nuseti inner drive system internal gear box mountain bike from world cup pro downhill racer Gregory Zielinski

Former pro downhill mountain biker Gregory Zielinski has been quietly developing a new mountain bike over the past five years and now, finally, it’s ready for primetime.

The Nuseti IDS (Inner Drive System) hardtail uses a completely enclosed drivetrain with a 16-speed planetary gearbox to deliver a virtually maintenance free ride with a full range of gearing. Starting life as various alloy prototypes, Zielinski’s been riding test mules for a couple years to prove the design’s durability and usability. For production, he’s looking to raise (a considerable amount of) money on Kickstarter to put it all on board a lightweight carbon fiber frame.

Slip inside for all the details…

nuseti inner drive system internal gear box mountain bike from world cup pro downhill racer Gregory Zielinski

The bike’s propelled forward through a sealed gearbox using 16 distinct speeds. Like other internally geared setups, shifting can be done standing still or under full pedal load, and it can handle quite a load – up to 326 pounds of force on the pedals. It provides a 570% range, which is the equivalent of a standard MTB triple, just with fewer steps between:

nuseti inner drive system internal gear box mountain bike from world cup pro downhill racer Gregory Zielinski

nuseti inner drive system internal gear box mountain bike from world cup pro downhill racer Gregory Zielinski

Frames will weigh an estimated 4.3kg (9.48lbs) and complete bikes are targeted around 10.7kg (23.58lbs) with the build shown below. Perhaps part of the reason for the rather large ask of £500,000 is the breadth of frame sizes and wheel options planned…something that might be better off trimmed down to lessen tooling costs and complexity in our opinion, but kudos for thinking of everyone. The plan is to offer:

  • 26″ in S/M/L
  • 27.5″ in S/M/L/XL
  • 29er in M/L/XL

You can nab a frameset for a pledge starting at $3,415 USD (£2,045). Complete bikes start with pledges at $6,292 (£3,750).

nuseti inner drive system internal gear box mountain bike from world cup pro downhill racer Gregory Zielinski

Interested? Check out the Kickstarter campaign here for more info or to get on board.


  1. Seems cool, but what happens when the chain gets stretched enough to need replacement? It should take longer as the bike doesn’t need to put lateral stress on the chain, but it will still eventually happen.

  2. @Brendan
    a standard shifter only works one way. You crank it when shifting up and a spring brings the derailleur down when you downshift (basically when you press the shifter, you allow some slack in the cable).
    A gearbox can’t work like that so you need to crank in both direction. Having 2 shifters allows you to crank in both directions.

  3. All the ideas make a lot of sense, but the inertia of 100+ years of bicycles with external chains will be hard to overcome.

  4. This is VERY innovative. An enclosed system makes great sense for a trail bike. Would love to learn more as further details become available.

  5. Why didn’t they spec a Truvativ steem instead of making their own Nuseti steem?

    One time my naked leg brushed against a greasy chain. At that moment I would have paid £500,000 for an enclosed-drive bicycle.

  6. Seems like they could just run 2 cables to one shifter like the NuVincie hub to keep with current trend of less handlebar clutter. What about a full suspension model though?

  7. It certainly looks very cool…
    Regarding Morphoeus comment: I don´t see the way to place a toothed belt inside a closed carbon frame. Must use a chain.

  8. It’s cool, but there are already several gearboxes out there (see Pinion, for example). So that’s already been done. Enclosing the chain solves a problem that barely exists. A belt drive might be a better option.

  9. Looks nice. Not sure about the lack of mud clearance, it looks like a seriously stiff frame too. Beautiful but stiff.

  10. If it works as I have understood, you can’t insert a belt in that system. Belt doesn’t have a point where you can open it.

  11. Chains actually don’t stretch, they wear. A sealed system would take the wear factor out, so the chain would not lengthen due to wear. If you drive a Nissan you have chains operating valves in the engine, if these stretched you would have serious problems. As they are in a sealed system and lubricated there is not issue.

  12. Looks interesting, I’m only concerned about the drag generated by chain rubbing over these inner tunnels, by all the additional seals, and by the gearbox itself.
    Not having to worry about chain/drivetrain getting clogged with mud must be a nice feeling though.

  13. They omitted the live sound when riding downhill and over rough terrain. The noise from chain constantly slapping around in an enclosed tube will be quite annoying when compared in an open chain design where there’s nothing to hit against. I don’t think any amount of tension between the gears will prevent this.

  14. I’m most curious about their Inner Drive System 16 speed gearbox. There’s not much info on their website or kickstarted page. If it’s as solid as they claim, it could be a game changer. Any word on what the reliability is (as compared to Nuvinci/Rohloff/Pinion/Alfine)? What about drag? Will it be available as a stand-alone box (as shown int he photo)? MORE INFO PLEASE!

  15. Anybody know which parts are included in the expected weight? Interesting to know the weight difference between this frame with drive system and a standard carbon frame with a 3 ring shimano XT drive system.

  16. I don’t think there’s any need to worry about chain wear.

    My 1937 Sunbeam bicycle with a fully enclosed oilbath chaincase is on its original chain and sprockets. May have to replace in in another 10 years.

    Bike chains are heavily overbuilt because they run in a hostile environment. Take that away and they last forever.

  17. Owning a Pinion gearbox bike and a Rohloff equipped bike the thing that caught my eye was being able to shift under load. That is the only negative on the Pinion, not being able to shift to an easier gear under load.

    I’d like to see how it can be adapted to a full suspension design and listen to the noise when the bike is bouncing around. Unless there is something inside the stays/chain cover to protect them a metal chain would have top generate a decent amount of wear when bouncing around and hitting the inside.

    I love the two shifters idea but would still like to see a Di2 style shifter for a gearbox.

  18. Folks, if this is designed well, and the chain is tensioned properly, the chain is not going to rattle around and rub the inside of the chainstays. You guys are silly sometimes…

  19. No matter what said, this is gonna me a great bike. Hope it gets to production & get the price lower for us poor guys.

  20. I think it’s surprising that we don’t already have such bikes. It’s a no brainier for trail bikes, even for people that don’t ride often/don’t maintain their bike.

    Let’s hope this gets done right, perhaps loaning out a few to be tested by bike magazines and then I’m sure people will want one if it reviews well.

    The only people that won’t be happy with this – all those component manufacturers connected to the drive train.

  21. at crank- the “only” negative of a Pinion is that you can’t downshift under load? That seems like a serious problem for a mountain bike! I’m glad you said this about Pinions, it made me understand it is not suitable for me…

  22. Tim – To put it in perspective…

    It’s the same as soft pedalling with a derailleur system only a bit more pronounced. It took a few rides to get used to but it never causes any problems now. It’s just a slight change in technique. Since getting used to it I’ve never been caught in the wrong gear. I have shifted while coasting around corners and over technical terrain to be in the right gear without pedalling where I’d have to put in a few awkward pedal strokes with a derailleur system.

    I’ll never go back to a derailleur system on a mountain bike when I decide to buy a new bike.

  23. Tim – agreed with crank. It is common to gear hubs. A properly tuned cable will give an *instant* shift, so the technique adjustment is small.

    I am VERY skeptical that Nuseti has solved that detail. Just as I know that this system is NOT the “world’s first” inner drivetrain on a bike, I don’t totally trust the claims they made.

  24. This guy ought to approach Dragons Den. Who knows he might get the backing? I think Piers Linley is a keen cyclist. Or what about approaching one of the larger bike manufacturers and selling under licence?

What do you think?