Zerode's Prototype Full Carbon 27.5 Gearbox Trail Bike

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Zerode founder, Rob Metz, built this incredible prototype carbon gearbox trail bike in his garage. The 27.5-wheeled machine was built to see how the Pinion Gearbox system, which features 18-speeds, works in the real world. Will this beauty ever see the light of day for the masses? Watch the slideshow and find out.

Photos and interview by Sven Martin

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  • tooFATtoRIDE

    8/17/2015 5:40 AM

    Is there any update on this?

  • John_Colthorpe

    11/22/2015 7:45 PM

    Early 2016 is the latest word.

  • Literal.Lee

    11/4/2014 3:34 PM

    MEGA W A N T

  • Maverickdh005

    2/19/2014 1:56 PM

    Just want to add re the weight comment I made, that was just a pick up test comparison with my own rig. static weight is relative, I mention it so they're was no bias or bs about my point of view, and this clarification is just so people don't get hung up on that aspect, how it rides is the important part and none of us know that and i can tell you you'd be far off, Rob does not ride crap stuff, its an amazing achievement in my opinion fwiw to design and build this level of bike, this is not a production model either so what Rob learns from this model can only get better if he ever got funded to take this into production, I wish him well and it would be one heck of a project to be involved with, but needs someone who is about passion about creating change in an industry of sameness and marketing, not money! to bring it to fruition, it would shake the very mtb foundations of over priced mediocracy we get fed every day. Good luck, I hope I'm lucky enough some time to rip a trail or 2 on it wink wink Rob

  • rollingrevolution

    2/19/2014 1:45 AM

    How did he get his hands on a proto Marz 350? I am itching for this fork to be released but doesn't look like it's going to be this year. Hoping this bike sees production, if only as a way of challenging the current norm. Best of luck to Rob and Zerode.

  • Big Bird

    2/18/2014 8:44 PM

    Make it. That technology has been sitting around for years for the right suspension designer to pick it up. We're used to pedaling old heavy bikes so the weight difference is no big deal. If it's simpler, all the better.

  • ianjenn

    2/18/2014 6:01 PM

    Over 1,000 shares in under 24 hours!

  • sspomer

    2/18/2014 6:07 PM

    because it's an awesome bike : )

  • F1234K

    2/18/2014 6:14 PM

    I thought I would g+ it as well

  • cofattire

    2/18/2014 2:02 PM

    I love my 1x11 because it did away with the front derailleur, I can only imagine how much more I would love ditching the rear defaileur. For me the pros far outweigh the cons. I'm more than willing to pedal more weight and loose a little efficiency in trade for all the benefits gearboxes offer. Just the idea of never dealing with another tweaked hanger puts a smile on my face.

  • Aginato

    2/18/2014 11:45 AM

    F*king amazing!
    I will buy this if you ever decide to start production :-)

  • taletotell

    2/18/2014 8:36 AM


  • prestondh

    2/18/2014 8:07 AM

    that is amazingly professional looking for being made in the garage.

  • Maverickdh005

    2/18/2014 1:09 AM

    Bike is sic as more so in person, weight low down, sick linkage, still pretty heavy, pinion adds weight, no doubt rides light though, and I bet amazingly, Rob wouldn't let me rid it haha, still someone needs to back Rob his designs are truly amazing, it might be built in a garage, but like the Britton race road bike, its incredibly well made, beyond any std mass produced bike, this thing and his DH bikes would shake the mtb world if funded into production!

  • Big Bird

    2/18/2014 8:35 PM

    Nice Britton reference. Knowledge. Respect.

  • Iggz

    2/18/2014 12:53 AM

    Much respect for making that in a garage

  • wasatchattack

    2/17/2014 9:38 PM

    Should try and get it funded through

  • madjonnz

    2/17/2014 9:27 PM

    That looks mean as I'd love to have one

  • headless chicken

    2/18/2014 12:23 AM

    I'll second that

  • Shishka

    2/17/2014 8:01 PM

    Nice fork!

  • F1234K

    2/17/2014 7:18 PM

    I've heard this before, and don't get me wrong: 1x10, 1x11 are a million times better than the gear systems of 5 years ago, but once you have used a gearbox system you will never, ever want to go back to a derailleur system. Trust me. It's so much more than not dropping chains. It's so much more than not snagging your drive chain on rocks. You can change gears without pedaling - which means at the last second just before a techy rock climb or mid bombing to prepare for the uphil you can already see coming but there are too many rocks to navigate to get a pedal stroke in. You can optimized the suspension. You can centralized the weight, better balance. You can grab a handful of gears in one swift motion.

    This is by the way a great benefit of grip shifters. I've only ever used a gripshift on a gearbox bike and it was fantastic. Quickly change 3-4 gears at a time, which you do surprisingly lot. Pay attention next time you ride and you go from a downhill to uphill section how many gears you actually change and how many body actions that requires.

    Plus the wear on 1x10 and 1x11 systems is pretty bad. The chains and gears have all gotten thinner to cram it all into the same space and its exposed to all the mud, water and sand. Changing it all when it wears out is expensive... very expensive. Compare that to a gearbox that is sealed and needs just the occasional love to keep it running smooth and it is well worth the initial outlay to get the gearbox instead.

    I've also heard some people say that a gearbox means needing a custom frame built for it, but that is true of 650b and 29ers as well.

    You will also see comments from other frame manufacturers saying exactly the same thing when asked why they are not building gearbox bikes: "current derailleur systems are fine". But the honest fact is that those manufacturers have patented suspension designs that work around the derailleur shortcomings. None of those designs are really needed if you use a gearbox. That means a lot less money for them and they can no longer say "buy my bike because it has VPP or DW or DELTA" which is there current marketing strategy. I would take their opinions with the skepticism.

    Really there aren't any good reason NOT to go with a gearbox.

    Reasons to get a gearbox:
    * Less expensive in the long run (broken derailleurs, wear on chains and gears)
    * Less maintenance (isolated from elements)
    * Smoother shifting
    * Shifting at any time for critical moves (no pedaling required for shifting)
    * Massive range that doesn't overlap
    * Centralized mass
    * Improved suspension designs
    * It's quite
    * Perfect chain line, all the time
    * No dropped chains

    Reasons to get a 1x11 setup:
    * It removes the need for a 2x setup thus dropping weight
    * Removes gear overlap from 2x system (but loses overall range)
    * It's quieter than a 2x setup
    * No dropped chains

  • hamncheez2003

    2/18/2014 7:26 AM

    There are two hurdles to gearboxes: weight and efficiency. The first problem will never really go away: as gearboxes get lighter and lighter, traditional drive trains will as well. The second problem is efficiency. The best gearboxes get around 90% efficient. In a 1 hour xc race you'll be back 6 minutes. I ride a hammerschmidt which is like 95% efficient in overdrive, and that 5% makes a big difference.

  • F1234K

    2/18/2014 12:00 PM

    Interesting... I have 2 bikes. One is a G2 DH bike with the Alfine hub as a gearbox. The other a 2x9 AM style bike. Am bike is way better suited to uphill and techy maneuvers, yet, I have ridden both on the same trails and I can get up and over more technical uphill parts on the DH bike due to the gearbox and the fact it seems to be transferring power better than my regular setup. I am not arguing your point of efficiency, this is most likely true, but what I am saying is that in the real world it seems to work the opposite way. I use the word "seems" on purpose. I'm by no means suggesting it is actually more efficient, I am saying I ride more efficiently with this gearbox system.

    I also have had a Hammerschmidt for years and it works a bit different to what Rob has in the G2 and most certainly in how the Pinion would work. The biggest problem with the Hammerschmidt is that they never refined it enough. The slack before it takes up power is way to big. It requires a near instant engagement rear hub to be anywhere near good and even then it feels like you are riding with a poor pickup rear hub. Still way nicer than regular 2x9 setups though...

    So if you compare the efficiency of the total power transfer from riding a section of trail that requires many gear changes (this seems much more the norm to me than just riding along in a single gear, otherwise we would just have single speeds), how does the efficiency of a derailleur system change considering every gear change requires that for a period during the pedal stroke you are not getting proper power down while the chain is moving to the new sprocket? Honest question, I don't know, but it seems to me it would not be 100% efficient.

    I guess what I am saying is, its not fair to compare the efficiency of riding along in a single gear between gearboxes and other drive trains since this is not how it is used in the real world. As with anything else in MTB what it says on paper is completely irrelevant compared to what it does on the trail.

    I don't buy the weight argument: Is 27.5" heavier than 26"? Is 29" heavier than 26"? Yes on both cases but for some reason no one cares. On every other component out there weight seems to be the "only" concern but not with the new wheel sizes. Strange... And to make matters worse, heavier wheels is the last place you want to add weight on a FS bike. It makes the suspension less reactive. This is actually another good thing about gearboxes. They sit central and take the weight away from the wheel. Even though it might be slightly heaver than the derailleur and cassette it replaces, it takes away the weight from the wheel which is very important and puts it in the center where it doesn't matter so much (when riding).

  • donch15

    2/17/2014 7:13 PM

    Holy shite...if that's what the guy can make in his garage, where do I sign up to invest?

  • F1234K

    2/18/2014 12:03 PM

    Yep, take my money! Please!!!

  • GotShovel

    2/17/2014 6:26 PM

    The main problem with a gearbox bike is how good the derailleur has become. 1x11 or 1x10 with narrow/wide and a clutch rear mech is just amazingly good now. Simple, great range, zero dropped chains. I have a lot of respect for what this guy is doing out if his garage though!

  • ianjenn

    2/18/2014 6:36 AM

    The G1 was designed around the Suspension system and having a chainline that would not effect the way the suspension works. The gearbox was just a perk of the design needing a roller up high. So it was essentially secondary over the suspension.

  • sanga

    2/19/2014 12:52 PM

    And then even more money when you tear it off...

  • cofattire

    2/19/2014 1:25 PM

    It's true that clutch mechs with NW rings are a big improvement, but hangers and mechs will always be prone to bending. 10 and 11 speeds are more finicky when it comes to alignment too. If I had all the money I've spent on mangled hangers and mechs over the years I could fund this project!

  • Traction

    2/17/2014 5:53 PM

    One day... Now, to rob a bank or win the lottery to fund a production run so I can have one!

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