deniz merdano machina bikes 2
First Ride and Interview

Machina Bikes First Ride

Words Deniz Merdano
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Dec 6, 2022
Reading time

Machina Bikes

We are at a point in history where the faint and fleeting images that come to us in a restful sleep can realized on a simple desktop 3D printer. We can go buy these machines, that were the size of a Zamboni in 2005, and they will now fit on your bedside table. They are simple and efficient and accompanied by a huge online sub-culture of creators, allowing businesses to blossom from your kitchen table. My favourites include Jank Components who started making excellent solutions for Forbidden Druid Frames, or that guy from 'big corp' who makes drug paraphernalia that fits in your steerer tube. Whatever the flavour, there is a solution looking for a problem if you have a 3d printer.

I've always loved building things and making improvements to existing systems and I love creative, smart people taking on big challenges to show that garage building can be fun and rewarding. So I was hooked when I caught a glimpse of what was about to happen on the Machina Bikes instagram about a year ago. The angular carbon silhouette of a gearbox bike was being teased and the address said Whistler, BC.

My made-in-Canada loving ass got tingly and I subbed and liked the content. That alone must have given them the green light to build the thing. Weeks and months went by with little progress until it was Crankworx time in Whistler. Busy with enough activities to make the most ADHD person throw in the towel, I recalled the Machina.

There I was in the media feeding frenzy, absorbing all the new and shiny things like a blackhole sucking the universe around it in, when I reached out to Sion from Machina to see if I could see the bike in person. To my surprise they said "Sure, where do you wanna meet up?" A couple of hours later I got another message saying, "hey, the bike is not quite ready for you to see yet... can we do a raincheck?"

deniz merdano machina bikes 3

Machina Prototype

deniz merdano machina bikes 30

Carbon, Aluminium, Gearbox, Mullet, omg

The Bike

What drew me to the Machina story was the feeling that somehow, while Sion and Tom were doing all the work to create a bike out of thin air, we were doing it all together. It rang like a story from my childhood where making things out of random lego bricks felt like a great success; adding motors, servos, belt drives, wheels and making monstrosities move. I'm sure both Sion and Tom would love hearing me compare their engineering marvel to my half-assed lego building.

The Machina is a mostly built in Canada with parts from Germany, New Zealand, Italy and China. It's purpose-built to stretch the service intervals as far as possible without compromising anything in componentry or suspension performance. Based around the 9-speed belt-driven Pinion gearbox, Machina is a 35+ pound sledge hammer than can open a beer bottle without breaking it. The numbers suggest a single-purpose long-travel race bike but the trail experience tells a deeper story.

The titanium gearbox mount and the seatpost/top tube lug are made in New Zealand using the additive 3D printing. The finishing and the materials used make them a plug and play, with very minimal finishing work needed. This allowed Tom and Sion to focus their energy on the carbon and aluminum bits of the bike, which there are plenty of.

The carbon used on the bike is a uni-directional and 12K weave mix, with the 12k being mostly the finishing layer, allowing the thickness to vary, depending on the strength and flex needed. The Headtube, toptube and downtube are 3 separate pieces that join together after they are laid and can be repaired individually if necessary. This somewhat modular system allows for efficient customer support if something was to go wrong. Realizing the driveside seatstays are not under intense forces, they used carbon instead of the aluminium used on the non-driveside. According to Sion, the current crop of big rotors and powerful brakes put the seat stays under immense stress.

deniz merdano machina bikes 25

Grip shift actuated Pinion gearbox, made in Germany

Geometry and Bike Setup

As it currently sits, The Machina has 165mm rear travel and a 170mm Fork. The "Extra Medium" sizing I got to ride measured in at;

  • 63.5deg HA
  • 12.4mm BB Drop
  • 437-442-447mm chainstays
  • 1271mm Wheelbase
  • 475mm Reach
  • 639mm Stack
  • 110mm Head tube
  • 77.5 deg seat angle
  • SOFT stiffness token
  • Milled 6061 Aluminium parts
  • 205/65mm Shock

The numbers are not very similar to my current ride and I was worried a little about this. Longer and slacker in every aspect minus the seat tube angle, I was prepared to ride a bike that was way too big for me. After accepting this possibility mentally, I had no problem enjoying the ride.

One interesting feature of the Machina is the tunable Stiffness Token on the rear stays. Joining the seat stays together just behind the seat tube is a 3D printed piece of material. Bolted from the sides, this is a critical part of how Sion and Tom tuned the way this frame rides. Tom opted for the soft token that allowed for more rear end compliance around the corners and in rough parts of the trail. Sion's Token was stiffer and he was planning on machining an even stiffer one for his setup. I can't personally say if the soft token was too soft or not but I don't race EWS like Sion does. I did like the idea of being able to try different setups and pick the one that suits the ride at hand. My experience would tell me I'd want a setup stiffer than the Driud, Hightower and a hair less than the Rallon. Whatever that may mean to you...

Lucky for me and for the overall cohesiveness of this first ride, Tom's bike shared a few key components with my own ride.

EXt Era V2 Fork at 170mm

PNW 35mm rise alloy bars

We Are One Union Wheels

Continental Kryptotal DH Super Soft tires

deniz merdano machina bikes 16

3D printed parts with whistler made carbon. Beautiful shapes to the headtube.

I set the fork to 55psi in the + and 80psi in the ++ Chambers with fairly open compression settings for the cold, snowy day we were heading out in. Tires pumped to 19/22psi and saddle set to my height, we hit the hour long climb up the road to the trail head. This climb was the perfect opportunity to chat with Sion about the past, present and future of this project they embarked on. If you want to get the dirt out of someone, ask them questions while climbing a mountain on a bike. The salty truth seeps out like beads of sweat if you ask the right questions. On the climb I set the Pinion gearbox to 3rd gear most of the time, only reaching for 2nd when the camera pack felt heavy on the steeper parts. The bike is no featherweight, and definitely not made lighter by the photographic gear that came along. On the climb we also picked up our own Graham Dreidger and local fast girl, Sarah Thackray.

Sion who has been in the bike industry and no stranger to racing bikes was quite tired of breaking his bikes into pieces while trying to finish races. Living in parts of the world where trails are steep and fast, the industry just wasn't meeting his needs. Instead of waiting around for something to happen, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work shortly after meeting Tom Moffat of North Shore Billet. It's great when you get yourself in deep trouble, but if you can convince a buddy to indulge too, the satisfaction multiplies. As the boys embarked on this journey, they put their industry resourcefulness to use. With Turner, Welder, Boat Builder, and Mountain Bike Component manufacturer titles in his resume, a lot of Tom's creations are enduring the waves, tides, rocks and roots all across the globe. I had no doubt if this bike could get me down the icy, snowy, steep trails I was about to present it with.

deniz merdano machina bikes 15

3d Printed Titanium Lug from New Zealand.

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Locally Machined Aluminium parts means suspension tuning is easy.

Downhill we go

A 475mm reach and 447mm rear end is on the longer end of things for a 5'9" rider like me. I suggested a quick swap to the shorter rear stay position for the rear but there is a slight problem with the current belt tensioner as it would pinch the belt around the lower chainring a little too much. Swapping to a shorter belt would do the trick but that wasn't possible on short notice.

The suppleness of the suspension is hard to explain. The lack of chain slap, derailleur rattle, and everything else that contributes to a shopping cart sensation is omitted from the Machinas dictionary. It's a strange feeling when all you hear is the knobs of the extremely grippy Continental Kryptotals digging into the frozen ground. If I can get my timing right with the gripshift Pinion setup, this should be a good one!

The bike rides sprightly and with more energy than the numbers suggest. There was great amount of feedback through my feet but I didn't feel overwhelmed. The bIke just wants to run and generate speed on any opportunity. The 27.5" rear wheel initiates turns easily and stays out of the holes better than some other examples I've tested. Traction is abundant and I felt centered on the chassis.

I tried to pick the front up for a manual but I failed immediately, the bike reminding me of how long it is. Combined with the relatively slow rebound speed on the ERA V2, I decided to not to embarrass myself any further and keep the wheels on the ground instead. I won't be jibbing this thing in the parking lot.

The trails we rode have a couple of opportunites to let the horse run wild for 15-20 seconds at a time. The Machina comes alive and asks me for another gear, I accidentally grab 2 and bog my legs down a little. I then over shift the other way and at the end just say fuck it and leave it in one gear for the rest of the trail. I think this will require some practice but I can't help but think there is so much opportunity to offer different shifting modes with this setup.

  • Leave it as is and have sequential shifting that Pinion offers.
  • Add a Archer components like operation and mount 2 servos to the downtube for wireless shifting (I like this more and more in my head)
  • keep the current gripshift setup, but make it shift one gear at a time in either direction. a single twist gives you a single change in gear. I would have liked this on my first ride, but not sure if its a good expert setup
  • There are probably several more options here
deniz merdano machina bikes 59

Steep ass slab.

As the ride continues, there is snow building up on the drivetrain. A regular derailleur and cassette would have been totally caked in ice and skipping all over the place. The Pinion with a Gates belt, carries on with an occasional ping that reverberates under load. We weren't sure why this was happening but it felt like either the belt was crushing some ice into the grooves or something moisture-related inside the gearbox. The sealed unit shouldn't allow any moisture to enter but ours is a gnarly environment for bike parts. A long term test should be interesting. I still think the components would outlast most traditional gear changing setups.

I can get behind the idea of less unsprung weight. Making the real wheel lighter, without a cassette, allows it to change direction more quickly, overcoming inertia and generating more traction as well. If you can give me AXS quality shifting in the Pinion form factor, I am all for it. But as it sits, I am not entirely sold on the grip shift application. I didn't accidentally throttle grip and shift my way out of a gear but I struggled to reach for the gear I was after for a punchy climb because I was not ready for it. On trails I know well, I don't see this being a huge problem, but on unknown trails, I'd like to be able to shift later in the powerband.

By the end of the ride, I felt like I'd been riding the Machina for years. We got along quite well and I had no reservation riding the gnarliest lines I could find and I thank Tom for his choice of Suspension, tires and Cockpit for that. And maybe the suspension design too.

I fired some questions to Sion and Tom and will leave them here for you to see.

deniz merdano machina bikes 26

Machining details are gorgeous.

Hello Sion and Tom, tell us who you are briefly.

Sion: Hey Deniz, I'm a Product Design Engineer and mountain biker originally from North Wales, UK. I represent half of the project we called Machina Bikes. 
Tom: Hey Deniz, I'm originally from Australia and I'm the other half of Machina. 

How do you pronounce Machina? I get asked this the most. like Makina or Mashina? 

Sion: We're calling it like Mashina. The name came about with my girlfriend suggeting the name a "maquina" (Spanish for Machine) because the bike looks like a machine. So we went with a variant and I think it works well. We have relied heavily on subtractive manufacturing so it made sense to us! Tom: Yeah we call it Mashina, but each to their own if someone prefers makina. 

Tom is no stranger to machining things in the past for NSB and Sion has been working at Commençal in the past. What was the motivation to start building bikes in Whistler?

Tom: I built the park bike the year before and I was loving it. I wanted a trail bike version and was really interested in going down the gearbox route, and naturally Sion and myself were bouncing ideas at work so that kinda set the whole project in motion.
Sion: Tom started at FYi (the company I was working for) just over a year ago. I think within a few days of meeting each other, talking about the bike he made last year, and what our dream bike would be, we were locked in to this project. I wanted a new bike for the race season and wanted to try a gearbox for some time. There were some geometry aspects that I wanted to try out and I really wanted to get an adjustable rear end flex token in the design too! 

deniz merdano machina bikes 39

Sion... Tom was too busy to have fun on the Shore with us.

deniz merdano machina bikes

The bike loves steep and fast.

AJ photographed some of the bikes you've built in the past out of aluminium. Was Carbon/titanium a natural progression of that or allowed some tuning possibilities other materials could not provide?

Tom: The other bikes were designed and made based on the tools I had at that time. The materials were also specifically chosen with park riding in mind. I've wanted to build a carbon bike for a while. I was going to build a carbon bike in Australia before I moved to Canada because I was working in the composite industry. Making this bike in carbon was a no brainer, we wanted to be relatively competitive on weight and be able to do most of the manufacturing jigs and production processes using 3D printers so using this construction method made sense. 

The elephant in the room, the pinion gearbox and Gates belt drive.. other than reducing the unsprung weight at the rear wheel, was there critical reasons for this choice? 

Sion: I'm putting a load of km's on my bikes through the season and riding in all conditions, year round. I've been frustrated by the inconsistent performance of the traditional drivetrain through the course of a season. I've always been gearbox curious and this seemed like a great time to try. The reliability was a big driver for me. 
Tom: Basically, the gearbox doesn’t change feel as there are no external factors to jam it up or clog it up. Plus, can SRAM or Shimano offer 5 yr warranty and 10000 km service intervals with their drivetrains? The main reason to go for the belt was the benefits with noise and to avoid chain slap affecting the suspension.

As with any ground up design, have you run into issues you are working around? Is pinion the way forward or would you consider a design around the rear derailleur?

Sion: The belt drive needs something called a "snubber". This is a little roller that forces the belt onto the rear drive sprocket in bad conditions. We didn't need one in the summer but riding in the rain and snow recently highlighted this issue. Otherwise the bikes came together quite well. 
Tom: a few issues but everything from the frame perspective has been worked out now. I’ll probably make a few small tweaks to optimize weight in the gearbox mount and rear end. And yeah what Sion said about the snubber though I feel it’s all related to the spring tensioner as it packs up with mud and gunk I feel a gas strut would solve this so I might look into this.

deniz merdano machina bikes 54

Sion had no problem Manualing the Machina, I on the other hand....

Tell us about your R&D process a little

Tom: a lot of beers and late nights.
Sion: Yes, pretty much. We completed this project on a tight budget and in our spare time. Most of the time we were just going with what felt right. 

What does it take for a start-up Canadian bike company to survive in this market these days?

Tom: ohh yeah I’d say a lot of capital or a solid product which you can build on. Weareone is doing it right starting out with a awsome product that competes with factories overseas on price and in my opinion is nicer than any other offering, then just building on that foundation with other really nice products.
Sion: Good question haha. We never set out to make any money on this project soI can't say I'm a good guy to ask. We wanted to concentrate on the product without thinking about business models or money.

deniz merdano machina bikes 45

Incredible amount of traction on tap. Sion and I had no trouble riding this in the snow.

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Fast ridge line into a right hander fadeaway. When done right, feels amazing.

What is the next chapter? Would you like to sell some bikes and keep selling them for the next 5-10 years? Or call this a passion project and move on?

Tom: it’s a passion project as of right now, I guess the main thing a lot of people don’t realize is that we made everything ourselves (minus the printed Ti, although we still need to post machine it) from hardware to seat stays and even the cable routing and bash guards, so that naturally takes a lot of time for just 2 people, so if we where to do it we would try to outsource parts to be made in Canada as I personally don’t like manufacturing in Asia. It's just that making it locally means a higher price tag at the end of the day.
Sion: It's really for the market to decide if they want this bike. We don't want to push it on anyone. We understand it may be a niche, but it makes sense for us. We believe the product is really good, so we're just really happy to have our dream bike.

From my limited time on the bike, I'd say you nailed the geo and the suspension kinematics for the Sea to Sky riding. Any plans to tweak the numbers further?

Sion: I was riding a 475mm reach with the short CS initially, since then we cut it back and laid up another and processed it at 470mm reach with the long CS. This is feeling amazing for me at the moment. I think I would be happy just playing between mid and long chainstay and optimizing rear end flex and calling it a day.
Tom: No plans for me, the only thing I want to play with is exactly what Sion mentioned, just the chainstay flip chips and the seat stay brace.

Thank you for the opportunity to get to know you and the bike. Looking forward to more news from Machina soon!

Tom: Cheers man thanks for putting out killer content.
Sion: Thank you Deniz and the NSMB team for your work!

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Thanks, Sion!

Will they?

It is with absolute certainty that Machina will sell every single bike they can make. It will be expensive and exclusive for a while but I can see waiting lists growing as they open up to orders. The problem is, what will happen in 5 years. Will they still be making parts? Will they be around to call to ask about an issue? Sure the carbon bits can be repaired and 3d parts can be printed. But will you, as the owner of an expensive machine, have to shoulder the costs? Will they go Open source and have different people make parts for them?

So many questions. And I can't wait to find out because this thing is way too rad!

Machina Bikes

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano

5'8"

162lbs

Playful, lively riding style

Photographer and Story Teller

Lenticular Aesthetician

www.blackbirdworks.ca

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Comments

We_Are_One_Composites
We_Are_One_Composites
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+20 Sion Gwynn Velocipedestrian Deniz Merdano WestCoastCanuck BarryW Martin Pete Roggeman fartymarty Metacomet Mammal Brad Sedola Sean Hornchek AenomalyConstructs ShawMac imnotdanny Carlos Matutes bigmacunion@yahoo.com hardtailhersh Hardlylikely Derek Baker

Well done, fellas! I love seeing the bike out in the wild and following your progress. Keep it pinned; we need more of us here in BC building these things. Chapeau

Reply

sanesh-iyer
Sanesh Iyer
2 months ago
+12 Deniz Merdano Metacomet Cr4w goose8 Martin Pete Roggeman Mammal imnotdanny Zombo Carlos Matutes bigmacunion@yahoo.com hardtailhersh

Fuck me, that's a cool bike. And these are smart people. To that end:

1) I love that they've thought through the loads and manufacturing in each location and optimized the materials to that. Someone should probably use this bike as a case study for advanced materials selection and objective optimization in a university course. I'll be using it as a case for a lunch & learn for sure. 

2) I am also kicking myself now:

A number of years ago I knew someone who sawed off their seat stay brace in pursuit of improved flex. 

Pre Covid, I 3D printed a seat stay brace for a friend's flexy af bike that didn't have one. Just out of shitty ABS and ziptied it on. Clearances were tight. It made a world of difference. 

It never occurred to me that a) you could probably sell that product or b) sell a tuneable stiffness. And it was right in my face. Although I'm not nuanced (stiffer = better in my books, lateral deflection is for tires and wheels, vertical deflection frames and forks, decoupling the two makes tuning easier, although perhaps suboptimal). 

Seriously, well done. I hope people see this for what it is, the most innovation in bicycle materials since the first carbon MTB (a Lotus something from the 90s, if I remember correctly... Before my time).

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months ago
+1 Sanesh Iyer

I'm not sure they came up with swappable seat stay braces for stiffness tuneability. Commencal dh team proto mules had them a couple years ago if I recall. Not sure commecal originated the idea either tho. It is a great idea. And yeah, they knocked it out of the park with this bike!

Reply

sanesh-iyer
Sanesh Iyer
2 months ago
0

Had no idea! Rabbit hole begins...

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
+3 kcy4130 Martin Hardlylikely

Hey Sion did work at Commencal a few years ago.. who is to say it wasn't his idea back then?

Reply

siongwynn
Sion Gwynn
2 months ago
+7 Deniz Merdano kcy4130 Sanesh Iyer Martin Pete Roggeman imnotdanny Hardlylikely

Yeah I worked at Commencal for some years. Those guys have been playing with all sorts for a very long time. We don't claim to have come up with this idea by no means. We just think its cool! Especially to offer a tuned feel based on rider weight and riding style. For example, the same height rider may have vastly different riding preference and weight difference. Not everyone wants or can ride a really stiff bike, or maybe you want to change on the fly. Having a “one bike do it all” for me over the years means that Im always changing the set up pretty significantly between trail/enduro and park riding.

Reply

MTB_THETOWN
MTB_THETOWN
2 months ago
+11 vantanclub Metacomet DadStillRides Cr4w Martin shapethings AenomalyConstructs imnotdanny Lynx . bigmacunion@yahoo.com Hardlylikely

It may be expensive,  but Pinkbike currently has a field test with several bikes over $10k(US) that are mass produced. If I were to spend that kind of money on a bike, you better believe I want something handmade and interesting like what these guys are doing.

You can keep the grip shift gearbox though.

Reply

vantanclub
vantanclub
2 months ago
0

WAO Arrival is actually a very good value in that price point too.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
+3 Cr4w mnihiser Martin

I agree with you on the value proposition. Compared to all the off the shelf bikes, whatever this bike is priced at will be justifiable. 

I would definitely give the gearbox system more time to evolve before jumping in fully, but it is promising already!

Reply

siongwynn
Sion Gwynn
2 months ago
+12 Deniz Merdano kcy4130 Martin Pete Roggeman Mammal Morgan Heater imnotdanny Matt L. Carlos Matutes Lynx . bigmacunion@yahoo.com Hardlylikely

Exactly. Honestly this was one of the driving factors behind the project. We both wanted new enduro bikes and thought we could make our own ones (tooling and all) for cheaper than the current offerings, and get exactly what we wanted. For sure this doesn’t take into account the time we spent on the project or the capabilities we had access to. But with the increasing cost of manufacturing in Taiwan and other factors leading to inflated prices. This says something about the industry.

Reply

morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 months ago
+5 Sion Gwynn BarryW WestCoastCanuck Brad Sedola Hardlylikely

I think that most people that are not totally set in their ways will actually prefer the pinion+gripshift over the standard derailleur systems if they give themselves a week or two to get used to it.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+3 Sion Gwynn Brad Sedola Morgan Heater

I would take a Pinion / Gripshift over a mech / trigger any day of the week.

Reply

brad-sedola
Brad Sedola
1 month, 4 weeks ago
0

What drove me to Gripshift was the biannual snapping off/destruction of the delicate, more-complex than-a-swiss-watch-dangly-bit hanging off the handlebar of my far-too-short-of-a-cockpit / far-too-heavy-of-a-freeride-machine of the day. Now that bikes are longer, bars are wider, I can't remember the last time I whacked my knee on my trigger shifter.

Reply

morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sion Gwynn

For a derailleur, triggers are great, for a pinion, gripshift is great.

Reply

WalrusRider
WalrusRider
2 months ago
+6 Sion Gwynn Morgan Heater Velocipedestrian Brad Sedola imnotdanny shapethings

One of the coolest bikes I've seen in a long time.

Reply

Friday
Friday
2 months ago
+5 Sion Gwynn BarryW Sean Hornchek Carlos Matutes Hardlylikely

Everything I hear about Gearboxes is starting to convince me they offer way more advantages than just "you dont have to service it". It seems to essentially fix many of the issues with rear suspension and chains, makes the bike quieter, makes the bike handle better, and requires almost no service. That seems like a worthy trade off for having to work on shifting skills.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
+8 Sion Gwynn Velocipedestrian Morgan Heater BarryW Sean Hornchek imnotdanny Carlos Matutes Hardlylikely

It seems so obvious and in front of us doesn't it? The red and the blue team are trying really hard to keep us in the derailleur game for as long as they can. I want more options. I can totally get used to the gearbox shifting.

Reply

brad-sedola
Brad Sedola
2 months ago
+4 Deniz Merdano Sion Gwynn Skooks imnotdanny

Bikes like this make me sad. I am on the edge of aging out of being able to ride it as it is intended for. This is the bike I've been yearning for over the last 15 years. Far few broken bones and 35+ lbs lighter back in those days. Grip shift, bring it on. I still ride X.O 9 speed grip shift on one of my regular bikes.

Reply

UMichael
UMichael
2 months ago
+4 Sean Hornchek imnotdanny Carlos Matutes Sion Gwynn

Watching this bike come together has been amazing, and to put it lightly: I'm obsessed. I love everything about this bike.

Look at those cable routing ports, they're tiny works of art.

The mentality of making a bike that "just works" is so appealing to me. I would love to be able to just get on my bike and ride it, regardless of weather and without doing maintenance as soon as I get back.

I'll be saving up...

Reply

earleb
earle.b
2 months ago
+4 Deniz Merdano Mammal Sean Hornchek Carlos Matutes

Beautiful bike. Great use of the three different materials where they make sense. 

The big problem is...it has curious to dig deeper into a gearbox. Maybe I'll give a go at building my next frame gearbox compatible. Make a cradle like Trinity that can swap out to run gearbox or traditional drivetrain.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months ago
+3 Blofeld Deniz Merdano imnotdanny

I hadn't put the Archer idea together with a 'box in my head yet, but it sounds super promising.

Reply

Blofeld
Blofeld
2 months ago
+1 imnotdanny

I don’t want to downplay the awesome custom bike or the (insert superlative) photos of same, but the wireless gearbox ideas got me really revved up. Similar to Classified’s IGH, it could actually be solving a problem with wireless tech.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
2 months ago
+2 imnotdanny Carlos Matutes

I would quite happily relax my "no batteries - except for lights" rule for a wireless gearbox.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
+3 Sanesh Iyer Mammal imnotdanny

It really can't be that difficult to rig something up. I am surprised someone hasn't already yet.

Reply

morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 months ago
-1 GB

They have, with their e-bike compatible box. https://pinion.eu/en/smartshift/

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
0

I've seen those Stromer bikes around town and wrote them off as they looked very low end. But the one in the link looks awesome.

Reply

otagoboy
otagoboy
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+3 Deniz Merdano Sean Hornchek imnotdanny

Coming to the end of my third year on my Zerode Katipo with Pinion C12 and carbon belt drive. Have done 3 oil changes and no other drivetrain maintenance on a bike that is ridden 4-5X per week in pretty filthy wet conditions. Whereas my Stumpjumper with AXS requires regular cleaning/oiling/ new chains etc. The whole issue of shifting under load just disappears with experience, and the benefits of swapping any number of gears in one quick twist is far more relevant. I would never swap to a trigger shifter for this reason. 

It is great to see more genuine trail/enduro bikes like the Machina with a gearbox. All of these longer travel bikes are getting heavy now, so the gearbox bulk is much less of an issue than on a 10kg/22lb XC bike. I cannot imagine NOT having a gearbox bike in the garage at any point in my future. And if I ever succumb to an e-bike, it will have to have a Pinion linked to the motor to avoid the drivetrain wear and tear that electric motors subject a normal derailleur system to.

Reply

olaa
olaa
2 months ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Sean Hornchek

I want one! 

And i suppose that you could use an Effigear gearbox as well if you want shifting under load and triggershifter.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months ago
0

This comment has been removed.

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months ago
+2 Carlos Matutes Hardlylikely

Didn't starling sorta... Axe the Spur because effigear sucks?

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months ago
+1 Deniz Merdano

that was their story. most of the frame run had problems with the box, so they've halted production for now.

i'm not the gearbox evangelical that i once was (current tech still has nagging quirks that keeps me from buying in), but this build is rad.

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UMichael
UMichael
2 months ago
+1 Sean Hornchek

That was not the new Effigear Mimic, but rather Effigear's old design. The Mimic is their design that matches to Pinion's mounts, while still being trigger shift.

Not much is out about the Mimic, but I do hope it is better. It has more POE than Pinion, and a similar weight. However, they claim you can shift under load which has me suspicious. I do hope it succeeds though.  Would love to see more gearboxes out there

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
0

I have no experience with effigear. I am gearbox curious now though

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siongwynn
Sion Gwynn
2 months ago
+3 Martin Sean Hornchek imnotdanny

Yes! Its the same interface. The mimic box wouldn't work with a 1:1 ratio as we have for the pinion, but we could make it work. We initially fancied the mimic but couldnt get them on time. They are compatible with trigger shifting too, but we actually like the pinion with grip now.

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craw
Cr4w
2 months ago
+4 Sion Gwynn pedalhound imnotdanny Derek Baker

Please continue to pursue the Effigear. Maybe when you're ready to do a next prototype. I think we'd all like to read a comparison between the two gearbox systems.

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siongwynn
Sion Gwynn
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+6 Cr4w Martin Mammal Sean Hornchek pedalhound imnotdanny

We should be receiving the mimic boxes soon!

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craw
Cr4w
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+3 Ride.DMC kcy4130 Andrew Major Derek Baker Sean Hornchek

Do you guys have any interest in developing a design to work with the Lal Supre Drive? That would be a very satisfying BC pairing!

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jdwa
Jeremy Sh
2 months ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Mammal

Very cool - a huge amount of effort goes into making a bike. Kudos on the result guys!

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
+3 Sanesh Iyer Mammal Sion Gwynn

1000 beers they said! :) I agree, a massive undertaking...

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siongwynn
Sion Gwynn
2 months ago
+4 Deniz Merdano Martin Mammal imnotdanny

Really appreciate this. Not many people know what it takes to make something from nothing. Thank you!

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Andeh
Andeh
2 months ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Cr4w

>  If you can give me AXS quality shifting in the Pinion form factor, I am all for it. But as it sits, I am not entirely sold on the grip shift application.

My thoughts exactly.  A few years ago I rode with a guy on a Zerode and played around with his bike.  Like you said, the quite, reduced unsprung mass, better suspension feel, etc. are all fantastic.  Grip shift however is such a dealbreaker.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

It's not the gripshift that is the problem.. it is the shifting under load thing. The ergonomics of the gripshift actually works really well for what it's worth. You do need brakes with longer lever blades though! The hayes dominions were perfect!

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xy9ine
Perry Schebel
2 months ago
0

shifting under load (the inability to do so) is the big one for me as well. though i'd rather a trigger, i don't hate grip shift; not bad to use in practice.

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Andeh
Andeh
2 months ago
0

Yeah, I should have been more specific.  Since you can't shift under load, shifting needs to be extremely quick when you stop pressure on the drivetrain before reapplying pressure.  I feel like that would be so much easier to do with the quick shifting of AXS (not to mention not having to adjust hand position).  I could see being able to shift while climbing not being that hard to time then - just click when at the bottom of a pedal stroke.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 months ago
0

It is significantly faster to shift on a pinion than with AXS. It does take some getting used to.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
2 months ago
0

The actual shift actuation is quicker for sure. But overall pedaling load reduction and shifting is slower for the uninitiated.

morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 months ago
+7 Konrad BarryW Pete Roggeman Mammal Brad Sedola imnotdanny Hardlylikely

I can shift faster while climbing than any of my friends on traditional drive trains, but it takes practice.

The timing is very different. Instead of pedaling hard, then backing off just after you shift, you pause for a second right as you shift.

We all forget how long it took us to learn to shift on a normal drive train.

mhaager2
Moritz Haager
2 months ago
+2 Sean Hornchek AenomalyConstructs

So cool to see so many (relatively speaking) new companies pop up bringing true innovation as well as a focus on local manufacturing. I think WAO really are the poster child for proving that you can do local manufacturing, offer a superior product, and still offer competitive pricing, and it seems to me that they have inspired others along the way. Hope these guys continue down this path.

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JLantz
Justin Lantz
2 months ago
+2 Mammal Sean Hornchek

phew. It's sooo hot in here. I need a glass of water.

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skooks
Skooks
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+2 Sean Hornchek Sion Gwynn

Well done lads. Beautiful bike!

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AenomalyConstructs
noel@aenomalyconstructs.com
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Sion Gwynn

I've been watching this beauty unfold since the beginning and it's been fascinating to watch. Absolute banger of a bike. Congratulations on pushing on guys, no easy task. Loving the Canadian made innovations!

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Lynx
Lynx .
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+2 Carlos Matutes Tim Lane

One hella cool project, that's for sure. 2 guys who couldn't find what exactly they wanted and had the knowledge and experience to make their own and went ahead and did it. Some seriously cool and innovative thinking went on with this one, for sure. I expect having Tom's CNC experience/ability to make and not having to pay the exorbitant cost of having molds CNCd up sure help this project a lot. 

Looks wise, yeash, it doesn't even come close to doing it for me, in my mind made to look funky to stand out from the crowd, I'd almost go so far as to use the word fugly to describe it, but not quite. For me clean, flowing, classic lines is the ticket, not some weird looking something. For me something like the DIGIT Datum or LAST Tarvo show great promise, especially the Last coming in just under $10k, but with parts like TrickStuff brakes, carbon hoops, XX1 AXS drivetrain shows that if you're not greedy, you can easily make and sell a top end parts bike under $10k.

Last Tarvo

DATUM Digit

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
1 month, 3 weeks ago
+2 MarcusBrody Justin Lantz

Test bike had a catastrophic headtube failure. Details over at PB. Plus some additional ride reporting. --> https://www.pinkbike.com/news/first-ride-machina-bikes-technologically-advanced-project-fun-while-it-lasted.html

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FLATCH
flatch
2 months ago
+1 Sion Gwynn

Now THAT should turn a few heads!

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sean Hornchek

Is that a custom tensioner? Looks nice.

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siongwynn
Sion Gwynn
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+3 Sean Hornchek imnotdanny Morgan Heater

Its a BT1 tensioner with custom design body with integrated bash. We needed to change the position of the tensioner pivot point to work with out chainstay design and adjustable lengths with one belt.

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T0m
T0m
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sean Hornchek

Dammmnnn now that is hot. 

Will be watching for any/all info on this bike and production plans. Photos are exceptional also- Sion has the kind of style that shows up in stills.

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martin
Martin
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sean Hornchek

Congrats! This is an awesome bike/project. Everything looks like it was researched and thought in depth, and every detail seems refined. I wouldn't have thought it was a first version if I didn't know, it looks dialed. I'd love to try the bike, now you just need to visit our trails in Quebec : ) Cheers!

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Poz
Poz
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sean Hornchek

What a fascinating looking bike. Love the ingenuity and while there is a whole lot of non-mainstream tech going on there they managed to maintain a great silhouette for the frame. Form AND function! 

Also “that guy from 'big corp' who makes drug paraphernalia that fits in your steerer tube” had me laughing 😂

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RoryBeirne
RoryBeirne
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sean Hornchek

It turned out great guys. Well done. The gearbox downsides are insignificant compared to the benefits. The combo with belt drive is a game changer. Gripshift is way better than trigger once you are used to it. I like the tuned seatstay stiffeners. It's still on my list of things to mess with.

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senorbanana
Sean Hornchek
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sion Gwynn

I love this!

Please consider manufacturing these for consumers (small batch customized type production)

I have a zerode katipo and love the pinion system but wish the bike had some geometry and frame tweaks

The market Is niche but there are people willing to pay for something special - like me :)

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sion Gwynn

I think the only three complaints that I can actually accept about the pinion set up are:

1. Increased drag.

2. POE on the crank free wheel.

3. Added weight.

The drag doesn't really matter to me, as I honestly can't sense it compared to tire selection, pressure, inserts, etc and I'm not an XC racer.

The added weight is realistically about 500 grams if you compare a built up Katipo to a Nomad, for instance, with the same build. Maybe less if you have a cheaper derailleur drive train. And the weight is in a better location for mountain bikes on the pinion.

The POE is probably the biggest issue if you are someone who likes to do trialsy style moves a lot, and I can understand how that would be frustrating. The benefit for that kind of riding though, is that you don't have a relatively delicate drive train to destroy...

So, pluses and minuses, but for the PNW with 99% of my riding being winch and plummet, I am 100% sold.

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senorbanana
Sean Hornchek
1 month, 4 weeks ago
0

the POE Is pretty bad as said but It weirdly feels different compared to a normal shitty engagement hub. when the bike Is rolling, It kinda catches and doesn't feel as slow as stated.

Also the weight In the center of the bike makes It feel super balanced and my zerode build at 35lbs Is not bad. I also don't feel the additional drag.

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English_Maniac
Matthew Cox
1 month, 3 weeks ago
0

When I demoed a Geometron pinion-equipped bike a few years ago, it was the poor POE that was most noticeable. Much harder to time pedal strokes through rocky bits.

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Losifer
Carlos Matutes
1 month, 4 weeks ago
+1 Sion Gwynn

For anyone who hasn’t heard it yet, I highly recommend the Bikes & Big Ideas podcast with Sion and Tom.

Excited to see how this project evolves!

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 months ago
0

This bike is beautiful. It looks pretty identical to a Zerode in terms of geo/design.

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siongwynn
Sion Gwynn
2 months ago
+3 Morgan Heater Martin Sean Hornchek

Thanks! Zerode use a single pivot suspension platform while we use a 4 bar design. This gives different riding characteristics.

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morgan-heater
Morgan Heater
2 months ago
0

It would be really interesting to do a comparison between the two, and maybe toss in a Nicolai G16 GPI also. 

I like the chainstay adjustments, that seems like something every bike should have these days.

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bigmacunion@yahoo.com
bigmacunion@yahoo.com
1 month, 3 weeks ago
0

Great looking bike! And would love to ride one on NS some day.  Please keep thinking BIG cuz this is how things progress..

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Matt-Splatt
Matt-Splatt
1 month, 3 weeks ago
0

Gorgeous looking bike guys! Can you get the weight down or have you already pared the machined bits down as much as you can?

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