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  1. #1
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    Can an NRS do it?

    I have only really done XC riding and have recently started to ride more aggressive downhill trails and am ENJOYING it! The trails tend to be steep, not so fast, lots of corners and a few jumps/drop offs. I am riding aa NRS 3 (2005) frame with rockshox reba's (115mm), but am feeling limited by the frame, especially on the drop offs, can't keep the front up. I rode another bike and found it all much easier (downhill). Now I don't want to get a new frame yet but was wondering what is the best modification to frame goemetry I could make to help make the bike more downhill oreintated. I was thinking stem length maybe?
    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
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    Unfortunately, the NRS frame is a bit of a limiting factor.

    Maybe due to the suspension design (I'm not sure), it was difficult for me, too, to lift the front wheel of that bike.

    Due to the suspension being already topped out when at static sag (level ground), the rear end is further unweighted when descending, making the suspension even less compliant that it is running flat.

    Lastly, the frame is designed with weight as a primary consideration, and though I had no problem with breakage, the large, thin down tube is especially prone to denting.

    I fell for Giant's claims of "efficiency" (what I was looking for when I bought my NRS in '01), and try as I might, I couldn't turn it into a satisfying trailbike. My 2... I'm sure other NRS owners will disagree.

    Can't make any suggestions for modifications as there's no way of guessing how the bike fits you, or what your setup is. Best mod I made was to replace the awful SID with a more compliant rear shock, but that was only a bandaid. There were some rocker kits around to increase the rear travel, but I never got around to trying those. Raising the front end with a longer travel fork to slacken the head angle may give you a little of what you're looking for, but I would be mindful of additional stresses you'll be putting on the head tube junction.
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  3. #3
    lurkio
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    Buy a new frame before you snap it in half, suspension tech has moved on since Not Real Suspension was first hoist upon us. Great for xc racers as it hardly moves if set up as giant recommend. Snaps in half if launched too often and they are not known for their stiffness.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, as was said, it's made to go uphill, not down.

    You could swap all the components to a Trance frame and be much happier.

  5. #5
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    Yeah I sort of thought it might just mean I need a new frame. I am getting a lot of what Speedub.Nate sad in the fact that the rear suspension really isn't compliant on the downhill. Oh well next upgrade. Any suggestions on what (fs) frame would be good on the downhill but still ok on the uphill? (I will look into the trance frames).
    Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiggles
    Yeah I sort of thought it might just mean I need a new frame. I am getting a lot of what Speedub.Nate sad in the fact that the rear suspension really isn't compliant on the downhill. Oh well next upgrade. Any suggestions on what (fs) frame would be good on the downhill but still ok on the uphill? (I will look into the trance frames).
    Thanks.
    There are a ton of frames that could work, but I suggested the Trance since it would work pretty well with your current fork (115mm travel). Other frames like the IH MkIII could use a taller fork.

    Because the '08 Trance and Trance X have been leaked, I would expect you could probably find a new or little-used '06 or '07 Trance frame at a decent price right now.

  7. #7
    slamma
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    I had the same prob... i gave it a bash ring and put a 2005 manitou min. 1:00 with, adjustable travel, i keep it around 120mm and i put a longer stem to help keep the front down on the climbs,....
    but all and all there is realy nothing you can do because even with a longer fork , the geometry gets all f**^ed up and feels like your riding a big wheel around the corners. and if you put a stiffer fork than the sid(which is not hard to do) than the frame suffers. i have a lot a creeks and clicks now that i put the fork on it, but i supose it is still better than it was.
    anyway all this bike will ever be as far as down hill goes and an aspiring trail bike.
    visions come not to polluted eyes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiggles
    Any suggestions on what (fs) frame would be good on the downhill but still ok on the uphill?
    Personally, I moved from the NRS to an Iron Horse dw-link Hollowpoint. IH's current dw-link bikes which you might want to check out are the burly MkIII that fsrxc mentioned, or the slightly lighter Azure, which is more comparable to the NRS, yet with suspension that works.
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  9. #9
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    tiggles. I used to ride an NRS 2005 model with a Manitou Black 120mm until i sold it off for a Voodoo Bakka. The NRS was really limiting me in many ways. The bike is designed to do XC and not really anything thats hardcore. Before you turn it into twisted metal i suggest you go scout for something much more solid for AM.
    Put something exciting between your legs. Ride a mountain bike.

  10. #10
    Five is right out
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    Some people use modified rocker links to increase travel to 4 or 4.5 inches. They work, but you get a fair bit of suspension bob.

  11. #11
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    Ok I can see that there are a lot of options out there so what should I be looking for in a frame? Weight is obviously a factor as I will still be riding XC but I still think weight is overated. Also how much rear travel is good, I don't know what the NRS has but I could do with a bit more - what are the disadvantages of more rear travel? The goemetry of frames always leaves me baffled Are there any brands which are a no-no?
    And... what may I not be able to transfer from my current setup to a different frame?
    Thanks again for all the replies you've been a great help

  12. #12
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    NRS not cutting it?

    There's this technical, rocky, steep downhill trail that my buddies and I like to ride.....a few guys do it on hardtails with 4 inches of suspension up front and V-brakes.....I on the other hand have to walk alot of the "scary" sections on my NRS.

    I thought my NRS could not handle it until I let one of these guys ride it down the hill. Of course he cleaned every rock drop, boulder, switchback, etc. that I am petrified of riding.
    When it was my turn (and watching me endo for the millionth time), one of the guys adjusted my saddle forward and then turned my riser bars a bit higher which allowed me to get my butt behind the bike a lot easier. I was able to clean more of the trail the next time around.

    My point is before you sink some serious $$ on a bike you need to realize sometimes practicing and having confidence on your bike (and simple saddle and handle bar adjustments) and go a long way in cleaning some of the more hard core trails.

    just my 2 cents.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiggles
    Ok I can see that there are a lot of options out there so what should I be looking for in a frame? Weight is obviously a factor as I will still be riding XC but I still think weight is overated. Also how much rear travel is good, I don't know what the NRS has but I could do with a bit more - what are the disadvantages of more rear travel?
    I'll tell you a little story.

    I owned a suspension design that many riders identified as "inefficient" and "stone age." I had a blast on it for the four years I owned it, but finally demoed a bunch of bikes, thinking I must be missing something. With the mantra EFFICIENCY on the brain, I settled on the NRS.

    Very quickly I realized my mistake, for the reasons I outlined in my previous post.

    I began a thorough search for a design which was (a) fun (b) efficient (c) affordable. At the time, the dw-link was brand new and unproven / unloved, but some of the resident suspension gurus thought the design had merrit, and Dave Weagle's discussions on the various mountain bike forums hooke me. I bought a Hollowpoint.

    First day I rode it, I *knew* I made a mistake. I sat on the bike, sunk down a few inches as it sagged the requisite 30%, and it just felt so much different from the NRS that I was positive it was going to be a bob monster to push up the climbs.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find how wrong I was. The dw-link, with active suspension and 50% more travel than my NRS, had less pedal feedback and actually was a more comfortable climber!

    The dw-link has evolved a little since the '03 Hollowpoint, and it's available across the range, from XC to DH, and on other brands such as Ibis and IndyFab. There are also some dw-link clones out there, such as Giant's Maestro, BMC's VPS, and Niner's CVA.

    The clones don't necessarily copy a dw-link exactly, but some of the keys features I like are the lack of pedal feedback during suspension movement, non-reliance on platform valving for an active yet bob-free ride, and good small bump sensitivity.

    You mentioned weight. Frame weight is less of a factor than the components you choose to build the bike. I personally think weight is overrated, and obviously build a bike using the frame and components that will stand up to the type of riding you want to do (one of the reasons the NRS is a poor choice for agressive stuff). Case in point: I have a 200-pound friend who just bought some ultra light 24 spoke wheels. HE thinks he probably shouldn't be riding them, but is going to do so any way. Yeah, they're light, but time will tell if they stand up to his weight and riding style.

    You mentioned rear travel: osmarandsara wrote about friends on hardtails clearing stuff he couldn't tackle on his NRS. Honestly, I think you'd find a bike with 70mm of good travel worlds better than the NRS's 95mm of crappy travel. Generally, with greater travel comes more frame weight and less efficiency (or, in the case of many single pivot and 4-bar designs, reliance on platform valving).

    Take a look at some of the bikes the others have suggested in these posts. Use the reviews section to get a feel for what to expect. Demo, if you can. Giant dropped the NRS and replaced it with an active suspension design for a reason. There are a lot of more suitable bikes out there; it's pretty hard to go wrong if you have an idea of what you're not looking for!
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  14. #14
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    Well situations changed and I can't afford a new frame....well maybe in a year.
    Will remember the dw-link as that sounds a great design!
    However I suppose that I could get better on the NRS frame downhill and learn to lift the front!!
    Do you think I could just continue practising on the bike and get better and better slowly over time or do people find that with some bikes they hit a wall in what they feel they and the bike can ride? Either way it doesn't make a difference because I'm keeping the frame for the time being so maybe I'm just trying to make excuses
    Anyway will keep all sugestions in mind as the frame will be my next upgrade!
    Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Just to clarify, by "downhill", are you talking about the DH discipline, or riding XC down a hill? From your initial description, it sounds like a mix of the two (the "not so fast" comment kinda throws me).

    Technically, you can ride just about anything with that bike with the right technique (as your friend demonstrated). Whether it stands up to the abuse, or to any early "mistakes" you might make, is a different story.

    You can try a bit of a longer fork, or a higher riding position, or a lower saddle height.

    Just keep in mind that the bare frame, if it's in good shape, is worth a hundred or so bucks now, but won't be worth anything if it's wrecked. So don't kill it until you can afford to!
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  16. #16
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    By downhill I mean riding my current bike down a hill on downhill courses. Not downhill as in the disipline because I go very slowly relative to people who ride "downhill". I miss out pretty much every big or sketchy jump or bigger dropoff. I always ride with the saddle at the lowest possible (is this bad?) and always stand up on my pedals, but I have heard some people in this forum suggest to pretty much be sitting on the back wheel going downhill, I ride on the steep parts and drop offs just behing the saddle. Do I need to move further back? (will try it anyway). With regards to wrecking the frame it will only be destroyed if it is subject to a big impact, so I will just limit my jumps and drop offs (and crashes ) when I get confident enough to do big enough one's. I'm going to keep the forks because I just like them.
    Also what do you mean "higher riding position" Speedub.Nate?
    Thanks for the response!

  17. #17
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    By "higher riding position", some combination of a higher rise and/or shorter stem, and/or higher rise handlebars, just to get you up and back.
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  18. #18
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    Before you snap that frame and do possible serious bodily injury I would ease off on the type of riding you're currently doing until you can afford a frame that is designed for and can handle that sort of riding....Trance, MKIII, FuelEX, StumpJumper......
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  19. #19
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    Womble (or someone), could you post a link or give me more insight into the modified rocker links. That looks like it could be a idea as would it allow me to set some sag? Does it just decrease the legnth of the link? Has anyone tried these?
    Thanks for any information anyone has on these.

  20. #20
    Five is right out
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiggles
    Womble (or someone), could you post a link or give me more insight into the modified rocker links. That looks like it could be a idea as would it allow me to set some sag? Does it just decrease the legnth of the link? Has anyone tried these?
    Thanks for any information anyone has on these.
    Sorry- my friend that has the modified rocker link is out of town.

    It's basically just a longer version of the existing link. You should be able to find more info if you spend enough time on Google. The story I've heard is that a bunch of UK riders designed a link and put up the CAD files, and some of the guys here had ones made locally.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiggles
    ... would it allow me to set some sag? Does it just decrease the legnth of the link?
    You'll still have to set your NRS up with zero sag. Pedaling action on the NRS attempts to drive the suspension towards extension. Any sag will result in noticable bob.
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  22. #22
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    I think having the right bike will 'teach' you how to ride. I couldn't trackstand until i tried a trials bike, and i couldn't bunny hop until i tried a non-xc bike with good tacky flats.

    The nrs is gonna hold you back until you get something else or get to spend some time on a different bike for a few rides. http://www.ridesoul.com/titan.html one of these buggers works great if you're short, and they're cheap. The nrs has about as much suspension as a hardtail anyway, imo- the geometry will make all the difference.
    .

  23. #23
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    Throw a longer fork on there and a shorter stem. It will do wonders for you. I was in your situation too and began riding with some dudes who always took me on much more tech downhill stuff than I was used to. I had a kona kikapu with 3.5" of travel. very xc bike. I put a 40mm stem on there which was awesome, then I eventually put a pike 140mm fork on there and ran it for well over a year with no problems. Wind it down to 100mm for climbing. That fork made the best improvement in the downhilling ability of my xc bike without really screwing me up too much on climbing or weight. You can also try putting a coil vanilla R on there and it will feel a lot stiffer compared to an air shock. Now this is all basically taking the bike farther away from it's intended purpose though and it will never be that great geometry wise for this kind of riding. I finally got a Giant Reign frame and am in hogs heaven with the all purpose ability of the new frame. 6" of travel is great for clearing rough sections, slacker head angle and much better pedaling design. There are a lot of awesome pedaling 6" bikes now that will still keep up with your NRS on climbs and longer all day rides.
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  24. #24
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    Well followed you advice and bought a shorter stem, went small and got a 50mm, was only $15 second hand so not a bad deal, but not lightweight (who cares). Right now I'm happy with the performance of my Reba's and couldn't afford a new fork anyway (or would rather spend on a frame), however 115mm of travel REALLY suffers on the downhill, it's not so much the jumps as it is the series of big bumps which absolutely kill your arms trying to absorb them and make braking almost impossible. Otherwise I like the forks. I like the sound of that Reign frame as it has ok pedeling from what I've heard which is good as to go down you must have come up. Also would putting my Reba on a reign frame defeat the purpose? Also what is the difference between the Reign frames of different years and models? I know with the NRS all 3 frames were identical (except the carbon one).
    Thanks for all the replies!

  25. #25
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    Very Bad advice

    No it is not taking the bike away from it's intended purpose, it is making the bike prone to severe frame failure because it was not designed with that length fork EVER in mind and the forces exerted on the head tube will be huge. Pay up your insurance if you do this and wear armour so when the frame fails you don't get hurt too bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by moshelove
    Throw a longer fork on there and a shorter stem. It will do wonders for you. ......................... I had a kona kikapu with 3.5" of travel. very xc bike. I put a 40mm stem on there which was awesome, then I eventually put a pike 140mm fork on there and ran it for well over a year with no problems. ........................ Now this is all basically taking the bike farther away from it's intended purpose though and it will never be that great geometry wise for this kind of riding. ................................................
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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