More and more cyclists and bike manufacturers are beginning to adopt belt drive technology. With good reason: a belt-powered drive train does not require grease, are more durable and last longer than chains, are lighter and deliver a smooth and quiet ride. An ideal candidate was this titanium commuter from Wheeldan, a custom frame builder from Berlin.
Daniel Pleikies is a designer and titanium craftsman of the highest caliber, as shown by his 650b commuter, named the Basilisk. A basilisk was a grotesque mythological creature that looked like the result of a union between a cobra and a cock. Unlike its namesake, the Wheeldan Basilisk is a tight and clean machine that utilises the most modern technology.
A belt drive is a perfect solution not only for commuter bikes, but also long distance and endurance racers, such as those competing in the Tour Divide mountain bike race. While they may not be the best option for a world tour, due to their lack of availability in developing countries, the Gates Carbon Drive is set to have a significant impact on the industry over the coming years.
The Basilisk also incorporates the incredible Pinion internal gearbox which, in contrast to a Sturmey Archer or Rohloff unit, is located in front of the bottom bracket. Made in Germany, the Pinion was developed by “young engineers, fresh from the engine and gearbox development department of a Stuttgart-based premium car manufacturer”. Suffice to say, it’s a solid and beautifully crafted unit.
Coupled with the Gates belt drive, a SON 28 lighting system and Daniel’s titanium frame, the Basilisk becomes what could be the ultimate commuter fahrrad. Internal cabling runs from the hub to the front lamp, mounted on a custom rack, and the rear — integrated into the seat mast. A pair of Woody’s fenders, handmade in Germany, cover each of the wheels, shod with Grand Bois Hetre tyres.
The Basilisk was unveiled at the recent 2014 Eurobike event where, unlike the poisonous creature it was named after, it most certainly didn’t cause death to anyone who gazed upon it. I’d say most onlookers would have been asking if it needed a ride home. Special thanks to Daniel for the photos — see more on the Wheeldan website.