CROSSING ICELAND’S WILDERNESS ON THE NUA LA BESTIA

I was lucky enough to test the Nua Bikes La bestia while crossing the breath-taking landscapes of Iceland’s highlands last summer.

This epic journey was part of the development process of this world-tour ready bike. Here are my thoughts about “La bestia”, some words about my journey and my photographical report of the adventure.

The playground

My bike and I have experienced the harshest Icelandic meteorological conditions: windstorms, pouring rain, snow and below 0°C temperatures during one month and a half.

This journey was both a test of the Nua La Bestia and a personal inner quest coupled with a photographic report. Like every bike journey, this led me to live a lot of amazing moments and meet truly inspiring people that I can not thank enough for sharing the way they see life. On the human side, this journey is an ode to freedom and spontaneity.

My pace was quite irregular, with days with up to 120Km of off-road riding and days of made of just hike and photography. Sometimes, the awful bad weather forced me to ride only 30km of road before seeking shelter. Finally the whole journey in the wild was about 1500Km.

Abrasive volcanic sands, rocks cutting like razor edges and numerous river crossings have also challenged me, my bike and my kit. The wind was always pretty strong, blowing the abrasive sand on each and every components of the bike.

Even if the first ten days where pretty sunny with average 15°C temperature, I also experienced mostly around 5 to 0°C temperatures and lots of rain – plus eventually some snow.

Unlike my undefeated “La Bestia”, the ukulele I decided to bring with me as great way of making new friends – and part of my kit – did not made it to the end of this adventure.

The bike

Primarily to this memorable expedition, Roberto, Marcos and I have developed and assembled  this bespoke La Bestia as the ultimate bikepacking machine with especially this trip in mind.

The usual Pinion C1.12 gearbox and Gates carbon belt drive duo was no question as we were aiming for the most durable and maintenance-free bike. For drop bar compatibility, we chose to use the Cinq innovations road Shift:R for Pinion.

As both security and comfort requirements, we decided that the bike might be able to produce it’s own electricity to feed a powerful set of lights and a USB plug enabling me to charge my GPS and my phone on the go. This was achieved thanks to a Shutter precision dynamo hub and a Cinq innovations The Plug III USB device.

For the cargo, I decided to use a Topeak Super tourist DX rear rack on which we mounted my Supernova rear light and my Ortlieb gravel edition front panniers. The rest of the kit was made of two Salsa dry bags mounted on two anything cages on the fork and an Apidura frame pack.

More info about this particularly capable bike can be found on a former blog post available here.

The journey

I did not really planned the route, just knew that I wanted to cross Iceland South to North “off the beaten path” and meet a mountain-passionate friend in a town of the far north Iceland called Siglufjörður. Eventually I also knew I would love to ride to the Askja crater lake which is located just north of the Vatnajökull glacier and possibly reach Rifstangi cape, the northernmost point of the island.

I started my journey in Reykjavik – the capital city – with the objective of reaching the F35 road – one of the most common but still demanding routes to cross the island. Prevailing winds are normally blowing from North to South, so most people decide to ride this way, but I decided to go South to North and risk myself to struggle a bit with headwinds – fortunately, it did not happened.

The paved road 35 becomes the mountain road F35 near the touristy yet beautiful Gullfoss waterfall – located in the Golden circle region –  that I decided to reach using as much unpaved roads as possible. This famous route would cross the Kjölur sand desert with both the Langjökull and Hofsjökull glacier on its sides.

This idea led me to reach the Þingvellir lake by the Nesjavellir valley – where the last stage of the icelandic Enduro MTB championship took place at the end of my trip.

After a nice sunset next to Þingvellir, I decided to head to Geysir by riding north and avoid a paved road section. This would lead me to reach the south of the Langjökull glacier and some glacial lakes then finally drop to Geysir and Gulfoss through a beautiful forest – which is quite rare in Iceland -in order to buy some food.

I properly started to ride in the wilderness of Iceland in the mountains north of the lake. I spent two days in the mountains to avoid those 15 km of paved road. It was a brilliant decision regarding the  scenery and the chosen solitude I experienced!

I remember a 120km stage of unnamed road in the immensity of Iceland that led me to sleep in the entrance of a closed mountain hut. This saved  both unpacking/packing time and money. I had not seen any other human being – or car – for two days.

Pure joy and feeling of freedom started to become my travel companions as fresh icelandic air was circulating in my lungs!

This first section of mountain roads – called “F-roads” in Iceland –  is also when I released the potential of my plus wheeled drop bar Nua “La Bestia”. Low pressure allowed me to maintain a solid 20-25 km/h average speed on really rough terrain with about 30kg of load on the bike and a photography backpack. Impressive, as this is the same average speed I had on paved roads!

When riding South to North, the F35  starts with a long climb leading you to a splendid plateau where you can start  feeling the solitude. The feelings of happiness and freedom  became even stronger here considering the epic landscapes that Iceland was offering to me. The road finally becomes more wobbly and leads you to Abrudir mountain hut and its magnificent views on both the Langjökull glacier and the Kerlingjarfjöll mountain range.

After a contemplating night in Abrudir, a one day detour led me to the great geothermal and volcanic area of Kerlingjarfjöll – that offered me a relaxing moment in a warm river. The ascension – particularly with a heavy cargo – is quite hard and a good test for the gearing ratio of the bike.  Fortunately, Roberto and Marcos decided to opt for the smallest admissible ratio for  the Pinion gearbox which made my ascension easy.

Last stop on the F35, Hveravellir is another mountain hut and geothermal spot that I reached struggling with one of the strongest headwind of my tip. It was my last stop before reaching the 1 road and the “capital of the North”of Iceland called Akureyri. This particular riding day was happily shared with two German riders – Stefan and Sami.

They shared a 120km ride with 1500m of elevation gain, some food, some beers, the visit of a car wreck in the middle of nowhere,  and my misfortune when a car drove over my tent while packing for a small bus lift to avoid an unpleasant and dangerous section of the busy main road just before Akureyri.

Reaching Siglufjörður from Akureyri – and coming back to head to Rifstangi was a pleasant ride along the sea – and inside tunnels, which I am not sure I was allowed to cycle –  that showed me how capable the bike was on the road. Without headwind a 35km/h average speed could be reached easily! Hot tubs along the way in Hauganes and Hjalteyri were more than welcome.

After of few days resting and discovering Siglufjörður’s locals hospitality as well as exploring the mountains around the Fjord, I pedaled back to Akureyri and took a bus to Husavik. I then headed to Rifstangi cape – and its abandoned house –  through the Asbyrgi canyon and the small town of Kopasker.

The atmosphere of the north-east part of Iceland  was heavier and tougher . I could tell this region was probably wilder and that more people were leaving the town and farms I was crossing along my way. Most of the roads were gravel roads too – which was were the La Bestia was at its finest.

Finally, the northernmost point of the Iceland was a small cape, a abandoned house and thousands of trees brought there from Russia by a strong sea current.  This was clearly not what I expected and was not the most impressive scenery Iceland has to offer. The strange atmosphere in this ruin that you could only reach by riding in the fields for around 8 km starting from a small gravel road made this moment unrealistic and kind of out of time. This strong feeling – the one of discovering a very special place – is one of the great things that bikepacking has to offer!

My last and most breathtaking destination was the Askja crater lake and its twin – the small, warm and deep blue Viti lake. The twin lakes lie in the center of Iceland highlands just north from the Vatnajökull glacier. To reach them, I had to quit the east and get some supplies in the North. I came back to Asbyrgi, then reached Myvatn through the Dettifoss waterfall riding on an impressive mountain path. The fog made this moment quite unreal.

I started my ride from the Myvatn lake and headed south by the F88 – a demanding, wobbly and one of a kind fire road quite exposed to the wind. The fantastic Herðubreið mountain – “the queen of the mountains” – was my target through the first 60km of lava desert.

Quite deep rivers had to be crossed on the way, and I had to be quick as the weather was changing. Fortunately, two German tourists helped me to cross some rivers on the back of their pick up truck – I saved some precious time this way!

Dreki hut – literally meaning “dragon” and named after the nearby Dreki canyon- was my last stop . This impressive mountain hut is located next to the twin Askja and Viti lakes. Not far from there, you can reach a canyon where the astronaut who walked on the moon were trained back in the days. The impressive scenery was indeed quite similar to what I would expect from the moon.

 

This amazing place – where I finally reached the snowy mountains, met great people and discovered that the next days would be made of harsh winter weather – was the one where I realized that I had found what I came in Iceland for.

I had nourished my soul with amazing landscapes, new friendships, great adventures and the feeling that me and my bike were able to do much more.

I decided that this test and journey was complete after 1500 km and headed back to Reykjavik with a great feeling of satisfaction.

“Takk fyrir” Iceland, “Gracias” La Bestia!

What about the bike?

The general feeling resulting from this trip was that I was riding a very capable and sturdy bike – also well equipped – which let me ride confidently. I’ve always felt at ease – both on paved and unpaved roads – and knew I was far from reaching the limits of what the bike was capable of.

Surprisingly, I had not a single problem during my trip (including not a single puncture) apart from loosing a bolt from my Salsa anything cage (which hopefully has redundant mounts) and another one on my Ortlieb gravel pack (which ended up firmly tightened to my rear rack with a spare voilestrap). The bike really behaved perfectly and allowed me to fully enjoy the experience.

Electrical autonomy

When heading to Siglufjörður, I had to ride a quite scary (regarding potential  accident with a car) 30km section in tunnels, and at that exact moment I appreciated the most my Supernova lights set and my Shutter precision dynamo hub: I did not had to worry about cars and trucks drivers not seeing me.

On the other hand, the capacity to charge my GPS on the made me feel safer especially when I was unsure of my direction, far away from the closest mountain hut.

Maintenance free transmission and shifting

Another brilliant feature of La Bestia was the Pinion gearbox and belt combo. I already rode in the Icelandic desert areas with the chain and derailleur equipped fat bikes I formerly built as a personal project. Well, I was constantly cleaning the chain or looking for oil: volcanic dust always made the shifting either noisy or simply less funcional.

This time thanks to the belt and the gearbox, I have not had to worry about anything (except my cable hosing being slightly too short with my new and bigger sleeping bag, not a big deal and easy to adapt to my needs for next trip). I simply have not had to clean the bike once or maintain the transmission or shifting during this Iceland crossing – which is quite amazing!

The shifting of the Cinq five Shift:R remained smooth all along the journey, no matter temperature or humidity conditions.

Grippy and fast rolling Schwalbe G-one tires

Schwalbe G-one tires proved to be great in various off-road conditions (including  downhill singletracks riding in quite rainy weather). They provided a really low rolling resistance on the road sections and good control on dry and wet off-road parts. Even in muddy sections – which I was quite worried about – I had no major problem of grip loss, either climbing up or braking downhill.

Off-road capacities of La Bestia

Another moment that showed the astonishing capacities of La Bestia was when I ended up riding the singletracks of Siglufjörður with “The Spades” a local and exceptionally welcoming group of Enduro mountain bike riders. Despite their advice of not riding the track with “this” bike, it all ended up pretty well, and even pretty fast considering the bike was a rigid drop bar gravel. Once again the plus tires and the high position of the handlebars – providing quite a high stack number – were useful.

Indeed, these bars were not only comfortable by providing a good rest position during long rides -they also provided with a remarkably good control of the bike on fast or technical off-road downhill sections and relatively technical singletracks.

The right bike for the “job”

It might sound slightly exaggerated, but the Nua La Bestia is simply the best travel bike I have ever owned.

This is much of a statement, especially because I am a former bicycle frame builder who designed Gravel bikes and Fat bikes that I also used to travel in Iceland a few years ago.

What makes me say so is the fact that the features of this bike are so well balanced and that I have not had to worry about anything during the whole trip – whatever the weather, whatever the terrain. The following points particularly stand out:

  • the duo of a high-end titanium frame and plus tires offer incomparable comfort (especially on wobbly F-roads)
  • the gearbox and the belt drive are truly problem free (no maintenance nor tension needed during the whole trip).
  • the TRP brakes are powerful with the cargo and provide a  nice feeling  even when braking with just one finger
  • The whole dynamo hub – lights – USB charger set up was bullet proof in the rain and provided me safety and autonomy (and worked perfectly even if I often forgot that I had a dynamo hub while crossing rivers and occasionally put it underwater)
  • the Gravel geometry makes the bike at ease everywhere (fast rolling on paved roads, nearly as fast on gravel roads and pretty agile on singletracks where the big tires make La Bestia way faster on the way down than classic gravel bikes)

We hope this trip report will inspire you to start you own journey into the bikepacking world

While preparing it, feel free to have a look at www.nuabikes.com or stay tuned to the blog, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook) or sign up to our newsletter here to be sure to keep up with news about the Nua bikepacking and biketouring dedicated bikes.

For those feeling like riding their own Nua “La Bestia”, our bicycle builder is available  here.

The Nua Team

Words and pics by Antoine Daures / @folksongsandsingletracks

MORITZ’S NUA

 

Moritz has been in love with titanium bikes since he bought a 1998 Serotta in 2008, although lately, he’s also been getting around on a fully-equipped steel-framed Rotor Comet with a Rohloff gearbox.

 

 

 

So having experienced the benefits of both a good-quality titanium frame and a Rohloff internal gear hub, Moritz dreamed of combining both these elements in the perfect bicycle, which he described to us as a “lifetime road enduro tank”. After six months of fruitless searching, he found Nua, the perfect partner to help bring his dream to life. After dozens of emails and quite a few months of work, this was the result:

 

 

A bicycle for intensive use (Moritz rides a minimum of 5000 km a year); capable of riding on any terrain and under any conditions; useful as a daily commuter, but also up for weekend adventures, cycle tourism, or just doing a sporty lap of a local trail on a Sunday morning.

 

 

The heart of this bike is a Gr9 Ti-3Al-2,5V titanium frame, tailor-made to fit Moritz’s own big frame (192cm). In designing the geometry, we were looking for great stability when descending trails at high speeds, although a bike with a front rack is also going to need agile steering to compensate for the extra weight on the front wheel.

A big bike, to be nicely proportioned, needs big wheels, not only aesthetically speaking, but also for ride-feel. So we designed the frame to accommodate some generous 29er, 55mm-wide tires (Compass Antelope Hill Extralight). Their slick profile provides extremely low rolling resistance on the road, but as a tire specifically developed for gravel riding they provide exceptional grip, even on sandy trails. Their generous dimensions make the bike very comfortable thanks to the huge air volume. We chose them as the best compromise for on-road/light off-road use.

 

 

For great nighttime visibility, and vision to boot – and without having to worry about charging batteries – the Nua Moritz is equipped with Supernova lights (E3 Pure front light and taillight) fed by a Shutter Precision dynamo hub. Rather than on the racks, they are mounted on the handlebar and the seatpost, so that the racks can be removed independently of the lights.

 

 

The brakes and transmission of the bike are controlled by Sram Force Brake levers. We’ve modified the shifters to be compatible with a Gebla Rohbox and a Rohloff speedhub in a drop bar configuration. They also control powerful Sram force hydraulic brake callipers with 180mm rotors. The out-sized rotors were chosen to take into account the size of the rider and the potential amount of extra load carried on the racks.

 

 

 

 

A Chris King i7 headset, in navy blue, matches perfectly with the Brooks blue bar tape, wrapped around a dirt road bar from Ritchey (WCS VentureMax).

 

 

 

The pedals are these beautiful Hope F20 CNC machined platforms. They provide good grip even when bare so we left their pins off to make the bike more appropriate for commuting. They can easily be installed for off-road rides as needed. The pedals are mounted on a sturdy yet light Race Face Aeffect Cinch MTB crankset, providing an ideal chainline for the gates CDX belt drive/Rolhoff Speedhub system.

 

 

A highly ergonomic SQ-Lab 610 Ergolux saddle provides ultimate comfort during long rides.

 

 

One of our beautiful titanium bottle cages, always a good choice both because they’re so light, and because thanks to the titanium’s inherent flexibility, they hold a bottle like no other.

 

 

Adding considerable value to this bike are the racks, custom-designed and fillet brazed with stainless tube. The idea was to make the bike capable of carrying four panniers (front and rear) with or without the front top platform, which is attached to the front rack by four screws (custom-machined titanium) for quick and easy removal.

 

 

 

 

 

The rear rack has eyelet mounts to simplify and improve the attachment of the rear mudguard.

 

 

 

Designing and constructing custom racks like these ones requires an extraordinary amount of time, although we have to admit we enjoy the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, we also enjoy testing the bikes we make. We’re very lucky to have these beautiful trails a stone’s throw from our workshop in Arbúcies.

 

 

 

To sum up, we’ve invested a huge amount of time and effort in this bike, in order to realise the dream of a discerning client with a very clear vision of what he wanted. A process which has helped us to raise the bar on our already exacting standards.

Moritz sent us this fun macro photo, and this review:

“The Bike is unbelievably beautiful and the best thing is that it rides even better than it looks.
Never in my life before I had a bike with these ride characteristics.
The Frame fits like a good glove, the absorption of the titanium is reference class and nevertheless it is very stiff at the same time.
The wheels are running very well and interact perfect with the Compass tires.
The Bike is very stiff even on higher speeds ( Downhill about 70 Km/h ).
I was a bit afraid that the Bike is too big for the city and small curves and streets, but in fact it is very easy to use and perfectly manoeuvrable
Even on small off road tracks.
The racks are perfectly crafted and very lightweight but strong.
The gear ratio in interaction with the belt is fantastic.
The Rohloff in combination with the Gebla Box and Sram Force STI is very cool and intuitive.
The Bike is very lightweight (round 13 Kilos with lights, mudguards and racks) and fu……ing fast.
I think together we create a Monster which is absolutely unique.
So again thank you for putting your heart and soul into this Bike”

 

 

That’s all for now.

Stay tuned to the blog, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook), or sign up to our newsletter here to be sure to keep up with news about our latest bikes and be able to order your custom one.

Visit www.nuabikes.com to look at more of our bikes and to have a play with our new bicycle builder and configure your perfect machine.

Safe and happy riding, and a very happy 2020!

The Nua Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANDREW’S NUA

 

Did you miss us? Lately, we’ve had a lot of bikes to build, and not much time for blog posting, but we’re back!

In this post, we’ll introduce you to Andrew’s new bicycle; our personal take on a gravel bike, or “go everywhere bike”.

Andrew wrote to us with the idea of commissioning a bike which could replace all of his current bikes: a Colnago C50, a Thorn Raven MTB with Rohloff, a touring bike, and last but not least a fixie! Building him something along the lines of our Silice or Tramuntana seemed like the best solution to this challenge, given that they are extremely versatile machines which can handle just about anything without turning a hair. A few weeks later his Nua was born.

 

 

With a 14-speed Rohloff – which has a wider range of gears than any currently available derailleur and chain system – Andrew will never be caught short of a gear. And a change of oil every now and then is all the maintenance it will need, especially since it’s paired with a Gates Carbon Drive belt.

 

 

All our wheels are hand-built in our workshop, with a huge amount of love and only the best components. Top-quality DT Swiss rims and spokes are our go-to option. In this case, the front wheel was completed with a SON dynamo hub.

 

 

This hub generates the power to feed a powerful Supernova front light and a Busch+Müller rear light integrated discreetly into the Curana mudguard.

 

 

A Gilles Berthoud leather saddle in brown with titanium rails, Brooks leather bar tape, a Thomson stem and seatpost, Ritchey VentureMax gravel bars, a discreet and pleasant sounding Crane bell, and our own titanium bottle cages complete a marvellous, versatile build.

 

 

 

 

Andrew wrote to us as follows:

“We’ve just come back from Catalunya on holiday and a chance for my Nua to be close to her original home! The bike seems to have been built for the dirt and gravel trails in Catalunya, I really put her through her paces on some very fast downhills where she gave great confidence: though with all the flying rocks I’ve added some patina to one or 2 of the components! I also had the chance to do some mountain passes on the road where she climbed and descended very nicely”

 

 

Stay tuned to the blog, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook), or sign up to our newsletter here to be sure to keep up with news about our latest bikes and be able to order your custom one.

Visit www.nuabikes.com to find links to our other customizable bikes and to have a play with our new bicycle builder and configure your perfect machine.

Safe and happy riding!

The Nua Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NUA LA BESTIA

For a long time now, we’ve been dreaming of assembling an extremely capable “monster gravel” concept bike, the Nua La Bestia. Here is the final masterpiece:

 

 

It is an exciting titanium machine designed for the most adventurous cyclists.

 

 

A perfect hybrid between a drop-bar gravel, a dirt tourer and a plus-wheeled mountain bike, this “monster gravel” is designed to take riders further than any other bike.

It was also designed to be a great companion for your bikepacking adventures, thanks to the possibility of adding a full lighting and USB charging kit.

 

 

The original idea was to transcend a normal gravel bike in order to make it limitless off-road, thanks to bigger tires and the possibility of mounting front suspension on a bike still designed around a gravel geometry.

 

 

To do so, the pedalling position is kept highly efficient thanks to a Salsa Cowchipper dirt drop bar. and Wide 27,5×3.0” Schwalbe G-One Allround tires provide extra off-road comfort, grip, and low rolling resistance.

If further suspension is needed, a Lauf TR Boost fork or a regular telescopic one can be mounted instead of the rigid Cinq Adventure fork or the rigid Nua Titanium fork.

 

 

As always at Nua, the drivetrain is based on high-technology solutions. For a central centre of gravity, a Pinion C1.12 central gearbox was used on this prototype. This is, in fact, the big deal of the Nua La Bestia, opening the doors to a world in which highly efficient Pinion gearboxes can be used on extremely capable drop bar gravel bikes!

 

 

Coupled to a Gates Carbon belt drive, it provides an extremely durable gearing and transmission system. This combination is extremely silent, maintenance-free and particularly suitable for long-distance and adventure rides as a worry-free solution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long story short, we first had the idea of this bike a few years ago for Peter – an Australian customer – and engineered the first prototype of La Bestia. The name still remains from this first attempt. For those interested in this bike, you can read more here.

 

Old vs new shifting system.

 

 

As you might have noticed, back in those days we had to adapt the Pinion (flat bar oriented) rotary shifter with a specially in-house-designed part on the drop bar. Like other bicycle manufacturers, we were waiting for a proper drop bar compatible shifting system compatible with Pinion gearboxes so as to be able to achieve our goal a bit more elegantly.

We heard about Cinq Innovations’  intention to produce the Pinion  Shift:R Road system, and we waited impatiently for the first production versions to appear, so we could make a more refined version of our first La Bestia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cinq Innovations Shift:R Road uses a special shifting system assembled on your Pinion C.Line gearbox (shown above) and modified TRP Hylex hydraulic disc brake levers. They actuate both the powerful double piston TRP brake callipers and your Pinion gearbox precisely and rapidly. The left lever will downshift and the right lever will upshift. A great feature of the Shift:R road is the ability to change two gears at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For energy autonomy – should it be to feed your GPS on you favorite gravel loop or during a long bikepacking trip in the wilderness –  this prototype of the Nua La Bestia is equipped with a highly efficient Shutter Precision PD-8X dynamo hub feeding a convenient Cinq Innovations Plug III USB charger and an extremely powerful Supernova E3 Triple2 front light.

All the wirings are internally routed in the fork and the frame. The production version will offer an upgraded option with a SON28 dynamo hub and a Supernova tail light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a look at www.nuabikes.com or stay tuned to the blog, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook) or sign up to our newsletter here to be sure to keep up with news about the Nua La Bestia a and be able to order your custom one.

Expect to see some pictures soon of this prototype Bestia being put to the test in the highlands of Iceland by our team member Antoine.

Feel free to play with our new La Bestia bicycle builder here or visit our website to find links to our other customizable bikes.

The Nua Team

NUA GOES ELECTRIC: TOMAS’ NUA ELECTRICA

So, you think Nua’s take on an electric bike will just be a titanium frame with a boring generic Asian rear motor? Well, that’s is not quite the right way to describe the beautiful Nua Electrica. Indeed, the truth is quite the opposite. Let us tell you why we are so proud of this 13kg lightweight wonder.

Here’s the story. Tomas – a portuguese bicycle lover living in Houston – contacted us looking for a titanium bicycle manufacturer able to create a really minimal electric bike, built with a noble titanium frame and equipped with an innovative electric motor called the Zehus Bike +. He had fallen in love with this technological gem and as it happened, so had we, some time before. Life is all about opportunities, and sometimes everything falls into place, so after this coincidence Tomas naturally teamed up with us and together we created his very own Nua Electrica (which we called the “Nua Turbo” at the time).

Our premise when designing the bike was basically to make an E-bike that does not look like an E-bike. One that can be ridden like a normal bike but with an extra bit of electric boost, and one true to Nua’s very own “raw” style.

The Zehus BIKE + system the Electrica is built around is a shiny, lightweight (3kg) and compact e-bicycle motor-and-battery combo that replaces your normal rear hub. Don’t expect to see any wires or a computer on your frame with this electric motor: the battery, controllers and sensors (speed, inclination, and temperature) are integrated into the motor. At its simplest, it can be used without any computer, but you can also download the Zehus app to your smartphone, connectable to the motor using Bluetooth technology. As you can see in the picture below, it is very simple to charge using the elegant plug integrated into the wheel axle… but keep reading and you will find out why you’ll probably never need to charge this e-bike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as autonomy and power are concerned, this 250W motor paired to a 30V Li-Ion 160Wh battery pack has 30km of autonomy with full 25km/h assistance. This range increases to 90km if you are only cruising with assistance at a top speed of 14km/h. To navigate through these ranges, six power modes are available. That being said, you will probably be asking what makes this motor so special? Well, thanks to its regenerative braking technology (similar to the KERS technology used in Formula E), the level of precision of the sensors, and most importantly the sophisticated control algorithms developed by Zehus and the University of Milan, this motor offers a mode that delivers a virtually infinite range!

Leading bio-mechanical studies have allowed Zehus engineers to make the best use of your body energy according to the type of terrain you are cycling on, which has, in turn, allowed them to optimize the energy-consumption/energy-regeneration ratio of the motor in a highly effective manner. This principle means that Zehus is the only brand in the world offering an electric motor with an unlimited range. In this hybrid mode, it assists you when starting and climbing only and otherwise stealthily charges itself when braking or pedalling on flat terrain, allowing you to get rid of plugs! It sounds like magic, but this is technology paired with simplicity and at Nua, this is what we like.

So now that you know how the Zehus Bike + totally fits with Nua’s search for simplicity, technology, elegance and durability, let us tell you a bit about the rest of the build.

As always at Nua, a Gates carbon belt drive ensures a clean, silent and maintenance-free pedalling torque transmission. On Tomas’ bike, it is paired with a shiny Sugino Pista alloy crankset, a Gilles Berthoud saddle and Brooks leather grips for a touch of classicism. We also decided to match the Nua Electrica titanium frame with Nua’s titanium fork, stem, handlebar and seatpost for optimum elegance, maximum comfort (thanks to titanium’s superb fatigue-resistant and elastic properties), and versatility. For the rest, we trusted in the classics: Shimano brakes and Mavic wheels, which are protected by Hexlox anti-theft locks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomas wanted a simple bike without superfluous features, but the frame and fork are still compatible with racks and mudguards and sport internal electric cable routing in case he wants to add a dynamo hub and powerful light at any point. We have designed him an upgradeable electric commuter: sporty in this configuration but with the ability to morph into a more utilitarian build if-and-when needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The search for simplicity does not mean that we don’t work hard on our designs, and this Electrica urban bike is no exception as we had to engineer special parts. Due to the inclination sensors sported by the Zehus in order to precisely optimize the assistance level, the rear wheel axle needs to be indexed horizontally. We always look for a really elegant solution to any problem and in this case, we decided to develop custom Nua dropouts to facilitate this.

Rather than using track dropouts (as many Zehus bikes do) which can mess with the belt tension when you remove the wheel, we decided to develop an integrated torque arm, inspired by Rolhoff dropouts. Thanks to these Nua custom “Zehus special” sliding dropouts, you can remove your rear wheel without having to lower the tension of the belt drive. Did we already mention that we care about every little detail? As engineers, we prefer to take advantage of our knowledge and develop smart and clean solutions instead of using off-the-shelf parts. Here’s a sneak-peak of our development process based on 3D printing technology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At ease everywhere, Tomas’ Electrica has graced the streets of Houston, Texas and can now be spotted in Zürich. At the time of writing, this first Electrica has cruised over 1000 km in the streets of Houston without any problems.

Tomas describes his riding experience in these words: “Riding my Nua Electrica […] is a real pleasure. The ride is very comfortable and smooth and at the same time the engine assists you if you are tired or if you want to be assisted at all times. It’s all controlled by an app on your phone and this is very practical.” And he elaborates on the assistance: “It’s seamless. Regardless of the mode the engine kicks in very softly when you pedal. It’s a really nice feeling.”

Its owner seems so happy that we are now offering a customizable and well-priced Nua Electrica for general sale!

Have a look at www.nuabikes.com or stay tuned to the blog, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook) or sign up to our newsletter here to be sure to keep up with news about the Nua Electrica and be able to order yours.

The Nua Team

 

JAMES’ (AND SOCKET THE DOG’S) OFF-ROAD MACHINE : THE NUA ROURE

James contacted us with some really special requirements that make the story of this bike a bit more curious than most. He was looking for a rugged titanium off-roader equipped with plus tires which corresponded to his vision of the ultimate expedition machine.

He wanted it to be agile, comfortable, long lasting and well equipped… but on top of all that, he wanted to be able to take his dog Socket with him on biking adventures in the Californian countryside. The bike would need to be trailer-compatible (yes, sometimes dogs need to rest too…). Here is the final build:

First of all, we fulfilled James’ comfort and durability requirements by taking a Nua Ti-Roure titanium frame and adding the full range of Nua titanium components we offer. The exceptional fatigue resistance and vibration-filtering properties of titanium, along with its lifetime corrosion resistance, made it the material of choice for this tough but light expedition machine.

James’ bike is equipped with Nua’s signature titanium fork, seatpost, stem, and handlebars. We care about all the little, geeky details, so the frame screws, axles and headset spacers are made out of titanium too. As on nearly all Nua bikes, we internally routed the cables in the frame and fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The maintenance-free transmission of this bicycle was achieved by pairing two jewels of American and German technology: a Gates CDX belt drive and a Pinion C1.12 gearbox. The advantage of the Pinion C-line lies in its lightness – compared to the higher-end P-line – thanks to a roughly 30% lighter casing constructed of magnesium rather than aluminium. It offers a well-indexed range of 600% – one third more than the range of a 1x single-chainring setup. This gearbox makes James’ Roure a capable tourer, ready to climb whatever slope, even when heavily loaded with bikepacking equipment.

To securely stop the bicycle and its rider (and dog), we chose Shimano XT four-piston calipers with oversized 180mm rotors, designed for the most aggressive mountain bikers. This may sound like an extreme choice if you only consider the bike, but it was a smart move if you consider a heavily loaded bike-and-trailer combination bombing down a long Californian descent.

 

The braking power is transmitted to the ground by grippy (and stylish) Schwalbe G-one 27,5”x2,8” tires in their “Allround” version, sporting a multitude of low-profile knobs. DT Swiss XM 481 rims hand-laced with DT Swiss Champion spokes on Pinion and Shutter Precision hubs are the core of these solid and lightweight handmade wheels.

 

 

 

For convenient and battery-free night rides, James’ Roure is equipped with a sturdy Shutter Precision dynamo front hub and a kit of Supernova Pure E3 front and rear lights, mounted on the handlebar and the seatpost. Looking to offer James maximum ease of maintenance, we welded connectors to the electrical cables so that he could quickly and easily disassemble the front wheel or even in the case of a puncture or even the fork to change a headset quickly. All our bikes are assembled with this same high standard of quality and attention to detail.

 

 

For the contact points between the rider and the bike, we carefully choose the best components available: Ergon GP2 grips (with integrated “mini horns”), Shimano XT pedals (clip and flat combo) and a vintage-look Gilles Berthoud Galibier leather saddle.

 

After riding his “Socket bike” for the first time, James described his Nua Roure as “poetry in motion”; a laconic turn of phrase which perfectly fits the Nua philosophy. Test riding it ourselves during our meticulous post-assembly quality control, we fell in love with this bike and decided that we should take the concept one step further and add our version of the Nua Roure to our upcoming off-road range.

We are designing a fully equipped version of the Nua Roure, including mudguards, lights, and custom made racks. The rear lights will be integrated into the rack, sport internally routed wiring, and be powered by a dynamo hub. A supremely comfortable Nua titanium bikepacking handlebar is also on its way and will equip this bike as well as being available as an option for custom builds in 2019.

 

Stay tuned to the blog, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook) or sign up to our newsletter here to stay up to date with the Nua team’s version of James’ California dreamin’!

The Nua team

THE NUA SÍLICE

 

One of the defining characteristics of our bikes is their versatility, and in this post we present one of our most versatile models yet: the Nua Sílice, a bike which could be classified as one of the new breed of Road Plus bikes, with 650B (27,5”) wheels and generously wide tyres (48mm). These tyres have an exterior diameter similar to that of classic 700/28 road tyres, but with no less than 2.5 times more air inside, and with a considerably lower pressure.

And what does this mean, in real terms? It means that we have a bike with the same dynamic performance as a standard road bike, but with a level of comfort and a capacity for absorbing impacts which allows offroad riding on almost any terrain.

If you’re asking if these tyres wouldn’t make your bike roll slower on asphalt, the answer is a clear “no”. In fact, if the road is not perfectly smooth (and how many actually are?), wide tyres can actually roll faster than narrow, high-pressure tyres. The reasons for this phenomenon are basically two:

  1. Better absorption means the tyre adapts to irregularities in the road, reducing suspension losses.
  2. The shape of the tyre’s footprint on the road reduces the torque necessary to turn the wheel, which again reduces energy losses.

On top of all this, wider tyres mean better grip and fewer punctures. Could it get any better? If you like to know more about all this, you’ll find various articles on the subject in Jan Heine’s (Compass) excellent blog, for example this one:
https://janheine.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/12-myths-in-cycling-1-wider-tires-are-slower/

Our take on the Road Plus genre is the Nua Sílice, of which the bike we proudly present here – custom built for David in Denmark – is a very nice specimen. He wrote to us looking for a winter/gravel/commuter bike to use for his 17 km daily commute along roads and gravel tracks, and for weekend treks on all kinds of terrain. Shortly afterwards, his Nua was born, looking like this:

 

 

David had sent us a fit sheet done by a specialist bike shop, so we designed his frame to perfectly fit his proportions.

 

 

David also had a clear idea of many of the characteristics he wanted his new bike to have, for example a carbon fibre fork, an internally geared hub, and a belt drive. For the fork, we chose a Dedacciai Gravel, a lightweight full carbon fork with sufficient tyre clearance to allow wide tyres (in this case Panarecer Pari-Moto) even with mudguards. It comes with a solid 12mm thru-axle.

 

 

For the gearing, we decided on a smooth and ultra-silent Shimano Alfine 11 speed. With its ample 408% range, it will be able to manage any kind of incline.

 

 

Combining IGH’s with drop bars isn’t always easy, but in this case it was no problem thanks to these microSHIFT brake shifters, designed specially to combine with the Alfine 11.

 

 

The microSHIFT brake shifters are only available for cable disc brakes, so we installed these Hy/Rd brake callipers from TRP with an integrated hydraulic system which converts mechanical pull to hydraulic push, vastly reducing the amount of adjustment and maintenance necessary, and slightly increasing the braking power.

 

 

For the front hub we opted for a Shimano Ultegra RS770, one of the only hubs on the market which combines a 12mm thru axle with 32 holes. We needed this combination so we could install WTB KOM i23 TCS rims, which will stand up to every kind of off-road punishment.

 

 

For the handlebar, we chose a Salsa Cowchipper, a so-called “dirt dropbar” with a radical 24º flare in the drops which increases leverage and stability for offroad riding.

 

 

Among other components we selected were the Crank Brothers Double Shot hybrid pedals – half flat, half clip-in:

 

 

A Brooks Cambium C15 All Weather saddle:

 

 

And some Curana C-Lite mudguards, beautifully integrated into the bike:

 

 

To sum up: a bicycle which will perform equally well on roads and on dirt tracks, and which will even allow for some serious mountain biking. A bicycle which will be David’s faithful companion on his daily commute, but also on his weekend adventures. We’re very happy with the result, and it would seem David is too:

“Today I received my Nua and after putting it together I couldn’t resist to go out and trying it out. The first impressions couldn’t be better, and not just because the looks. After a 2h ride mixing inner-city bike lanes, open roads and gravel roads I can’t remove the smile from my face. It’s such a nice ride. Super comfortable, very silent, stable and surprisingly fast! Can’t wait til next ride!”

 

 

 

That’s all for now. If you don’t already subscribe to our newsletter and you’d like to receive regular updates about our latest custom builds and ideas for your dream bike, sign up here.
Safe and happy cycling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARK’S NUA DUAL

 

Mark has been riding the London streets on his daily commute to work for decades. So when he decided to buy a new bicycle he already had a clear idea of his needs. He had come across the Nua Dual on the internet and thought that its titanium frame and fork, its Pinion gearbox, and its belt transmission would be the perfect base on which to construct his dream bike. We were of course very happy to help.

 

 

The Nua Ti-Frame – constructed from Gr9 titanium – perfectly accommodates the fabulous Pinion gearbox. As you may already know, this gearing system was designed by Porsche engineers, so it’s not very different from the sequential gearshift you might find in a Porsche sports car. It is precise, has an enormous range which will handle any situation, and is maintenance-free except for a quick and easy oil change every 10,000 km. In Mark’s case, after discussing his needs, we opted for the 9-speed version.

 

 

        

 

Of course, the transmission had to be a Gates Carbon Drive CDX belt. With a minimum working life of 20,000 km, without the need to grease or tension, it’s the perfect companion for the Pinion box. Mark chose a red belt to add a splash of colour to his bike.

 

 

When it came to tires, Mark’s priority was to reduce the risk of punctures to an absolute minimum, so we installed some robust Continental Contact Plus and added some Zefal anti-flat tape. The 55mm width absorbs rough road surfaces with ease.

 

 

We modified the Curana mudguards so that they can be installed without removing the back wheel. That way Mark can use them only during rainy spells. (Wishful thinking from a Londoner, perhaps?)

 

 

Mark had a couple of other specific requirements: for example, he wanted to be able to have a GoPro recording at all times; very useful in case of accidents. So we designed a special bracket for the camera, mounted just below the stem.

 

 

He also wanted to theft-proof his bike as much as possible, and this we achieved with a superb quality compact Abus lock installed directly on the frame. In this way, the bike’s weight remains centred, and the lock is tidily out-of-the-way but easily accessed.

 

 

With the frame protected, it only remained to protect the main components with Hexlox inserts. Here the titanium handlebar:

 

 

The wheels (which by the way were laced in-house with Pinion hubs and DT-Swiss 471 rims):

 

 

The Gilles Berthoud saddle with titanium rails:

 

 

The titanium seatpost:

 

 

Even the rear wheel’s sliding dropouts:

 

 

The pedals:

 

 

And the titanium stem:

 

 

 

Mark’s words in a recent email made us very happy:

“Roberto, the bike is a sheer joy to ride. I make excuses to go out for a ride 🙂 I had a very specific set of requirements, and the superb design and all-round capability of the NUA Dual you custom made for me is the best bike I could have wished for. I love it. One of my friends already called my Nua the ‘Range Rover’ of bicycles – by which he meant it is the ultimate mix of off-road and urban luxury ride :)”

 

 

That’s all for now. If you don’t already subscribe to our newsletter and you’d like to receive regular updates about our latest custom builds and ideas for your dream bike, sign up here.
Safe and happy cycling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NUA KENSHŌ

 

The Nua Doppio is perhaps our most iconic preset. Sexy and fast, it stands out from the crowd. So when Philippe wrote to us from Zürich asking about the possibility of us making him a version of the Doppio but with a Pinion 6-speed hub, we were more than happy to oblige. A few months later, the Nua Kenshō was born:

 

 

The Pinion gearbox is from the new C-line range, sporting a super-light magnesium alloy casing. With six speeds covering an ample range, it’s more than sufficient for urban riding and the occasional excursion into the countryside. It should last for a minimum of 100,000 km with no more maintenance than an oil change every 5,000 km. What more could you ask for?

 

      

 

The rest of the build is identical to the standard Doppio. Here are a few photos for your viewing pleasure:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judging by his words, Philippe is very happy with his Nua:

“Thank you very very very much for this beautiful machine. Everything feels fantastic and I love it. I‘m using it every day and enjoy every detail and part. I am travelling a lot by train + bike from Zürich to Geneve, here some pics”

 

 

 

We are also extremely happy with the result of this experiment. So much so that we’ve decided to offer it as a new preset: the Nua Kenshō.

Speaking of presets, we’re in the process of adding a fabulous new Bike Builder to our web, which will allow customers to choose between components to configure their own unique Nua. It’ll be going live soon on www.nuabikes.com, so keep an eye out!

That’s all for now. If you don’t already subscribe to our newsletter and you’d like to receive regular updates about our latest custom builds and ideas for your dream bike, sign up here.
Safe and happy cycling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

YUKKA’S FLOC DE NEU

 

The Nua we’re presenting in this post has a big personality, and it’s been a similarly big pleasure to watch it come to life and to welcome it into the growing family of Nua bikes which populate planet earth.

Yukka wrote to us from Finland. Like other clients who live in the frozen north, he was interested in the combination of titanium frame and belt transmission; a combination which can cope with the adverse riding conditions in his country, where snow, ice, salt, and gravel form a cocktail which often proves lethal to lesser bikes, which struggle with rusted frames and chains.

Yukka is used to riding fixed gear bikes, and had been in love with the Nua Floc de Neu (our take on the fixie genre) for some time. But he needed to add certain components which are obligatory by law in Finland, such as lights and a kickstand. It was a challenge keeping the minimalist aesthetic of the Floc de Neu intact, but I think we did pretty well!

 

 

The wheels are laced by hand, and the rear one sports two Gates sprockets, one fixed and the other single-speed, so that Yukka has only to flip the wheel to change between the two.

 

 

For the front wheel, we opted for a super-light Shutter Precision hub, which powers a discreet and powerful LED light from Supernova, the E3 Pure. This light is held in place by a custom-made bracket screwed directly into the fork, which has been given some special eyelets for the purpose.

 

 

For the rear light, we went with a LightSKIN seat post with integrated battery-powered LEDs.

 

 

The front brakes are our old favourites, the Tektro R559 Long Reach, the only rim brakes on the market which fit around wide tyres while maintaining the same braking power as a good short-reach brake. And to operate them, a very pretty and super strong Paul brake lever, with metallic cable housing from Velo Orange:

 

 

The headset is titanium, a rare breed. It has a brushed finish which combines nicely with the sand-blasted frame, the lovely green of the stem, and the natural colour of the bar tape.

 

 

The saddle and bar tape, both in natural coloured cotton, are from the Brooks Cambium range.

 

         

 

The tyres are by Compass: wide, comfortable, and super fast-rolling.

 

 

By this time you will have noticed that we painted some of the bike’s components a pretty green colour. Here, for example, the F-Gimondi crankset, powered by MKS Japan pedals.

 

 

To sum up, a very personal bike, practical, but at the same time elegantly simple and exceptionally beautiful. And if Yukka’s comments are anything to go by, it’s adapted very well to its icy new home.

“The bike is very light, responsive (I drive fixed) and fast compared with my older steel fixed gear bikes. The wide Compass tires are really comfortable. Today we have about 5 cm fresh snow and icy ground, but the tires handled it well. I’m more than happy with my Floc de Neu, it really flies over ice and snowy sleet. I will surely treasure and cherish my Nua.”

 

 

That’s all for now. If you don’t already subscribe to our newsletter and you’d like to receive regular updates about our latest custom builds and ideas for your dream bike, sign up here.
Safe and happy cycling!