First Look: Pilot Cycles Locum Pinion 27.5+

by
November 1, 2017


Dutch frame builder Pilot Cycles is still a relative secret to the wider UK mountain biking market, but we’re betting this Locum Pinion plus hardtail is going to catch the eyes of many an all-weather rider. Designed around custom butted and hydroformed titanium tubing with a belt-driven 12-speed gearbox, the Locum Pinion is what we’d call a bonafide adventure bike – not like those silly trendy skinny tyre drop bar things.

We’ve watched the plus hardtail market heat up in recent seasons thanks to the wider availability of different (read: more UK appropriate) tyre options and lightweight carbon wheelsets. And with the extra squish provided by a 27.5×3.0in wide tyre, a hardtail has the potential to become an even more versatile machine. Throw in long-lasting titanium tubing, a near-maintenance free Pinion gearbox and a Gates Carbon Belt Drive, and you’ve got a recipe for a do-it-all machine that’s ready for the long haul.

On paper, the Locum Pinion from Pilot Cycles ticks all of those boxes, so we got one in to test out and see exactly what this exotic hardtail can do.

pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
No headtube badge necessary when you can machine titanium like this.

On-trail, off-trail or completely lost, the versatile all new LOCUM is a mountain bike that isn’t afraid of adventures. And with the PINION gearbox the need for maintenance is kept to a minimum, the Pinion gearbox only needs service once a year or every 10.000 km. The Gates belt drive system lasts way longer than any chain system. Mount 650B plus tires and enjoy levels of traction and comfort that will blow you away. Or switch to fast rolling 29er wheels and make yourself Strava King of the Mountain on your local trail. If you develop a sudden urge to get away from the daily hassle and stress, the LOCUM is your partner. Thanks to the rack mounts you can mount a rack and some panniers anytime you feel like discovering the world.” – From Pilot Cycles.

pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
The Locum Pinion is a 27.5+ hardtail built around a Pinion gearbox and a Gates belt drive.

The Pilot Cycles Locum Pinion Features

  • Made from Aerospace Grade 5 and Grade 9 double butted & hydroformed titanium
  • Designed to accommodate up to 27.5×3.25in or 29×2.4in tyres
  • Pinion 12-speed C1.12 gearbox
  • Gates CDX Belt Drive
  • 120mm fork travel
  • 69° head angle (68° on the Small frame size)
  • 73° seat tube angle (74° on the Small frame size)
  • 435mm chainstay length
  • 148x12mm thru-axle CNC machined dropouts
  • Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, & X-Large
  • Custom frame geometry available at a €250 upcharge
  • Frame RRP: €3149
  • Complete bike RRP: From €5599
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Our test bike features the Pinion C1.12 gearbox, but the Locum frame can be had without the gearbox too.

Made from beautifully curvy hydroformed titanium tubing, the Locum Pinion frame is handmade in the Netherlands, just like all of Pilot Cycles frames. There are four standard frame sizes, though you can have the geometry tweaked for a €250 up-charge. Want entirely custom frame tubing to suit your weight and riding style? Pilot can do that too for a further €250 on top.

Our test bike is a standard large-size frame that’s been built around Pinion’s latest C-Line gearbox. There are 12 gears inside with a 600% gear range, and it’s driven by a Gates Carbon Belt Drive complete with Centretrack sprockets. Fork travel sits at 120mm, and the frame features routing for a stealth Fox Transfer dropper post. There are a few upgrades on our test bike, including the Kashima fork and a carbon fibre Tune Blackburner wheelset. Rubber comes from Schwalbe in the form of 27.5×3.0in Nobby Nic/Rocket Ron combo, though Pilot states that the Locum will take 29in wheels too. Note: full spec list available down below.

pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Ideally suited to 27.5+ wheels, the Locum will take 29in wheels too.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Dutch titanium from Pilot Cycles.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
The new C-Line gearbox from Pinion uses a magnesium casing to significantly lower weight.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
There’s 12 evenly-stepped gears inside covering a 600% range.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Gates Centretrack belt drive.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Subtle split in the seat tube to accommodate the one-piece belt.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
So goddam clean.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Stunning horizontal sliding dropouts to allow for chain or belt tensioning.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
That is exquisitely well made.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Modular 148x12mm bolt-thru dropouts.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
The machined chainstay yoke creates a strong junction with clearance for up to a 3.25in wide tyre.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Pinion states its gearbox will go for 10,000km without servicing.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Ooh we like that!
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
And that internal port for the rear hydro line is rather nice too.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Welded bosses for the seat tube bottle cage mount.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Stealth dropper line goes here.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
And completes its journey along the underside of the downtube with the two Pinion gear cables.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
More nice cable routing.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
…and again.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
The shapely titanium tubes are double butted and hydroformed to create all those lovely curves.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Details.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
3T has supplied the cockpit, with a 740mm wide bar and 90mm long stem.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Soft silicone ESI grippage.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
The Pinion rotary shifter that scrolls through all 12 gears.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Shimano XT stoppers.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Interestingly, Pilot has spec’d the 2x lever for the Fox Transfer dropper post.

 

pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
And with only 100mm travel.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
A Selle Italia addle for your butt to grip onto.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive fox kashima
There’s a 120mm travel Fox 34 fork up front, complete with kashima livery.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Schwalbe tyres wrap exotic carbon rims from Tune.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
The rims are tubeless ready and feature a huuuuge 43mm inner width.
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
Complete with Tune King/Kong hubs, this wheelset is claimed to weigh just 1620 grams. Wowsers!
pilot cycles locum pinion titanium gearbox gates belt drive
This one is ready to smack winter in the face. Stay tuned for the full review!

And that there is your virtual tour of the Pilot Locum Pinion hardtail. We’ll be passing this test bike onto Tom Hutton for some adventurous all-weather riding across various corners of the UK, so stay tuned for the upcoming review. Check out the full spec list below, though you can also get more information via the Pilot Cycles website.

Pilot Cycles Locum Pinion 27.5+ Specifications

  • Frame // Aerospace Grade 5 and Grade 9 double butted & hydroformed titanium
  • Fork // Fox 32 Float, Factory Series, 120mm Travel
  • Hubs // Tune King Kong, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
  • Rims // Tune Blackburner Carbon, 43mm Internal Rim Width, 32h, Tubeless Ready
  • Tyres // Schwalbe Nobby Nic 3.0in Front & Rocket Ron 3.0in Rear
  • Chainset // Pinion, 32t Gates CDX Sprocket
  • Shifter // Pinion Rotary, 12-Speed
  • Cassette // Gates CDX 30t Sprocket
  • Brakes // Shimano Deore XT, 180mm Front & 160mm Rear
  • Stem // 3T MTB Team Stealth, 31.8mm, 90mm Length
  • Bars // 3T Flat 740 Pro, AL 7075 Alloy, 740mm Wide
  • Grips // ESI Silicone
  • Seatpost // Fox Transfer, 100mm Travel
  • Saddle // Selle Italia SLR
  • Size Tested // Large
  • Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • Weight // 13.5kg (29.7lb)
  • RRP // €7734 (as tested with upgrades)