Folks, a recent video has been posted on YouTube showing an engineer with what appears to be a very odd bicycle drivetrain. It’s called the Supre Drive and is a system designed to solve many of the problems riders face whenever crushing it on an MTB. From banging your derailleur on rocks to a lack of constant tension on your chain, these are the issues to be resolved with the Supre Drive.
The mind behind the contraption you see belongs to Cedric Eveleigh, a mechanical engineer and passionate mountain biker from Canada. Honestly, anytime you throw a mechanical engineer into any industry, you’re bound to start seeing some experimentation, but it would seem that very few people, even manufacturers, have ever thought of designing something like the Supre.
To get a clear idea of what you’re looking at, it helps to know a bit about how a bicycle drivetrain works, mainly the function of a derailleur. As you know, the derailleur is that little mechanism that moves your chain up and down a bicycle’s cassette, shifting gears in the process. Another function of a derailleur is to keep your chain tensioned at optimum levels.
But this system comes with its own problems. While the functions mentioned above are served, traditional drivetrains and derailleurs are prone to a few issues, some of which include exposed components and an occasional lack of proper tension on your chain, directly affecting your bike’s ability to handle what you throw at it.
Supre Drive solves those issues through its design. Over two years have gone by since Cedric began designing this prototype drive and now even has a patent on what you see, so don’t bother trying to copy him.
The problem of protecting your exposed drivetrain is solved by Supre because the entire system is now mounted in a reverse configuration and lifted off the ground. Second, it sits behind the frame, again protecting it from eventual bangs against debris.
To do this, the chain-tensioning properties of the rear derailleur have been removed. But, to continue to offer proper tension on a chain, the tensioner has been added right above the crank and mounted directly to the bottom bracket.
One other aspect this system yields is a near-constant chain tension. Yes, even if you’re in the lower gear range. This is achieved by decreasing the tensioner arm cable, a feature that’s sure to be loved by riders of every level and age. However, the best way to find out if Supre lives up to its potential is to ride a bike equipped with it. Good luck.
So far, Cedric is on his second prototype drivetrain, with the first prototype bike functioning with a 10-45T cassette and the newest running with a Shimano 10-51T cassette.
For a moment, imagine this drivetrain on a cassette with this sort of range. Better yet, imagine the Supre Drive on that machine you have in your garage and love to ride.
Now, we’re being told that this system is answering many of the problems associated with bicycle drivetrains. The only question now is what faults and issues may be present here. Time will tell, but for now, the Supre Drive seems more than promising.