Imagine a quiet and clean downhill bike with no derailleur to smash or break off, and no chain to slap against the chain stays. Good news: it’s coming. The German brandNicolai has developed a prototype DH bike with Gates Carbon Drive combined with a gearbox. The bike was raced for the first time at the Swiss National Championships recently, and Mike Schärtook the silver medal in the DH junior class.Photographer Luisa Freudenberg took these images of Mike and the new bike racing at the Swiss championships.
The gearbox on the prototype Nicolai is made by Effigear. Gearbox technology for bicycles has made big advances in recent years. Gates is eager to see this technology advance because it enables bike manufacturers to integrate belt drives onto geared bikes. For high-performance riding such as DH, freeride and cross-country racing gearboxes are preferable to using internally geared hubs because the weight is centered around the bottom bracket rather than in the rear wheel.
Stay tuned for more news on this bike, and the future of low-maintenance, clean and quiet DH bikes with Carbon Drive belts.
All photos: Luisa Freudenberg