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North American riders, get stoked. Zerode bikes are now available through www.ZerodeUSA.com

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It appears as though the Zerode G-1 downhill bike is in stock and going for $3,499, a low price to pay for zero chain noise and a reportedly very, very stiff swingarm.

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bturman bturman 9/21/2011 11:37 PM

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The Zerode squats a touch when braking. With 9.25" of travel it is still very plush under brakes, and the squatting is barely perceivable, all depends on shock set up, and how hard you are on the anchors, but even still, I can't imagine anyone would say they notice any packing up or loss of active rear suspension. Only if questioned would someone have to think about it, and concentrate when riding next to see if they could feel anything. I've ridden plenty of high single pivot bikes, with and without floating brakes. Without is definitely the best, as the geometry is more consistent as the rear squats a touch while the forks are diving(when you're braking). You can also feel and control the rear tyres traction a lot better without a floater, and the rear wheel feels more accurate, as in you know where it is on the trail. Anyone trying to find flaw with a Zerode should get a ride on one. If you're not faster, and happier on it I'd be amazed.
The benefit of being able to shift any time is huge once your brain learns to use this benefit. I can't believe how bad rear mechs are when I ride a deraileured bike now. In some spots on tracks I ride I do a few shifts on the Zerode, where on a meched bike I can't get a shift in for hundreds of meters or I'd loose the benefit of pedaling. You can't change gears on a bike with a mech in rough stuff, corners, or even in the air like you can with a Zerode. You need to ride a Zerode a bit to be able to appreciate this. As soon as you know you'll need to change gears ahead you can, no having to time a pedal stroke or anything. I find myself often changing 100s of meters before I need to pedal again, just cause I know I'll need to for a pedaly section. So good. At the bottom of the chairlift here in Thredbo Australia, I'll be in the easiest gear just to cruize about at the bottom, when I get off the lift at the top, I click the shifter several times before I'm even on the bike and I'm good to go for the long fast fire road section, no grinding through the gears. and no wearing out my chain by ramming it into the next gear as I grind/pedal them through. Stop and have a break in a fast section of track, click click click and your good to start slow again. Soooo good.

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Varaxis

Yeah no other riders have noticed it doing it. Very fast riders number 1 ranked 19-25 Cat 1 in US a few very capable Pro's riding down very steep technical trails.

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A little brake squat isn't bad, but stiffening under braking (brake jack) is something I was afraid of. They should move the rear disc brake mount off the main pivot arm, IMO. That'd likely better isolate the brake.

Look at how much the brake caliper moves during compression in this video, due to the main pivot arm swinging:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2KRlsBwa9Q&feature=player_detailpage#t=70s

The Devinci Wilson has a very elegant solution to that, with its Split Pivot design, which has its chainstay on the outside and brake attached to that, which also has a high main pivot.

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Varaxis

There is not a trail at Mammoth at this level of Tech sure maybe for 20' thats about it. I have ridden about 15 different DH bikes over the years. I rode Tunnel on it noticed no brake stiffening. Didn't notice on the faster trails up here either.

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ianjenn, you make that sound like an achievement just to ride through all that. I often do runs like that on Mammoth on a trail bike (steering clear of Technorocks and Bullet). I was hoping for a much bolder answer, such as exclaiming, "I brake late on all my corners, braking bumps are nothing, steep really tight, twisty, and gnarly shit np."

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"I am still curious about this bike's performance while braking."

There is very slight stiffening of the rear I think. I didn't notice it today on a trail that drops like 2100' in about 1.5 miles and is rock filled very steep and loose. But another rider said he thought it may be doing it. If you can't tell is it really happening?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2KRlsBwa9Q&feature=player_detailpage#t=70s

I am still curious about this bike's performance while braking.

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Shop Mechanic, I had a similar experience. I was on my ABP bike going down stairs, almost at track stand speeds, modulating the brakes, and it felt like a smooth ramp on my ABP bike. Those square edge hits were like nothing. No wonder Gwin did so well on his Trek!

JK! Hopefully Shop Mechanic was JKing too.

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I rode a Zerode down a staircase to test the claims of better rolling over square edged hits. After trying some FSR bikes and traditional low single pivots on the same stairs I can report that the Zerode is much faster over this type of obstacle. Most bikes feel like you are dragging the brakes when going over square edged bumps. The Zerode had no such feeling and just picked up a lot of speed. To me the gearbox is a side benefit. The real story is how this fast this bike rolls over the rough stuff.

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"what is it like shifting under full load? and how is it pedal neutral aspect perform?"

I have shifted going down under pretty heavy load I was not tilting bars super far but it was probably about 80% and it was fine. I will take it out in parking lot and do some laps see how it feels. If you pedal over rough terrain the bike will benefit you a lot. You can pedal over just about anything and feel nothing in the pedals.

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@csermont: Pedal neutral aspect: http://www.rdrop.com/~/twest/mtb/pathAnalysis/#PCL

It's much too wordy to explain it. In a nutshell, chain tension wants to pull the rear axle forward. Vertical wheel paths don't let the chain tension affect suspension, such as found some dual links like Maestro and some 4-bars like FSR. C shaped wheel paths, such as found on single pivots (APP, faux bar, anything without a pivot between the main pivot and the axle) and S shaped wheel paths, such as some dual link bikes (VPP, DW Link, etc) will squat or anti squat depending on which gear you are in and the position of the suspension (hence why proper sag is so important on S shaped wheel path bikes).

It's easiest to picture chain tension's effect on suspension with a C shaped wheel path (single pivot/faux bar). The pedal neutral spot on this would need a chain line that perfectly cut the C shaped wheel path at the left most point of the curve. The axle pulling forward at that point wouldn't have any tendency to squat or anti squat. Using that as a reference point, drop the chain into the granny ring and the main pivot is now higher than the chainline. The axle will want to pull down to the lower part of the C--this is anti squat, which extends and stiffens the suspension. Now shift to the big ring and the chain line is now above the main pivot and wants to pull the axle along the upper half of the C curve wheel path, which compresses the suspension and causes squat. Squat and anti-squat are powered by your chain tension, which makes pedaling inefficient, as your power isn't all going into driving the wheel forward. Derailleur based shifting pretty much made such suspension popular--they pedaled fairly well and were much more active compared to URTs, which were the only other alternative, which featured no pedal feedback but weren't fully active.

Dumbed down even more, tie a string around a door knob with the door halfway open. The string is the chain, where you have it wrapped around your finger is the crank, the door hinge is the main pivot, the door is the chainstay, and the door knob is the cassette. Pull the string with it along the face of the door, with your hand near the door hinge, and it doesn't want to shut or open up more; this is pedal neutral. Imagine a top down view of the door and "shift down" by moving your hand a bit away from the door hinge into the door way and pull. The door wanting to close is anti squat. To picture shifting up, you'd have to run the string around the backside of the door to get on that side of the hinge and pulling will open it up, compressing the suspension causing squat. 100% pedaling efficiency would be where all your pulling power is trying to shear the door knob off the door, instead of pulling it closed or open (power is still lost trying to close/open even if the door is at its limit of how open/closed it is).

What Zerode does is get that chain to follow the main pivot, which is set just behind the gearbox, extremely high. This gives the wheel path that starts really low in the C curve, allowing the wheel to move back and up, responding better to big square edged hits which tend to cause flats, destroy wheels, "hang-up" (momentum loss) on vertical wheel path bikes. The wheel base (chainstay) lengthening also stabilizes the bike, allowing you to feel more comfortable at speed.

Pivot at the chainline's counter arguments basically argue that there's still bobbing from acceleration (weight shifting towards the rear that compresses the suspension), despite being pedal neutral, due to there being weight (rider and main triangle) placed on the rear pivot arms. Hence why a lot more bikes are going more anti-squat recently, mainly for the bob-free ride that is popular these days, at a cost of less power going into driving the wheel. Since most people don't race XC (or anything else that requires lots of pedaling) on their bikes, the trade off seems acceptable, especially when they are only after fun and think bob isn't fun.

Shifting should be effortless under full load or no load (not even moving). I will note that this bike loses some pedaling efficiency through the gear hub though, due to planetary gear drag. Likely not as much as how much many other designs lose due to anti-squat.

I personally want to know how it performs under braking. I can't ride bikes that firm up or squat excessively under braking too well after riding my ABP bike for so long.

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Been riding one of these for 2 months and yes they are very very awesome and very very stiff. I would also agree that the width of the gearbox is not an issue, I never catch it with my leg. Bike is just unreal in rough terrain.

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"What's it weigh, frame+gearbox only?"
The frame now is about 12lbs and the box is about 2.5 lbs. The total of the 1 we have built is 41LBS with real DH parts on it.

"One thing that concerns me is the 135mm spacing on the Alfine hub causing the mid section to be overly wide and riders knees knocking into it. Probably a non-issue, as there are bikes with big rocker links making FS bikes that wide in that area."

Had one 2 months now and I have only noticed it a few times riding it. So it is not too bad.

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This is an old design that was deemed ahead of its time and is still probably ahead of its time, with this modern execution. One definitely to watch as it matures and gains favor, as I believe derailleur based shifting's days are numbered. I definitely think it's a smarter way to design rear suspension on a bike, from a suspension performance perspective instead of a normal XCish or AM trail riding perspective.

High pivot performance that swallows big square edged hits, about as close as 100% active as you can get with the chain forces not affecting suspension, without the pedal efficiency robbing and suspension stiffening anti squat normally associated with high pivots.

One thing that concerns me is the 135mm spacing on the Alfine hub causing the mid section to be overly wide and riders knees knocking into it. Probably a non-issue, as there are bikes with big rocker links making FS bikes that wide in that area.

Another thing that concerns me is how they got rid of acceleration based bobbing, if it's pedal neutral (having the chainline inline with the pivot). Actually, scratch that. I'm sure that really is only really an issue on inclines.

What's it weigh, frame+gearbox only?

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I love the look of this bike...the price is really good considering that you get Frame, Shock (Fox DHX RC4, 9.5″ x 3″), Shifter, Gearbox (Shimano Alfine), Tensioner, Rear Sprocket and Spacer kit, Axle.

Now from an industry view...expect to see a lot more direct to consumer bike companies coming to the US.

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