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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!