This one really is different…
Ever since mountain bikes have existed, there has been a trade-off between what the bike will do best – go up a hill, or down it. That’s why we have such drastic differences between an XC bike that is optimised for climbing against gravity, and a DH bike that is optimised for working with gravity in order to get down the hill as fast as possible. I’ve always been on the adrenaline side of MTB – freeride, all mountain, enduro, downhill – whatever you want to call it – but like to get back up the hill via pedal-power. I’ve always dreamt of a bike that could give you all the fun of a DH bike, but still be able to pedal it back up the hill for another (few) runs and go on epic mountain adventures.
Longer Lower Slacker
That’s what Chris Porter had been dreaming of too. He’s an engineer and owner of Mojo Suspension, the official Fox UK service centre. He pioneered the principal of Longer/Lower/Slacker and collaborated with Nicolai, a German bike engineering company and frame builders, to create the Geometron. In doing so, he realised my ideal setup for an all-round mountain bike.
After years of quickly worn chains and cassettes, bent mech hangers, and the occasional derailleur-folded-into-the-wheel catastrophe, I’ve always dreamt of a more robust and reliable gearing system for my mountain bike. Even the might of Honda couldn’t muster a production-worthy gearbox when their experiment was shelved, and although a brilliant piece of equipment, the Rohloff internal geared hub was unsuitable for application due to the added weight on the rear axle. They had gearboxes on pedal-powered bikes in the 1930s for crying out loud!
Behold a new German company called Pinion who’ve created a game-changing frame-mounted gearbox, available in 18, 12 or 9 speed versions. And better yet, Nicolai are one of the few companies to embrace it and build frames with the mounting system. Seeing the potential for application on mountain bikes, they got on board and created a tensioner system utilising Gates Carbon Drive that allows a belt to be used in place of a chain. Not only that, but they combined it with the Geometron to create the ION GPI.
Upon discovering the Geometron project and realising it could be paired with a Pinion gearbox, I hastily got in touch with Chris at Mojo and organised a test ride. After arriving in Newport, we headed out for the afternoon and threw the test bike around Cwm Carn, the local trail centre. It’s fair to say I was blown away, and fell in love.
I returned a couple of months later to compare frame sizes and have a more thorough suspension setup at Bike Park Wales, eventually settling in the middle of the size range – Longer – and placed an order straight away.
Fox are providing the sprung parts, tuned by Mojo, with a factory 36 fork up front and an X2 shock, along with a 150mm Transfer dropper seatpost.
Completing the build is red components from Hope Technology, including; E4 brakes with 203mm floating rotors, 35mm AM stem, seat clamp, F20 pedals, headset and Pro4 hubs.
Stealth carbon wheels from Sixth Element providing the robust and stiff 27.5′ hoops, coupled with a Hope Pro4 single speed rear hub for faster engagement and increased strength.
There are absolutely zero Shimano or Sram components.
So my dreams really have come true – this bike will eat up the gnarliest of DH trails with ease, yet allow me to pedal back to the top again. It won’t break easily or wear quickly, no matter how muddy and wet it gets, and will take me to summits around the world as my trusty steed, only to unleash full attack and shred all the way back down again.
This bike is at home on any mountain, heading up or down – a true mountain bike.
Frame – Nicolai Geometron (Longer, anodised black)
Fork – Fox Factory 36 Mojo-modified 180mm travel
Shock – Fox X2 with 155mm travel
Seatpost – Fox Transfer 150mm
Drivetrain – Pinion P.12 with Gates Carbon Drive
Wheels – Sixth Element Carbon 40mm / Hope Pro 4 (SS Rear)
Brakes – Hope E4 with 203mm floating rotors
Stem – Hope AM 35mm
Pedals, Headset & Seatclamp – Hope
Tyres – Vee Tyre, Flow Rhumba 2.35 (Enduro front, Gravity Rear)
Handlebars – NS Bikes carbon 800mm
Saddle – WTB Volt Pro
Mudguard – Mud Hugger FR
Puncture Prevention – Huck Norris