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  1. #1
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    Single Pivot vs. Horst Link

    Well folks, it took a while but I'm ready for round two. In case you didn't follow the Single Pivot vs. VPP thread, here it is for re-hash:

    Single Pivot vs. VPP Review

    This spring and summer it will be a side by side test between my 2007 Foes FXR with Air Curnutt and a 2008 Nicolai Helius FR with a 2008 Fox DHX Air. Basically I transferred over all of the components from the Intense 6.6 onto the Nicolai. The big difference is the Nicolai is sporting a 12mm rear Maxel which will obviously have an impact on lateral stiffness, but it should still give me a good idea of how the suspensions stack up. Lets go have some fun...
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    Last edited by Dropin%Dug; 04-21-2008 at 08:37 PM.
    Dug-da-Goat

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  2. #2
    Goin' Down ain't bad!!!
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    Well got out this weekend for a maiden run on the Helius. Did 26miles up in the proving grounds called Tunnel/Otero for those familiar with the Land of Enchantment trails. It's a good testing area for free riding with some drops and rugged decents combined with serious climbing. Gives ya an overall impression of how a bike performs.

    The Neke came in at 34 1/4 lbs which is about 2 lbs heavier then the Foes. It's understandable since I have the 12mm Maxel and I went with a Fett Set. I also have the ICMS Chain Guide bracket which adds a 1/4lb. Basically the Nic has been built up to be more of a free ride oriented rig then the Foes, so I'm going to temper that into a lot of my impressions.

    Now it's been a while since I've ridden the FXR so this first ride was kinda of a getting to know the Nicolai more than drawing any real comparisons to the Foes. I've been doing a lot of race training and riding a 23lb 29er HT. But I've still got a sense for the FXR and the saving grace is I'm stout enough right now to huff a 34lb bike up a serious climb.

    As to suspension setup, I decided to start the Nicolai off where the Intense 6.6 was set even though the new 2008 Fox supposedly has beefed up the mid-range transition. I put 210psi in the main, 160psi in the boost and set the bottoming chamber at just 2 lines showing. The Wotan I'm running at 100psi.

    Well let's get to it. First impressions are the best...and the Nicolai is butter, it is really smooth when it comes to laying down the power, I've always had a soft spot for Horst links. I've ridden Titus for a long time having seat time on a Quasi-moto, Switchblade, Super-moto and Racer-X. Only Titus I haven't ridden is a Moto-lite, but you get the picture. My arse knows Horst links and I do like them.

    The Nicolai is no different, Right off the bat I was lovin' it. It climbed with the firm set that you come to appreciate with a Horst Link design. My initial response was this was the Goldielocks bike, not as firm as the Foes, but not as squishy as the Intense VPP. Pretty much in between the two as far as suspension response.

    The nice thing about the Nicolai is how well balanced it is. The Foes has 17 1/4" chain stays but the Nic is right on 17". The wheelbase seems about the same at 46" so it tells me you sit a little bit more on the rear wheel on the Neke. Strange thing is, I seem to feel like I'm even more on top of the cranks than the Foes, so it's really efficient when it comes to laying down power on the climbs. I used the Wotan height adjustment pretty much through out the ride on the climbs so that probably helped to keep the front end planted. Any way, it really did power up the climbs smoothly and I never really felt the 34lbs. Could be my conditioning, but the bike felt balanced is all I can say.

    Now one thing I did note on mid-speed tight turns, is that the bike seemed to float out of the corners a bit. The Foes really rails the corners well but the Nicolai did leave me hanging out at times. It could be just me getting use to 2.5" tires and the weight of the bike, but I'm definetly going to be focusing on the handling compared to the Foes.

    As to the decents, that's where the Neke just blew me away. The Rambo drop from the top of Otero onto Tunnel is some nasty ass terrain. Ledge drops, chunky babyheads, sand stone fins, you name it in Southwest Mountain/Foothill riding and Rambo/Tunnel has it. Well this bike can be driven down the nastiest knarliest lines and it DOES! NOT! CARE!

    This thing was just amazing. It held its line like glue and wasn't going to be thrown a curve. Huck it and just like the Foes, it's headed where its pointed. No surprises, no adjustments needed. You land it and your going there. I really felt comfortable and confident on this rig even without armour. Now yeah, it's got a 12mm axel holding the rear end together and it matters. But it felt great and I'm going to be really working that part of this bike.

    As to the Fox DHX Air, it's better folks. Maybe the Horst link is less agressive then the VPP, but I have a feeling that Fox heard the word and really beefed up the mid-range. The shock feels great and I felt I was a little over pressurized at times even though I went through almost 4/5's of the travel. I'm thinking 200psi and 150psi boost might be nice.

    Well lots of ride comparison left to do, but for a maiden voyage this bike really impressed me. Will it knock the Foes out of my love triangle. Not sure about that, but right now I have "new bike love" and it doesn't get any better than that. Stay tuned for more fun...
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    Last edited by Dropin%Dug; 04-28-2008 at 11:42 AM.
    Dug-da-Goat

    "Oh momma, could this really be the end? To be stuck outside of Mojo with the High Side Blues again!!!"

  3. #3
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    Dude, great thread! Looking forward to your thoughts.

  4. #4
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    seriously good read, i'm here deciding if the 6.6 is the right bike for me...
    looks like i'll have to at least finish reading what you have to say before deciding which to pick!


    thanks.
    check out great video coverage of anything mtb (well almost).

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  5. #5
    Goin' Down ain't bad!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr11
    seriously good read, i'm here deciding if the 6.6 is the right bike for me...
    looks like i'll have to at least finish reading what you have to say before deciding which to pick!

    thanks.
    Hang in there Zeph if you can. A buddy of mine has an RFX with a CCDB which we will be throwing into the mix. I'm going to have him ride both bikes so that we can have an independent lens. We also have a friend building up a Nomad VPP, so that may get compared to the Intense. I know this is sounding like a muddle of bikes, but the focus is on the Horst link and the other designs are re-inforcing what I found on the Intense or giving us another benchmark.

    With that said, my inital sense is that the three suspension designs go like this.

    Foes FXR (SP - Firm) -> Nicolai Helius FR (Horst - Moderately Firm) -> Turner RFX (Rocker Bar - Moderately Plush) -> Intense 6.6 (VPP - Very Plush)

    It's all a matter of what you like. I like to climb, so a firm climbing platform is very important to me. I think the Foes is probably the best climber out of all of them, but the Nicolai is holding it's own with this regard.

    My buddy likes to jump, so that's why he's on an RFX. The Intense 6.6 with a DHX Coil is probably as capable a jumper, but we've found and I think it's been commented on in this board, that the VPP links have some side flex. Whether Intense is beefing this up for 2008 remains to be seen.

    Then there's knarly downhill descent and I think each of the bikes are capable in this regard, some with more stability, but we'll get into that. I'm actually excited to give the RFX a whirl.

    More fun to follow....
    Dug-da-Goat

    "Oh momma, could this really be the end? To be stuck outside of Mojo with the High Side Blues again!!!"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropin%Dug
    Hang in there Zeph if you can. A buddy of mine has an RFX with a CCDB which we will be throwing into the mix. I'm going to have him ride both bikes so that we can have an independent lens. We also have a friend building up a Nomad VPP, so that may get compared to the Intense. I know this is sounding like a muddle of bikes, but the focus is on the Horst link and the other designs are re-inforcing what I found on the Intense or giving us another benchmark.

    With that said, my inital sense is that the three suspension designs go like this.

    Foes FXR (SP - Firm) -> Nicolai Helius FR (Horst - Moderately Firm) -> Turner RFX (Rocker Bar - Moderately Plush) -> Intense 6.6 (VPP - Very Plush)

    It's all a matter of what you like. I like to climb, so a firm climbing platform is very important to me. I think the Foes is probably the best climber out of all of them, but the Nicolai is holding it's own with this regard.

    My buddy likes to jump, so that's why he's on an RFX. The Intense 6.6 with a DHX Coil is probably as capable a jumper, but we've found and I think it's been commented on in this board, that the VPP links have some side flex. Whether Intense is beefing this up for 2008 remains to be seen.

    Then there's knarly downhill descent and I think each of the bikes are capable in this regard, some with more stability, but we'll get into that. I'm actually excited to give the RFX a whirl.

    More fun to follow....
    Hey, Dropin%Dug, any updates?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dropin%Dug
    It's all a matter of what you like. I like to climb, so a firm climbing platform is very important to me.
    I like to climb too, so a very active rear end that gives me lots of traction up gnarly stuff is important to me, except it's kind of the opposite of a "platform". Different strokes for different folks, but I don't usually associate how hard or easy it is to ride a modern bike uphill with how much it does or does not bob.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  8. #8
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    Sorry guys, I have been slackin' a bit on the testing. I've been focused on racing a lot more this season, so it's taken precedent over Free Riding. I did get out with the local posse a while back and we played around building some stunts. The pictured drop here was about 3-4'.

    It gave me some sense of how well the Nicolai takes a hit. It is a very capable huck bike even with the Fox DHX Air. The new 2008 shock is a step up from the 2007. They definitely have the mid-stroke compression dampening stiffened up. It works well with the Horst Link which is a lot less leveraged than the VPP. I bottomed the shock on these jumps but it wasn't abrupt. The bottoming chamber is up to the task of dampening out the drop. But if I keep doing hits bigger than this I'd probably go with the CCDB. My buddy Bry has one on his RFX and that thing feels sweet.

    As to the handling, the Nicolai was very stable. The Fett Set helps and with the rigidity of the Wotan it holds it's line when you stick it. We rode some rough down hill terrain and the bike really inspires confidence.

    As for climbing, this bike really does perform well. It lays down the power smoothly on the climbs. Set the pro-pedal on the DHX and you can really spin it up with no bob what so ever. It's not as planted as the Foes though. There's some weird magic that Brent has built into the Curnutt Air. Like I said, you can get out of the saddle on the Foes and stomp on it and it just stiffens up and feels solid.

    The Nicolai is definitely better than the VPP when hammering upright, but it still will rock a bit if you don't stay balanced. I haven't really messed with the shock settings much so I'll see what variations I can come up with there.

    I'm taking a break from racing until July so hopefully I can get some time to play around a bit on the FR Bikes. I haven't gotten back out on the Foes this year so I'll pull it out this week and get some seat time on it.

    More fun to follow....
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    Dug-da-Goat

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  9. #9
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    Thank Dropin%Dug! Good luck with your racing! So what bike do you use for the racing?

  10. #10
    Goin' Down ain't bad!!!
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    Well don't want to muddy up this post too much with that, but since you asked, I race an Orbea Alma 29er (23lbs) for undulating courses and have a Seven Sola 26er (22lbs) for climbing courses. Also a Racer-X-ogrid 26er (25lbs) for more rugged tracks.

    Got out this weekend on the Foes again and it was nice to be back aboard the FXR. Man that thing just climbs so effortlessly for a 32lb rig. No, not as fast as the bikes mentioned above, but it really does hook up well. Definitely a better climber than the Neke, but not by much. Way better than the VPP Intense.

    As to it's stability downhill, I could definitely notice the difference between it and the Neke. Again, the Nicolai has the 12mm rear Maxel and is riding 2.5" Weirwolfs. The Neke is also on a set of I9 Enduro Wheels. The Foes is on CK Hubs and a 8mm skewer with Mavic 819 rims and 2.3" Conti Verts.

    I'm wondering a bit if the wider rim width (19 vs 22mm) may also have a little to do with the feeling of solidness coming from the back of the Nicolai. You also have the different size tires. I had the Weirwolfs on the Foes and it wasn't happy at all, but I may give it another go just to get a feel for it. I can easily swap wheelsets so what the heck.

    After the ride this weekend, I was thinking I'd keep the Foes as a 6" Trail Bike and then put a CCDB on the Nicolai to really get it to more of a FR/Huck machine. Still playing around, but I really do like each of these rigs for their specific characteristics.
    Dug-da-Goat

    "Oh momma, could this really be the end? To be stuck outside of Mojo with the High Side Blues again!!!"

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