a second, that kind of thing matters, and Woods wanted his enduro bike to have a similar focus.

But he says that he didn't want to take it too far: ''I like to call my suspension the 'not so high high-pivot' because if the pivot is too high and axle path too drastic, the bike can feel sluggish,'' he told me, with his goal being to have same baked-in pop and playfulness that a pure-race bike might not be inclined to offer.


Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
An idler pulley is used to control pedal kickback and anti-squat.
Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
The lower links, otherwise known as the chainstays, are aluminum.


But for a high-pivot design to work, the chain needs to be routed close to it to avoid too much drivetrain interference, often called "pedal kickback." This is when the suspension tugs on the chain and is prevented from moving freely.

Using an idler pulley, that funny looking cog that's nearly in-line with the main pivot, let Woods get around that, and he says that its small size helps to effectively eliminate any kickback: ''This meant I could set the anti-squat how I wanted without it affecting pedal kickback and rider fatigue, while also having it consistent through the whole travel.''

On a bike that's begging for questions, it's Woods' chain tensioner solution that most people ask about. Yes, that is a bungee cord holding it up. ''It’s actually the lightest and simplest way to keep it tight,'' he says, adding that he's happy he didn't design the torsion spring system he thought it would require.

The Fox air-sprung shock is compressed by a compact aluminum linkage that rotates just behind the bottom bracket. Its location helps keeps the weighty bits as low as possible on the frame, but it also leaves a ton of room inside the front triangle for water bottles and anything else you might want to hang off of it.

bigquotesThe market is filled with people that don’t fully comprehend what they are buying and are fed yarns from whoever can yell the loudest, which is usually the big companies with big budgets making virtually no innovation and following what the smaller guys are doing anyway. Woods take on the cycling industry


Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
Without a low-hanging derailleur and a big cassette, the back of the Sherpa is remarkably clean looking.



Manfacturing Challenges

Anyone who's tackled the kind of project Woods was diving into knows full well that the process can be a bumpy one. With his university work behind him and a full-time industrial design gig on the go, the next step was to figure out if he wanted to manufacture the frame himself or pay a professional. ''I was considering making it myself out of carbon, but thought I better get an expert in to do that aspect,'' he explained with obvious regret.

''But in the amount of time it took, I think I could have learned and done a better job.''

''The frame turned up a few months after it was supposed too and was not rideable. It was pretty gutting. I wrote back to the guy and he apologized, said he rushed it, and that he'd make a new one. I sent everything back to him, and a massive nine months later a new one turned up only marginally better.''

At this point, it was now late-2018, two years into the journey and Woods was frustrated with what he had: ''None of the pivots lined up and everything was deformed. It was extremely gutting. By this time, I had started doing some work for Zerode Bikes, and luckily Rob [Metz], who runs Zerode, is an absolute guru in the workshop. Together, we managed to get it into a rideable state.''

The Sherpa was finally rolling, but the fragile construction has kept it from being ridden hard without breaking.

And then disaster struck: ''Because the frame was slightly deformed, it made the head angle steeper than it should be so I bought an angle-set for it.'' The head tube cracked while it was being pushed into place, and Woods has done more looking at the Sherpa than riding it until he can fix that and some other issues. What began as a fact-finding mission to figure out why most riders seem okay with, in Woods' opinion, the unreliable derailleur-based drivetrain has come to a temporary standstill because of its own challenges.

But, reliability aside, and despite the current situation, he's happy with how the bike performs in general, saying that he'd only tweak the suspension kinematics to be more supple early in the travel, and maybe lengthen the reach slightly.

I suspect he'd have a go at building the frame, too.
Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
I could probably build the first one, but Woods took it all the way to a full-sized carbon fiber prototype.

If it sounds like the process took the wind out of Woods' sails, it did. ''Originally, I had these big visions of starting my own mountain bike company, but after pursuing the design it’s made me have a bit of a change of mindset. Designing bikes is fun, but selling them is a different kettle of fish. The market is filled with people that don’t fully comprehend what they are buying and are fed yarns from whoever can yell the loudest, which is usually the big companies with big budgets making virtually no innovation and following what the smaller guys are doing anyway.'' He's certainly not the first to say it.

bigquotesIt’s become so much more apparent through this project that a new bike isn’t going to make anyone a better rider.
The process has changed Woods' perspective

Woods set out to design an enduro gearbox bike that would show how much better things could be without derailleurs, but the process taught him about a lot more than just gearboxes. ''There’s such a lack of focus on fun in the mountain bike industry, which is a pretty big turn off as well. Everyone is bitching about the dumbest gear-related shit instead of enjoying themselves, which is ridiculous. It’s become so much more apparent through this project that a new bike isn’t going to make anyone a better rider. Just ride your bike and have some fun instead of weighing it and you’ll become a much better rider.''


Sherpa Cycles photo by Fin Woods
Can you imagine how amazing it must have felt to have designed your own bike years ago, and then you get to ride it?


Will we be seeing more from Sherpa Cycles? ''Right now, my focus is on shooting photos and video; it’s much more fun being outside than being stuck behind the computer. This might change again, who knows, just trying to have fun! In saying all of that though, if there was enough interest in the bike, it could become a reality to make a few of them.''




Interested in more DIY stories? Jean-François Boivin's Insolent downhill bike employs a homemade shock made from parts of a Fox 40, while Ashley Kalym's single-sided carbon fiber linkage fork uses a leading-link design to deliver 160mm of travel. One of the most impressive finished products has to be Vladimir Yordanov's Sequence downhill bike that he made with help from Easy Composites.

Want to know more about Sherpa Cycles? Check out their Instagram page.


244 Comments

  • 163 2
 What an undertaking, and the dude sounds like a top bloke to boot. Absolutely mega! On top of that it sounds like he figured out a secret that very few people ever seem to reach.
  • 3 2
 #YRYFB
  • 29 2
 I would buy one
  • 12 1
 Take my entire Bank account. I don't care I can't afford it I just want one.
  • 5 0
 Love it! What can I do to motivate you to make and sell me one!
  • 3 1
 I just came! #gearboxftw
  • 7 0
 Another good read, for those who like this stuff about bike development (and gear boxes) is on the Zerode website under “history”
Great work Fin. I have absolute respect for people like yourself who are willing to take risks at their own cost and time to try progress the experience of something we all love to do.
  • 1 0
 Great idea, and hopefully gearboxes become standard then no one would be able to tell if i was on a ebike. I could take over the world.
  • 45 25
 "the first step, he said, was to figure out why derailleurs were so pervasive"

Probably because they're:

- Lightweight
- Low drag
- Cheap
- Easily replaceable
- User-maintainable

So yeah, pretty terrible all round. If big bike companies with their massive R&D budgets haven't yet come up with a gearbox that they think will be a mass-market success, it's probably because they think the drawbacks significantly outweigh the advantages (e.g. it feels like pedalling a coffee-grinder).
  • 55 7
 But what if:

- Maintenance wasn't required
- Never needed to be replaced

Sometimes it needs to be considered whether the issues need to exist in the first place. Especially when most people are changing bikes at least every 6 years, what if the drivetrain was just something that wasn't really a wear part on your bike?
  • 40 13
 Designing moving parts that need no maintenance ever and have a 0% probability of failure? Let me know how you get on with that.
  • 54 17
 @twopoint6khz: how often do people change car transmissions? piss off devil's advocate
  • 29 2
 @baca262: how much do car transmissions weigh?
  • 22 3
 @baca262:
*Vw dsg sounds appears*
  • 11 5
 @baca262: sometimes often, depends on the car, not a good comparison.
  • 23 0
 when i think gearbox, i just see improved suspension performance. derailleur + huge cassette = significant unsprung weight. never ridden a gearbox though, so can't speak to how they actually feel!
  • 15 1
 I agree. But no matter what you think about whether we need gearboxes or not, you have to admit this is an impressive undertaking.
  • 5 0
 @twopoint6khz: Looks clean AF as well
  • 3 0
 @TheR: Absolutely. I for one am very impressed, Mr Woods.
  • 1 1
 @twonsarelli: Aston was pretty convinced. If it's not on WC bikes/teams yet is cause they need the cash...
  • 3 0
 @baca262: even people i don't even know are making fun of my van Frown
  • 1 0
 @baca262: Haha wow.
  • 6 0
 @A-HIGHLY-EDUCATED-PROFESSIONAL:

Moving components in high end watches use jewels as they don’t ware out as things ticktoc forever. Maybe we need jewels in our drivetrains.
  • 9 4
 @hamncheez:
> @baca262: how much do car transmissions weigh?
About half a pound per horsepower for a high end, high performance transmission.
Considering humans peak out at about a horsepower... it looks like bicycle gearboxes appear to have a lot of room for improvement/refinement.
  • 6 1
 @enki: Pinion is designed by former auto industry Senior engineers. Pinion cannot meet your theoretical power to weight ratio.

its almost like a person with legs is not an ICE.
  • 10 0
 @baca262: Car transmission doesn't hang off the back wheels to be taken out by a curb.
  • 4 2
 @hamncheez: gearboxes also have drag yet i'd rather tolerate that than dick about with a derailleur that also hangs off the rear axle.

for the rest of the crowd, if it ain't a simple manual no wonder it's going to break. there, some idiot could go and design an automatic pinion for you suckers to be pleased.
  • 3 0
 @twopoint6khz: Not saying 0%—there was some hyperbole there. But if it was generally a non-issue like it is in cars, I think we'd have a different perspective. And actually, I didn't really say 0% probability of failure and everyone should realize that that isn't realistic with ANY part. Your hardtail frame should have a really low probability of failure and yet... Let's just try to avoid some semantics.

We live in a practical world, so if a part basically doesn't break I'm considering a "non-wearing" part. Think handlebars and cranks vs. tires. (And of course bars and cranks still break!) If we get to the point where you should change the oil in your drivetrain every season and it takes about 5 minutes, that's basically maintenance free in the bike world.
  • 5 0
 @enki: Unfortunately, for geared systems the limiting factor is torque not power. Surprisingly a strong cyclist has torque in the same order of magnitude as a car; the rpm is much slower. Taking this into account it is really impressive how small the pinion gearbox is. There is really no more low hanging fruit in this area.
  • 11 4
 This dude craps all over how shitty and unreliable a derailleur is (which its not), then goes out and uses bungee cord to attach his chain tensioner.
  • 4 0
 @twopoint6khz: To be fair, I rode a rohloff hub on 3 separate frames over 8 years. Broke all the frames, multiple cranks, many rims, etc. Never once did that rohloff ever need anything other than an oil change. Only reason I am not riding now is because of the changing hub standards, and rohloff unable to come up with an adapter in time.
  • 4 0
 @enki: Torque is the issue. Us humans do not make much power. But damn, can we ever generate massive amounts of torque for fractions of seconds. Think about the length of your cranks and how hard you can push on them.
  • 1 0
 @baca262: Do you own a gearbox bike? Or do you own a derailleur bike?
  • 5 1
 "If big bike companies with their massive R&D budgets haven't yet come up with a gearbox that they think will be a mass-market success, it's probably because they think the drawbacks significantly outweigh the advantages"...

Or they have no need to design a gearbox all the while their customers are happy buying their current products.

I'll bet the big guys already have them designed and are just waiting for the moment that they can't keep selling their old stuff.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: i own a derailleur bike (had a ss hardtail) and would like a cheap gearbox bike
  • 3 0
 @baca262: "gearboxes also have drag yet i'd rather tolerate that than dick about with a derailleur that also hangs off the rear axle"

What you'd like and what your behavior is when you actually have to spend money aren't the same. This is true for 99% of people, which is why survey data is pretty worthless and why gearbox bikes barely sell.
  • 1 0
 @baca262: you’ve never owned a ford huh?
  • 2 3
 @Bobafett164: dude, from where i'm around we all drive sticks. bazinga

edit: you know what's funny? even women drive sticks lololololol
  • 7 0
 I've had a Zerode G2 for 8 years. All original parts, never even needed to tune the gears. That's my grounds for comparison. I have other bikes , with derailleurs mostly because of the limited options for gearbox. Would take a gearbox hands down if it was more common. Been an avid mtb rider for 20 years.
  • 2 0
 - Easily replaceable


That's why they wont make gearboxes. That's where they make money, the "replacement" part.
  • 1 0
 @nfa2005: You want to get your nuts caught in your drivetrain? Sheesh!
  • 2 0
 @kpickrell:
The coin purse!
  • 2 1
 @sino428: if that's all you paid attention to in the article, you've learned nothing from this story.
  • 2 0
 @sino428: please let us know how your bike building project pans out dude...
  • 1 0
 @ugez: If they really are that great, once one company starts making them, everyone else will need to to compete for that market
  • 3 2
 @ColquhounerHooner: I don’t need to be a bike designer to point out how silly all his bitching about derailleurs is when his ‘Solution’ to the problem requires a cog held in place by a bungee cord.
  • 1 0
 @Doomsdave: there wasn’t really much else to learn. The guy made a bike with a high pivot and a gearbox. That good for him if that’s what he wants to ride, and I think it’s awesome that he went out and built it, but he didn’t reinvent the wheel here.
  • 24 4
 I thought that this is already a product? I mean you can buy something similar already. It's called Guide. Deviate made it.

www.deviatecycles.com/guide
  • 17 5
 The Deviate Guide does seem to have a lot of the same features. Shame they've managed to make it look really ugly when Fin has done such a good job. Deviate's latest bikes look much better.
  • 4 1
 @thingswelike: plus Geometry on the Deviate is so 2018
  • 42 29
 I don’t care what Deviate has. It looks terrible. Something a kind of engineer himself would buy.

This thing here is one of the best looking bikes that I have ever seen. It has similar layout to DarkMatter which is possibly one of the best long travel bikes out there, so it catches my attention tight away. I just wish this one here came with 180mm of rear travel. 500 Waki points for this one. I rarely get excited about any bike these days, but this is something special.
  • 27 3
 @thingswelike: If you NEED a low maintenance bike and the derailleur is a problem for you than I think looks is secondary. Personally I'm really upset by the fact that looks became so much important. I do appreciate the effort of making a nice looking design. Reliability on the other hand is just so much more important. I'm riding mountain bikes for 27 years. I was lucky to have really reliable and simple bikes over this period. Untill I bought Intense Tracer. Super good looking. But shite in every other aspect. Tolerances for the bearing sockets are horrible. Bearings last weeks in my frame. The rear triangle cracked. Issues just pile up. Even though I am not doing 20 meters jumps and my weight is below 85kg. Problems problems problems. The American approach to equipment is horrible. Sell fast and frequent. Make it in Asia and profit. Why people in US are willing to spend thousands of dollars every two ears is beyond me. In Germany approach is 180° different. If you buy e.g. Nicolai it's a system. They will build custom parts for you if you break something. You pay more but you don't buy stuff made this way with just next two years in mind. I regret that I didn't listen my inner geek and bought into the hype. Next frame will be EU made with good local support. And I don't care if it will be ugly like Orange or beautiful like Carbon Jack.
  • 18 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Well, at least Deviate has a rideable bike. This guy has a design exercise... yet this is the bike that's "something special"?

You should start your own podcast... you could call it "Word Salad w/ Waki"
  • 23 19
 @goroncy: Looks are important to humans. Take it as 2+2=4. One of reasons people buy Geometrons is because they look simple. I guarantee you. They LOOK solid, they give an impression of being SOLID instantly. Santa Cruz bikes looks so whatever these days, while cheap bikes got much better in every possible way that I wonder why would anyone buy a SC? Stumpy looks better. E29? - Decline. If you ask me, looks an on decline these days. Trek? nothing changed since 2010, Norco, Kona, GT? Looks like a session, what doesn't look like Session? Polygon? Compllication for the sake of complication? IF there is anything to worry about in bikes these days is the unification of design across the whole field. With push for long geometries people started believing again it is not about the rider. That the promise land exists. Which is false. the short coming is inside. 2-3 years ago a friend has been to Monza and got driving lesson as a present. He drove a Ferrari. At the end of the day he was meant to make his best flying lap against he instructor... and The instructor in a fricking Porsche Cayenne kept overtaking him on corners! And my friend considers himself a very good driver. He's been to Nurburgring, Spa, all that. So what chance does an enthusiast on Geometron have againsst park a rat on a 2015 Norco? What else does he win, other than satisfaction from particular ownership ?
  • 5 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Captain Sweden. Is that you???
  • 9 5
 @WAKIdesigns: Car instructor won because he drives that very same car daily on that very same track, so surprise surprise, he knows where to brake and where not to. He also isn´t affraid of smashing very expensive car he doesn´t know well at all. Power doesn´t matter in the corners, how late you brake while staying on the track and how much speed you can carry through the corner does. And to answer "So what chance does an enthusiast on Geometron have against park a rat on a 2015 Norco" better than he would have on the same 2015 norco that´s for sure.
  • 4 0
 im looking at my guide right now, and its looking pretty dam similar!
Only negatives I have are the noise of the top idler, they are very noisy on the flat and pedalling at speed, and I am not a fan of brake jack which I tend to notice on the steeper slow stuff. of course if I had any skill I wouldn't be braking Wink
Other than that, gear changing is light years ahead of a mech, Im in the right gear much more often than before.
  • 10 10
 @Mondbiker: Car instructor was a much better driver. Period. He was capable of making up all losses from straights in corners. With Ease. In a car that is also much worse at cornering. And he possibly learned most of it on a gokart. Not by buying latest cars. You will not make a case that Porsche Cayenne with any engine can have any chance with a Ferrari 488 with same driver inside no matter how much he/she drive each, isn't it? the principle of braking and taking corners will remain the same, he'll cut a few seconds, my friend needed half of a minute or more. And this is power sports not 80% skills 20% fitness oriented sport.
  • 4 4
 @WAKIdesigns: "You will not make a case that Porsche Cayenne with any engine can have any chance with a Ferrari 488 with same driver" Exactly, yet the point you are always trying to make for some weird reason is that the bike won´t make you go faster. It will doh, just like ferrari will make instructor go faster. If that isn´t what you want, cool, but it seems odd to me you would have bought very niche frame that used performance as biggest selling point if you thought that it won´t make you faster or that it will ride better than XY mainstream bike. I don´t know anyone who would buy a bike that will make him slower, at least on purpose lol. I do enjoy riding faster bike more that riding slower bike as I can make up the possible drawback at low speed techy stuff, that wasn´t my weakness so I don´t need bike to help me with that, on the other hand I want my bike to have my back when riding fast and minimize risk of injuring my self, not being able to ride maybe ever again. Doesn´t sound unreasonable to me but it might to some people, I don´t know.
  • 4 9
flag Bustacrimes (Apr 23, 2020 at 5:24) (Below Threshold)
 @goroncy: Nice stereotyping of pretty much every other race or nation involved in the bike trade.

Just ride your bike and dont be a dick.
  • 20 4
 @Bustacrimes: You as a Brit should know better. You guys given up your industry and switched to banking and finance. Americanization is not a stereotype. It's a fact. World switched from production and maintenance to production and garbage production. This is not sustainable. Don't silence me because you feel offended. Swallow your pride and change.
  • 2 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Totally agree here. Look is the second most important issue when choosing a bike.
  • 5 4
 @goroncy: You as a Brit... Still not getting it are you..
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: have you ridden a g1 for any amount of time?
  • 3 0
 The second Pinion comes out with trigger shifters I'm in.
  • 5 7
 @scary1 - please before you ask me something next time tell me right away what your point is. Like “I waited for this bike 20 years” And then tell me whether you think everyone should own one, because I never told anyone they should all ride Carbon Jacks and Dark Matters. If you want Geometry numbers that are most optimal from bio-mechanical point of view (hip hinge and that stuff) look no further than a BMX racing bike. And that’s far from G1. But hey who would care about what top DH racers use, Folks who handle speeds and forces of much bigger magnitudes than what we do. Geopole fanbois will go even there and say insane things like DH racing is conservative. We’ve been there so many times. As I said: you like a certain flavor. Fine. Don’t tell me everyone should your kind of Ramen ok? Because that is what this forum is booming With. Tall guys telling 170-180cm guys they should run geos suitable for giants.
  • 6 1
 @scary1:

Translation: "no, I have not ridden a g1, I just like to bash them because I'm a contrarian." -WD
  • 1 0
 @mkul7r4: Cinq innovations make some.
  • 2 0
 @goroncy: Very well said, except that you said Orange bikes are ugly. There is beauty in Quality, my friend. And I think their current lineup looks great (Yes, even the older bikes) and I live in the land of image- obsessed Consumerism. Cheers!
  • 14 1
 @WAKIdesigns: So...no. You just moan on about them daily.
I never said everyone should own one.....I would say that itd be cool if people would actually demo one, instead of listen to you bitch f*ck all about it EVERY POST.
And honestly If most downhill racers had any idea what was better or worse,they wouldnt need Jordi, Trainers or Engineers re designing bikes every year and Greg Minnaar wouldnt have been racing a full suspension bmx bike for the first 15 years of his life.... Bio mechanical my ass
You bitch about every...single....improvement or product released because you think we should think running a 38t x road cluster is actually fun .Its just old, and then you turn around and whine.
This forum booms with nothing other than your pedantic, philosophical bullshit

..
  • 1 0
 @tofhami: The new Druid....
  • 6 2
 @goroncy: Tsk-tsk. You're using rash generalizations based on one data point, which is very UN-German. We could wax poetics all day about the terrible reliability and reputation of the German automotive and motorcycle industry. Ambition designs, but over-complication, unnecessary parts, mechanics nightmare, under-engineering on the core systems. Its the same with gearboxes...its an over-complication to an unnecessary solution. Also very unscientific, you're comparing a niche, luxury producer Nicolai vs mass industry. Apples to oranges. I'll take a SC, GG, Trek, Ibis or Specialized any day over an overpriced and heavy Nicolai. Also very un-German, did you not do your research when you bought a foreign, consumer direct brand that is known to have sup-par quality compared to the best brands? Its like an American buying a Canyon or YT and complaining about QC or CS issues...ohh wait.
  • 2 5
 @scary1: I only rode treks and Spec in XL, why would I ride these bollocks? Like Kona Big Honzo in Large with 470 reach. I don’t need anyone to tell me it’s rad because it isn’t. I am 180 and 450 reach is rather plenty. Sorry, which time is this we are writing about extra long reach? How tall are you? If above 185, then shut up. I am
Sick and tired of tall people moaning about effective seat angles, too shirt reach too short droppers where wikipedia says average height most population of most countries is around 177
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you know that most progressive geo bikes are offered in multiple sizes to accommodate riders of different heights, right?

But, fwiw, as a tall person, I'm with you on the effective vs actual seat angle thing. I'm not really sure what their problem is.
  • 8 1
 @scary1: weird thing is waki is not dumb, he just doesn´t understand that bike is sum of it´s numbers not defined by one single number that he finds inappropriate for whatever his reason is, experience obviously isn´t that. And at the same tie thinks that DH racing is some kind of F1 equivalent of MTB. Yet that very article in dirtmtb that made him buy antidote states it´s anything but F1, marginal gains year after year and then sponsored athletes smile and nod saying damn, we did it again, we made a good bike, again. No shit Sherlock, it´s the same bike as the last one with 5mm more reach and 0.1deg slacker head angle, basically the same bike with different graphics. Greg´s example is perfect, mostly because he is old enough to remember racing hardtails, but he hasn´t learned either along with dumbass Marshy and his "facts" of what works and what doesn´t that are always wrong lol. Yeah yeah, forks bind below 63.5 HA. Sure, in the parking lot. With long chainstays it won´t turn, really? Why do you need to fabricate CS extenders for Greg now then? He is tired of all the cornering and wants to straighten it up a bit? F1 my ass. Grassroots motorsports are more about performance than DH racing.
  • 5 1
 @WAKIdesigns: The fact that you rode treks and specialized in xl means nothing, except youre a troll who dosent actually care about the whole picture. You wont ride one. You dont understand that its more than a " big bike" . You dont seem to comprehend that SEVERAL geometry adjustments make a significant difference in climbing AND descending and it can be done on one bike. This bike has the EXACT seat to bar measure as previous Wreckoning .EXACTLY THE SAME. The difference is everything moved around underneath to make a better climbing, less fatiguing safer,better descending, heavier, overbuilt, wider cornering,Yes, faster bike.
Poppy, twitchy, jibby, "fun" bike? No.
Its f*cking faster
  • 2 5
 @scary1: Seat to grips dimension is for people who sit on their ass. Just like steep seat angles. Your ability to exert force on the bike from your body is determined by reach, stack and chainstay length. I thought you of all should know something about bio mechanics. If you like to be a passenger, please do.

@Mondbiker I didn’t buy Antidote because of Steve Jones. I bought it because I wanted a 160 bike and they sold it to me at same price as everything else, with a great shock. Dark Matter is one of the best bikes out there because it’s base level is not a DH bike. It is an Enduro bike that turns into a DH bike as the speed and size of bumps increase. Most DH bikes are sloppy cows unless you really open the brakes on steep, rough stuff.
  • 6 1
 @Mondbiker: Oh, i know hes not dumb. Thats his entire problem with his pedantic nonsense.
He, thinks hes much more cleaver than anyone
around him and im not sure he can actually learn anything because that would mean he didnt already know it before
  • 1 0
 @thingswelike: Forbidden Druid looks to be more similar.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: yeah, dumb shit, it climbs hills too
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Maybe DH bikes aren´t sloppy cows because of geometry??? Might gave something to do with 40mm of travel you obviously don´t need and wheels that weight more than some whole bikes. You described bike equivalent of batmobile, which is cool, weird they went to much longer geo both reach and CS with CJ 29 when they had such a killer recipe huh?
  • 2 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Apr 23, 2020 at 14:45) (Below Threshold)
 @Mondbiker:
Paul Aston - tall guy
you - tall guy,
Jclnv - tall guy,
Chris Porter - tall guy,
Jens Staudt - tall guy,
Leo Kokkonen- tall guy
Sintra Freeride - tall guy
Scary1- let me guess

Average male height in Europe 178
In US 175
I rest my case...
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns:Objection, leading the witnesses
180cm is
Hardly tall is 178 is avg.
Also, they make different sizes??
All with
adjustable chainstays, travel, bb heights, head angles, wheelbase...
Your case is of a 13 year old girl and is rejected by the court.
Case dismissed!
  • 2 3
 @scary1: 13yr old girl? You mean like someone who spent extra on an edgy product and can't cope with someone not liking it without even trying it? pfff, no sorry it sounds like a middle aged man who thinks he's still cool for teenagers and has the audacity to tell them what's cool Smile
  • 1 2
 @WAKIdesigns: the teenagers would say #weaksauce
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I think it's only fair to remember that when we put pen to paper on the Guide there were very very few examples of HPP bikes and even less of Pinion gearbox bikes. Those that existed looked like design projects rather than production ready. Keep in mind at this point Commencal didn't have a HPP DH bike and Zerode didn't have a Pinion gearbox bike released and no-one had combined both. We were working from nothing effectively trying to package two features that had barely being done in isolation, let alone combined.
I think it's testament to the engineering that went into the Guide that this bike, 4 years on, shares nearly all of it's basic design. That is taking nothing away, Fin has done an amazing job with his design project - it looks great. However, naturally, it takes design cues from bikes that have come before it and there are obvious problems that would have to be solved before production (i.e. tensioning the chain tensioner sufficiently without an elastic band - a harder proposition that you would imagine).

I personally think the Guide looks really nice. I agree, 4 years on we'd change the looks and the geometry of course. If you look at the Highlander I think we're now bang on the money in both departments (admittedly without a gearbox). We'd love to have another go at the Guide bringing everything we've learnt to an updated design. But unfortunately, for all of the excitement that the gearbox generates people are still not buying gearbox equipped bikes in any volume.
  • 1 0
 @deviatecycles: I like this bike. I always look at bikes: how would I feel if someone gave me one for free? (No it’s not what some may think Wink , I am not asking you for one): Super happy, happy, meh, sell it right away buy something else. I’d be more than happy from yours. I am not bashing you or anything. I appreciate that there are different bikes in times where half of bikes look like a session. There’s big value in you bringing it to the market much higher than let’s say New Cube Stereo or New Trek Slash. But in 2020 when long gone are shitty designs like first Commencal Meta, when everything is relatively good, I honestly could not give a slightest damn about two gentlemen: pedal bob or brake jack. I buy good shocks and forks for a reason.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Bang on as usual Waki.
  • 1 0
 @rosemarywheel: Love me an Orange Alpine! Great company with absolutely incredible customer service. Cannot day enough good things about Orange bikes.
  • 1 0
 @fattyheadshok: Good, I like that in a company. I am going to look up an alpine right now.
  • 26 8
 Seems to me that a derailleur in a box would be easier & more efficient, but for some reason no one can see that?
  • 15 0
 Well, shimanos patent for a gearbox looks something similar to that.
  • 2 0
 I agree, but I think it is the cost and weight penalty.
  • 11 1
 There is a solution like that. Bikes for kids often have derailleur protector. It's just a simple peace of steel wire. But not sexy enough for shredders like us!
  • 4 2
 @s-master: Efficiency is why we all use derailleurs!
  • 1 0
 @goroncy: much more like a gearbox but with a dérailleur in
  • 2 0
 @goroncy: I find it very surprising there have been no attempts to market a derailleur shield thing, when seemingly ever other possible thing for mtbs has.
  • 2 1
 @Braindrain: I was browsing Aliexpress earlier today for some random GoPro stuff and saw that they do indeed make derailleur protector thingys. They're not that elegant and I think they only fit QR so it's kind of pointless. Here's one. www.aliexpress.com/item/4000593000124.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.4ce3e4f1Jyc1Y4&algo_pvid=7959010a-1374-4618-863f-0a046d07fd77&algo_expid=7959010a-1374-4618-863f-0a046d07fd77-0&btsid=0ab6f82315876306672511345e56f0&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_,searchweb201603_

I'm sure some company could make one that works better and looks cooler.
  • 2 0
 @Braindrain: Lapierre dit it. Issue is, it could catch some debris and feed them to the derailleur, and once you fell, it was bent and you couldn't use your smaller cogs anymore.
  • 5 0
 @Johnsterfer: Lots of us had those mech guards on our bikes in the late 80's!
  • 1 0
 @Johnsterfer: www.evanscycles.com/specialized-derailleur-guard-EV216394 were good if they fit. I rode with a broken hanger for a while and the mech shifted fine.
  • 5 1
 I was under the impression the gearbox wasn't just about stopping your mech getting bent. That is one of several benefits and I don't think one of the major ones.
  • 8 0
 I could make one in carbon pretty easily but I can't see the point. In more than 15 years of mtb riding i destroyed just one derailleur and bent 3 or 4 hangers. I don't think other riders have much different experience..
  • 3 1
 @jaame: Reduction in unsprung mass is another big benefit
  • 4 0
 @pakleni: mine usually get scratched from falling over in the garden on windy days.
  • 8 1
 @Davec85: exactly!
Straight chainline, low maintenance, consistent performance in all weathers, long service life, mass centralisation. There are many benefits, but unfortunately a couple of pretty big drawbacks.
  • 2 0
 @goroncy: Why not add the dork disc back on the rear wheel too...
  • 2 0
 @ccolagio: Always thought the Honda was a gearbox, turns out its gears in a box.

Ok for DH but would be three times bigger for a trail bike.
  • 2 0
 derailleur in a box is so bulky that, like the Honda, it will have to be in the center of the bike, with a system of pulleys everywhere (plus a really long chain) to get power to the back wheel. This will lose efficiency, restrict suspension designs, and just not be practical.
  • 2 1
 @hamncheez: It would be so much easier to use a Pinion or Effi. At least Effi have a trigger but that wouldn't put me off a Pinion.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: you are right and this thread is not too sharp. The direction the wheel moves when it strikes a bump, the reduction in unsprung weight, the range for shifting, and low maintenance are all reasons for a gearbox.
  • 1 0
 @faul: i got a spicy. Had to change the protection a few times as well i bent my derailleur several times.
I‘d like to buy a gearbox spec‘d bike.
  • 2 0
 @Braindrain: Been done ! but for some reason you do not hear about it, or even allowed to have one
v3.espacenet.com/textdoc?DB=EPODOC&IDX=GB2434565&F=0
  • 5 0
 @hamncheez: Honda is a strange company, when they set out to do something even if its completely impractical, they will do it just to prove it can be done then bail.

I remember the NS 500 motorcycle it had oval cylinders so you could get more valves, made no sense but they stayed till it won a few races then bailed.
  • 3 0
 @jaame: exactly. I seem to average zero broken derailleurs per year, so if I’m going to spend a lot on a new gearbox bike there’ll need to be more benefits than no broken derailleurs.
  • 1 0
 @Johnsterfer: I think most of my childhood mountain bikes from the 80s and 90s had one of those. I always wondered why they disappeared from bikes. I guess they just didn't look cool enough
  • 1 0
 @lake-st: thanks for the time travel,remember seeing pics of those ovals as a kid.
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: Cinq innovations make triggers for pinion GBs
  • 1 0
 @Johnsterfer: you are right.

German dentists favorite mtb company has a clean nice looking solution

images.app.goo.gl/awpkAFaWmawrnU2GA

Actually they have quite a few beautifully engineered and useful details but they lack international acclaim and marketing and are content with taking Euro x-alp riders and garda joeys money, as mr. word salad from sweden would say.
  • 1 0
 @DrPete: Cross your fingers and toes, last time I said that I did one a yr from three years, knocking on wood now.
  • 2 0
 @goroncy: I had one of those steel wire protectors around 1995. I would affectionately call it the "branch catcher".
  • 16 0
 Wow - great project! Congratulations Fin, amazing work!
  • 15 2
 I've broken four frames/rear triangles in my time. No derailleurs. Think I'll design a super-light carbon box that I can put around my frame to prevent it getting damaged.
  • 9 1
 then you put two more wheels to hold it, a motor to help you manage the extra weight, and congrats! You discovered the car again.
  • 2 1
 You are very fortunate, my friend. Well, at least in the case of derailleurs.
  • 6 0
 You'd think e-bikes would be a good starting point for gearbox bikes - motor packaging issues, but also a built in tolerance of weight and lower range drag. This designer is right on the money about the bike industry and has made a terrific start - well done to him! I've only broken a couple of derailleurs in 30 years of MtB -ing, but the argument that therefore we don't need any large improvements is silly and leads to attempting the impossible - living in the past.
  • 4 0
 This guy did some impressive work in this design exercise.

But when you're the type that can load your bike on the car rack without noticing a busted cable, I'm not surprised you're shredding derailleurs with regularity.

I have a friend that shows up to rides with a malfunctioning bike constantly, and I'm just like.... dude, do you even look at this thing when you go home? Answer: no. Well, HERE WE ARE AGAIN!
  • 1 0
 I was thinking the same thing. I have only broken one cable on the trail (lucky for me, at the end of the ride). Since then some inspections and/or preventative replacement has saved me the trouble. I haven't broken a cable on trail since then. In addition, I keep a spare cable in my SWAT box in case I am ever in the middle of nowhere and that DOES happen to me.
  • 4 0
 Finn is a super good dude, and he shreds. I think some of his comments come from working for zerode where they just get a constant incessant barrage of negative s**t talk all the time which is generally unwarranted - ie from people who have never ridden a gearbox bike. Be hard not to get cynical...
I've got a taniwha - it's one of the very first ones 3 1/2 years old. It has the same chain and chain rings that I first put on it... I probably ride 3 - 4 times a week and I neglect it horrifically, how many drivetrains do you go through just from wear and tear?
It's been my experience at trailheads etc that the people who are most critical/unconvinced, seem to mysteriously get dropped off the back.....
  • 7 1
 It really is all the small brands and crafty individuals like this that drive innovation. What a cool project.
  • 6 0
 It's a cool project and a great outcome but is it innovative?
  • 2 0
 @boozed: This isn’t the first time any of this has been done, but a lot of bigger companies don’t take risks to produce fringe bikes like this and instead watch what the market is doing before making big changes. ”The market is filled with people that don’t fully comprehend what they are buying and are fed yarns from whoever can yell the loudest, which is usually the big companies with big budgets making virtually no innovation and following what the smaller guys are doing anyway.”
  • 8 1
 These people make me feel stupid...seriously impressive stuff, amazing!
  • 3 0
 Can you imagine how amazing it must have felt to have designed your own bike years ago, and then you get to ride it?

Well, yes i do!

And about the "professional" who "rushed that first frame.... what can i say, that does not sound that "professional"!!!

Great project mate. I would suggest to go on and build yourself your next wonder. Clearly you've got what it takes.
  • 1 0
 Aluminum prototype is still a thing.
  • 3 0
 I'n not really poo-pooing gearbox bikes, but in 40+years of riding, I have never exploded or torn off a derailleur. That's everything from old 5 speeds to 12spd Sram Eagle. Roadbikes, mountain bikes, commuters. I hear about this mythical problem, but it's like the Keyser Soze of bike issues - a boogieman of sorts.
  • 2 0
 Tell that to the XT I ripped off last Sunday, just from a chain breaking on a climb. Free end must’ve wrapped around the hanger, ripped it clean off. Happened so fast I couldn’t react.
  • 1 0
 Same for me in 25 years of riding
  • 3 0
 I've broken three in the last 4 years.
  • 3 0
 Smashing derailleurs is a problem that is pretty low on the priority list of problems gearboxes address. The main advantages are,

Improved suspension performance, this is achieved by removing a bunch of sprung weight from the rear wheel. Also the anti squat/pedal kickback can be optimised as there is only one gear at the back, rather than having to find a compromise amongst the bunch of different cog sizes on a cassette.

Mass centralisation, shifting weight from rear wheel to the frame improves handling.

Durability and reliabilty, not just of the gearbox itself, but also chains as a dead straight chain line means they are not being bent across a cassette. No cassettes to replace. Also, as mentioned above the better suspension performance can also be more gentle on rear wheels, particularly if coupled with suspension that has a rearward axle path.

Being able to change gears instantly without having to put in a pedal stroke. So you can change gears in the air without having to ET, and can change gears in a rock garden and be ready to sprint as soon as you exit.

The main disadvantage is that there is no standard for mounting them and they require a proprietary frame. But if someone's buying a bike with a gearbox it's pretty safe to assume the buyer is commited to it.
Increased drag, no matter how minor, is a pretty major disadvantage if youre into XC, but for gravity disciplines the advantages are definitely appealing.
  • 2 0
 I'd like to point out that while the axle path is that of a high single pivot, this is really a high-pivot upside-down split-pivot/abp design. The rear pivot is concentric with the axle and the brake caliper is mounted to the chainstay, so the brake forces have been decoupled from the main swingarm.
  • 3 0
 Yessir. I was wondering if anyone would spot that... nice!
  • 2 0
 Nice. I've been developing carbon skills and a new (ha, big quotes on "new") type of gearbox for many years. It is absurdly difficult to take on alone. Cheers to this fella and nice work all around. I love the high-tensile rubber bands for the tensioner, simple and effective. And way to clean up the mess of tension pulleys that I've previously seen on some Pinion equipped suspension bikes! I'm impressed all around.
  • 1 0
 Hey, I've been working on that, too!
  • 2 0
 So the Rolloff hub is more efficient than any other gearbox, and more efficient than 1x11 and 1x12 when you're in the lowest gear due to the extreme chain line. Why hasn't anyone put a Rolloff mid mounted on a frame, concentric with the BB?

A gearbox that would make the most sense to me personally would be something along the lines of Effigear. It makes it easy to have a high pivot bike. Its also lighter than Pinion. The Effigear itself has a ton of drag (like the Pinion) because it has a gear selector only on one array of gears, so all the disengaged gears are driven at all times. If one could put a gear selector on both arrays of gears, so only the gears that are active are being driven, then I bet you'd get comparable efficiency to the Rolloff.
  • 2 0
 The original Zerode bikes did that - the IGH was at the high pivot location.
  • 2 0
 Because the packaging is poor. The width of the Rohloff works between the dropouts, but not super nicely between your knees, once you've accounted for all the stuff you need to make it work as a gearbox.
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: Ya but it used a Shimano hub made for beach cruisers that had poor range and reliability.
  • 1 0
 @nouseforaname: So you think it would be too much work to refactor into a frame?

From what I can tell, it works by using stages of planetary gears. I wonder if they have patents that prevent someone from taking the same basic design and package it into something that would fit within a normal bb width
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: At that point, why not buy a Pinion? Effort Vs reward IMO. The Roholoff design has been around for decades at this point and no one has done that. I'm no engineer, but I'd have to feel like there's probably a reason. A gearbox needs to be narrower than hub width - basically BB with so 90mm give or take; and that needs to include cables/actuators etc. A tall order for something originally designed with 130mm OLD IMO> Not an engineer.
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: Some small, niche, American brand tried it too. (Earlier I think, but not sure)

GT, I think they were called...
  • 1 0
 @PHeller: yeah, but there was a production version in 05, the iT-1
  • 1 0
 Ah, just read the article, yeah that.
  • 2 0
 @nouseforaname: The pinion has poor shifting performance, heavier, and most importantly less efficient.
  • 2 0
 There was a carbon DH bike built with a Rohloff hub in the frame instead of the rear wheel a number of years ago, look up Lahar bikes. It's a pity the guy had great engineering skills but terrible business acumen, ridemonkey has an article about a bloke who waited an eternity to get his frame. Cameron Cole won world junior's in 2006 on one
  • 1 0
 @Blackers: Forgot about that thing! IDK if it rode well, but it sure was ugly
  • 3 0
 I always thought that electronic shifting was the way to solve needing Gripshifts or weird shifting feel for gearbox bikes. Then it would just be a button or paddle with the same feedback as DI2 or AXS
  • 2 0
 Designing bikes is fun, but selling them is a different kettle of fish. The market is filled with people that don’t fully comprehend what they are buying and are fed yarns from whoever can yell the loudest, which is usually the big companies with big budgets making virtually no innovation and following what the smaller guys are doing anyway.''

Hear that everyone?
  • 3 1
 Well I'm impressed. It is a great looking bike though, and reminds me of the Forbidden Druid I've been daydreaming druling over the last few weeks and how much better a rider I would be with it.
  • 1 0
 Been drooling over the Druid myself. What a bike...
  • 5 1
 Incredible incredible drive and determination. Keep it up. Seriously impressive. Seriously beautiful lines.
  • 4 3
 This fundamentally looks really "right", even the tensioner makes sense (though the bungee looks terrible!). It could only be more 2020 if he'd called it "Corona".
It does look like a design project, not an engineering one, as it's been made from nice swoopy carbon fibre, rather than functional aluminium. If it were mine, I'd really want to find out how it rode, so I'd get an aluminium hack made up using all the other bits of working hardware while trying to get the plastic right.
  • 3 0
 I agree about the bungee(s). I'll take my chances on derailleurs over trusting the security of my chain to a rubber band prone to snapping or dry-rotting. That said, I have an immense amount of sincere respect for the passion that went into this, and as stated elswhere, it's a really great-looking bike overall. A million times better than anything I could ever create.
  • 4 1
 Amazing work!!
I have been waiting for a long time such a bike like that!
27.5" - 170mm of travel, high pivot and the gear boxe!!!!!
  • 1 0
 I think it is really cool that he took on this project. A friend of mine had a custom frame welded up overseas just to try out some design ideas he had. Of course, that bike actually has been ridden fairly hard because it is steel, not carbon...

On the other hand, I'm not really interested in the gearbox. I see the advantages in some places, but not with the type of riding I do and the locations I ride. I have yet to break a derailleur, I live in a dry climate (easy to keep clean), I can shift under load, weighs way less (which says a lot since my bike is 40 pounds already). I can find parts anywhere for what I have.

Gearbox to me is kinda like a Hummer. Really great with the right application, but barely useful anywhere else. Most of us are far better off with a sedan, and even sedans have massive performance options.
  • 1 0
 Another good read, for those who like this stuff about bike development (and gear boxes) is on the Zerode website under “history”
Great work Fin. I have absolute respect for people like yourself who are willing to take risks at their own cost and time to try progress the experience of something we all love to do.
  • 1 0
 I wonder how long the bungee cord lasts. But nevertheless I'm very interested in a gearbox enduro. It's only the price and building it in carbon doesn't make it better. As a father my limit is at €4000 so I guess I'll never ride such a beauty since biking has become a rich men's sport.
  • 1 0
 How about this first bike www.pinkbike.com/news/10-exotic-or-slightly-unconventional-downhill-bikes-spotted-in-the-world-cup-pits.html or two sets of chains to make up the high pivot problem instead of the bungee cords cog......
  • 2 1
 What is the status of the Shimano gearbox? They had this strange patent that was meant for some innovative lubricant that at the same time was describing this awesome new gearbox consisting of two cassettes closed in a box.
  • 2 0
 ten bucks it shows up integrated into a mid drive first (and possibly only)
  • 2 0
 They had a patent for a 14 speed rear hub 30 years ago, and we're still at 12. Patents don't mean something is dropping next week - unlike Pinkbikes 'spotted in the wiled prototypes'. Shimano work on projects - perhaps only the cable adjuster of that gearbox was something that they wanted to bring to market right now, but they felt they had something valuable in the gearbox design. By patenting the whole thing, they stifle their competitors.
  • 13 13
 ''There’s such a lack of focus on fun in the mountain bike industry"?

This is Bullshit!

And it sounds like he would blame the "Big companies" for his failiure! The magic thing is MECHANICAL ENGINEERING and not just Product Design.
You cant just bulid a fully frame just by "Designing" it like a Designer would do. There is a scienence behind!!!

and why did he go directly into carbon? Just test the kinematic on a steel or aluminium prototype. its less expensive...

and dont give up if it din´t worked out the first time.
  • 8 2
 I noticed that statement too, and the sentence after that one. A pet peeve of mine is baseless statements, often non-thinkingly accepted as the truth in the reader's/viewer's mind. He lost me right there. If the product is good, you don't need to trash others'.
  • 4 7
 he's not even trying to sell a thing, but haters will hate, eh?

this guy made his own bike, and is stunning, SUCK IT.
  • 4 0
 @ismasan: stunning, yet unrideable.
  • 2 5
 @thegoodflow: is his own bike, and 'unrideable' means 'not up to industry standars' in this case, just that. The bike has been ridden, for sure.

He made his own bike, and learnt a thing or two in the process, now PB engineers talk shit about
the process or 'his words'. Lame.
  • 5 0
 @ismasan: first off, I'm not hating. It's a cool project. I've actually been daydreaming about a similar suspension layout so it's humbling to see that someone else was working on this 4 years ago. Props to him.

My point was simply that you guys are geeking out over the asthetics of a good looking (unrideable) bike prototype, when unless I misunderstood the article, even the designer himself was disappointed in the quality of the execution... frame pivots were severely misaligned and the head-tube cracked upon insertion of the headset. So, maybe rideable to the market, but certainly doesn't sound like it's up to the task of fulfilling it's intended purpose. It almost suggests that some people here are.kore interested in starting at and/or buying bikes than they are in riding them, in which case I guess this one would work well for you.
  • 2 0
 @thegoodflow: In the guys defense, he trusted someone that said they could fulfill and then they didn't, Twice. I would be pretty gutted after that.
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: I know, I'd be gutted too. That would be incredibly frustrating. It's much easier to sit here and comment and critique then it is to put in the work that he did. I was bashing the odd comments that seem to worship how "stunning" this bike shaped object turned out to be, more than I was trying to bash the creator. But still, if he'd put that time into learning to miter and weld, or hired a competent metal frame-builder, he'd really have something here. There's no strength to weight ratio advantage when your mocking stuff up with cardboard and hiring some hack to lay it up. At that point, your priority seems to be to make a rad bike shaped sculpture... stunning.
  • 1 1
 @thegoodflow: I don't know if you were hating or not, I haven't read all comments. Mine was directed to the two gents above me calling bs and etc, so not sure why you feel alluded.
  • 1 2
 @thegoodflow: don't know why you feel the need to bash comments on the aesthetics either, is there something wrong with appreciating beauty?
do you really think people who do it
base their purchases solely on that or they can't ride?
  • 1 0
 @ismasan: We were was calling bullshit on his grand statements.

"There is such a lack of focus on fun in the MTB industry." Is this true? Hell no. This guy says many things that are not true.
  • 1 0
 What an honest and refreshing post . a one hundred and eighty degree turn form the , “ super cool ,i want one “ idiots .
thirteen down votes from suckers that are prone to swallowing marketing hype .
  • 2 0
 @thegoodflow: I agree. Always prototype in something easy to make and test and doesn't have to look pretty. I guess you live and learn and hopefully he learned something.
  • 2 2
 Many pro riders (like J Bryceland) have spoken out that it’s such a shame that the big players shimano and sram keep producing crappy derailleur instead of gearboxes.
To be able to shift gears without trouble seams more and more like a distant dream ( at least with sram eagle).
  • 1 1
 Maybe I should become a pro rider so that I can demand mountain biking shoes with proper toe boxes. Anyone have J Bryceland's E-mail?
  • 2 0
 Pretty funny that a broken derailleur cable spurred him to design a gearbox bike. Now he as a custom made carbon pinion gearbox bike that uses two derailleur cables.
  • 1 0
 Awesome job, it's a very beatiful design. I think that the chain does not have enougth clearance in the upper pulley. The carbon could be easily scratched in muddy conditions
  • 3 0
 beautiful design in engineering and manufacturing. Kick ass dude, I love this kind of stuff!
  • 9 10
 Looks great!

It may not have 500+ reach and cs, seat tube may be longer than 300mm and won’t take a 300mm dropper but it has a gearbox an idler, high pivot so please Pinkbike engineers, give them some credit. Even if you don’t like anti squat.
  • 2 0
 Really impressive work here. What a battle to get to the finished article. That's fantastic foresight for a 2016 design!
  • 6 0
 Wonder how much easier it would have been if he had taught himself welding. He could have been on Gen3 by now, at a prob 2Lb weight penalty.
  • 3 0
 Or pinkbike could co brand and launch its kick-starter.
  • 2 1
 Still happen faster than the Grim Donut.
  • 1 0
 Moving parts, zero maintenance....keep that in your pocket cuase if the manufacturers find out, new bikes will be $20k for sure!
  • 1 0
 First thing I thought of when I saw it: looks like a Taniwha and a G2 had a baby. The it turns out he lives around the corner from Zerode and works with Rob...

Nice job!
  • 1 1
 Geesh, this thread is awash with paid commenters .
“ i love it .im going to buy one tomorrow . “
“ amazing , where can i get this “
“ this is so cool . i put my order in today .
  • 3 1
 Isnt that where the ebike motor goes? Smile
  • 2 0
 Just get it on kickstarter and start your company...
  • 1 0
 These things have got to take off soon. I'm not buying any more derailleur bikes.
  • 2 0
 Famous last words.... I promise you Wink
  • 3 0
 Give that guy a medal!
  • 1 0
 Give that man a factory and cash support for kicking off production. The time has come for gearbox!
  • 1 0
 "It’s just a mindset thing, and not everyone lets themselves adjust,'' he added without actually using my name."

:-D
  • 1 1
 it will be interesting to see if Sramano aquire pinion, then you would know if they are really serious about gearboxes. Hard to see them building one from the ground up.
  • 1 0
 The original Pinion was built by Suntour (G box) they also used to make full groups sets including Derailleurs, until they were forced out of making them, Sorry but do not know the whole story of why, but these things happen!
  • 1 0
 Primer for shimano gearbox bike when literally everything we have ever bought for a bike becomes phased out? God I hope so.
  • 2 0
 Or you could just buy a Zerode? Same country even.
  • 2 0
 2020 the year we replace duck tape for bungie cables
  • 2 0
 Gear boxes are the future. Death to Derailleurs!
  • 2 0
 Weight?

Really awesome DIY though. Respect.
  • 2 0
 If this bike hit the market for a reasonable price, im pickin one up 100%
  • 1 0
 It looks so blingy , stealth and unnecessary!! Take my money
  • 1 0
 Really impressive. Beautiful frame, i'd looove to put a leg over one.
  • 1 0
 Loving it! Looks like a bike I want for years long
  • 2 0
 That is beautiful.
  • 1 0
 This is amazing! What a lad!
  • 1 0
 Even the cardboard frame looks cool
  • 1 1
 So waiting for Shimano to put out the low drag gearbox and someone to put it on something like the bike in this article.
  • 1 0
 That is so nice well done!
  • 1 0
 Just sell the design off to commencal. Win win.
  • 2 0
 Very nice looking
  • 1 0
 Great story and hope his/our dream comes to fruition!!
  • 2 0
 When can we buy this
  • 1 0
 Very cool, but then, it looks like an e-bike.
  • 1 0
 It is not a 12 speed; it is 9 speed : it says C1.9 NOT C1.12
  • 1 0
 Nice platform for an e bike motor.
  • 2 0
 Inspiring!!!
  • 1 0
 Wish Pivot would hurry up, go wireless & ditch the bloody gripshifter!
  • 1 0
 Brilliant work, well done. I'd love to try a gearbox bike
  • 1 0
 Been waiting 3 weeks for a new hanger. Can't wait for these to take over!
  • 1 0
 Dirty bike porn. :-p
  • 2 1
 I dont get it
  • 1 1
 Nice.
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