2014 Nicolai Argon Fat Pinion gear box fat bike with belt drive

If there were a weak link in fat bikes, particularly when they’re hitting the snow, it would be all that exposed drivetrain. So Nicolai created a Gates Belt driven model with the Pinion internal gear box, keeping all the moving metal bits out of snow’s way.

It’s not the first time Nicolai has messed around with their fat bikes – they showed off a full suspension prototype last spring. This one’s actually hitting production soon, though, and is a modified version of their standard (also belt driven) single speed Argon Fat. Besides the gears, it also adds front suspension via a 120mm Carver Trans Fat fork.

The result is something that makes the rest of us here want to hop on a fat bike. Well, the video of this thing shredding the Harz Mountains is what makes us wanna get out there – but if you’ve gotta choose a bike…

Drop in for all the action…

That ridiculous cadence is being cranked out by team rider Frank Schneider, video by Jan Zander.

2014 Nicolai Argon Fat Pinion gear box fat bike with belt drive

2014 Nicolai Argon Fat Pinion gear box fat bike with belt drive

2014 Nicolai Argon Fat Pinion gear box fat bike with belt drive



  1. suede on

    It’s actually hard to tell in the video who’s providing more shock absorption, the tire or the shock? And yes @adam2 I concur. As a Bicycle mechanic in Chicago the Achilles heel on bikes during the winter is definitely the drivetrain. We are flat enough to flinstone it when the brakes go to crap.

  2. Ol' Shel' on

    Fat tire drag + gearbox drag. Why not add a drag chute or haul a skid full of rocks, while you’re at it?

    I want to love gearboxes, but it doesn’t look like they’ll ever be reasonably efficient or light.

  3. Ol' Shel' on

    I have to say another thing: You can do everything in that video on your current, non-fat bike, and you’ll do it faster and with better control. The whole idea of snow bikes is that the fat tires keep you ON TOP of packed, crusty snow. If you’re sinking into snow, you might as well cut through it with a skinnier tire, rather than packing MORE of it down with a fat one.
    Mud and snow tires for every other vehicle are NARROW, to cut through to the grippy surface beneath.

    If you buy a fat bike to ride in soft snow, you’ll be disappointed. Your current bike works better.

  4. Rivers on

    I ride a skinny tires through a metro area and when the snow packs down I would rather the fat tires. Hence my winter build for next winter 29er with fat front. (also just for fun) The skinny tires in packed snow do cut through most of the packed snow, but when they don’t, both front and rear go out from under you and you go straight. Putting you at risk of taking a spill. I am not a fat bike owner. I just wish we would all stop hating on fat bikes. Stop the hating on fixie. Stop the hating on Magna. Just love bikes.

  5. AlanM on

    @Ol’ Shel’, I am going to assume you haven’t ridden a fat bike before (and I don’t mean that to be snarky.) Yes, the bike is not floating on the very top of the softest snow, but the wider tires are keeping it from cutting down deep into the snow. Sure, they aren’t ideal for everything, but they are a hell of a lot of fun.

  6. Ol' Shel' on

    Alan, I don;t even ride bicycles. I just go online to troll.

    The point is, if your snow is soft enough to sink through, fat isn’t going to help. Fat was developed for packed snowmobile trails. If you have enough of a melt to thaw and refreeze deep accumulation, so that you can stay on top of virgin snow, that’s fantastic, and fat will help. Most people don’t have either of those conditions very often.

    That said, buy a fat bike and enjoy it year ’round.

  7. Jay on

    Where’s the rear brake lever? It looks like the dropper remote is next to the gripshift and that two lines are coming out of the left brake lever.

  8. AlanM on

    @Ol’ Shel’, don’t take my comments so personally. I didn’t say you weren’t a rider or call you a troll. Just putting in my two cents as someone that rides a lot in the winter.

  9. crank on

    This is my dream fatbike! I already own a Nicolai Helius AC Pinion and the build quality is brilliant. Coming from the XTR drivetrain on another bike there is no noticeable difference in drag with the Pinion gearbox. There is some drag in the lower 7 gears on my Rohloff equipped bike. A Pinion style gearbox is the way forward for mtb drivetrains. Lighter would definitely be better if performance stayed the same.

  10. NASH on

    This pinion system is the best, the technology is available to make it real light, by using nylon plastic gears instead of steal. This is already done on racing motorcycles. They could also try and use carbon for the gear box case. The durability would be a lot lower but it would be race specific kind of thing.

  11. Carl on

    No fat bike hating here…. I work with a couple of guys who have them and I sneak rides whenever I can…. they’re fun. BUT, I do have a question. I ride cross bikes these days but years ago when I lived at 8,000+ feet elevation and we had serious winters, I remember the suspension fork on my mountain bike becoming rigid in the 10 and 20 degree temps. Are they still that way? Would a rigid CF fork make more sense for this kind of riding?

  12. Tom Basic on

    Reply to Carl: I had a GT commuter mtb with an utterly trashy Zoom fork on it that I used during Ottawa winters. When I got the bike, which was given to me, I poured about a cup of the foulest, smelliest, rustiest water out of each fork leg. The coil springs were majorly rusted. I poured oil in the legs and got about 40mm of the plushest travel you’d see this side of a Pillsbury croissant. Bottom line: elastomers (to a large degree) and damping oil are greatly affected by temperature, but coil springs not so much. You can design suspension for cold temps.

  13. Ronin on

    That’s phat!

    I don’t much like snow. It usually means I’m not out on my road bike. I do have a mountain bike, and when it snowed bad and there was car chaos I managed to get to a real important meeting. Bottom line is, I’d probably look forward to snow if I had this.

  14. 3dp on

    Can I just say I claim credit with a Nicolai nuke tst g boxx running 24×3 and 26×3 gazzas as maybe the first gearbox fat bike?
    Old school baby

    Ok no belt but I am full sus
    Bike weighs in like a battleship but my local ride haunt is a abandoned chemical works and is even in summer a bogged mud pile

    This this new argon could mean its time for a trade


COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.