When we first spotted the new belt drive Nicolai back at Eurobike, it was a bit tough to see all the details with the bike under a consistent coat of mud. But that was kinda the point of the mid-travel all-mountain 29er trail mountain bike. Dropping the traditional rear derailleur for a Pinion gear box, the newest aluminum bike from Nicolai is all about building a ride ready for trail adventures in the harshest conditions.

Nicolai ION G13 GPI Qlfline belt drive trail mountain bike

Nicolai may give some unwieldy names to their bikes, but there is a lot of data stashed in the name. The ION name graces all of Nicolai’s current four bar full suspension bikes with the short downtube mounted linkage. The G-series bikes all share their modern long & slack Geolution geometry for all-mountain capability. The 13 is cm (133mm, actually) of rear wheel travel.

The GPI then denotes the Gates:Pinion interface that sets this bike apart, with a Horst-link, high pivot suspension layout designed to all but eliminate belt (chain) growth. An idler pulley behind the bottom bracket allows you to tension the belt while sticking with a standard fixed thru-axle Boost rear end.

The 29er trail bike is designed for all day adventure riding & racing, far from the trail head, and in fact that’s how it got so dirty having been raced at the German Enduro champs – the Upland Enduro.

With a low center of gravity thanks to the Pinion, the wagon wheel ION G13 GPI is available in five frame sizes (S-XXL), a boon for really tall riders looking for an all-mountain bike. And it gets clearance for up to 29 x 2.5″ tires. Cable routing is all external, with nice modular anodized alloy cable clamps, but it does include routing for a stealth dropper seatpost.

Like the rest of the ION bikes, it features an ET-Key flip chip at the rear linkage mount that lets you adjust the head and seat angles by a small 0.7° to fine tune your setup.

Nicolai ION G13 GPI framset

The Pinion gearbox is at the heart of the bike with both 12 speed P1.12 and 18 speed P1.18 versions available. The ION G13 GPI is available as a frameset for 4250€ including a Fox Factory shock, the Pinion P1.12 & crankset, a 39T Gates CDX chainring & 39T Gates CDX sprocket, and the centerline Gates belt. It can be built up into the complete bike of your choosing, paired to a 120-140mm travel fork, and a whole host of colors.

Nicolai ION G13 GPI QLFline complete bike

Or you can get the complete bike for 7300€. For now Nicolai is only listing the QLFline complete build. Taking its name phonetically from the Külftal region where Nicaolai does most of their trail riding, it is essentially their premium ideal factory build kit.

Included in that premium build is the Fox Float Factory EVOL shock and the 140mm travel 34 Float Factory 29er fork. Plus there is a healthy dose of premium components comprised of 30mm internal WTB KOM i29 rims laced to Hope Pro 4 hubs, Hope brakes & stem, and Ergon contact points.



    • it’s not *that* crazy when you consider it includes drivetrain + cranks. especially when compared to high end offerings in carbon. point of reference: MSRP on a SC hightower frame is $4k

  1. “With a low center of gravity thanks to the Pinion”

    Isn’t that like saying one can make their bike CG lower by bolting a large weight to the BB.
    Anyway, nice bike. I’d have to ride a pinion gearbox first before investing on a frame that requires one.

  2. Built my ION-G16 27.5 with 175 travel front and rear last winter, and was unsure if my frame choice was gonna be a hit or flop. What can I say – WOW!!! This is simply the future, at least for me. Sold my Pivot Mach 6 in a second once I took it for the first ride. Climbs like sick “%/&%”, stable as a DH sled going down. 13.7 kg, FAST suspension coil rear spring (which to me feels much better than the PUSH 11.6 I had on the Mach 6) with German INTEND upside down fork. To sit nested between the wheels while climbing just feels so much better than having to hang over the bars on the Mach 6 cause you are sitting on top of the rear wheel. The steering, 63 deg. but feels fine with my 35mm stem. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from a nobody in Norway.

  3. I was actually so enthusiastic, that I drew up my own modified “GEOMETRON” geometry for a hard tail with Pinion and Gates. Gonna run 27.5×2.8 or 3 rear and 160mm fork with 29×2.6 front. With Onyx Racing sprag hub, this thing will be dead silent and keep the geometry of a ENDURO machine. Maybe the undamped rear “tire spring” will prove a bad choice, but gonna run it with a CUSHCORE inner to take some of the springy feeling out of the rear.

    • @Onion, Gates allows the use of backside tensioners on this bike, though we do not recommend back-bending the belt drastically. Gates is doing testing to come up with more guidelines for backside tensioners so that Carbon Drive may be used on more full suspension bikes. A belt that is not installed on a bike should never be bent backward. But the company works with brands such as Nicolai to test and approve backside tensioners that will not harm the carbon fiber tensile cords.

  4. I am riding a Pinion/Gates hardtail for 5 years now for the only reason, that Pinion/belt fullys were not available at that time. The ION GPI is the logical next bike for me: Pinion and belt are a must and it has everything I missed on my hardtail. I just have to save some money … 🙁

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