Nxxt Ultra adventure bike concept, side view

This wild-looking adventure bike is made of structural graphene, offers 30mm of softtail travel and uses a 4×6 drivetrain. But, before you get too excited, here’s the catch: It’s not a real bike. The Nxxt Ultra is a concept designed by Konstantin Hinkel. Recently, Hinkel completed a bachelor’s degree in industrial design and since he’s interested in working in the cycling industry, he created this concept to showcase his ideas.

“This work is purely fictitious and is liberally based on research with an equally liberal amount of pure speculation added in. It is not meant as a definitive proposition but rather as a fresh and free perspective on the future of bike technology and the sport itself,” says Hinkel.

The Nxxt Ultra poses more than a few questions about functionality and feasibility, let alone the fact that the build includes futuristic components that don’t yet exist. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting and unique concept that will leave you scratching your head…

Nxxt Ultra adventure bike concept, chainstays

The Ultra’s frame and fork are made of structural graphene, which apparently allows for aerodynamic shaping and very low weight. The material can also create stiff junctions or incorporate flex where intended, such as in the seatstays. The Ultra’s super wide, flat seatstays are designed to maintain lateral stiffness but also allow flex to absorb bumps.

Here’s where things get a bit sci-fi. Hinkel suggests that the frame material phases in a ‘material gradient’ from graphene to a protein-based elastomer at the interface between the seat tube and seat stays. In theory this would allow for 30mm of vertical flex, providing comfort and traction over rough surfaces.

Nxxt Ultra adventure bike concept, cockpit

With self-supported, multi-day adventure races in mind the Ultra includes an integrated hydration system in the top tube, with a small straw protruding near the aero bar’s forearm pads. This leaves the main triangle open for adding gear bags.

Employing a combination of Northroad style handlebars and aero bars, the bike’s cockpit is optimized for long distance racing. Hinkel says the back and downswept bar provides riders with many options for different hand positions, especially with the dropper post in play. The actual stem length isn’t given, but paired with the backswept bars it creates a virtual length of just 15mm.

The Ultra also has some dreamy electronic shifters and hydraulic brakes that propose one cool concept – The brakes are wireless like the gears, but the levers contain a small cylinder of fluid to mimic the action and feel of traditional hydraulic disc brakes. The brake calipers are integrated into the frame for better aerodynamics, and the laser-sintered rotors are a one-piece, vented design.

Gear shifting is all handled by one shifter/control unit, and since we’re dreaming, cadence-based automatic shifting can also be enabled via an extra button located on the aerobars.

Nxxt Ultra adventure bike concept, fork

The Ultra’s inverted suspension fork uses replaceable damper elements to fine-tune the travel and ride characteristics… and here’s where we get really out of this world – The suspension elements would be custom tailored to the rider and constructed using additive manufacturing processes. The ‘suspension cartilage’ (built out of protein based nano scaffolding) theoretically provides a predictable compression pattern.

Nxxt Ultra adventure bike concept, drivetrain

The Ultra is driven by a 4×6 double internal gearbox setup connected to a Gates carbon drive belt. This would provide a reasonable range with fine increments, and keep weight centered in the middle of the bike. The creator says due to the complex up and downshifting patterns, this setup only works with electronic shifters (?). One plus is that the system is enclosed, and thus supposedly maintenance-free beyond initial setup.

Nxxt Ultra adventure bike concept, hub and spoke

The Ultra’s wheels utilize an imaginative ‘one-spoke’ technology which allegedly ensures perfectly equal spoke tension around the wheel. The single spoke would be made of Dynnema fibers blended with graphene coated Aramid threads. What was that? Don’t ask me…

The rims are super wide, and the tires use a tubeless/core tube system. This idea is a reality now, but the Ultra’s core tube would be filled with a low density ceramic solution. This solution increases its density when exposed to vibration, essentially self-regulating tire pressure as you ride over varied terrain.

Nxxt Ultra adventure bike concept, seatpost
*Images courtesy of Konstantin Hinkel

The dropper seatpost offers three positions and is powered by a Co2 cartridge. Like the gears and brakes, the seatpost height would be selected electronically. The Ultra’s electronic buttons would all be customizable to the rider’s preference. The standard configuration suggests using the aerobar button and both brake levers to control the seatpost height, which sounds more than a little complicated.

I’m sure many of you are wondering a lot of things right now, but that’s all the info we have on the Nxxt Ultra concept. Concepts are typically far-reaching designs intended to push our perceptions, and this one definitely does so. Bearing that in mind, let the commenting games begin!

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49 COMMENTS

  1. A lot of innovative concepts in that prototype, and the graphics are amazing. I had to look closely to see it wasn’t real. People would be foolish to mock this.

    • Seriously, this so deserves mocking, particularly by people who work designing and building actual working products using existing materials and technology. Taking a bunch of stuff written on Engineering daily or Design News and applying it to a decent job of modeling does not innovation make.

      • Oh and the “one spoke” wheel……seriously. A failure anywhere on that “one spoke” and you have a NO spoke wheel. Very innovative.

        • Haha, that’s exactly what I thought. Not only that, I have firsthand experience with this from about twenty odd years ago. Remember the Tioga disk drive? I had several of them, they did not last and once the single kevlar strand snapped it was bye bye wheel.

        • That’s what did it for me. I was able to suspend my skepticism right up to the “perfectly equal spoke tension” bit. How do you true it?

      • It’s a non-working conceptual model. Even the crème de la crème of seasoned industrial designers make these. “so deserves mocking”…. How gauche of you.

  2. Love the imagination and with that you eventually get innovation. Very happy to see new materials being considered. Given the advances in material science and additive manufacturing over the last decade this concept places carbon and alloy in the dark ages where they rightfully belong. Go for it!

  3. As an industrial designer (worked in the moto and the bicycle sectors) I know there is an importance in concept design – it’s what helps push the boundaries of design and technology. Without this sort of work, we’d be stuck in a loop of zero innovation or progress. Sure, the rider in me is very quickly dismisses bicycle concepts, and yes, many of them are just plain pie in the sky stooopid, but something like this is pretty interesting. The bicycle sector (industry and consumer side) is super ‘stick in the mud’, lots of middle aged white men who can become very uncomfortable with new ideas, so anyone who has a good go in doing concept work, or something left of centre, can really cop a load of flak for no reason.

    • “Without this sort of work, we’d be stuck in a loop of zero innovation or progress.”

      You can absolutely have progress without impractical concepts. It comes through evolution, rather than revolution. Constant incremental improvements, are how we got to where we are today in this industry, with sick sub 30lb bikes that have 150mm travel and proper anti-squat curves. We didn’t get here through the Cannondale Alex Pong bike.

      • Having said all that, I do like a number of the features on this bike, like the flex based rear suspension, but that already exists, and just has been under explored by most companies.

    • There’s a difference between a company creating a concept design. If this was from a legit company, not just some grad somewhere, I wouldn’t have a problem with it because it would show what direction the company is going in.

      This is like having bikerumor publish my napkin drawing because in the end, his execution is nicer but no more real than the dozens of drawings in my sketchbook.

  4. Think of industrial designers as artists. They have little to no engineering or mechanical skills. They can draw up something that looks cool. But when it comes time to make one, they give it to the mechanical engineer who most likely will complain that it can’t be done.

    For example, car designers will move the rear doors over the rear wheel and expect to have a full length window that lowers completely. The mechanical engineer simply can’t make a window retract into a space that is smaller than the window, hence you see windows that don’t lower fully or the window becomes two pieces with one being fixed.

    • “Think of industrial designers as artists. They have little to no engineering or mechanical skills. ” Riiiight. I know a lot of ID folk that would put this somewhat silly statement to shame. It’s one thing to *think* in generalisations, it’s a whole other to voice them.

        • Industrial designer here: Considering half of my classes were engineering classes, the other half were art, I can vouch for Industrial Design to be a fairly perfect marriage of make believe ideas and real life functional applications. Without Industrial Designers, there are a lot of everyday innovations you wouldn’t have today. Let alone bicycle innovation.

  5. The frustrating thing is when people throw out the idea of a 4×6 drivetrain and take absolutely no time to come up with any sort of drawing/idea/animation of how to make that a reality. Unicorn farts to this article.

    • Until you forget to charge your brakes that have now stopped working on a downhill 50 miles from home.

      Sure you could have them turn off/fail to applying brake pressure so you can stop, but now you’re stuck with a bike you can’t push.

      • Well, they might actually develop some kind of electro-servo assisted brake in the future. I don’t see how you can reliably create an Anti-Lock Brake system for a bicycle without electric brakes. And, I know that we could ALL use Anti-Lock Brakes on bikes, that’s a no-brainer.

        Obviously, there’s some serious issues to overcome with battery and power technology today, but once those are overcome, it’s easy to see the benefits of electric braking (they could still have a mechanical ‘fail’ mechanism, where at least, one brake could stop the bike if the electronics failed for some reason.

        • WHAT?! ABS systems for bikes? How will I be able to lay down my sick skidz?!? Learning to skid is like the first fun trick you do on a bike as a kid.

          Let’s not remove all of the fun in the interest of safety. Don’t add advanced electronic systems, just learn to ride your bike.

        • You’re joking about ABS, right? My brakes already don’t lock if I just modulate them, and having used various “anti-lock” brakes, they increase stop distances and times over a standard brake, not to mention that being able to lock a wheel is useful in certain conditions.

  6. This is awesome! Sure it’s science fiction. (for now) But something like this gets him noticed and hopefully allows him to take these idea’s and using existing tech reproduce the overall idea of this bike which is VERY interesting.

    Good luck dude, very cool bike concept….

  7. Most of the science is actually feasible. In 1996 Missy was using “core tech” that was first developed by Michelin for NASA’s space shuttle, soooo….

    • I’m pretty sure Missy was on the Cannondale team in 1996 and they all used IRC tires. Are you saying she used Michelin inserts in the IRCs? And what is “core tech”? Is it a bib mousse?

      • Your right It was probably around 98-99. Around the time Volant bought Yeti. Michelin named their tire core within a core technology “Le System”.

    • the kicker is the dynemmaa arami blend.
      there is no situation where you would use aramid when you have dyneema except costs.
      this shows this is just random imagination with random knowledge trying to pass as some kind of expert.

      ps: aramid is kevlar if you’re wondering.

  8. Half the description has nothing to do with the render. If I took an off the shelf bike and claimed it was made with graphene and had 30mm of soft tail travel how could you tell the difference? There’s so much in the description that isn’t just psuedo-science, it’s not even reflected in the render.

    The other half is just laziness so he doesn’t have to render a real drivetrain or cables. Considering he’s doing this to try and land a job, it’s not as impressive when you realize he made up these technologies simply because he couldn’t model them.

    • Real nice bait.
      Your first point makes no sense at all, second one is already proofed to be wrong.

      Pretty cool concept, keep on going!

      • Explain what in the render shows that it’s made out of graphene or proteins whatever. He could have said it was made from 3D printed nanofibers. One spoke thing was probably because he couldn’t figure out how model spoke crosses.

        • It’s a concept. If he says its graphene then it is graphene, why would you have to show it somehow different if it could exactly look like this? I don’t think the pictures are the main result. This seems to be a concept paper + visualisation.

          Bartape, Tyres, Frame, one spoke, one who could model this could also find out how to do triple crossed spokes let alone just look it up on youtube tutorials…
          Dosn’t look like a lazy render to me, more like a very personal sideproject. Most of the comments here sound kind of jealous.

    • That guy should come to America. You get a degree in Mechanical Engineering, you model in SW all day, and you still can’t find a decent job.

  9. Fun project. A few good ideas sprinkled in there amongst the crazy stuff. Who knows what we’ll see in 20 years from now? Maybe protein based elastomer suspension will be common!
    Funny that spoke design. If I remember right the first spoked bicycle wheel in the mid 1800s used a wire that went from the wheel to the hub and then back up to the wheel a bit like these wheels. Turns out they were too difficult to tension properly and the individual spoke followed a few years afterwards. I’ll have to check my books when I get home.

  10. Love the frame and cockpit concept, though the top tube can sure improve its aesthetics…

    Show me one with real wheels and mechanical discs and shifting (I did hear backcountry adventure / self supported racing, right?! even if it’s bulletproof where will I charge them!?)
    Oh, and tires that aren’t off a Spec. Roll comfort hybrid, please.

    Then we can talk.

  11. Even if this bike or any of the components could be built, I would prefer a currently available full suspension bike with proven parts. I’ve seen concept bikes for years and never if rarely seen any of the ideas in them used. Mostly industrial designers who know little about bicycles seem to do this kinda thing and it might invite some interest, but beyond that I’m doubtful of it’s real world usefulness. Companies looking to make better parts though axtual market conpetition seems the most realistic way to innovate.

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