Nicolai Launches The Saturn 14 Full Suspension Belt-Drive Gearbox Trail Bike

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In a ‘what took you so long?’ announcement that we know will delight some of our friends, Nicolai has announce a Pinion-gearbox shifting, full suspension trail bike. The new Saturn 14 will come in 27.5, 29 or Mullet wheel size and features 130 or 138mm of rear travel (dependant on rear wheel) with a 140mm fork up front. With plenty of modern geometry influence from Geometron (a medium has a reach of 480mm) and a tensioned Gates belt drive, Nicolai reckons the new Saturn 14 is going to be pretty future-proof. For a while at least.

Here’s what Nicolai reckons (caps all their own…)

“NICOLAI’s interpretation of a radical gearbox driven trail bike is called the SATURN 14 GPI. The SATURN 14 GPI inspires the rider with its modern and balanced GEOLUTION TRAIL geometry on home trails, in the bike park or crossing the Alps. Agile, smooth running, easy to climb and low maintenance describe this bike best in four ways. You can say goodbye to going ‘over the bars,’ a wandering front wheel on climbs and daily maintenance. The SATURN 14 GPI does exactly what a trail bike should do. 

Two possible wheel sizes, PINION & GATES CarbonDrive (GPI) and plenty of room for water bottles, it is the most versatile gearbox-driven NICOLAI we have ever built.

  • GEOLUTION TRAIL geometry
  • 27.5″, 29″ or hybrid options
  • 130/138mm rear suspension travel
  • Sizes S-XXL
  • Custom ‘TailorMade’ geometry available
  • Complete colour and component customisation
  • 5 years warranty, 10 years spare part availability guarantee
  • PINION P-LINE P1.12 or P1.18
  • GATES transmission ratio 39:39 or 39:34 
  • Made in Germany 

We know that Nicolai, with its industrial welds and bare-bones Teutonic efficiency isn’t for everyone, but it seems that Nicolai fans are often progressive geometry fans and progressive shifting fans, so we see that there’ll be a lot of interest in the new Nicolai Saturn 14. It’s not cheap – with a frame coming in at €4,249 (to include Pinion P1.12 gearbox, cranks, Gates Drive sprockets and belt) and complete bikes from €6,749. But hey, that’s the price of progress, eh?

Here’s the Geo chart for you:

It’ll all be there to see on the Nicolai Saturn 14 homepage.

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Comments (23)

    This looks mint, I’d love a blast on one.

    Looks great and I’m a massive belt drive fan, but didn’t one of the forum members spend a lot of time documenting wear problems on Gates drive belts in proper off road conditions?
    If I could afford one I could afford the new belts though.
    Time to buy a lottery ticket 🙂

    Looks cool.

    Whats the function of the machined aluminium component (black) between the lower shock mount and the underside of the rocker mounting – it appears to be fixed at both ends?

    That’s the Nicolai Tension Bar. It braces the cantilevered/sticky-out bit of the shock mount with the BB shell. It’s presumably lighter than bracing the whole shock mount from the seat tube. This way, the upper pivot is kept solid and any forces are run through the brace into the chunky assembly above the gearbox/BB shell.

    (There’s full details via the Saturn 14 link at the bottom of the story)

    What is a seatstay mutator?

    @RichPenny: Seatstay mutator is a chunk of alloy that you fit to adjust seatstay length; used to adjust between wheel sizes or simply tune geometry to your liking (see black part at top of seatstay)

    “Looks great and I’m a massive belt drive fan, but didn’t one of the forum members spend a lot of time documenting wear problems on Gates drive belts in proper off road conditions?”

    are you thinking of Midlands Trailquest Graham?
    he lunched a couple of belts through both wear and with stones in the cogs i think? He was putting quite a few miles on but IIRC got fed up with them in the end?

    nice to see something different though. fair play to nicolai.

    Is the belt tensioner (just behind the cranks) spring loaded? I assume its easy to remove the rear wheel to fix a puncture?


    So what is the ratios available, to compare against standard?

    Gear range is huge. SRAM 10-50 cassette on a 1x gives you 500% gear range. Shimano 11-46 is 42%

    The P1.12 has a 600% range. When I had a p1.18 (636%) it effectively had both higher and lower gears than a 3×9. I’m guessing the option might be to keep the ratios the same for a 27.5 and a 29 rear wheel?

    Interesting that those are the two options – last time I looked the P1.9 looked the most interesting – saves a bit of weight and still has 568% spread. But maybe the gear spacing starts to get a bit too wide?

    Also wonder why they’re still using the P-line gearboxes rather the the C-line (which are a about 250g lighter). it’s not like they’re aiming for a price point.

    Lovely but defo need a lottery win first

    Happy to test one for you chipps…

    “wear problems on Gates drive belts in proper off road conditions?“
    On my four year old Nicolai Ion GPI the belt is lasting better than the front ring which is shagged. Verses a chain belt drive is pricey and as someone with a belt driven pinion bike and a chain driven pinion bike I don’t think it is VFM. If the member you are referring to is MTQGraham he destroyed stuff at a rate that made his experience irrelevant to me.

    “ Is the belt tensioner (just behind the cranks) spring loaded? I assume its easy to remove the rear wheel to fix a puncture?”
    Yes and yes, no more hassle than dealing with a derailleur except you may have to remove the ‘snubber’ (that thing stopping the belt jumping teeth on the rear cog) I can’t say for sure as that snubber is different to my four year old Nicolai

    “ If I could afford one I could afford the new belts though”
    I bought my Nicolai before Brexit made the GBP EUR exchange rate considerably worse and now I’m checking my piggy bank and thinking about getting a spare belt, cogs and other spares from ze Germans before the end of the year when buying from Europe is likely to get more expensive again 🙁

    duncancallum November 3, 2020 at 8:46 pm (Edit)
    Happy to test one for you chipps…

    Be my guest, they don’t appeal to me one bit, but that’s the joy of the manysplendoured beast that is mountain biking… I think we’d have a few people here lining up in front of you, but if we get one in, gathering dust, I’ll give you a shout 😉

    This is making me think: yes, that Canfield Nimble 9 hardtail singlespeed is what I really fancy!

    Love it…

    …apart from that grip shift. I’d need to go to aftermarket for a trigger

    The tension bar looks like what Felt used 10 years ago….if it works…

    Not an expert and I suppose it must be fine … but I thought that bending a belt back on itself like that was not recommended..?

    (Missing my belt set-up now that the grotty conditions are here again.)

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