by Marc Basiliere
May 15, 2014
Wider gearing than XX1- with only a 100g penalty…
At Sea Otter last month, we had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with the US distributors for both Effigear drivetrains and Cavalerie bikes. Based in France, the two brands are arms of the same operation. Having developed a reliable, reasonably lightweight internal drivetrain for mountain bikes, Effigear’s founders had trouble finding anyone to build bikes around them- so they struck out on their own.
Effigear’s trademark drivetrain is a fully enclosed unit built around the bottom bracket. Nine gear combinations cover a wide 444% range- wider than either SRAM’s XX1 or the first two ‘rings of a Shimano 10s triple (24-32 x 11-36). The gears themselves are partially submerged in lubricating oil and the only regular service is said to be a semi-annual oil change.
The gearbox’s location is low and centred between the wheels. By moving the shifty parts to the main frame, unsprung weight is reduced and the ability of the suspension to react to impacts is improved. The ability to centre the drive cog around a main suspension pivot removes chain tension from the forces the bike’s suspension must contend with. Because there’s no chainring or derailleur to catch on roots or rocks, ground clearance is about as good as one can get.
An AIVEE fixed rear hub builds a standard Shimano cassette spline directly into the hub shell, keeping the rear end light and simple. Bikes we saw were fitted with Gates Carbon Drive belts, but chains are also an option for those in dusty climates. Engagement, within the gearbox, is said to be 48 points per revolution.
All told, Effigear claims that their system adds 100g over a comparable derailleur setup. An Anakin 160mm Enduro frame, Squirrel 185mm freeride frame, and Falcon 200mm downhill frame (shown) are all available directly from Cavalerie. Pricing for the frame, drivetrain, and rear hub begins at €3,900 (£3,190).