Video: World´s First Gearbox Fat Bike

Feb 18, 2014 at 10:40
by Fabio Schäfer  

Views: 29,208    Faves: 58    Comments: 3


The German bike company Nicolai has released the first pictures of a fat bike equipped with a Pinion Gearbox, Gates Carbon Drive system and Carver Trans Fat fork. It´s just a prototype but the concept of using a gearbox does make sense, especially considering how shifting performance with a traditional derailleur can suffer in the ice and snow..

With a stealth routed dropper post, wide bars, and even wider tires, the Nicolai Argon Fat is ready for snow shredding.

Nicolai Fatbike with Pinion gearbox transmission
A Carver Trans Fat fork uses an inverted design and provides 110mm of air sprung travel.


A close-up of the 18 speed Pinion Gearbox and the Gates Carbon Drive.

www.nicolai.net
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142 Comments

  • + 213
 Guys, I have an admission and I'm just going to say it. I like it, and I want one...
  • + 42
 Something about a belt drive and gearbox really gets me going!
  • + 24
 This things like Strudel! I like Strudel, Ja Strudel!
  • - 5
flag dirty907 (Feb 18, 2014 at 13:08) (Below Threshold)
 I have decided that when/if these become available, I'm going to make an effort to acquire one. I'd probably be even more excited if they had used a chain, but the belt drive is acceptable.
  • + 9
 ditry907 I'm sure you can fit a chain to it. Swap out the cogs, add a chain and you're good to go!
  • + 2
 SICK! Imagine those tires with some 3/8" homemade spikes for icy traction?!?
I love it even though I could never fit her in my stable.
  • + 1
 45nrrh has studded kevlar foldable fat tires already.
  • + 2
 yup... I'd get a fatty.
  • + 4
 I absolutely don't need one (this winter we didn't have any snow at all), but still... I want it! :o
  • + 10
 This is the second sweet looking gearbox setup I've seen today!
Makes me curious for sure.
www.vitalmtb.com/photos/features/Zerodes-Full-Carbon-Gearbox-Trail-Bike,7113/Slideshow,0/sspomer,2
  • + 5
 @bike-3883 I was thinking along the lines of no chain, no rust. Looking awesome.
  • + 2
 Wow, I state one thing I would like to see different... still an exciting concept.
  • + 5
 looks like a sustainable pace
  • + 1
 @ AgentSmirnoff Yes, me too! From what I've read belts are every bit as efficient as chains, lighter, shed dirt better, are more silent, last longer, harder to break (although they can of course break) and don't rust. Disadvantages are: You need a breakable frame and some means of tensioning it (check), you need a "perfect" chainline (check), you have to carry a spare instead of just a breakaway link, they're more expensive (argument doesn't hold when you but it with a belt and swap it out for a chain) and not every bikeshop carries them. I'd go for the belt. But if @dirty907 prefers a chain, no problem: Just swap it out!
  • + 2
 Ja strudel ,LoL!!!
  • + 5
 I agree.. I have seen all the fat bikes that have come out, and I haven't personally liked one yet. until now. They took the gear box, and the belt drive ( 2 ideas that have not really exploded with popularity ) and found the right application for it. Well done, I like the fork and the dropper post they added.. an awesome overall bikes from the look of it, I think this will catch on! Impressive!
  • + 3
 they look way cooler with a suspension fork. I want one too.
  • + 1
 Full suspension anyone? Can you go tubeless with those cutout rims? Still don't like the weight of all that rubber. Do fat bikes come in 24".
  • + 2
 There are already full suspension fat bikes, and yes you simply tape the rims. No they don't though a 24 x 3.0 gazzoloddi is close in width to what most fat riders use (3.8" width tires).
  • + 0
 I must need for my live, try this bike in sand and dunes!
  • + 2
 Im getting a fatty over this fatty.
  • + 3
 I think the first comment just changed pinkbike history, we now accept fat bikes and gearboxes! Just 27.5 and 29ers to go...
  • + 23
 That gearbox looks so clean! I'd drop my front and rear derailleur any day for a setup like that.
  • + 3
 Yup! Every year they seem to be smaller and prettier(plus the belt drive to wrap it up).
  • + 5
 I know I'm a little slow at times but is it just me, or is it missing a brake lever?
  • + 1
 Richierocket, there are two cables coming out of the left brake lever (so it modulates the front and rear brake).
  • + 1
 Nonono, I see it now. At different points during the vid you can see a right lever(3:11). Plus a few others if your screen is HiResolution which this vid is not in..
  • + 1
 Its only a one finger leaver(therefore hard to see) because it sits so far in on the bar because of the shifter.
  • + 18
 Looking out my window right now, I'd take a fat bike over my stationary bike. Rode the BC Bike Race with 2 Belgians on Fat bikes, they tore it up. One took a top 20. Don't knock it until you try it. That goes for you too toldownhill13, or wait a minute, was that a criticism or a self-proclamation?
  • + 3
 Belgians? Let me guess: Riding Sandman bikes? ;-)
  • + 1
 Martin and Adrienne (spelling?). Can't remember the brand of bikes, but fully rigid (only tyre suspension). Super freaking nice guys, and hard as iron. To keep up with the top pack on those treads takes real steel.
  • + 2
 Must be vimeo.com/52354955 and vimeo.com/53640576

I've never ridden one, but Sandman bikes are - from what I hear and read - absolutely friggin' awesome! Of course that could be marketing talk ;-) They do actually offer suspension forks as well, quite good ones (again, from what I read and hear). Sandman were also actually working on a pinion fatbike as well, but the development costs were too steep for them (since they're a medium sized company). Ironically, a small two-man company from the Netherlands is now also building their first pinion fatbike: www.facebook.com/11ANTs/photos/a.1448121788748223.1073741830.1403677176526018/1474851152741953/?type=1&stream_ref=10 and www.11antsbikes.com/shop/tarantula First production model should be out riding within a few weeks. Exciting things are happening!
  • - 3
 yeah, sure, anyone would prefer a fatty over a stationery... or did you mean riding your stationery carrying the fat bike on your back ? Dead Horse
  • + 2
 Thanks for the nice words about the Belgians and Sandman fatbikes !

I participated in the BCBR in 2010, together with Elias Van Hoeydonck who tested a prototype Sandman and took top 20. Great times !

Sandman actually does offer Pinion-ready frames. I know because I ordered one :-)

It is true that they have been slow in coming. That is because Pinion was not able to guarantee their product for a long, long time. A limited test series was promised to Sandman, but none ever materialized (probably because Pinion realized that at least two Sandman test drivers were 6ft5 and 200+Lbs Flemish giants ;-)

Pity, but I trust the final product will be worth the wait. I hope I'll get mine in time for a self-supported raid in the West Fjords of Iceland :-)
  • + 10
 My Cousin in Chicago could probably use one right about now. They have had 5' snow and he hasn't ridden in months.
  • + 1
 I'm in Chicago, and 2nd this. Don't know about 5', but there's been way too much snow to even get the rollers out on the porch, much less get through any singletrack.
  • + 8
 I can't justify buying one where I live, but I would totally rent one if I were on vacation or something.
  • + 6
 That really seems like a great combo for riding in the snow and extreme muck. I like it!
  • + 7
 okay now I'm paying attention. That looks like a monster truck.
  • + 2
 I bought a Charge Cooker Maxi, swapped the front tire for a Surly Nate one. I live in Alberta and it handles the conditions wonderfully. The amount of ice here makes me hesitant to use the Bronson. I thought these bikes were silly until a buddy got one and raved about it. Bumped into him on the trails yesterday - both of us raving about how fun they are. I'm now riding the same trails I do in the summer. They are overpriced, but tons of fun, and gets your ass off the couch in the winter! Try it, you won't be disappointed.
  • + 4
 Perfect for running over small yappy dogs, yes there is definitely a market for this
  • + 1
 I would like to see a comparisson of this kind of transmission to rohloff/alfine. They have been around for a while and seem to have some advantages over this. eg. you don't need a special frame, easy dissasembly etc. I can see only one clear advantage of this system- better center of gravity. This system remainds me of the truvativ hammershmidt with the cranks rotating in a diferent speed then the chainring. And hammershmidt never had great succes.
  • + 5
 current fat bike owners may be contemplating selling their bike right now
  • + 2
 Wow, that guy is really flying. It looks pretty fun, I'd love to have one, but for a 16yr old, that would be a lot of $$$, and between a fat tire and a mt bike, and I'd prefer a mt bike.
  • + 2
 Can someone please enlighten me on how that belt stays in place? I mean, there's no bashguard or chain device to hold it on the sprocket. I went to Gates website but couldn't find anything on that. Thanks.
  • + 1
 behold... the Hipstermobile ! What i find really funny is that all comments receiving negative votes are the ones pointing out the total uselessness of this bike. Nice move, Pinkbike, nice move. Keep on holding to the real value, aye ?
  • + 1
 I don't see much sense in having a gearbox on a hardtail bike since you can use a Rohloff/Alfine hub. It will do the same job and can be swapped to another frame if the latter breaks. Gearboxes are a great idea for suspension frames, though, and I hope this technology becomes more popular with time.
  • + 1
 On my Rohloff equipped bike I can feel the weight at the rear wheel. On my Nicolai Helius AC Pinion the weight down low and centred on the frame doesn't have anywhere near the impact on handling the Rohloff has.
  • + 1
 Don't believe the hype, these bikes are beach cruisers/recreational bikes. they can push fat bikes as a snow bikes all they want, but the performance over a standard bike in the white fluff is pretty much nil. The depth of snow it took to stop my 29er with 2.2 wide tires, also stopped the fatbike I took out for a test spin. and that sucker were on 4" wide tires. however, I feel that sand is where the fat bike would outshine a standard bike.
  • + 0
 a fat bike with a gearbox is just as necessary as a trail bike with a gear box.... i.e. it isn't necessary by any means, and if anything belt drive tends to build up with snow instead of clearing and cutting it like the classic chain. doubt this is the future of fat bikes.
  • + 4
 I've been riding all winter only non fat MTB. 2.5" tires no problem. I've come across guys on fat bikes and they clear nothing more than me. The dat bike still needs a well packed base. Either by snowmobile, XC skiers or hikers/ snowshoers. As for shifting, run a continuous cable from your shifter to your derailleur. That solves all freezing related issues.

Not saying that this isn't a really nice looking bike and that gear box isn't cool or reliable or whatever. Just saying don't let the lack of a fat bike be the reason you don't get out this winter.

So ya bonedog I agree with you.
  • + 1
 yeah i agree with you to, I just got my first fat bike this winter, it helps with the snow a fair amount although like you said u still need a solid well packed base.
  • + 0
 All fatbikes do is let you ride stuff you're normally use typical trail running snowshoes on. If its too deep/powdery for anything less than mega sized backcountry skis or snowshoes though, you're not going anywhere regardless of how wide your tires are until you add a motor and probably tracks/skis to the equation.
  • + 0
 "shifting performance with a traditional derailleur can suffer in the ice and snow" - Shifting performance in the anything anywhere anytime can & usually does suffer with a stupid POS derailleur.

I love the fork & anything with a gearbox is great, but how about a gearbox street/DJ/trials - do everything hardtail with maybe 5 gears? How about a FR/DH/Slope bike that has 5-10 gears & doesn't need multiple chains, tenshioners, guides & shit? Like the beautiful NS Soda Slope or (I hate to say their name) Specialized P. Slope, but with some gears. These gearboxes belong on bikes where the abuse tends to be greatest & gears are still desirable. Fat bikes are probably just a novelty. I hope Pinion's masterpiece will become more than that. It's a cure that this industry has needed to a very debilitating disease, the derailleur.
  • + 0
 Fatbikes really open up alot of new terrain, think of all The frozen streams and small creeks obvously unridable in summer. Normaly these have banks that work as natural berms. I like snowboarding that terain when snow is deep but with a fatbike those runs go when snowpack is too thin for The board. I need one of these Fatbikes!
  • + 2
 Pinion takes one more step towards mainstream. I can't wait to see a half dozen bikes of every type with these gear boxes on them available in the USA.
  • + 1
 U can put helium into the tubes but to accelerate such a heavy tire... and 2.5K € for a 6. or 7th bike. Anyway fantastic winter video (last time hösel this time schneider) again!
  • + 3
 Do you know what is the difference between tires pumped with helium and tires pumped with air?
  • + 2
 About 9 gramm a wheel. So nothing compared the 2.5Kg a wheel seams to weight here, but hey ballontires...
  • + 4
 i was also told helium will have a constant leak from the tubes (due to the atoms or some scientific shit like that being smaller than air)
  • + 5
 I asked about this just to trigger this discussion. It's a few grams indeed, so such a bike won't fly away, nor there will be any change in handling. My friends used to discuss this Helium to be pumped in car tires, hoping to increase fuel mileage and performance. Pumped up and weighed vehicle did not show any difference on professional diagnostic scale, nor there was a change in handling, nor mileage. In this case @jumpman2334 is very right. The tires lost pressure after three days. In fact bicycle tubes and tires have holles in their buttyl-rubber particule structure big enough for air, so this is why it is worth to check pressure at least once a week. Changes in pressure are also very visible in different weather and temperature conditions. For example in winter time I prepare my bike indoors and just after going outside the pressure drops significantly. The only alternative gas worth using to pump tires in cars and bikes is Nitrogen. It's unique physical features make it very stable in temperatures far more extreme than humans are experiencing. Nitrogen in car tires keep the preasure almost constant when rolling at high speed, braking etc. Nitrogen in bike tires can help in keeping the same pressure in different temperature conditions like winter indoor preparations, or epic descending thousants of feet in high mountains where temperature changes dramatically with altitude. Nitrogen is used in vulcanisation garages and it costs about 5euro to pump a car. ..but come on ! this should be fun, so lets leave it to pro ridiers.
  • + 3
 Hmmmm. Here is old good 26 snowride: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs54GFASKmg
Smile
  • + 1
 The video looks like its on fast forward. I get the idea behind these bikes. Glad I live below the snowline, in the foothills, in California. These bikes make me shake my head still.
  • + 4
 I want it-and I want it NOW!!!
  • - 1
 My moonlander and i went for a bike/board adventure last weekend... awesome. next up is an overnight stay... ride in, set up camp, skin up, shred down, repeat... eat, sleep in a wood heated tent, eat, skin, shred.... for some of you the picture should be clearing up now.
  • + 2
 It doesn't seem like fatbikes need to be any more expensive or specialized.
  • + 1
 best idea ever for the people like me who will go out and work on trail. for the rest too lazy to build and ride. have fun riding street. fwanks....
  • + 2
 Any questions for guys in USA or Canada please feel free to contact us directly...
  • + 3
 This thing looks fun as hell. WANT.
  • + 2
 I have a Pugs Op and they are so much fun. Been looking at that fork for awhile now. Anyone got any feed back on it ?
  • + 1
 Not from personal experience. From what I've read: It's the same (made in Taiwan) as this one: forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/sandman-javelina-suspension-fork-first-pics-827502.html But they decided to discontinue development because it wasn't up the (their) quality standards. They stayed with the one they were already using (the German:Answer Flame). So the Flame would probably be a better option (I'm quite surprised Nicolai didn't go for the Flame), but is more expensive and I'm not sure you could get one in the States.

Upside down forks are said to be a bit more wobbly (less stiff), but for now it's the only option available for really fat tires. But, Sandman is working on a (stiffer) regular fat suspension fork: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0HUFGxxyQY&feature=youtube_gdata_player. And German:Answer are working on their own solution to stiffen their upside down design: enduro-mtb.com/en/germana-could-upside-down-single-crown-be-ready-for-enduro And then we have this which looks nice as well singletrackworld.com/2014/01/magura-engineers-diy-fatbike-fork Things are looking good for fat suspension forks!

So, no experience. Just more options to consider. Sorry
  • + 3
 that's it. i'm going to get a fat bike next winter.
  • + 3
 Beautiful bike! I love it!
  • + 3
 That fork looks sick. Really completes the clean lines of the whole bike.
  • + 1
 new is good I would like to know the cost of a bike like this the one I have will just get up graded till the frame falls apart .
  • + 2
 Josefe. The tires are so big and fat, they basically are 29's. Rode a couple of weeks ago and they ride awesome on snow.
  • + 1
 The geo on the spesh fat bike is basically pulled from their carve (29er HT i believe), or at least thats what MTBR said...
  • + 1
 I was kidding. I have zero interest in this bike no matter the wheel size.
  • + 1
 I really like the idea of gearbox drivetrains, however what i would like to know is how well they shift gears under strain. If anyone could answer this that would be great.
  • + 2
 It is a really long story, but my bike, with Effigear shifts to harder gears in a better way than anything else I have ever ridden, full stand up sprint is no different to coasting. Changing to easier gears is different to a derailler and requires some adaption / education period, but I think it works better than a derailler in most scenarios. The Pinion box is close to opposite, between most gears it shifts really well into easier gears, but requires backing off into harder gears. Basically it takes a bit of time to start use to the advantages, so any tests of these types of things need at least a few weeks before a decent opinion is made
  • + 1
 thanks!
  • + 2
 Wishing my surly 1x1 had fatter tires now :/
  • + 2
 Who is the US importer? Trying to get a frame...
  • + 1
 "Is Nicolai's Argon Fat Pinion the future of fat bikes?"...what future?? Fat bikes are niche toys like Fixies.
  • + 1
 Oh how right you said it...
  • + 1
 I freaking love fat bikes. I'd love to try one, and this one looks as the best of the genre. Sweet!
  • + 1
 Yes to maintenance free gearing and yes to fat bikes but no to current price tags
  • + 1
 To be honest, I think the pinion gear box should be on every bike, not just fat bikes. Looks cool though,
  • + 1
 Belt drive gearbox suspension fat bike...that's a few too many niche things in one bike for me.
  • + 1
 ...enduro 29er
  • + 2
 Nerd boners everywhere...
  • + 1
 I wouldn't mind tooling around on one of those, that's what it looks like outside my house right now...
  • + 1
 Simply the finest Frame builders out there… by a looong shot.
How about matching a Alfine DI2 shifter to the Pinion?
  • + 1
 Anyone knows what is the song ? Shazam can't find it !
  • + 1
 snowboards are more fun in the winter
  • + 1
 Please stop all this fat bike madness....
  • + 1
 Nice winter riding vid though.....
  • + 1
 No...it says Gates...above the pinion, on the seatstay.....
  • + 1
 Great now some dude can go around tryin to pedal two ton bike.
  • + 1
 how do i buy one? looks so fun!
  • + 0
 Didn't read the fat bike part of the title. Was about to go total ape shit.
  • + 1
 These will never catch on!
  • + 1
 Quite the controversial week on PB
  • + 1
 Looks pretty bad ass and would you expect anything less from Nicolai?
  • + 1
 that thing looks sick, I want to take it for a burn
  • + 2
 Oh nicolai, again
  • + 1
 That's getting close to being a dirtbike..
  • + 1
 that's good its only $8000 (4794pounds)
  • + 1
 looks so clean
  • + 1
 I want one
  • + 0
 "World's first bike I couldn't care less about"
  • + 0
 Belt drive stinks, what a waste
  • + 1
 belt drive...badass!
  • + 1
 They are fun in Alaska..
  • + 1
 Sign me up
  • + 0
 This is going in the wank bank!
  • - 1
 Usually i hate fat bikes, but this thing looks like it could get me riding some pretty cool terrain. looks good to me
  • + 2
 ya dawg.
  • + 0
 Was he getting any travel out of that front fork? It looked really stiff.
  • + 1
 Ill Tap that Fatty!!
  • - 1
 I am so glad that I live in a place where I don't have to ride a bike like this.
  • - 1
 Are you guys kidding me?! This thing is an expensive joke.
  • + 1
 I cant help but think, for the price of that bike, I could buy 2 snowmobiles, and me and someone else could have 10 times as much fun. I'm not stopping anyone else from getting one (or hating), but it's not for me.
  • - 2
 I just do not understand... Why is sliding in the snow on a fat bike more "fun" then doing the same thing on my mt bike...?
  • + 2
 Well it's all about the brand name, running the fattest, most useless tires the industry could ever come up with, and being able to brag to your friends about that cool bike you bought, that can get you nowhere fast and easy Big Grin It is only with a heart of a hipster that you can really comprehend the love and appreciation that this bike actually needs.

...nope, it's just another industry segment of crap that's being pushed into our faces. Gone are the times when this was a sport for the minority...
  • + 0
 Noooow were talking Smile
  • + 0
 Thats a rad fat bike
  • - 3
 Meh...still doesn't really look that fun.
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