- The Netherlands might be flat, but it has considerable mountain bike technology influence.
- Gearbox mountain bikes offer many advantages but can have peculiar shift controls.
- Instinctiv has managed to make their gearbox mountain bike shift a lot more ‘naturally’.
The highest point in the Netherlands, is a mere 323m, which isn’t great for mountain biking. Despite its relative flatness, the Dutch are very resourceful mountain bikers.
Bart Brentjens won a mountain biking gold medal at the 1996 summer Olympics, in Atlanta, and Mathieu van der Poel might be the next great talent in XC mountain bike racing.
Beyond its champion racers, the Dutch are great cycling technologists, and their latest offering is a very clever gearbox mountain bike.
Designed and engineered by Instinctiv, these new M-Series mountain bikes are targeted at enduro riders, who never shy away from the most challenging descents.
The three M-Series models cover both 27.5” and 29” wheel sizes, with rear suspension configured to either 140- or 150mm of travel.
Instinctiv recommends a 150mm fork up front, which sets the M-series bikes at a 64.5° head angle, slack enough to put the rider in a confident position when navigating challenging downhill terrain.
Perfecting the mountain bike gearbox idea
Defining the frame design, is its lack of a conventional external rear derailleur. Instinctiv chooses to use a Pinion internal gearbox, instead of the popular 1x12 drivetrain systems from Shimano or SRAM.
The benefits of a gearbox are numerous. There is no rear derailleur cage to get caused and knocked out of alignment by rocky terrain and the suspension system operates more actively, due to reduced chain tension forces.
For its benefits, the gearbox has not been widely integrated by mountain bike manufacturers due to its mechanical drag and odd shifting action. Most gearbox systems use a grip shift, which is fine when you are climbing, but can cause awkward hand slippage when descending very steep and technical terrain.
Instinctiv briefed German aftermarket cycling component specialist, Cinq, to produce a more ergonomic trigger shift mechanism for the M-series bikes. The result is a shifter that looks and functions closer to a Shimano or SRAM conventional drivetrain component.
With generous suspension travel, tidy geometry and a mass rating of 15.2kg, the Instinctiv M-Series is an impressive gearbox mountain bike for conquering big terrain.
The Dutch company has opened its order book for the new M-Series range, but production numbers will be very limited, with batches of only 50 units for global distribution.