As one might guess from the name, Cavalerie Bikes is a French company developing gearbox mountain bikes. This is the Falcon downhill bike with 200mm of travel. There is also a Squirrel freeride bike at 185mm, and a soon to be released trail bike in the 150mm travel range.
The gearbox housing is an integral part of the frame, welded in place and acting as a stressed member. Inside the box are nine gears, which can be reduced in single gear increments to six for reduced weight. The nine speed range is claimed to be similar to an 11-42 cassette.
The Gates belt drive is possible because the suspension pivot is concentric with the output shaft on the gearbox, but those who would rather use a chain, that option is available as well.
The belt is always moving when the rear wheel is spinning, as the freewheel mechanism is located in the gearbox, not the rear hub. This helps to keep shifts smooth and consistent. Shifting can happen when pedaling, coasting, or at a standstill.
The shifters are either a standard twist shift style, or a sequential ratcheting twist shift or a rotating lever. The gear box has a carbon fiber cover and a easy access oil drain hole for oil changes, which are called for every 6-12 months, depending on use.
Complete bikes are in the $9,500 range, with a frame set at $5,700. The frameset includes a Hope headset and seat collar, a 135×12 fixed gear rear hub, and crankset.
We are working to get the trail bike headed out way for a full test, we are very curious about gear box bikes.