Zerode's Katipo is a Gearbox Equipped 29er With Serious Intent - Eurobike 2019

Sep 5, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  

New Zealand may not be as well known for its venomous snakes, creepy crawlies and drop bears as neighboring Australia, but it does still have one poisonous spider - the Katipo. This eight-legged beast now shares its name with what could be an equally deadly new bike from Zerode.


This is the first dedicated 29-inch bike from Zerode and is, of course, built around a Pinion gearbox. Zerode's first dip into 29-inch wheels was with the Taniwha Mulet mixed wheel bike, but they've gone all-in at both ends on the Katipo. There are two options available, first a Trail option with 140mm of travel and secondly an Enduro option, that was shown at Eurobike, with 160mm travel.


The Katipo Enduro's geometry is apparently for "those who like to throw anything at their bike and come away with a smile", which sounds like marketing guff on the surface but starts to make a bit more sense when you get into the numbers. Only 2 sizes are available with both versions of the bike, L and XL, and with a reach in excess of 500mm on the XL, this is no small bike. The long reach is backed up with a 64° head angle, 444mm chainstays and a 75.5° seat angle. The full geometry chart is to the right.

Why only 2 sizes? Well, Zerode believes that if you find the smallest Katipo too big you'll be better off on one of their 27.5-inch Taniwha offerings, although we suspect the cost of tooling a third mold probably comes into the equation too. They haven't totally ruled out making a smaller version of the Katipo in future if demand is high enough though.

Of course, the standout feature here is the Pinion gearbox. All of Zerdoe's bikes eschew the traditional mountain bike drivetrain in favor of this gripshift gearing system. The Katipo uses the C1.9XR, which is claimed to have a 568% range, making it 48% wider than any current derailleur system with much less unsprung weight to affect performance. Yes, there is a weight penalty across the whole bike with a gearbox but Zerode believes it's only about 500 grams and it's largely centered around the bottom bracket area. The gearbox has nine gears and is paired up with a singlespeed hub and a 30T cog on the rear wheel.



When it comes to the rest of the spec, Zerode runs a customization program that allows riders to pick and chose parts that best suit their needs. The version at Eurobike had been fully pimped by MRC Trading to include a RockShox Lyrik with ASC3 and HC97 adaptations from Push, Galfer's 223mm rotors and some gucci finishing kit.


The bike is now available for pre-orders. The frameset only comes in at $6,920 NZD ($4,420 USD) and includes the shock and drivetrain with full builds starting at $9920 NZD ($6,340 USD). More info here.


162 Comments

  • 59 9
 Imagine when Pinion develops a thumb shifter, it would be a no-brainer for the average Joe. The only thing holding many many people back is the grip shift, otherwise it’s a perfect concept, looking away from shifting under load (I’ve heard it’s not as bad as it sounds), love it!
  • 20 13
 Seriously not as bad as it sounds. I wouldn't want a trigger even if I had the option
  • 10 1
 Cinq already makes trigger shifters for pinion. cinq.de/en/shifting-technology/
  • 75 2
 I'm pretty sure the price tag is holding back waaaaay more people than the grip shift.

For that kind of money, you get high-end boutique brands with proven components. Why take the risk and buy a frame that can only be used with one specific gearbox?
  • 22 2
 @f00bar: Maybe because you want to use the one specific gearbox? The pricing is not so far away if you consider Pinion is already included in frame price so the drive train is already there as well as Float X2, then you have almost the same price for a frame like with SB165 to keep it boutique.
  • 13 10
 I was very pumped on these initially and then found out you pretty much have to back of the power COMPLETELY when shifting.... So these make a ton of sense for big distance touring (less maintenance), but I cant imagine laying of the gas to shift down and then trying to get up to speed right before hitting a little rock garden when climbing.
  • 26 1
 @f00bar: Thing costs 700€ more than a Yeti frame but you get a full drivetrain on top...so its actually less expensive.
  • 14 0
 @NotNamed: I guess it's a full drivetrain that needs very little service or replacement of parts over its lifetime, so even better value in that case.
  • 11 2
 I have gripshift on my bike, it's actually pretty nice.
  • 1 0
 Does the gearbox shift well yet under power and load? The last review I read says that these transmissions are still really tender.
  • 3 3
 Always my first thought when I see a Zerode. And yes, I've ridden one. And yes, I actually used to have a grip shift bike. And no, I won't ever go back to grip shifting.
  • 6 2
 have you guys ridden it? the drag makes it so slow to climb. Demoed it at seaotter
  • 3 0
 it seems this would be a good application for an electronic shifter
  • 6 1
 I own a Taniwha and while it is true that you get used to the rotary shifter, it is nowhere near as ergonomic as a thumb shifter because of the grip cutout, the limited grip options (because of the cutout) and the inability to shift while holding firmly the handlebar. Can't wait for a decent trigger shifter, the Cinq option is IMO unusable if you have a dropper post and overall poorly designed. Sad because Pinion would be taking over the world with a real trigger shifter.
  • 3 0
 @SherlockOoms: Out of the rock garden right up to a steep up thing, you just shift and pedal right after that. No need to pedal slightly just to shift up without bending the cassete. Also, this will shift while pedaling, just not under power like the new xtr.
Sure it has it's ups and downs, but for me not having the derailleur hanging low at the back is a godsend. I feared a lot for this piece last weekend.
  • 4 0
 Zerode really needs to make a DH bike and get it in the World Cup with good riders
  • 2 2
 @UpnUp: totally agree. I had one for 2 years. A decent trigger shifter would be: so. much. better.
  • 7 1
 @f00bar:

to show that you're wokeAF, of course! and won't be oppressed any longer by the 2 big S's.

so for anyone doing a custom build I reckon:

$3,000 full carbon frame/shock + $545 full gx gruppo (incl. crank) = $3,545 OR
$4,420 for the kapito, so about $900 more.

Worth it to some. It'd probably have to reach parity at $3500 for me to be interested, but then again it may be more comparable to an X01 full gruppo (incl. carbon crank) at $1200ish so it's actually not far off your typical carbon frame + x01 groupset.

Still pricey. But why's everyone so horny for the most range? Why not lighten the gearbox up with fewer gears/less range/less complexity/lower price..... maybe drop a couple gears off?
  • 3 0
 @B650wagon: they do make one I believe it was the first bike in their lineup
  • 4 0
 Why would you want a thumb shifter when you can crank to any gear significantly faster?
  • 1 0
 @phops: 1. Precision. When shifting to a lower gear under load, you just crank on it to get it to go. and you always get at least 1-2 gears past what you wanted, but then easily (and near instantaneously) shift back to the gear you wanted to be in. It's an acceptable work-around but not precise.
2. Not having to ride with hand on the shifter while descending because you want to shift. Imagine having your bar diameter the size of a can of redbull.
2a not having to move your hand position to shift if not on the shifter
2b 3-4 hr long rides would leave my right hand bruised from riding with hand on the shifter so I could shift when needed.
3. Shifting while braking

I had 1400 miles on my Taniwha before selling it. I can shift on my GX shifter/derailleur on NX cogset just as fast when pedaling. And certainly faster when climbing without losing momentum. The only thing I can't do is shift while coasting.
  • 2 0
 @mhoshal: See website, doesn't look like they make it anymore? "Who killed the gearbox DH bike?"
  • 4 0
 While electronic shifting on conventional bikes has a limited benefit (over cable driven drivetrains) an electronic Pinion gearbox could be awesome. A servo motor might allow for shifting under load, and the shifter could be a paddle, button or trigger style.

The Pinion design is likely the future of bike drivetrains (1x12 is pushing the limits of chain strength and chainline) but the clunky fully off the gas shifting thing needs to get resolved.
  • 6 0
 @High-Life: Having ridden a couple, It's not always as good at shifting under load as a normal system, but you can for sure do it. The big thing seems to be that as the gearbox wears in the shifting gets better. A lot of reviews are from people that just got the bike and the gearbox isn't really broken in yet. I rode one that had a few thousand Ks on it and was very surprised how much better it shifted under load than the brand new one I rode a couple months before.
  • 1 0
 @vandenr2: it ain't that bad, you can adapt to it just like any other system. I never use grip shift but I adapted quickly with minor adjustments when I rode a Pinion for a season
  • 3 0
 @laksboy:

On dirt bikes, especially on forest trails where you are going over a lot of the rougher stuff with the front end bouncing, people have no issues in controlling the twisting motion of the entire grip while simultaneously holding on. Sure, there is a learning curve, but its not really a problem. Haven't used the pinion grip shifter, but it seems like you can twist it with thumb and pointer finger without moving your entire hand off the grip. If not, then its just a matter of making it more ergonomic.

There are definitely drawbacks to the grip shift, but if you are getting one because of the advantages like instantaneous shifting without having to crank (which probably means you don't care that much about XC riding where you need to trail brake or shift under load), it doesn't make sense to hinder this with a thumb shifter.
  • 2 0
 @High-Life: When I rode one it didn't shift at all under any load. I had to completely stop pedaling to shift and then start again. It was a huge learning curve, especially on trails that I didn't know.
  • 1 1
 @phops: yes. Thanks for acknowledging you haven't used the pinion shifter. It's not nearly as good or precise or ergonomic as a Sram gripshift. And hardly anyone likes those either. The Taniwha was my quiver of one for 2 years and 1,400 miles. A trigger shifter would have made it much better. Shifting while not having to crank isn't really much of a real-world on-the-trail advantage except when stopped on the trail or in the parking lot. If Pinion could reduce the drag while pedaling and provide a better shifter, I'd happily take the weight penalty in exchange for the superior suspension performance and not having to worry about Derailleur damage or maintenance. I'd even accept the unavoidable loss of momentum when downshifting under load.
  • 2 0
 @drummuy04: Wow. I didn't know that. So they have a ways to go yet.
  • 2 0
 @B650wagon: G1 and G2 were their first bikes. One of the Master Bros was a Privateer aboard it.

G1/2 ran off an Afline hub. Dual chain arrangement. People who ran them raved about them. Rearward axle path. Perfect chainline. Problem is DH bikes likely sell 10’s per season now.
________________
I’d like to see Zerodes pedal bikes incorporate the high pivot/idler pulley like the T prototype did. Basically a Forbidden with Pinion.

Really need to see less Pinion equipped Mtn bikes with the Gates drive. Keep that shit for urban commuters and Harley’s. Don’t see too many belt drives at AMA 450 SX start Line.

This is a sweet bike. I like it more than the previous version. Good luck to Zerode. The niche and true boutique companies are what keeps the industry going. Sub 420mm Reach on a Medium FS 6” travel frame weren’t the highlights.

These aren’t priced too bad when you compare Frame Only to Frame Only pricing then add on a 12spd drivetrain and aftermarket shock.
  • 1 0
 @B650wagon: i think their first bike was a dh bike. Now enduro is more popular they might want to cater to that category first?
  • 4 0
 @SherlockOoms: Nope you are wrong, you can smack through the gears with load, you just need a bit of time to get the skills to get the shift / power balance just right. Zerode is the best bike Ive owned in 23 years of riding mtb !
  • 2 0
 I would say and electronic thing here would be the best solution. Just add a few electric motors and a wireless thumb trigger.
  • 3 0
 @SherlockOoms: How is this different too a derailleur? And no you don't need to back it off completely - you shift in the dead spot of your pedal stroke. All this is speaking from 5 years experience with pinion equipped bikes.
  • 2 0
 @drummuy04: they wear in over time bro. I bought mine secondhand from the Auckland retailer, have owned it a year since, and I only have to back it off full power a tiny amount to shift. tbh I was doing the same thing riding a rear mech 11spd setup to save the chain. it feels like an identical movement, so moving to this wasn't hard. do you really bang through gears at full torque?

no shit I love this bike. and I love supporting a homegrown business so maybe I'm willing to put up with more than nextman, but it's such a fun bike. I don't swear at it every weekend tuning it back to smoothness either lol
  • 3 0
 @UpnUp: Really ? I have no issues with my grip shift and holding on. Also you can use any grip you want , you just need it cut down to fit

My Zerode Taniwha rules, gripshift is much more rapid shifting then trigger type, just slam it to the gear you want
  • 2 0
 I bought a grip shift xo 1x11 on sale a few years ago(5 ish) It was just a thing to try for fun...Five years later its gone from my RM Altitude Rally to my RM Slayer but won't go to my next Slayer as I'll have to by a new 1x12 grip shift for it, lol. Honsestly its that good, super intuitive, never breaks, I can grab 7 gears in one shot. My wife borrowed my bike when hers was in the shop, after two rides bought a gx 1x11 for her RM Altitude said she;'d never switch back. don't knock it till you try it
  • 2 0
 @gonecoastal: it's funny you mention the high idler pulley. The reason it doesn't have one is because the general public couldn't deal with the idea at the time. So if you want to sell bikes, you can only push the design so far before people freak out (think linkage forks). Keep in mind that this was before commencal and norco et al 'brought back' the high idler, made it 'cool' and now these 'I'd like to see such and such' comments pop up...
  • 4 0
 @gonecoastal:

"I’d like to see Zerodes pedal bikes incorporate the high pivot/idler pulley like the T prototype did. Basically a Forbidden with Pinion. "

Basically a Deviate The Guide. Smile
  • 1 0
 @coney: I was using a heavily used demo and on trails I didn't know but it didn't shift anywhere near as easy as the di2 or the mech xt I'm running.
  • 2 0
 @sanga: true.

When I was shopping for a new high end frame Zerode and MOJO G16 were at the top of my list. Considered a G16 Gearbox for a bit, ultimately went with a G16. A few reasons: progressive geo, multiple wheel and travel configurations.
  • 1 0
 @laksboy:

" Shifting while not having to crank isn't really much of a real-world on-the-trail advantage except when stopped on the trail or in the parking lot"

I personally disagree. There is plenty of times on my rides where I would love to shift without pedaling, especially when doing new trails. For example, one thing that annoys me is higher speed dh sections where I have to take a pedal stroke if I want to upshift - I never feel stable doing it.

I know, most of the situations where that happens could be simply solved with planning the gear selection, but that is not always the case in practice.
  • 3 0
 That's, like, your Pinion, man.
  • 1 0
 @peleton7: Actually, an electronic shifter would make matters worse. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but I'm telling you from my experience riding Shimano Alfine Di2 and Rohloff E-14 and their mechanical versions. The electronic ones still don't shift under load, the shifting is muuuuch slower (especially for the Rohloff), you can downshift 3 at a time on the Rohloff if you press and hold but it takes forever, the feeling of the buttons is vague and not very precise or positive, etc, etc. The mechanical shifters, grip or paddles, are not perfect but so much better than the electronic ones.
  • 2 0
 Might want to take a look at Effigear's work then. Gearbox and activated by shifter. About the shifting under load, it is only a matter when shifting to an easier gear. You can actually "downshift" (move to a harder gear) while cranking harder than on a derailleur, during a sprint for example
  • 1 0
 @SherlockOoms: its not as hard as you think. I ordered one after only 2 rides.
  • 23 0
 I really want to try a gearbox bike. I wish there was a way to demo one. Looks good!
  • 4 0
 Me2 but why no alloy version for regular people...
  • 2 0
 The US distributor CycleMonkey has been hitting the festival circuit pretty hard the last couple of years with their demo fleet.
  • 3 0
 you can, just go on there website and see where someone has one in the world and they will let you demo it !
  • 17 0
 For the record, this has a 9.2% wider gear range than the already existing 520% gear range options. 568%-520% does not equal a 48% wider gearing range but rather (568-520)/520 = 9.2%. Still not too shabby of an increase if we think we need it.
  • 4 0
 I was hoping someone would catch that math... you can't just claim a 48% increase and get away with it that easily!
  • 5 1
 It has a 9.2% wider range but 48% more gear range. Just a little tweak and the marketing department is happy while nobody can complain about it being wrong Wink

They probably chose to write about the 48% because everyone has the numbers like 500% for Eagle in their head to which a 9.2% increase sounds like quite small instead of thinking about it as 109.2% of the current 'best'.
  • 1 0
 E13 and their marketing bs has really spread.
  • 1 0
 @NickBosshard: The claim that it's 48% more anything is wrong no matter how you try to spin it.
  • 1 0
 @boozed: No, gear range is the ratio between the smallest and the biggest gear, you can have 48% more range but that isn't 48% bigger.
  • 2 0
 @NickBosshard: That's not how percentages work.
  • 16 0
 Typo Katipo not Kapito... Katypo? Smile
  • 13 11
 Ist Kaput...
  • 4 0
 I’d Google search Katipo...but I’m too scared.
  • 1 0
 @vw4ever: Just google it for you looks like a black widow spider
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: kaputt with 2x t
  • 2 0
 Catnip...
  • 2 0
 katipo is a native spider to New Zealand and is said to be poisonous.
  • 2 0
 @BornOnTwo: Yip , they are badd ass in NZ
  • 12 1
 A long-ass f'n time ago, in a town called Kickapoo There lived a humble family, religious through and through But yea, there was a black sheep and he knew just what to do His name was young Katipo and he refused to step in line A vision he did see-eth, f'n shredding all the time He rode some nasty rubble and all the planets did align...
  • 5 0
 It looks tidy. If they ever get this drag think worked out on the gearboxes the 500 grams in that spot is nothing to worry about.
  • 4 1
 oh man! i know that drivetrain is heavier, but i NEED IT DAMMIT! also with the belt, because i totaly hate so much work about cleaning and lubing the chain... i hate that work... i rather be playin with shimstacks etc...
also when this bike is one pivot susp. its too bad that its not around BB, so then u dont need chain tensioner, but with that tensioner i would like to see some VPP version in future, with belt and 15 speeds? Big Grin THAT will be future of biking, not 13 speed by hydraulic actuation...
please PR guys, lets start already with gearboxes on VPP Bikes!! come on!
  • 4 0
 With a concentric pivot around the bb you get really low anti-squat values which would result in a very inefficient bike while pedaling. A belt is also quite inefficient compared to a chain, especially with a tensioner. If you add these things to an already less efficient drivetrain compared to a normal derailleur based drivetrain it wouldn't be much fun going uphill. But with the shifting happening in a sealed box, the shift performance should stay basically the same, even if your chain consists of more rust and grime than metal.
  • 3 0
 Unfortunately, with a concentric pivot around the BB, then the anti-squat characteristics would be crap. It would be super tidy though. Cavelrie has a higher output shaft on the gearbox, so they can run concentric around the front sprocket (not the BB) with no tensioner, and still have some anti-squat for pivot geometry (rather than chain tension related) reasons: www.cavalerie-bikes.com/home
Interestingly, while they ran no tensioner with a belt on their older bikes, like the Anatrail, they seem to have moved away from that with their newest bike, the Blackbird, and now run a non concentric pivot along with a tensioner, apparently to get more anti-squat than they were achieving previously.

Any of these gearbox guys could do VPP, but remember that with only 1 set of sprockets it is easier to pick a single pivot point that works well, since the chain angles aren't varying wildly when you shift gear, so the extra complication may not be worthwhile.
  • 5 2
 Loved my 2 zerodes. But have to say theyre heavy and therea alot of issues with shifting under even slight load. Hard to get right.. and sometimes there is a random clunk or drivetrain slip where as in yojr outting down power and bam there is no gear available and you go flying forward.
  • 3 0
 I rode a Taniwha at Outerbike in Northstar last year, back to back with a Pivot Switchblade, Devinci Spartan 29, Pivot Pheonix and something else I'm forgetting. It was easily the calmest and most composed bike of them all. The rear wheel sticks to the ground like velcro, absorbing every bump perfectly. But it still popped like crazy off jumps and little hits. It was a rad bike. I could definitely see myself getting one, especially if they did a DH bike. A Pinion gearbox and suspension that supple would be an awesome mix in the bike park and in the gnar.
  • 3 0
 In the last 3 seasons I've blew up 3 rear shocks, 2 rear wheels ( 2 dt 240 hubs, a few rims), 3 pedals (maybe more), 1 DH crank arm, 1 headset, 2 Saint brakes, 1 Santa Cruz carbon fiber frame, and almost certainly a few other bits I can't recall. In the last 3 years the number of rear derailures I've destroyed... zero.
  • 5 3
 People who never used gearbox love them!!! Like many of us, I really wanted to be a believer and I rode extensively with the Rolhoff hub and with a zerode. Honestly, against modern derailleur-based transmission, the value is not here. I could deal with the gripshift and maybe get used to the drag but the shifting under load is really a buzz killer, gearbox are probably great for adventure bike, commuters but aggressive mountain bike is not a great fit at this point.
  • 4 0
 I can just hear the lack of rattle coming from the rear mech...mmmh, one day, one day...
  • 10 0
 if you pair it with something silent like an Onyx hub it's amazing to just hear the tires on the dirt.
  • 4 0
 Doubt I would hear it over my breathing on the climbs though!!! LOL
  • 4 0
 I'm really excited about gearboxes getting good someday. I'd love to have one.
  • 2 0
 Damn...one day...one day. I really like how the Zerode bikes looks, Taniwha would be my choice for sure. It´s like watching a Santa Cruz build around Pinion
  • 1 0
 That's why I don't like the Zerodes look, like a SC's sibling. Even other brands are quite similar to SC whose all models are identical like VW lineup.
  • 1 0
 @fluider: isn‘t that called modular design?
  • 4 0
 Looks great in my Oh! Pinion!
  • 1 1
 The Kati Poo...? Half way around the world that just doesn't translate into a name for a creepy crawly venomous spider? Nor for a bad ass mountain bike... I'm hearing that my little nice made a dirty diaper? Smile

Out of curiosity, when you hear the word Black Widow or Brown Recluse what does that make you think of?
  • 1 0
 Big Drivetrain must be sponsoring the “Can’t shift under pedalling load” smear campaign. Ya heard it here first!

Seems like a good idea to reduce unsprung weight and move mass down low on the frame.
  • 3 1
 How long is it going to take for someone to make an e-motor-gearbox? Come on
  • 3 0
 Automatic or tiptronic?
  • 2 0
 @wildedge586: not great design with motorwheel. better hide motor near gearbox
  • 2 0
 @wildedge586: Meh. I though he meant an electronic shifting gearbox Frown
  • 1 0
 Im more surprised that nobody has bothered to do a 3x4 set up with a tiny 3 speed gearbox up front and a small 4 speed derailleur on the rear.
  • 1 0
 Really like everything about these bikes minus the frame price is a bit high and your stuck with only a grip shift. Nice job overall though.
  • 2 0
 Triggers are available from Cinq innovations.
  • 4 1
 Grip shift is amazing just try one mate
  • 2 0
 Totally agree. Almost there. Zerode's got some sexy bikes. Looking forward to rocking one of those gear boxes even with the weight penalty. Just need shifters that don't change when I rotate my hand on the lip of a jump, and a little more competitive price range.
  • 4 1
 Seat tube 460... why oh why.
  • 3 1
 Fap fap fap fap , dont mind meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
  • 3 1
 The frame design is super clean and simple looking. Gearbox adds to the tidiness. Love the look. Makes my OCD sing!
  • 2 0
 If SRAM bought Pinion and add AXS support I'd be throwing my money down for one.
  • 4 0
 More like if shimano bought pinion
  • 2 0
 If they're only making 2 big sizes, then they shouldn't have seat tube lengths that long. Short people ride 29ers too.
  • 1 0
 I still ride a KATIPO DH frame.
Zerode, I didn't think it was cool to take names from other companies...

Whats next? All new Zerode Ironhorse DH frame. Zerode Keewee?? Razz
  • 1 0
 Like the geo but think they missed a trick with the name. I've never even seen a katipo but there's plenty of "Swamp Chicken"s hanging out at my local trail network...
  • 2 0
 Haha What’s a Kapito? I think it should be Katipo
  • 1 1
 what's the sketch with gearboxes. Are they much heavier? Harder to service or work on? Do they have to be grip shift *throws up in mouth*?
  • 4 0
 They are a little heavier than the combined components in a traditional drivetrain, but all the weight is centred and low down on the bike. Also with no cassette/derailleur out back, unsprung weight on the rear wheel is lower. Both of these factors have positive effects on suspension performance. Gearboxes are sealed and so are maintenance free. Grip shift is all Pinion can offer at the mo I believe, but from what I understand Deviate Bikes are working with Pinion on a trigger shifter.
  • 5 0
 @hamplanet:

Cinq innovations made a pinion shifter, that deviate showed on their instagram. I use them on mine, shifting isn’t as quick, but it’s OK and the benefits more than make up for it (uniform grip diameter, not having the grip move etc)
  • 11 0
 The new Pinions have magnesium casings, so are 30% lighter than the older aluminium ones.

My 2018 Taniwha has 12 speed aluminum Pinion on it and, and the whole bike comes in at 15.3kg with heavy casing tyres.

The 12 speed has 600% range, but I would be happy to save weight by switching to the 9 speed which still has 530% range.

You can't really service them yourself (yet). You have to send it to Pinion for any work, but they are covered by a 5 year guarantee. Other than that all you have to do is change the oil annually, no other servicing required.

The grip shift works awesomely with the gearbox. I thought I wouldn't like it, but now I feel hindered when I change back to a bike with trigger shift. Trust me, the Pinion gripshift is a far cry from what you may have experienced years ago.

Seriously guys, get on the gearbox train and let's get this thing rolling. #gearboxFTW
  • 4 0
 @tomhoward379: I've just had a look at your Guide... You lucky git! Dream bike right there!
  • 2 0
 @priest55 They are just nothing but standard...

- choices of cranksets gets very limited
- they do come heavier than high-end regular transmissions
- price range is impossible to set for big companies, there are no more than 1 level compared to the Sram Eagle mechanical at 5 pricetags.
- different frame design, if goes with gearbox then the frame needs a bracket to hold the gearbox and can have 1 option only, if you need a lower price with regular transmission then you need a 2nd frame in your line-up which won't be cost effective at the end.
- some gearboxes require to unload your output to let you shift in one way.
  • 2 0
 @hamplanet: When a car manufacturer declares a gearbox 'sealed for life' the aftermarket tends to figure out that this is not the best course of action, that you should maintain them with fluid changes just like any other gearbox.

My concern with this change is that you're replacing several easy-to-reach components which can all be replaced individually, with one complicated piece of kit which will be a very expensive fix if I kill it. It'll be interesting to find out what the longevity on them is actually like.
  • 20 3
 Gearboxes may not be best for somoene riding long distances, but they should be a no brainer on DH and park bikes. a bit of extra total weight put in place where it least matters, taking 300-500g from place where it matters a lot and then improving suspension design. As simple as that.
  • 1 0
 @excavator666:

Post your complete build. I want to see it. The casing is the heavy part? I would assume like all Transmission it would be the gears.

It just needs a 29" F/R
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: 100% agree. I bet this would be awesome on a DH bike. Im already used to mine being heavy. Id sacrifice a little more weight so i wouldnt be worried about tearing my cage off all day long.
  • 7 2
 @NebulousNate: it's much better to have a 36lbs bike with less unsprung mass, especially on the rear that is literally being dragged behind the bike, than 34lbs bike with almost 1lbs more bouncing around in the rear. Getting rid of cassette and rear mech takes away at least 300g off the rear, allows better spoke triangulation and simplifies suspension design, chain tension becomes a non issue. A no brainer. I believe that if companies want to stay serious about making race bred bikes, they should incorporate gearboxes.
  • 3 1
 Gearboxes counteract nearly every perceived con in some way.

Heavy = they're getting lighter and aren't actually THAT much heavier than a derailleure system whenever you take all the parts into consideration. + they reduce unsprung mass and centralise weight on the bike.
Draggy = they have a single chain line which is more efficient than cross chaining on a cassette, less chain links, barely any chain suck and no chain slap.

Ok, my setup is a little heavier, but I'm not looking to win any XC races on it.
I don't find it draggy at all.
  • 3 3
 Gearboxes are less efficient. It's noticeable. Too bad, lot of things are great about them.
  • 4 1
 @brigand: What evidence are you basing this statement on?
  • 1 0
 I found mine to be draggy. And after 2 years I still disliked the gripshift. If I had longer fingers, it probably wouldn't have been so bad, but I'm super sensitive to grip size and on 3-4 hr rides, I'd end up with a bruised palm from riding the shifter on long pedaly downhills where I wanted to shift. I sold my Taniwha and still haven't bought a bike to replace it (been having fun on an old SS). Who knows, I may decide I don't like derailleurs after I get a new bike and rip a few off since I'm used to not having one...
  • 2 0
 Not sure about the chain tension little gears at the bottom, I would rather see a nice chain guide down there with a bash plate.
  • 5 0
 @downhillnews: I think you are right about the gears being where most of the weight is, although apparently the old aluminum Pinion casing was pretty chunky. Now that they've switched to magnesium, what you say is even more the case.

A while back, I recall seeing talk about a potential switch from steel to ceramic gears, which would both reduce weight, and also friction, however they implied that you need to do huge volume to get something like that made, so it wasn't yet cost effective. If they could get that going, along with an electronic trigger shifter, I think that might push them over edge in terms of being a more compelling option than derailleurs.
  • 1 0
 All really interesting points there. My biggest issue is the grip shift; when it comes to janky riding and the proper rough stuff, my concern is accidentally shifting gears when I don't want to on what should really be a solid point of contact.

I get that it's off to the side and maybe not in your grip the whole time, but you still have to change your grip to shift, compromising your position on the bike.

Then again, the last grip shift I rode came from Halfords so....
  • 2 0
 @priest55: it is in your hands the whole time, unless you run a full length grip too, but then that leads to brake lever placement. That’s why I changed to the cinq triggers, same width grip all the way along, and no play from the shifter. I’ll take that trade off for single shifts all day long.
  • 2 0
 @priest55: You won't accidentally shift gears while riding. That never happened once in 2 years and 1,400 miles. Like @tomhoward379 states I suspect the Cinq shifters likely would have addressed the issues I had with the grip shifter.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: many enduro bikes needs a rear coil when trails gets really chunky. This thing works really well whit and air shock,so if you compare a coil bike to this I think it would be even close in weight...In a DH bike ,7 speeds it would be rally nice,even you could get a wider ratio than a regular bike just for those ride or push moments.
  • 2 0
 @excavator666: Right on bro !
  • 1 0
 @priest55: Yes I thought ghost shifting would be an issue as well, but it's not.

I prefer to ride rowdy and I haven't shifted by accident once. The shifter is just so well designed and feels great in every aspect.
  • 1 0
 @excavator666: .........every aspect?.....

sorry, couldn't resist.
  • 1 0
 @brigand: less efficient in which sector? Can you develop your thoughts?I invite you to come try out mine in ZG.
  • 2 0
 Beauty, gearbox barely noticeable. Not a bad price, too!
  • 1 0
 Well, if you don't fit into their 29 L or XL, you can get their 27.5 and mullet-it.
  • 1 0
 They call that bike the Mulet. And it's fairly cost effective to do so with the used Taniwha's for sale with pre-broken-in gearboxes.
  • 2 0
 I want a Zerode Katipo and a Bold Unplugged to have babies.
  • 1 4
 The bike still remains 12x142 out back I wonder why is that I thought boost spacing is like the new standard now and it looks like a small bottle cage can fit in the triangle I still like the gearbox thing though just scared if something happens on the trail or anything my LBS won’t know what to do
  • 3 0
 Because it's 142 singlespeed spacing. Flanges are already plenty wide.
  • 1 0
 DONT need boost spacing when only got one cog on rear wheel?
  • 16 1
 Dude, punctuation is cool and hip. Trust me.
  • 1 1
 Are you running out of breath reading my comment? It’s ok, I’ll wait.... @COnovicerider:
  • 1 0
 I just felt since it’s a new 29er wheel is bigger spokes need to be out a little to make the wheels stiffer why do we have a 15x110 instead of 15x100 again?? @aljoburr:
  • 1 0
 @nlibot33: I was out of breath trying to figure what you were trying to say.
  • 1 0
 Hahaha cheers @COnovicerider:
  • 1 0
 @nlibot33: You can make spokes wider any way as only one cog, look at a single speed bike like a DJ?
  • 1 0
 Seriously want one of these. If I start saving now....
  • 1 0
 Dentist bike writ large all over it.
  • 1 1
 “What’s that you say there Tom?”
“Oh nothing, Katiepoo.”

Overheard in L.A. 6 years ago.
  • 1 0
 *Katipo
  • 1 0
 Gorgeous bike
  • 1 0
 Dear Santa...
  • 1 3
 Almost perfect - instead of ripping off the rear derailleur - you'd now have those front jockey wheels to bash. Get rid of those and you got a winner!
  • 4 0
 You have to have some sort of tensioner, unless your main pivot is concentric with the chainring, like Cavalerie or Lone Bicycle have
  • 7 0
 if your smashing that then you are gonna be smashing the crank and chainring too. ive never hit the tensioner on my pinion on anything
  • 1 0
 It's not really an issue. Firstly the design is pretty compact, so it's far less prone to getting ripped off or even struck at all. Secondly it only has to keep the chain straight along one line, so if it does get twisted, you just bend it back into shape and it doesn't effect shifting.
  • 2 3
 They need to stick a wee battery and motor in that gearbox then they might have a game changer for now.
  • 1 0
 Katower?
  • 3 0
 meKatower.
  • 1 1
 It is a legit bike, but the price is prohibitive.
  • 2 2
 The price is a bargain for what it includes. It includes the high end transmission.
  • 2 0
 If only an alloy version is available...
  • 1 0
 @rifu: stay tuned...
  • 2 0
 @rifu: then it would weigh 40+ lbs
  • 1 0
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