Posts written by Paul Tolme

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photo credit: steve ellsworth

For singlespeed racers and hard tail mountain bikers, the Tranny from Ibis Cycles is a legend. Ibis has now launched its new Tranny, updating it with 29-inch wheels and selling it geared or singlespeed with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system. They call the Gates belt drive version the Tranny “Unchained.” It’s a fast and light machine. The Carbon Drive system shaves hundreds of grams over a comparable chain drive, making the Unchained a speedy race rig for one-speeders seeking the podium. The carbon frame is certainly one of the most travel-ready mountain bikes. The rear end unbolts for packing into a suitcase. A device called the Slot Machine behind the bottom bracket allows for easy belt tensioning. Gates will display a Tranny Unchained at Eurobike in Germany next month.

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Last month, we had the pleasure of riding one for several days around Lake Tahoe with Ibis founder Scot Nicol. We charged down the rocky Tahoe Rim Trail and hammered across the Flume Trail, descending to Chimney Beach, then hit the Powerline and Corral trails, carving berms and launching tabletops. The bike flies uphill. We dropped our companions and passed other riders with ease on long climbs, stopping at the top for a snack while waiting for them. The bike’s rear end is so light and flickable that you can–with a little burst of speed–bunny hop rocks going uphill.  When Ibis discontinued its former Tranny 26er a year ago, Ibis fans waited with great expectation. They will not be disappointed. Ibis has unchained a beast. Go to the Ibis page to see the Unchained build kit. Journalists, dealers and mountain bikers attending Eurobike can check it out in the Gates Carbon Drive booth.

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Tranny Unchained_ Carbon Drive 2photo credit: steve ellsworth

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Gates Carbon Drive is commonly used on commuter, electric and urban bikes because it is a clean, smooth and simple solution for bicycles made for getting from A to B. But don’t be fooled. Gates Carbon Drive can fly. The carbon fiber technology that makes the Gates belt a winner for transportation bikes also makes it a burly solution for hard racing. Witness the Gates Nicolai mountain bike team, which is flying full suspension belt drive Nicolai enduro and downhill rigs on the European World Cup and racing circuit this summer. If Gates Carbon Drive is tough enough for these guys, imagine how well it will perform on your bike path townie. All photos from Hoshi Yoshida, taken at the Leogang World Cup event in June.

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Former pro downhiller Frank Schneider likes to go fast. He also loves his fatty foods. Watch him eat up the Harz Mountains in Germany on his Nicolai Argon FAT Pinion with Gates Carbon Drive. This may be the most high performance fat bike ever. So fat. So fett. So Fääzzt. But please hold the mayo.

NICOLAI Argon FAT Pinion – Fääzzt ! from R I D E T H E M O U N T A I N on Vimeo.

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Some bikes are made for the mountains. Others for the open road. This bike is made for the city. For tight corners and quick accelerations. For Denver. It’s a BMC AC01 with Shimano Alfine Di2 electronic shifting. Clean, quiet and fast. Gates Carbon Drive just makes a bike more intriguing. More stylish. More practical. Cycling Simplified. Now imagine a greasy chain on this bike. How different it would be. You might not even turn to look. But you want to look at this bike. It’s a clean blue streak on the streets of Denver. Look fast before it’s gone.

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All photos by Gates team shooter Tim Lucking.

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Tranny Unchained_Paul above Sand Harbor
Beautiful landscapes are one of the great joys of mountain biking. Lake Tahoe is one of these beautiful places best viewed from a mountain bike. Three trillion gallons of crystal clear blue waters. More than 1,600 feet (500 meters) deep. It’s crazy beautiful. Last weekend we got the chance to ride a new unchained mountain bike on the Flume Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail on the lake’s eastern shore. Incredible bike. Stunning views. This is what mountain biking is all about.

Photos by Steve Ellsworth, @steveells.

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