We saw a prototype trail bike a few years ago. What did you learn from that and how does the new design differ?
First of all, I learned that I never want to go back to using a derailleur: I want quiet, a huge range, low maintenance and shifting without pedaling. Plus, that new bike feeling all of the time. Secondly, I learned that it is very difficult keeping an idler pulley quiet enough to be acceptable on an enduro/trail bike. To achieve this, the idler would need to be chainring sized, which makes the bike heavier, more complicated, and confusing for the masses. The final design reflects this, with a move to a more traditional pivot placement. I thought long and hard about this. The high pivot is a must on my DH bike, but in practice it wasn’t the best solution for the Enduro bike. When will the bikes be available? Are you continuing with the dealer/distributer sales model?
These are the first frames out of the production moulds, so there is a little bit of testing between now and pushing the "go" button. Production should take about three months, so we are looking at about July for production bikes. I will likely continue with the current model of selling direct, as well as via shops and distributors. Did you test any other systems like Effigear, or the Alfine hub you use in the DH bike?
I’ve ridden the Alfine for a long time now. It just isn’t suited to the needs of an enduro bike. I liked the Effigear, but the execution of the Pinion is very German
– i.e. Efficient and precise. I’ve been running an 18spd Pinion on my bike now for over two years. I’ve worn out one rear sprocket. I'm still on the same chain. I've never adjusted the gears, and never missed a gear. They aren’t perfect - but a derailleur is far from perfect. Is the DH bike dead? Was it consumer demand that changed, or personal motivation to build a trail bike?
I think DH is the F1 of MTB. It’s so exciting. These guys are gladiators, putting on an impressive show for us. I’d love to really go to town on the DH bike. I have drawings, CAD models and a complete working bike in my brain, but my limited resources are tied up in the enduro bike at the moment. Hopefully, this will change in the near future.
Personally, the versatility of a trail/Enduro bike is what I like. It’s what got me building 150mm travel trail bikes in the 90’s. The reason the Zerode Taniwha is happening now is that all of the elements exist that allow me to produce a very competitive enduro bike. Everyone I've spoken to who rode a Zerode G1 or G2 only sings its praise. Do you think the DH bike was misunderstood by the mainstream?
There is a massive lack of understanding of suspension in general. When you understand the theory and configuration of the Zerode G1 or G2, it's a no brainer for DH. When you ride one, it becomes clear. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to ride a Zerode. I learned a lot from the DH bike. If I get a chance to revisit DH, it should have a chance of going a lot more mainstream. Do you think this trail bike can help get gearboxes to the masses?
YES! If you weren’t waiting for this bike, you should be. I’ve been mountain biking for 25 years, ridden all sorts of bikes, on a huge range of terrain. There is no way I am going back to a derailleur. Ever. What are the main advantages of a gearbox and a high-pivot swingarm?
As you can see, I have moved away from the high pivot on the Enduro bike. I touched on this in the first question. This decision was a tough one, but having ridden the first frames out of the moulds, I know I made the right decision. The 12-speed Pinion gearbox offers a huge spread of gears that go well beyond today's 1x11. Whether you are grinding up an epic backcountry singletrack, or blasting down a high speed fire-road, there is a gear to do the job. An unexpected pinch climb will never be a problem again. Changing gear is effortless and immediate, super reliable, and low maintenance, you can change gear without pedaling and never rip derailleurs off. A significant reduction in unsprung weight ensures suspension performance that is undeniably better than any enduro bike equipped with a rear derailleur. Symmetrical spoke angles ensure a very strong, light rear wheel that further improves suspension performance.
The frame itself uses a simple, effective and proven suspension platform. This, combined with a fixed chain line, optimizes pedaling performance through the entire travel range. It is difficult to approach the elegance and performance of this layout with any virtual pivot design. A sleek full-carbon frame offers excellent stiffness, reduced weight and flawless beauty in a modern geometry.
I can’t wait to get on the production bike!The Metz Lab