NEW NICOLAI Saturn 16 MGU Enduro E-MTB 2024 tech data and info


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The Saturn 16 MGU is the latest enduro E-MTB straight from the machine shop of German mountain bike manufacturer NICOLAI. The aluminum specialist from Lower Saxony has a long history of gearbox bikes and in 2012 was one of the first brands to offer the revolutionary Pinion P1.18 gearbox in a full-suspension mountain bike, the Helius AM Pinion. NICOLAI now offers a variety of models with Pinion gearboxes, as well as a range of e-enduro and e-trail bikes from the EBOXX and SWIFT series. With the Motor.Gearbox.Unit, Pinion is now providing a product that combines both technologies - e-assist and manual transmission - into one compact unit.

Next Level E-MTB - the Saturn 16 MGU

The Saturn 16 MGU integrates a number of innovative technologies into a pioneering overall system. As a 29er E-Enduro, it combines the capable NICOLAI Saturn full-suspension base with the Pinion E1.12 Motor.Gearbox.Unit. The MGU is a unique, new drive system that merges a wearfree, brushless high-performance motor and an electronically operated 12-speed gearbox that can be shifted under load with a 600% total gear ratio in a compact housing.

Motor vehicles do not use derailleur systems for good reason. Due to the motor power alone, with the Saturn 16 MGU, an impressive 160 Nm of torque is applied to the rear wheel in first gear. Such high forces put extreme strain on a gearshift and cause heavy wear. The Pinion 12-speed gearbox installed in the Motor.Gearbox.Unit therefore relies on proven, high-load automotive technology, which uses two spur gear sets in line. Pinion gearboxes are used in mountain biking for over 10 years and have proven themselves under the toughest conditions. On the Saturn 16 MGU there is no rear derailleur that can get out of line, bend or break off, no cable tension that needs to be readjusted in order to get a clean gear change, no plate-sized cassette that collects leaves and mud. The shifting and drive components are well protected from dirt, moisture and damage in a robust, sealed housing. The Pinion MGU works extremely reliably and is virtually maintenance-free and wear-free. A simple, quick oil change is only required every 10,000 km.

Instead of a chain, the Saturn 16 MGU uses the Gates Carbon Drive to transmit the power to the rear wheel. Quiet, strong and durable, this belt drive also reduces maintenance and care requirements as it needs no lubrication and can simply be rinsed off with water. By removing classic components such as rear derailleur and cassette or hub gears, the unsprung mass on the rear wheel of the Saturn 16 MGU is significantly reduced. This has the advantage that the suspension reacts particularly sensitive to bumps, impacts and obstacles, which results in better traction and a more supple ride.

The central weight distribution and low center of gravity also improve handling and bike control.

Character and range of use With 160 mm travel at the front and rear, the Saturn 16 MGU is perfectly suited for demanding offroad use from all-mountain to enduro. The 4-bar linkage rear end is based on the Horst Link design.

With its high torsional rigidity, it ensures precise bike control and maneuverability. Double-sealed, full complement high-quality bearings make for smooth running, zero play and long-lasting function of the rear suspension. With a shock ratio of 3:1 at the beginning and 2:1 at the end of the stroke, an 3 almost constant progression is achieved. This ensures a sensitive response to small bumps, plush travel in the mid-range and a sufficient reserve for hard hits and landings. An optimized anti-squat profile takes into account the combined force of the rider and motor drive and benefits from the constant vector of the belt drive, which, unlike a derailleur system, does not vary depending on the gear selected on the cassette. The kinematics of the Saturn 16 MGU are equally suitable for steel spring shocks and air shocks.

The Saturn 16 MGU is a force on the trails and has no limits, neither on technical terrain nor on high-speed downhills. At the same time, its high level of comfort makes it suitable for extended tours and leisure biking. NICOLAI applies its Geolution Tour geometry concept here. Less radical than an ultra-slack, competition-only enduro geometry, the Saturn 16 MGU is far more versatile.

With a long reach of 495 mm (size M) and a 64.5° slack head angle, the Saturn 16 MGU can handle the most demanding trails and steepest downhills without sacrificing agility and maneuverability.

The 77.5° steep seat angle provides a central riding position, allowing for maximum control and ideal load distribution on front and rear wheel in all riding situations.

With a 651 mm stack (size M), the front of the Saturn 16 MGU is slightly higher than is common on race-oriented enduro bikes. This boosts confidence on steep downhill sections. On the other hand, a lower front is advantageous on steep climbs because it allows you to move your body weight further forward. However, different standards apply here on a regular bike than on an e-bike like the Saturn 16 MGU, on which you can conquer any summit even in a more relaxed riding position thanks to the powerful motor. At the same time, a more upright riding position increases comfort on tours and reduces fatigue. By using a trunnion design shock with a reduced overall length and 62.5 mm stroke, the top tube of the Saturn 16 MGU could be lowered to the maximum. This allows more freedom of movement on the bike for more control and confidence on demanding terrain.

With the Saturn 16 MGU, NICOLAI‘s Geolution Tour formula can be defined as follows: High-speed trails, technical challenges and hard-hitting downhill on the one hand - relaxed climbing, comfort and touring on the other.

The 7020 T6 aluminum frame of the Saturn 16 MGU is designed to be so strong and durable that there are no limits or restrictions on its use, whether it‘s e-enduro racing or freeride sessions in the bike park. A 5-year warranty on the frame is standard at NICOLAI. Not to pay for this with additional weight, the manufacturer applies the method of topology optimization for the design of all important modules and components of the frame. Using special FEM software, it is possible to optimally reinforce areas subject to high loads and save material in areas that are under less stress.

Some good examples of this technology are the truss structure of the down tube or the single-piece milled rocker arm. As an aluminum bike, when it comes to weight, the Saturn 16 MGU can keep up with comparable carbon-based enduro e-bikes while using a significantly more sustainable frame material.

Pinion Motor.Gearbox.Unit

The Pinion MGU combines the motor, gearbox, sensors and control systems into a perfectly integrated unit of a size and weight comparable to current E-MTB mid-drive motors for external gears. Just like the NICOLAI Saturn base, all components of the Pinion MGU are manufactured in Germany to the highest industry standards.

The Pinion E-Drive system is powered by a compact, wear-free, brushless motor that provides a maximum output of 600 W and a maximum assists of 400 %. With a comparable drive torque of approx. 85 Nm, an impressive 160 Nm of torque is achieved at the rear wheel in first gear.

A number of internal sensors continuously measure the input torque, motor revs, shift shaft and crank arm position, cadence, riding speed and other parameters. All system components work together as a unit. The Saturn 16 MGU knows in which gear and in what riding situation it is currently in. This ensures optimum, dynamic power output, lightning-fast, precise shifting in all load conditions and a particularly natural riding experience on any terrain.

Smart.Shift - intelligent shifting

With the Pinion Smart.Shift technology and a high-resolution sensor system, gear changes on the Saturn 16 MGU take place within a fraction of a second and are absolutely smooth, even under load. The optimized ergonomics and haptics of the electronic TE1 trigger provide an intuitive shifting experience with crisp feedback.

Thanks to Smart.Shift technology, the Saturn 16 MGU knows when the ideal moment for a gear change is. When using the optional Pre.Select and Start.Select functions, the MGU can therefore also perform gear changes automatically. With Pre.Select, the system automatically shifts to the optimum gear for the respective speed. For example, when riding downhill without pedaling, you can start off pedaling again immediately without kicking into a gap or having to shift down several gears manually. If you use Start.Select, the MGU automatically shifts to a preselected gear, preventing you from having to start off in the wrong gear.

E-Assist modes

The e-drive system of the Saturn 16 MGU features four assist modes: ECO is set for maximum range. With FLY, the full power of the drive can be accessed at any time. FLOW and FLEX are adaptive modes. They are configured progressively and adapt the level of assistance perfectly suited to the current riding situation and the respective terrain. A start assist and an extra boost are also available. All modes can be adapted to your individual needs and preferences using the FIT E-Bike Control app.

Remote LED control unit

The Remote LED control unit has an integrated display that provides excellent readability in all lighting conditions. In addition to providing basic riding data such as speed, range, state of charge and assist mode, it can be used to control and manage a variety of other functions. The navigation menu is designed to be particularly intuitive. In combination with the FIT E-Bike Control app, features such as tour planning and navigation can also be used. By activating Komoot in the smartphone app, the display can then be used for turn-by-turn navigation.

MGU-specific features such as shift recommendations and the setting of all Smart.Shift functions are also fully integrated. The remote LED control unit with its illuminated buttons is intuitive and easy to operate. The hands always remain safely on the handlebars. An optional vibration function provides subtle but clearly perceptible haptic feedback that increases in intensity the faster you go.

For the Explorer Kit full configuration, NICOLAI also offers the Saturn 16 MGU with the separate, large Comfort Display in combination with the Basic Remote control unit.


The Saturn 16 MGU is powered by the latest generation of lithium-ion battery cells. An intelligent battery management system protects against overloading. NICOLAI offers two battery sizes to choose from: the fully integrated Ultracore 720 and the semi-integrated Ultracore 960. The numbers indicate the capacity in watt hours. The battery can be charged via a charging socket in the bike or when removed. A long-life mode enables intelligent charging and significantly increases the battery life. The Ultracore 720 battery is included in the basic configuration. The Ultracore 960 is optionally available and is combined with a toolbox that is perfectly integrated at the transition from the battery to the motor.gearbox.unit.

GBT3 Belt Tensioner

The GBT3 belt tensioner allows the Gates Carbon Drive to be used on an enduro E-MTB with long travel and a high swingarm pivot point. With this suspension design, there is a considerable increase in distance between the bottom bracket axle and the rear wheel axle when the suspension compresses. The job of the belt tensioner is to compensate for the difference in length of the belt.

Overload Bashguard The Overload Bashguard from UT is specially designed for Gates Carbon Drive pulleys on Pinion transmissions. In intensive MTB off-road use the front pulley can hit rocks or tree trunks. The Overload Bash Guard is robust enough to protect the drive from damage and prevents the belt from jumping off thanks to its side flange. When riding in muddy conditions or snow, it also reduces soiling of the pulley.

Performance first - Saturn 16 MGU 8.0 build kit

The 8.0 version of the Saturn 16 MGU comes with premium components that are perfectly suited for demanding enduro and all-mountain use. Performance is definitely the top priority here. In addition to the basic color of this model, NICOLAI offers the option of choosing from a variety of powder coatings for the frame and a range of anodized colors for the mounted components. With the NICOLAI Extra Love program, you can give your Saturn 16 MGU a unique, individual finish.

In terms of suspension, the Factory product line offers the highest level components from market leader Fox. With the Grip2 damper, the Fox 38 Float Factory allows a professional, individual setup in an instant. With 160 mm of travel, it tames every trail and provides maximum steering precision with an exceptionally rigid chassis and sturdy 38 mm stanchions. The Fox DHX Factory coil spring shock with dimensions of 205 × 62.5 mm provides 160 mm of rear wheel travel and is particularly responsive for maximum traction. Thanks to the 2-position setting lever, the damping can be set to hard with one click for more efficient climbing or riding on level ground.

Magura‘s MT7 Pro HC brakes are among the most powerful on the market and are used successfully at Downhill World Cup races. With a forged, one-piece 4-piston caliper and ergonomically optimized, smooth-action 1-finger levers, they combine maximum braking power and precise modulation. The Saturn 16 MGU features a 220 mm disc at the front and a 203 mm Magura MDR-P disc at the rear.

Developed exclusively for use on E-MTBs, the DT Swiss HX 1700 Spline wheelset has an accordingly robust design. Tubeless ready, with DT Swiss ratchet technology, straight-pull spokes and welded 30 mm wide hookless rims, these wheels can handle anything the trail throws at them.

The tires of the Saturn 16 MGU are also exclusively designed for enduro e-bikes. With an aggressive, open pattern and grooved center and shoulder blocks, Schwalbe‘s Eddy Current 29 x 2.6 front and rear set combines precise steering performance, maximum grip and a long service life.

The Bikeyoke Divine dropper seatpost is a premium product in terms of function, ergonomics and usability. High-quality workmanship and a lightweight design, it also features automatic venting.

NICOLAI offers the post with the Saturn 16 MGU in different stroke versions depending on the frame size: 125 mm for size S - 160 mm for size M . 185 mm for size L and XL. A Bikeyoke Revive with 213 mm stroke is available for size XXL.

The Bikeyoke Divine dropper seatpost is a premium product in terms of function, ergonomics and usability. With high-quality workmanship and a lightweight design, it also features automatic venting. NICOLAI offers the post on the Saturn 16 MGU with different stroke lengths depending on the frame size, but is also happy to accommodate individual requirements: 125 mm for size S – 160 mm for size M . 185 mm for size L and XL. A Bikeyoke Revive with 213 mm stroke is available for size XXL.

For the contact points, NICOLAI has fitted the Saturn 16 MGU with a 6OX Ergowave Active saddle and 7OX grips from SQLab. The cockpit comprises a 780 mm wide Acros Gothic handlebar with 25 mm rise and 35 mm clamping, combined with a 32 mm Raceface Turbine stem. An Acros Blocklock headset prevents the handlebars from rotating too far. A-Flat MD pedals from Acros complete the package.

Explorer Kit - turns the Saturn 16 MGU into an SUV

If you would like to use the Saturn 16 MGU as an SUV, commuter or daily ride, the bike can be fitted with the Explorer Kit, that is optionally available. The kit includes robust mudguards, a sturdy luggage rack and a street legal, high-powered lights set. Schwalbe Johnny Watts tires reduce roll resistance. An ergonomic SQLab cockpit allows for an even more comfortable riding position.

This makes the Saturn 16 MGU equally suited to everyday use and adventures. For the Explorer configuration, NICOLAI recommends the larger Ultracore 960 instead of the 720 Wh battery of the standard configuration, which is then always combined with a toolbox that is perfectly integrated between the battery and the Motor.Gearbox.Unit. The high-quality components of the kit are perfectly matched. This ensures an optimum fit and compatibility with the bike. The Explorer Kit is

installed ready to go with a new bike order.

In combination with the Explorer Kit, the Saturn 16 MGU can also be equipped with the separate, large Comfort Display in combination with the Basic Remote control unit to replace the Remote LED control unit.

Further model variants

The 8.0 version of the Saturn 16 MGU is available exclusively at the model launch. Further model variants will be introduced in the course of the 2024 season, in particular a lighter all-mountain version with a Fox Float air shock, a Fox 36 suspension fork and less aggressive 2.4-inch tires.

Saturn 16 MGU - NICOLAI Engineering Features

Geolution Tour Geometry optimized for single trails with touring potential

Topology optimization Computer-aided design to optimize durability, function and weight

HMT - Hollow Milled Tech Hollow milled CNC components that combine maximum durability

and minimum weight

RADO 148x12 Adjustable, replaceable right-hand thru-axle mount for factory

setting of exact toe and camber

System integration Technical integration of the Pinion MGU in every detail

Gates Carbon Drive Carbon fiber reinforced belt drive: clean, quiet, robust, durable, lowmaintenance

Horst-Link Drive-optimized and brake-neutral four-bar rear suspension

Insert Bearings Quadruple-sealed full complement deep groove and angular contact

ball bearings

Extra Love Powder and anodized colors, decals, customizing, individualization

5 frame sizes Adaptive geometry and weight-dependent modification

7020 T6 Aluminium Sustainable and durable, the stuff dreams are made of

NICOLAI welding Craftsmanship and engineering to perfection

Production quality Made in Germany

Warranty and spare parts supply 5-year warranty covering breakages and material failure even in racing use - at least 10-year spare parts supply