Nuseti mountain bike features a sealed drivetrain


July 10, 2014

Gregory Zielinski with his Nuseti prototype

Gregory Zielinski with his Nuseti prototype

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Much as mountain bike technology has advanced since the days of friction shifting and elastomer shocks, most MTBs are still equipped with dangling, fragile rear derailleurs and dirty chains. Switching to a belt drive or a hub transmission are a couple of options, but Polish mountain biking medalist Gregory Zielinski has created another. His Nuseti bike features what he calls the Inner Drive System (IDS) – a 16-speed planetary gearbox that's incorporated into the bottom bracket, and a chain that's enclosed within the frame.

Both the gearbox and the chain are sealed against water and outside contaminants, plus they're kept lubricated by separate sealed-in oil baths. This means that riders won't be exposed to greasy crud, and won't need to frequently clean or lube the drivetrain.

The gearbox can withstand up to 184 lb ft (250 Nm) of torque, which means that a force of 326 lb (147 kg) can safely be applied to each pedal. Although it has less individual gears than a regular setup, it has a gear range of 570 percent, which is in the neighborhood of that offered by a traditional mountain bike with a three-chainring configuration.

Also, as with other planetary gearboxes, it allows the rider to change gears even when they're not pedaling, or while the drivetrain is under a heavy pedaling load. Additionally, like the Pinion gearbox but unlike hub transmissions, its location keeps the weight both low and central.

Gear shifts are initiated using two handlebar-mounted trigger shifters, with the left one being used to go into higher gears, and the right one used for down-shifting.

The chain consistently runs in a straight line from the gearbox to the rear hub, so riders don't need to worry about mechanically straining it by placing it at too much of an angle. Additionally, it isn't used in the gear-changing process, which is managed purely by the workings of the gearbox. For these reasons, Zielinski claims that it's virtually impossible to break the chain.

Some people might wonder why he didn't just go with a belt drive, but Gregory tells us that the one-piece construction of a belt doesn't allow it to be installed within the IDS, plus he maintains that chains are "a more efficient and solid solution."

At the moment, though, he's focusing on raising funds via Kickstarter. Assuming the funding goal is met and the bike goes into production, a pledge of US$3,415 will get you an IDS-equipped Nuseti frame, with $6,262 required for a complete bike. The estimated weight of the final production model is 23.6 lb (10.7 kg), and it will be offered in four frame sizes and three wheel sizes (26, 27.5 and 29 inches). Zielinski also plans to produce a full-suspension model.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

it is beyond me why bosch hasn't botthered to create and electric assist mid drive system integrated with this type of bottom bracket system.

and like nuvinci, they can create an automatic shifting assist algorithm for the whole thing to optimize the gearing at all times, takign into account the specific desired level of motor versus human output.


Wait are you looking for a electric bicycle?

I might be confused on what you typed but sounds like you want a motor on your bike and thus that defeats the whole purpose of riding a bike i like pedaling if i wanted my bike to do it for me i would by a motorcycle.

Silent Hightimes

Zevulon - Sounds like a good idea to me! It would not need to be heavy, huge or powerful, just a good assist for the rider when needed.

The Skud

...but for those of us interested in cycling and commenting on this article...

Zielinski has put a number of good ideas together in one bike that might not please the gear freaks or cog counters, but will ensure fuss-free cycling for commuters and weekend riders alike.


New CVT transmission for bicycle only by pinions

The system Edyson CVT (in bicycle version) are design to REPLACE the cassette sprockets mounted on the rear wheel together with the dérailleur system.

This CVT system provides almost the same footprint of the group of sprockets with the possibility to select any ratio in a continuous manner in the available range 300% * , using a single sprocket for the chain.

The ratio change takes place without interruptions or jumps in any situation even under stress or stationary, without the risk to drop or trap the chain. Because the Edyson CVT work only with pinions has a very good efficiency and very high torque on mechanical transmission.

Here are some features of the transmission of our prototype: Continuous variation is 300% * for example: 30 teeth to of the equivalent sprocket 10 teeth (or 36 teeth to of the equivalent sprocket 12 teeth). * The variation can also be wider (with some change on the size) to adapt to any type of bicycle.

The chainring and crank arm lengths can be adapt to any rider without restrictions.

Maximum dimensions: length: 240mm, height: 210mm, width: 45mm Weight: around 1200 g Mechanical efficiency: 97% Mechanical controls on the handlebars similar to existing solutions, or motorized for an automatic ratio in concordance with torque / speed request.

This CVT can be used even for electrical bicycle. Also the belt can be used.

In the web page you will find more explanations, drawings and a short video of a basic prototype.

BitRaptor Edyson Pavilcu

$6000!!!!! no way wle

Chains that run in an oil bath do tend to last a very long time. A few motorcycles had sealed chain drives in the past. I do wonder about the weight of the bike compared to traditional gear sets. I also wonder about expense of repairs and whether the casing can handle impact from a rock in a downhill situation. It also seems like a few riders could provide too much power input for this unit. It seems like a lovely piece of design work. I hope it works out. Jim Sadler

from a purely practical viewpoint, how does one deal with a flat rear tire?

not being able to use a one piece belt system makes me think that the chain must be "cracked" to remove the wheel. there does not appear to an idler pulley to take up chain slack.

also, the bottom bracket looks quite wide. does this result in wider spaced pedals?


Yeah - $6,262 is a lot of bicycle. A HELL of a lot. Gosh, I can buy a decent 2nd-hand motorcar for les than that, with electric windows and everything.

Plus, as someone else mentioned, what about (quick) wheel changes, it would have been the first question I'd've asked, and I cycle strictly as a short-distance commuter. Perhaps the wheel can somehow be removed from its drive gear, leaving the entire drive train untouched?

Chris Bedford
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