Last year, New Zealand-based Zerode dropped their unique Pinion gearbox, carbon Taniwha enduro bike on the US market. Now a new Taniwha Trail takes that same design and dials it back into a lighter & shorter 140mm of travel, creating a killer all-mountain bike perfectly balanced for shredding trails without maintenance worries.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm carbon gearbox mountain bike

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm travel carbon Pinion gearbox all-mountain trail bike

The original Taniwha Enduro pretty much proved the validity of a gearbox driven enduro bike on the EWS circuit, with a wide 600% gearing range (think 1x drivetrain & a 10-60T cassette!), no exposed derailleur to smash, a low & central weight distribution, and overall no maintenance drivetrain. But riders wanted more. Not more travel; they already said the 160mm travel Taniwha Enduro ate up descents like a DH bike. Riders actually requested less travel, and lighter weight. So that’s what Zerode built.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm travel carbon Pinion gearbox all-mountain trail bike

The new Taniwha Trail shares the same overall design concept with a light & stiff carbon frame and a linkage-driven faux-bar single-pivot suspension design, now dialed back to 140mm of travel.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm – Geometry UpdatesZerode Taniwha Trail 140mm travel carbon Pinion gearbox all-mountain trail bike geometry

The trail version of the bike had its geometry redesigned to better cater to the needs of a wider swath of the mountain biker population. Not so obvious but most of us aren’t shredding downhills and EWS tracks every weekend. So the shorter 140mm travel Taniwha Trail offers a more versatile, playful ride at home on the technical trails most riders see. In shortening rear wheel travel, the new framesets also get slightly steeper headtube & seattube angles, a shorter wheelbase, and a lowered bottom bracket. Zerode says the geo tweaks “make for a snappier, more responsive ride-feel”, but the bike still claims an aggressive ride that is said to rival longer & slacker bikes.

Like the enduro Taniwha, the new Taniwha Trail uses reach based size naming and comes in three frame sizes – so pick yours based on how stretched out you like to feel on the bike.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm – Tech Details

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm travel carbon Pinion gearbox all-mountain trail bike unsprung wei

The Taniwha Trail retains the same German-made Pinion C.Line C1.12 gearbox slung low under the carbon frame and Pinion’s grip shifter.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm travel carbon Pinion gearbox all-mountain trail bike

The 140mm 27.5″ trail / all-mountain bike features 142mm rear hub spacing for use with a single speed hub, a 31.6mm seatpost with internal routing for drivetrain and the dropper post, then external brake routing.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm travel carbon Pinion gearbox all-mountain trail bike

Complete bikes can be built as low as 29 pounds, keeping the bike light enough to climb well, while maintaining its tracking and descending stability.

Zerode Taniwha Trail Pricing & Availability

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm carbon gearbox mountain bike

The Taniwha Trail is still available in the US exclusively through Cycle Monkey. You can get a frameset on its own to build up however you want for $5000. That frameset includes the carbon frame itself, shock, and the complete Pinion drivetrain from cranks to gearbox to the rear cog.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm carbon gearbox mountain bike

Complete bike build packages are also available that start at $6600, and climb up to around $9500 depending how fancy you want your components, as the frame & drivetrain are effectively unchanged.

Zerode Taniwha Trail 140mm carbon gearbox mountain bike

Get one of the new bikes now before they get bobbled up in the US. Or check out Cycle Monkey’s North American demo schedule where you can ride the original enduro Taniwha back-to-back with the new Taniwha Trail. Try it before you buy it. or


  1. Gerbil on

    When would you ever need a 30/54 equivalent gear…@ 90 cadence you’d be going 4.3 mph. I think they’d be better served with a 500% range & closer spacing.

    They’re “optimistic” stating only a 500g. weight penalty. Gearbox 2100g. vs. rear hub 280g. + 615g (11-50 Eagle 12 speed) cassette + 200g derailleur = 1100g

    • blahblah1233445 on

      2100g is for the whole system – gearbox, crank arms, shifter and hoses.

      One thing I’d change here is to swap the chain for a belt – smooth, quiet and most of all very clean (no lube needed).

        • JNH on

          Belts can be run with an idler pullery, Nicolai belt drive bikes do that. The real problem with belt drive is the poor tolerance for mud and debris. Gates belts work great on commuter bikes and last thousands upon thousands of miles, but show them mud and grit and they start jumping and wearing in no time.

          • Dean on

            @jnh – Nope, sorry but you’re wrong. This is not the same as Nicolai. This uses two pulley wheels to tension the chain versus the Nicolai which uses only a single wheel. There is really no way for the belt to run through both wheels because the belt cannot make that tight of a bend

      • suede on

        A belt system would not work on this bike without 3 cogs and 2 belts. You would still have to clean all of them more frequently than a traditional chain driven system, belts are not as tolerant of dirt and grit.

        • Brian on

          Is this actually based on personnel experience?

          The only problem I’ve ever had is with a belt that’s seen lots of miles over 2+ years and had virtually no maintenance done. It started to squeak a little when wet or under heavy load, and some silicone spray fixed that right up.

          Belts have been superior in all conditions for me from snow, ice, and salt to dusty gravel.

    • Brad Comis (@BradComis) on

      I can definitely think of when a 30/54 combo would be nice. How about a 300m climb first thing in the morning with tons of steep 18-20% pitches? I’ve done that ride a few times and 30/50 with 29″ tires is damn tough. Not sure what my cadence on that is exactly, but its under 60 for sure.

      • Gerbil on

        I hear you, but a 60 cadence (30/54) is <3mph. At what point do you just get off & walk?

        I'm not sure, but other than the ego damage you'd probably get to the top faster & be less fatigued.

  2. Ant on

    I have a Deviate Guide with the Pinion box in it and I find that I really do use ALL the gears where I live, or if im not feeling 100% its nice to have the easier gear to spin up the hill.

  3. Jason Etter on

    I love the idea of a gearbox. I really want one. But that weight penalty. Someone needs an option with titanium gears/guts and carbon where they can use it. And I’m no fan of a grip shift one bit. It’s too bad, I would really like a system like this. In my mind it’s just not quite there yet. Additionally the lightest this bike gets is 29lb (which is probably optimistic advertising spec)? If I’m spending $9-12K (I have and will again) for a trail bike 26.5lb with pedals, lockouts, sealant, wide bars, etc is my absolute limit. My current trail bike has all of those “extras” and comes in at 25.25lb. I’m not interested in riding a tank no matter how many wiz bang items are on it.

    • Unbearable lightness of being on

      As a “recovered” weight weenie I can tell you that the difference in performance between a 29lb. bike & a 25lb. is negligible.

      My current quiver includes bikes of 25lbs. to over 30lbs & my ride time on my 1.5hr. cross country loop is virtually the same from one bike to the other. I have ridden each bike dozens of times & “motor” performance is a much larger variable.

      I believe the reason is the heavier bikes with longer travel reduce fatigue & you descend faster equalizing the weight penalty(?).

    • BoxGears on

      It sounds like only 500-600g of that additional weight is from the gearbox which is 1.3lbs being pessimistic. The rest of the weight must be the frame and/or components. I’m guessing the gearbox design requires a frame design that isn’t the lightest (?). It’s also got a fox36 in one of those pictures so it might not be an apples to apples comparison for what you’re comparing. On the upside, the additional weight is in the best spot possible…ie, not at the wheels and as low as it can get.

      • Jason Etter on

        I also have a 30lb bike. It’s a tank. I unfortunately have a ton of “feel”. When I was rodaracing motorcycles I could feel a 5lb swing on a 375lb motorcycle.

  4. Bmx on

    So the point of a pinion is get rid of a delicate derailer but then they stick a delicate pulley on the bb where it would hand up on log and the such. Total fail. Design a system that doesn’t introduce variable slack.


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