It might only be the start of Eurobike but we reckon we’ve already stumbled across this trade fair’s most extreme bike: the NICOLAI ION GPI TECH Line. Its extreme geometry, previously one-off drivetrain and a suspension setup that could not be more finely tunable to the rider have made this bike stand out from the masses.

Nicht nur die Geomtrie des ION GPI ist extrem, auch der Antrieb ist einzigartig. Das ganze hat aber seinen Preis: 6.699 € werden für das in Deutschland gefertigte Bike fällig.
It isn’t just the geometry of the ION GPI that’s extreme – the drivetrain is pretty unique too. But this comes with a hefty price tag: 7,399 € will need to pass hands in Germany to hold of this bike.

Just a few weeks ago our island-based British test riders Jim and Coop had the chance to test ride the NICOLAI Geometren with its extremely long geometry. Head here for the article in which they wax lyrical about that specific ride, while over at Eurobike NICOLAI have now unveiled the ION GPI, which doesn’t just have equally as long geometry, but is also the very first full suspension production bike that features a pinion gearbox and Gates Carbon Drive belt system.

The geometry

With frame sizes described as ‘not so short, long, longer and longest’, it’s perhaps obvious that the new Nicolai ION GPI isn’t your regular bike. With a 485 mm reach on the medium sized frame (size: long), it definitely lives up to its name. The head angle of 63.5° is brutally slack, and the resulting 1,264 mm wheelbase verges on absurdly long. However, the bike is reputed to be astoundingly ‘agile’ – which might sound unbelievable but has in fact been testified by our UK team after numerous tests. The steep 77° seat angle simultaneously provides a decent capacity for climbing.

Das gerade Oberrohr lässt das Rad noch länger wirken als es ohnehin schon ist.
Incredulously the straight toptube makes the bike look even longer than it already is.
Die hier fotografierte Longest-Verstion entspricht einem XL-Rahmen und besitzt einen Reach von 520 mm. In Worten: Fünfhunderzwanzig – Unglaublich!
This is the ‘longest’ frame, the size XL, which has a reach of 520 mm. Pretty unreal!

The drivetrain

The full suspension production-run of the NICOLAI ION GPI also features one absolute first in the world of bikes with its pinion gearbox combined with a Gate Carbon Drive belt. This drivechain is courtesy of a specially created belt tensioner that maintains the same tension on the belt whilst the rear suspension works. Depending on purchasing preference, the gearbox comes with 9, 12 or 18 gears. Nicolati recommend the 12-gear version with a gear ratio of 600%. As there is no derailleur or cassette, the rear can save up to 40% of unsprung mass. According to Nicolai, the subsequent advantages are increased responsiveness, more traction and more efficient suspension.

Weltneuheit: die Pinion-Getriebebox in Kombination mit einem Gates-Carbondrive an einem vollgefederten Serienbike.
World first: the Pinion-gearbox combined with a Gate Carbon drive belt on a full suspension production bike.
Der Riemenspanner hält den Riemen trotz Hinterbaulängung an Ort und Stelle.
Despite the elongation of the rear, the belt tensioner keeps the belt in place.
Deutsche Ingenieurskunst wohin das Auge reicht – Maschinenbaufans werden das ION GPI lieben!
German feats of engineering in every direction – Lovers of all things mechanic are going to love the ION GPI!
Gangwechsel werden durch einen Grip-Shift-Hebel an die Getriebebox übertragen.
The Grip-Shift lever instructs the gearbox to carry out the gear changes.

The suspension

Another highlight of the ION GPI is its suspension, which although it doesn’t look remarkable at first glance, hides a wealth of cool details. Before taking the bike home, each customer undergoes an extensive discussion with the suspension experts from Mojo-Suspension who then tune the suspension to the future owner’s need and demands.

Das Fahrwerk des ION GPI wird vor dem Versand von den Experten von Mojo-Suspension auf die Bedürfnisse des zukünftigen Piloten abgestimmt.
Before any delivery takes place, the ION GPI has its suspension fine-tuned by the experts from Mojo-Suspension to meet the future pilot’s wishes.
Am Heck  verfügt das ION GPI über 155 mm Federweg.
The ION GPI offers 155 mm rear travel.
Das ION GPI ist sowohl als Kompettbike, als auch Rahmenset erhätlich und wiegt mit der hier gezeigten Ausstattung rund 16,4 kg.
The ION GPI can be purchased as either a complete bike or as a frame set. In the spec shown here it tips the scales at around 16.4 kg.

NICOLAI haven’t compromised when it comes to the spec either, opting for parts that fit both aesthetically and technically with the whole bike. Hope brakes and wheels, a RockShox Reverb and the rider-specific FOX suspension enhance the look of this high-tech-looking bike.

Our opinion

Just like Moses parting the waves, the NICOLAI ION GPI couldn’t have split the team more evenly in the office. Some see it as excessive, too extreme and unnecessarily heavy, while others have had their interest well and truly piqued and are now waiting impatiently for their chance to take the bike out for a test ride. The advantages of the gearbox and the long geometry are obvious, but it’s down to the first test ride to prove if the bike’s performance on the trails does this justice. Be excited, be very excited.

For more information head to:

Text & Photo: Christoph Bayer

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