The Perfect British Bicycle? Olsen Belt-Drive Bicycles

by
June 29, 2016

What would the perfect British mountain bike look like?

A Black Swan Event?
A Black Swan Event?

We each have our ideas, but during a one-day attempt of the South Downs Way, Steve Olsen decided that his ideal bikes would put all-weather capability first, taking advantage of Gates’ low-maintenance Carbon Drive belts, German-made gearboxes, and weather-resistant materials.  This thinking led to a pair of distinctive hardtail frames in carbon and stainless steel.

Shiny and blue
Shiny and blue

First out of the pen is the singlespeed Lamb.  While the polished tubes would have been plenty to set the bike apart, Olsen have chosen a twin-tube “lattice” in place of a standard downtube, reducing lateral flex while maintaining vertical compliance. The polished main tubes intersect at laser cut, welded lugs- an arrangement that reduces the need to weld super-thin stainless and lends itself to custom geometry.

Olsen Lamb Details

The Lamb’s drive-side dropout can be separated from the stays to allow the installation of a continuous belt and geared dropouts are also available for versatility’s sake.  Routing is provided for a 31.6mm dropper post and the tapered head tube sports a handsome Olsen head badge.  The Lamb is built to order and can be had for 26in, 27.5, or 29er wheels.  Retail is £2,495.

Carbon frame in Ram guise
Carbon frame in Ram guise

While the Lamb is awash in neo-retro details, the Swan & Ram are unapologetically modern hardtails built around a shared carbon fibre frame.  Built in the UK by “Formula 1 manufacturers,” the 29er Swan and 27+ Ram make use of Pinion’s enclosed gearboxes and Gates belts to soldier on through even the worst British weather.

Mud? What mud?
Mud? What mud?

Also custom-built, the carbon twins can be tailored to the purchaser’s specification: top tube length and head angles can be adjusted and the frames built to suit 0-120mm of fork travel.  The frames’ carbon layup can also be adjusted to suit the purchaser’s weight and riding style.  Available as complete bikes, the Swan is built around 29×2.4in rubber while the Ram comes with 27.5×3.0 treads and in both cases 30.9in dropper posts can be accommodated.

As cleans as it comes
As cleans as it comes

While the frames are built to order, prospective customers are encouraged to contact Olsen for a test ride prior to purchase.

Pricing update, 11 October 2016:

  • Framesets come with the Pinion P-Line gearbox, CNC Chainset and shifter.
  • C-Line are available 2017 from £2700
  • P-Line are available now from £3000

olsenbicycles.com