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  1. #1
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    NS Soda - pics, reviews, discuss

    I built up a NS Soda in July. Great bike. It has several geometry/travel settings; check it out!

    Long travel:


    Short travel, long chainstay:


    Short travel, short chainstay:
    Last edited by ride the biscuit; 10-30-2012 at 06:20 AM. Reason: change title of thread

  2. #2
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    Nice build. What's the spec on it?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjaboym5 View Post
    Nice build. What's the spec on it?
    thanks.

    its:
    2011 fox float (set to 180 in first pic, 160 in second 2 pics)
    RS Monarch Plus shock
    RS Reverb
    Avid Elixir CR
    Hope Pro 2 Evo rear hub with Stans Flow
    DT 340 front with DT EX500
    Minion F, High roller R
    Shimano SLX setup 1x9 with 11-34t xt cassette
    x0 shifter
    x9 med cage der
    Gamut chainguide with gravity bash
    Chromag OSX (funn fatboy pictured in first pics)
    Straitline 35m stem
    Diety compound pedals
    WTB silverado seat

  4. #4
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    Love the Soda, wish it was more available here. Looks sharp, enjoy.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ride the biscuit View Post
    I built up a NS Soda in July. Great bike. It has several geometry/travel settings; check it out!


    Long travel:


    Short travel, long chainstay:




    Short travel, short chainstay:
    Very nice
    Last edited by gridtalker; 11-15-2012 at 05:54 AM.

  6. #6
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    i like that! it's like a covert/blindside baby! very nice smart build, op!
    i really should type less and tread more

  7. #7
    RideDirt
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    Sweet build and love the diversity it offers , more companies need to implement that.

  8. #8
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    That is my dream bike! hopefully I can pick one up next year... Also nice build!
    Buy a f-ing bike maybe you wouldn't be fat

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by aedubber View Post
    Sweet build and love the diversity it offers
    thanks, all, for the compliments! yeah, the adjustable settings was what really sold me on it; i think they came up with elegant, simple solutions. the adjustments completely change the ride characteristics, and it feels surprisingly dialed in each setting.

    i'll do a review someday but I'm happy to field any questions...I know when I bought it it was a bit of a leap of faith since there wasnt much rider feedback.

  10. #10
    ride more
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    Great bike:thumbup:

  11. #11
    Flying in High in the Sky
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    Sick man! Love to see a dirty bike! Glad to see it's being put to proper use and just not a show toy.

  12. #12
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    Man! I've been wanting one of those since they came out. I guess I'm going to have to keep saving my pennies... Sick bike!

  13. #13
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    If only they could take a front derailleur...
    '14 rocky mountain altitude, rally edition
    '11 transition blindside

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by James_spec View Post
    Sick man! Love to see a dirty bike! Glad to see it's being put to proper use and just not a show toy.
    Ha, the third pic was taken after a fairly intensive cleaning effort...

    Dwyooaj, I am pretty sure there is some kind of front dear that can be mounted...I read it somewhere that there was a way. Maybe one that mounts to iscg or something unusual

  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by dwyooaj
    If only they could take a front derailleur...
    What about an E-type front derailleur?

    Name:  SHFD770E.jpg
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    And you can always zip tie some cable guides on the seat tube.

  16. #16
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    OP, Would you mind giving us a review when you have time?

    I have not purchased one myself due to the fact that there is so little user feedback available on these bikes.

    NS has a bunch of reviews posted on their site, but they are all from Polish bike sites.

    I think the least NS could have done was to provide a bike to MTBR, Pinkbike or NSMB or one of the magazines so we could see what these bikes are about.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ride the biscuit View Post
    I built up a NS Soda in July. Great bike. It has several geometry/travel settings; check it out!

    Long travel:


    Short travel, long chainstay:


    Short travel, short chainstay:
    What specific components do you change or switch? I kind of see the difference in the chainstay (i think... or maybe it's the camera angle) - but i can't seem to tell which parts on the stays or the linkages changed. care to elaborate on that point?

    Always thought the Soda was a great looking bike. Wish they had that over here.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by prancisfena View Post
    What specific components do you change or switch?
    Sure, the long travel/short travel is adjusted via the rearward shock mount...there are two different mounts on the rocker link (you can see the mounts as they are covered by a chip on each side). the lower mount is short travel and the upper mount is LT.

    there are also two mount ports for the rear axle. there is a chip that you flip forward or backward...a nice toutch NS thought of was adding set screws to hold these chips in place while you thread the axle in. There are also two sets of chips: 1 for 10mm bolt on or QR axle and 1 for the 12mm maxle that comes with the frame. you must also move the der hanger and brake mount accordingly

    Ovbiously, it is key to adjust fork travel in step with the rear travel. for me, this is the thing that takes about 30 mins or so since the adjustments on my fork are internal. all the stuff that has to do with the frame is very quick

    Things I love about this are that the ease of these adjustments really implies how well thought out the design is...simple. And of course, the fact that the bike rides so differently and so well in each setting is nothing short of a gamechanger

    Ok, im just gonna type out a full-ish review...

  19. #19
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    Looking forward to your review... I can't buy one, sadly, but i love geeking out on bike tech.

    The parts with the red arrows are the ones with the adjustable mounts & chips right? Just saw them now. HAHA.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nandus View Post
    OP, Would you mind giving us a review when you have time?
    Ok, this gonna be long and I'll probably come back to edit or just add stuff in other posts. I've ridden it extensively in each setting enough to offer up some feedback, but obvioiusly riding it since July doesnt count as long term.

    First off, it really shouldnt be too hard to get yourself one of these in the USA or Canada. I ordered mine from a shop for a pretty good deal off msrp with HS installed and shipped. Now, I think you can even get a much better deal on any remaining stock from the first year.

    Note: I think there may be a little sizing change for this next year, but I dont know more than that.

    the build

    when i pulled it out of the box, my first reactions were that it looks sexy and even a little beefer than I had guessed based on pictures. the downtube especially is burly.

    Everyone doing detailed reviews of bikes seems to have a minor in weld inspection as they wax on about how amazing the build quality is. Well, sorry, I'm not a welder. I mean, we're talking about high-end bikes here, this shouldnt be a concern in my opinion.

    For me it was a straight forward swap of all my parts. Obviously, with these Sodas its pretty key to chose your build wisely in terms of weight and strength if you want to max out climbing comfort.

    Building up was a snap without so much as a single hicup. This being the first time I had built a bike from frame up, I thought the internal cable routing might be tricky, but it was cake. I used a paperclip to hook the cable for the downtube exit point. I may have cut the rear der cable (the only one I chose to go internal with) a tiny bit short, but its going to take a really bad/hard bar wrap to do any damage.

    This is where the cool design comes in. They leave cable mounts in good spots as well as give you the internal option, which was perfect for my brake and reverb cables. Also, there is a sheath to protect your steerer as well as a little rubber piece providing protection where the cable enters the headtube.

    There is also optional clear plastic tubes to protect your cables where they exit the downtube and enter the chainstays. I chose to use mine. It is big enough to where its pinned in pretty tight between the big lower pivot and my chainguide. However, I have no problem with this as it aint causin no harm or drag on pivot movement...rather, it looks very neatly tucked away.

    I will also mention that the pivots were silky smooth (as they should be) out of the box and everything was nice and tight.

    Now, I did make a mistake when building it up....i was so excited I neglected to properly grease the rear axle mount chips. This made them a beach to pop out the first time I wanted to try that adjustment (pb blaster, time, and staying with it worked). After greasing them like I should have, they are perftect...fit nice and snug in their spots like you'd want but slide out with a little push.

    Another thing I highly suggest is to lightly grease the countersunk part of the frame for the screws that hold the der hanger in as well as the portion of the head that contacts that surface AND put locktite on the threads. These screws thread into the hanger, not the frame. In fact, despite all the adjustments and features, nothing screws into the frame aside from the bottom bracket: well played, NS, well played.

    The paint/decals are not as durable as a powdercoat would be. I've scraped it in a few spots; whatever.

    a word about sizing and fit

    I am just under 5'11", and I bought the large, running a 35mm stem. The fit feels so nice. Its still small enough to where I have killer standover, and can be thrown around and maneuvered easily. But its also long enough to add stability and the most important thing to me for sizing: I get perfect leg extension for long seated climbs. I need to be able to extend my leg to just short of full extension, and I'm not sure I could do so with a small.

    Very comfortable bike and my body position feels great in terms of properly weighting the front wheel around corners.

    THE RIDE

    I'm going to make some general comments which will inevitably be a little redundant when I get specific about each of the settings...because this practically 3 different bikes.

    suspension design

    I love how NS calls out the bike industry's load of BS about how each bike company claims to offer the best, most advanced suspension platform on the market....yeeeeeeaaaaah. They use what they call a simple design which rotates on oversized reliable and durable pivots.

    This bike uses a faux-bar suspension platform which features a pivot above the BB, 2 on a rocker link that controls curve rate, and one the seatstay. Similar to another prolific design called the four-bar where the most rearward pivot is on the chainstay. Four bar proponents claim this helps to better isolate braking forces from suspension activity. Dual link designs (ie: dw link) are said to be the best at isolating braking forces.

    I have ridden true four bars, spechy's design, as wells as owned several dual link (ie: dw link) bikes, and I just have not noticed any unwanted interplay between braking and rear suspension activity on the Soda.

    However, and I am not sure if this is a generally accepted truth or just my own hunch, a lot of how we perceive a bike's stiffness comes from the chainstay since that sees most of the lateral force between the BB and the rear axle. My logic, then, is that the bike can be stiffer if the pivots are on the seatstays versus the chainstay since those smaller pivots reduce rigidity wherever they are on a frame.

    Since I mention stiffness, I'll finish that thought in this section: this bike is STIIIIIIIIIF!!! My previous bike was a banshee rune which is renown for stiffness, and this is stiffer than that.

    You can feel it on trail and doing the classic stiffness test of stepping/pushing inward on the crank while standing next to the bike. Most bikes will flex when you do that but the movement i see doing it on the Soda is from the tires squishing and wheels flexing slightly. If you look at the BB pivots and chainstay you can see why; its just burly looking.

    climbing

    This bike climbs very efficiently. And the general maneuverability of the geometry make it great for standing and mashing as well as getting up and over very techy moves and short punchy climbs. Actually it kindof inspires me to go at it on techy, punchy climbs.

    The spandex crowd will obviously blast by every time, but I'm elevating at a very respectable all mountain clip...definitely gets the job done with juice to spare for the way down.

    Ive even been pleasantly surprised on how well it makes its way up long seated grinders. I just settle into a relaxed cadence where I can lay down a nice smooth stroke and get no pedal bob.

    Its important to note that I have a 32t chainring with my largest rear cog with 34 teeth. Pretty much all good suspension designs climb better the harder you push them, so it helps the efficiency of the bike to not have a granny ring or some other easier gear combo. Granny rings tend to also lead to choppier pedal strokes and a sudden spike in torque which causes bob and makes the rear wheel break free, losing traction.

    The suspension does compress a bit under heavy chain tension when really yamming (like when powering up an extremely steep switchback). I'm not really bothered by this since its a consistent squish, not a bob, and the bike remains balanced and traction is is still rock solid when this does occur.

    I have not wanted for it at all, but I imagine that if the bike had been spec'd instead with the RS monarch RT3 with the 3 compression settings versus the standard version, I would likely use high compression for some climbs (it would likely help the situation noted above).

    I will always believe that the dual link bikes are the best climbers as the harder you pedal, the rear wheel gets sucked into the ground; however, the real factor for climbing a Soda is "how much will your build weigh?"

    Havent weighed it but I think its about 33.5, which is very acceptable for big rides with long climbs.

    not climbing

    fun, fun, fun. this bike is more about having fun than anything else. If you buy this as your main ride you are making a very conscious choice that your primary objective is to get shreaddy and have a blast doing it.

    Going back to the dual link suspension designs comparison being great for pedaling...well, I think it also probably makes great sense for DH style riding due to the more rearward axle path, which is great for square edge hits.

    While I think dual link bikes go a little more effortlessly over big square edge hits, I have found they do not feel nearly as good for freeride maneuvers. I think they require a ton of tuning and even then you run into harsh botomouts and confidence robbing, sometimes wallowy takeoffs and landings.

    This is where the Sodas wheelhouse is and where its suspension design shines. It is incredibly active over small stuff, has the perfect platform for boosting off lips of jumps and drops, and always saves plenty of reserves for the biggest of hits.

    The stroke feels so controlled and consistent all the way through its travel, which feels great landing a big hit. Between that confidence inspiring feel, the aggressive geo, and the solid burly frame, you feel like you can huck any drop to flat with impunity. In just these few months, the freeride side of my game has improved nicely.

    Also noteworthy is the Soda is spec'd with a great air shock, the RS monarch. The beauty of this shock is that it performs fantastic on this frame with no tuning required beyond what RS does at the factory. I'm not talking about expensive after market custom tunes here, but basic adjustments. The only things you can do to this shock are change the amount of air in the can and set rebound...that's it! and it works!

    As a tinker by nature, if the shock didnt do exactly what I wanted it to, I would have already felt the need to replace it with something that did. This is another nod to the brilliance of NS's simple suspension design since it performs great when paired with the simplest, no fuss, no muss high performance air shock on the market.

    geometry and adjustments

    Ok, I'm going to leave it at that for now. The last part I'll come back and fill in someday is the specifics of the different settings. I saved the best for last...
    Last edited by ride the biscuit; 10-29-2012 at 07:24 PM.

  21. #21
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    I been really enjoying mine, I have it set up on the short travel long chain stay. It climbs better then my covert, and it bombs the down/tech. Mine is in the 30pound range, so far I have enjoyed this bike more so then any other. I bought this bike cause if I ever leave Florida Hell I have options. It is worth it for the adjustability alone and you described the ride very well.
    Your big wheels are so awesome!

  22. #22
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    [QUOTE=ride the biscuit;9824888]Ok, this gonna be long and I'll probably come back to edit or just add stuff in other posts. I've ridden it extensively in each setting enough to offer up some feedback, but obvioiusly riding it since July doesnt count as long term.

    Thanks for the review. I am really considering one of these.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badpichu View Post
    I been really enjoying mine, I have it set up on the short travel long chain stay. It climbs better then my covert, and it bombs the down/tech. Mine is in the 30pound range, so far I have enjoyed this bike more so then any other. I bought this bike cause if I ever leave Florida Hell I have options. It is worth it for the adjustability alone and you described the ride very well.
    thanks!! and please feel free to post up pics and thoughts here about your soda! a 30 lb soda sounds killer. just wait till you try the short chainstay mode...

  24. #24
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    I will give you a run down of my parts:

    Meduim frame
    fox 36 float 160mm
    monarch plus
    deity handle bar/stem
    thomson seat post/the saddle
    saint cranks/lg chain guide
    NS arial pedals
    E.13 wheelset <--super light weight all mountain killer engagement
    hans dampf tubless
    x0 rear deraillour
    xtr cassette
    avid brakes
    that is pretty much it, really like mine
    Your big wheels are so awesome!

  25. #25
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    Damn I want one

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