“A tiny New Zealand outfit are taking on something just about every big bike brand has considered, prototyped and then shelved – the internal gearbox bike. It’s been one of the holy grails of bike design for a while. Just as we were starting to accept that it would stay in the realms of fantasy, along came Zerode and the G-1.
The performance benefits of an internal gearbox are numerous and easy to understand. For a start, the gears and the parts used to shift them are packed away in a weatherproof housing. Mud and water can’t get at them, wear is reduced and there are no fragile bits of metal to snag and break on rocks. Shifting is smooth and consistent – smashing in another cog under maximum exertion over the finishing line will feel exactly the same as your first shifts of the day rolling around the car park.
The downsides of previous designs have been weight and a loss of pedalling feel as the directness of the traditional setup is lost. But that’s not the case here. An eight-speed Shimano Alfine touring hub is the heart of the gearbox. It’s a sealed unit, which weighs the same as the sum of the parts it replaces. Positioned snugly above the shock in the mainframe, the gearbox moves the weight of the transmission from its traditional position at the end of the chainstays to the front triangle.”