Erik Nohlin of Specialized recently completed the Transcontinental bike race from London to Istanbul. It was a grueling two-week ride through harsh weather and over mountain passes, with little sleep and no team support allowed. A film crew followed Erik, who rode a Specialized AWOL touring bike with Gates Carbon Drive, and his Specialized colleague Recep Yesil as they battled the elements and exhaustion. The trailer below tells the story. A feature-length movie of their journey will be released in late 2013.
Imagine a quiet and clean downhill bike with no derailleur to smash or break off, and no chain to slap against the chain stays. Good news: it’s coming. The German brand Nicolai has developed a prototype DH bike with Gates Carbon Drive combined with a gearbox. The bike was raced for the first time at the Swiss National Championships recently, and Mike Schär took the silver medal in the DH junior class. Photographer Luisa Freudenberg took these images of Mike and the new bike racing at the Swiss championships.
The gearbox on the prototype Nicolai is made by Effigear. Gearbox technology for bicycles has made big advances in recent years. Gates is eager to see this technology advance because it enables bike manufacturers to integrate belt drives onto geared bikes. For high-performance riding such as DH, freeride and cross-country racing gearboxes are preferable to using internally geared hubs because the weight is centered around the bottom bracket rather than in the rear wheel.
Stay tuned for more news on this bike, and the future of low-maintenance, clean and quiet DH bikes with Carbon Drive belts.
It has been over a month since Australian cyclist Arran Pearson finished the 2013 Tour Divide, widely considered the world’s toughest mountain bike race. Pearson, who had to take a couple weeks to recover after the epic ride, was among a handful of riders to complete the unsupported race from Canada to New Mexico down the Continental Divide on a singlespeed. His bike is pictured above, a custom titanium Black Sheep Luna Vista with integrated luggage racks and Gates Carbon Drive. “The belt system proved to be awesome,” Pearson writes us. ” I took a spare but was (and still am) on the belt I started the race with which had about 1000 training kilometres on it before I started. So far that is over 5500 km on this belt in some truly atrocious conditions.”
Pearson has written multiple posts about his adventure on MarathonMTB.com that you can read here. The experienced marathon mountain biker knew from the start that running a belt drive would save time and maintenance, allowing him to rest and find a place to bed for the night instead of cleaning and lubing a chain. “For an application such as ultra racing the system is pretty much perfect – there was no need for chain lube through the entire race, some of the very dry dust did cause a little squeaking but this was quickly fixed by simply spitting some water onto the belt.”
Curiously, Pearson lives just a few blocks away from last year’s Tour Divide winner Ollie Whalley, who completed the race on Ventana with Rohloff hub and Gates Carbon Drive.
Pearson ran a 42/24 sprocket setup with a 113-tooth belt. “This was pretty much perfect and if I went again I’d use the same ratio – a bit spinny on the highway sections in New Mexico but I was able to climb the majority of stuff.” Watch a video of Arran riding and talking here. See more photos of his bike here. Congratulations mate! We look forward to hearing about your future adventures.
Meet Erik Nohlin, known as E, a member of the Specialized AWOL team. He’s one tough looking dude with the scowl and tats and looks like he should be a fixie-riding bike messenger in Prague. But Erik is currently racing one of the most innovative new trekking bikes in one of Europe’s toughest citizen races, the Transcontinental.
E rides a medium AWOL frame named The Transcontinental Grace coated with the craziest PVD coating yet seen by man. Set up with Shimano Alfine Di2 and Gates Carbon Drive. Dynamo hub, front and rear lights and The Plug from Supernova. Handlebar, seat post, stem and tires from Specalized. Front and rear Tubus racks and Specialized panniers. Total weight including racks is 14.6kilos / 32 lb. Including gear – fully loaded with 3 26oz water bottles, approx 24 kilos / 53 lb
AWOL is a special project from Specialized to build the fastest randonneur racing bikes. AWOL comes with a forged rocker dropout that allows it to be set up with Gates Carbon Drive, just like Erik is riding in the Transcontinental.
The Transcontinental Race is Europe’s longest single stage unsupported bike race. Riders will cover a minimum of 2000 miles/3200 km. Riders choose their route from start to finish, with just two checkpoints in between. Riders must carry everything they need. No pre-arranged support is allowed. The one bright spot? A party in Istanbul on Aug. 17. www.transcontinentalrace.com
Erik’s bio includes many super randonneur races of up to 1,000 km. He finihsed the 1,230 kilometer Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011 in under 75 hours, did a six-month unsupported ride across the US in 2012 and several 1000 km Audax rides. His day job is as a designer for Specialized.
The Leadville 100 is one of the most grueling single-day mountain bike races in the world. Robert Brudenell will be riding it on a wooden bike. Equipped with Gates Carbon Drive and a 14-speed Rohloff hub, the bike is a project between Brudenell and Connor Cycles, a wooden bike specialist builder in the Denver area. And get this: the bike is built from an ash tree that was hit by a car and had fallen in the median of a road. Even the rims are wooden.
Brudenell is an arborist who collected the tree and worked with Chris Connor to build the frame. Brudenell is riding the Leadville 100 to raise money for a woman diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Watch the video below from Channel 9 in Denver. And see a photo set of the bike here.