Fans of gearbox bikes, rejoice! Thanks to Cycle Monkey, the Zerode Taniwha is coming to the US. The Taniwha sports a full carbon frame with 160mm of travel front and rear. Instead of a typical derailleur and cassette drivetrain, the Taniwha uses a Pinion gearbox. It has 12 gears that span a range of 600%, well above the 500% range offered by SRAM’s Eagle drivetrain. In place of a trigger shifter, the Taniwha has a grip shift-style changer.
Zerode claims using a gearbox allows for improved suspension, handling, and pedaling performance. How? First off, the Zerode has a rearward axle path, which prevents the bike from getting hung up and slowed down by obstacles on the trail. Next, eliminating the cassette and rear derailleur from the wheel decreases unsprung mass, which makes the suspension more effective. By keeping more of the weight in the center of the bike, Zerode claims the Taniwha is more maneuverable. And finally, with regards to pedaling performance, the chain line remains constant, which should allow the bike to be bob-free no matter what gear it’s in.
Of course there are some drawbacks to the system – namely the expense and weight. The Zerode Taniwha frame with a Cane Creek shock, Pinion gearbox, shifter, cranks, chainring, tensioner, and rear cog retails for $5,000. Complete bikes start at $6,500 and weigh between 30-34 pounds depending on the build. However, we did hear that Pinion will soon be releasing an updated version of its gearbox that will shave somewhere around 400g off the current weight.