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  1. #1
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    26 vs 27.5 vs 29-inch Nicolais

    Cool the that the feature is all Nicolais!

    Opinion: 26 vs 27.5 vs 29-inch Wheels - Pinkbike
    www.essexhertsmtb.co.uk - Mountain Biking near London in the UK

  2. #2
    Axe
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    I want all three.

    Though not in that configuration tehy tested. 170mm on my Helius AM is perfect, 150 on 650b, and 130 on 29".

  3. #3
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    Nice article. I have to say though, now that I have my new AC 29er set up perfectly it feel properly playful (just as much fun as my FR) and doesn't appear to hold me up in tight corners either. The 800mm bars are taking a bit of getting used to in amongst the trees but that has nothing to do with wheel size

  4. #4
    steep fast and loose :)
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    looking at either a new 140mm ac 29er or the 160mm 650b myself !

    decisions decisions !

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    TLR I thought you just took delivery of an AC29?

  6. #6
    steep fast and loose :)
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    Had it a year now, thinking about an upgrade to slacker geometry and carbon wheels.

  7. #7
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    I'm planning a new bike in a couple of months time. One option is the Helius AC but not sure whether I would go 26 or 27.5. I'm only 5' 8" so definitely not 29. Problem is that there doesnt't seem to be much wheel and tyre choice around ATM

    I'm going to be comparing the Nicolai with a SC Blur or Nomad as I currently have a Blur LT2. One of the comments from an LBS owner (not Nicolai) is that Nicolai's have poor small bump sensitivity because there is so much stiction as all the pivots are bushings rather than bearings. Any comments?

  8. #8
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Mainwaring View Post
    One of the comments from an LBS owner (not Nicolai) is that Nicolai's have poor small bump sensitivity because there is so much stiction as all the pivots are bushings rather than bearings. Any comments?
    Huh? That's bollocks. Many nice bikes (like Turner) use bushings, they are just fine.

    Well made (important part is being well made) bushing provides rigidity, and lack of bending is what helps with smooth movement. And Nicolai rear is very stiff. Do not let a bench test fool you - it is what happens under load what counts.

    Same reason through axle helps with tracking - on frame and fork. Less bending - less binding in pivots and slide bushings..

    Stickiest place in linkage is often DU bushing in rear shock eyelet. No grease there. Needle bearing kit helps there.

  9. #9
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    Take the shock off and my Helius AM linkage moves freely... makes changing the shock with the bike in the workstand a pain in the hoop... better off doing it with the bike lieing on the ground.

    It doesn't move as freely as my Intense did which was bearings... but the Intense used to eat it's bearings every three months. Three years in on my Helius and I'm thinking of doing the bushings as I've had to tighten the bottom bracket ones a couple of times recently, and I'd rather it didn't get baggy.

    I'd like to try the other wheel sizes sometime but I'm happy with my 26er.

  10. #10
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    Huh? That's bollocks. Many nice bikes (like Turner) use bushings, they are just fine.

    Well made (important part is being well made) bushing provides rigidity, and lack of bending is what helps with smooth movement. And Nicolai rear is very stiff. Do not let a bench test fool you - it is what happens under load what counts.
    I don't get that at all. Can't see how a pair of bushings could be stiffer than a pair of metal bearings. although I can see that they could be as good. The comment came from someone who had actually ridden a Nicolai, not just bouced up and down on it

    It doesn't move as freely as my Intense did which was bearings... but the Intense used to eat it's bearings every three months.
    So are you saying there is some stiction and therefore some lack of small bump sensitivity? Bearing life is probably dependent on the bike and the usage. My BLT2 top bearings lasted 3 years before needing replacement, and the bottom bearings almost a year longer so not concerned about potential life of bearings

  11. #11
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Mainwaring View Post
    Can't see how a pair of bushings could be stiffer than a pair of metal bearings.
    But they are. It obviously depends on a particular implementation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Mainwaring View Post
    although I can see that they could be as good. The comment came from someone who had actually ridden a Nicolai, not just bouced up and down on it
    He can't properly setup a bike than. It is all in shock setup. Forces to over come shock preload are much, much higher that any stiction in all the pivots combined.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Mainwaring View Post
    So are you saying there is some stiction and therefore some lack of small bump sensitivity?
    Not on my Nicolai. It is very smooth. Much better than my Rotwild (with bearings in the frame). But Rotwild has Fox shock, and Nicolai CCDBA.

    Seriously, this topic of bearing vs bushings has been rehashed ad nauseum. Go to Turner forum or something. There is no problem with small bumps and bushings.

    Realiability can go either way. People complain about Banshee's bushings for example. Or Intense bearings. No complains about Turner bushings (or Nicolai's). No complains about Ventana's bearings.

    Both work perfectly fine and reliable when well made. "Small bumps" argument is balderdash. It is simply and demonstrably not true.
    Last edited by Axe; 01-29-2013 at 01:59 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks View Post
    looking at either a new 140mm ac 29er or the 160mm 650b myself !

    decisions decisions !
    Damn choices! ;-) same luxery problem here. Can not decide on the new 29AC of the 650B. Have the 2010 AC. Great bike but it feels big. Wondering whether the new geo makes it more agile/playful. Otherwise I'll have to go for the 650B although I am 191cm...

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    @Joeydutch Do you mean you have the 2010 AC29? If so, the new AC29 is definitely NOT more playful. It has the same length CS but much slacker, so its a killer descender but not as quick steering or quite as good a climber (Still a good climber).

    You would get a more playful 29er with a custom geo like my current AC/AM29 with a shorter CS (454mm Vs 464mm) would be the one (but 2.3 is the largest rear tyre with a front mech fitted, 2.4/2,5 without) Or perhaps better still the Ion29 I have been working on that Nicolai are about to build. But if you want playful above all else, then an Ion16 would be your man I think. If you want slightly (and it is slightly in reality) more rollover for a slightly smoother ride but retaining some playfulness) then probably 27.5.

    Or (if it doesnt have to be a Nicolai)the new Specialized Enduro29 when it becomes available which has basically been designed to feel like a 26" bike as far as possible with 29er rollover so super super short chainstays (and banana + steep ST).

    For me I am not after making it feel the same as a 26". I want a 29er for the stability, of both the wheels and wheelbase to an extent, the cornering grip and the rollover (smoothness) and its climbing and ground covering ability. That means shortish chain stays with a longish front centre to aid manualling (mainly to avoid stuff not just because) but not so short that it compromises some of the other aspects mentioned above.

    No doubt that 650b would be more playful than 29. The decision should be straightforward if you can decide what you want most out of your riding, what makes you feel great, what do like to do most etc..
    Aka chainline...

  14. #14
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    Thx! this insight helps.

    yeah, I have one of the first custom AC 29ers. Although the speed and rollover is super, I miss the 'play' and 'fun''. Also I always found that it is a lot of bike although I am 191cm tall. I am also looking for more mm up front (app. 150)

    Since I still have to climb quite a bit, the Ion is not an option. Hence the option of an AC 650B.

  15. #15
    steep fast and loose :)
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    just fitted a cheap CRC revelation 140mm rock shox to my [120mm] AC29er.

    feels fantastic and no loss of climbing or steering ability.

    just meed carbon wheels and XX1 now to be fitted.

  16. #16
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    @Joeydutch The Ion we have designed, the 29, should climb better than the AC. I don't know your geo or travel/leverage but the Ion29 is optimised around a28-32t chainring, has a raised pivot point so is more progressive than an AC in initial travel, particularly when standing, but becomes more linear deeper in the travel. It also has a minimum of 150mm travel up front, with the option for 160mm.
    What chainstays do you have on yours? 464mm?
    I have 150mm forks on my current custom AC, 147mm at the back.
    Aka chainline...

  17. #17
    "Its All Good"
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    interesting reading about frames and wheels size etc etc. Have been off line of late, having been doing tri stuff, and loads of work travel... I have just got back on the mtb's, loads of road bike stuff of late...

    Have had a ride on the AC29er and a ride on the AM 29er.... So very different..

    The AC29er, being quite a bit older now, and the first cab off the rank, feels very steep angle wise and it is.. Just wasnt as playful as i would have liked. Still a quick great climbing bike... Then getting back on the Am 29er, it feels more playful while still climbing well. I would really love to try it with a 140 or 150mm front fork... Think it would be a weapon... I have learnt to live with the Dorado fork, there was no sign of 150mm forks let alone 140mm when i built it... Pilot and crew are on the money with the Ion29er, this will be an absolute weapon I think.

    It is clear to me though, the definition of playfullness in a bike comparing a 29er to a 26 inch wheel bike will never be the same... Am not so sure a 27.5 will ever be as playful ether, they are different. Yes the 27.5 platform will allow for more similarities to a 26 incher...

    I have to say the, the Speci 29er lng travel Enduro is a pretty wicked looking bike, the numbers are dialed. Shame it is a Speci
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  18. #18
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    @whafe I wrote up some thoughts on the Spesh on the other thread. I am not sure the numbers are dialed for a 29er. Dialed if you're trying to make a 26 with big wheels, which gives you both advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you want.

    75deg eff SA but 69 real, the super short stays (shorter than some 26" AM hardtails) puts your weight very rearward on the bike relative to front centre AND with a near vertical pedalling position relative to the BB, not particularly efficient anyway but also that far back for climbing? The video said it all 'we're not too worried about getting up the hill. just grind it out' It will manual great, but also try to do that when going up steep stuff with heavy pedal pressure, something you inevitably need with 1x10 or 1x11.
    Its also fairly steep at 67.5deg, this does give 'easier' flickability, and keeps it shorter but the trade off is stability in fast rough terrain, 29er wheels roll smooth over smaller stuff, but the wheelbase adds a good deal of the stability. Maybe I've gotton really used to mine at 66.7!

    I havn't ridden one, hell I haven't ridden the Ion29..yet...and I'm sure for a blast it'd be great fun but I don't generally jump and manual for the hell of it, I do it to keep speed and avoid stuff. the speed is where my fun lies as well as riding to to where I'm going, sometimes thats steep, and technical and long..

    Interestingly Dipper has some experience lately of very different feel with different height front ends in terms of manualling. The trend has been to get lower and lower with 29ers, but perhaps there is a point at which this compromises the fun?

    Anyways...I have a 150mm Fox to fit to my AC/AM 29er now so....

    My summary would be, know what you like to do, chose the best tool to do most of what you do, well, most of the time. They are all good at different things. Its physics!

    The only thing I don't agree with is that silly test with geometry corrected bikes! Other aspects should be modified to do that kind of comparision, the biggest oimpact on a 29er is fork offset which Fork guys still havent fgone far enough in my eyes except on the Gary Fishers. Looks like Spesh may also have commissioned Fox to do something, it wasnt clear from the info...
    Aka chainline...

  19. #19
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    Whafe,
    650B front, 26 rear, Helius AM, BOS SC - just thinking out loud ;-)?
    Anyone tried a 650 front wheel, is it worth the BB rise of 5mm approx?
    My AM is so much more "fun" even in Devile / VIPr mode than my Pivot 429.
    Sure the Pivot pedals and holds speed, but in ruts and defecting roots it can be scary. It does float along through uneven ground nicely though. Given its a 100mm XC bike I guess that's fair, and the 32 fork is part of the story for sure. And the 2" rubber. Feels a bit like a big cyclocross or like a long distance touring bike to me. One more thing is that to keep the wheelbase reasonable with those long stays the front is inevitably shorter (aswell as steeper of course) and that means more trips through the front door ;-).
    I guess that's the reasson for the ION 29 project. Crikey, you guys must be loaded ;-).
    I can't wait to hear how it rides. Can you get one to Steve Jones?
    N

  20. #20
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    @mudfish I can tell you that 650b on the front won't affect handling that much from a BB perspective. My current custom AM29 has a 10mm higher BB due to a combo of fork an tyres. Tyres can easily change a BB by 10mm.
    I can't say that a 650b wheel will make much difference. It's
    Much more subtle than 26-29 I understand. A recent film found this. Maybe I could dig out the link.
    Many factors affect the 'fun' too. Where you are/what you call fun/wheels/tyres/bars/shocks...all can change the ride dramatically as you know. I struggle to see how an AM with Deville & vip'r could not be fun :-) that was my previous setup and I still have great memories of it. Some of the best rides if my life in that bike.

    The Ion29 is designed to bring out and compliment the best qualities of 29 wheels, cornering grip, rolling speed, low CofG, good climbing/pedalling characteristics and minimise the downsides so to have more travel, short at the back, but not so short you mess up the climbing position.
    Basically for me a great Enduro bike which is really just a great all round bike....and less than 29lbs of course ;-)
    Aka chainline...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    @mudfish I can tell you that 650b on the front won't affect handling that much from a BB perspective. My current custom AM29 has a 10mm higher BB due to a combo of fork an tyres. Tyres can easily change a BB by 10mm.
    I can't say that a 650b wheel will make much difference. It's
    Much more subtle than 26-29 I understand. A recent film found this. Maybe I could dig out the link.
    Many factors affect the 'fun' too. Where you are/what you call fun/wheels/tyres/bars/shocks...all can change the ride dramatically as you know. I struggle to see how an AM with Deville & vip'r could not be fun :-) that was my previous setup and I still have great memories of it. Some of the best rides if my life in that bike.

    That link would be good - please.

    The Ion29 is designed to bring out and compliment the best qualities of 29 wheels, cornering grip, rolling speed, low CofG, good climbing/pedalling characteristics and minimise the downsides so to have more travel, short at the back, but not so short you mess up the climbing position.
    Basically for me a great Enduro bike which is really just a great all round bike....and less than 29lbs of course ;-)
    yes ION29 sounds like a great project

    I'm in South Downs, not far from Geetee, Brighton woods a lot (Big Dog course is a training loop for me), North Downs a bit, Innerleithen / Glentress when I can and Alps annually if I am lucky.

    ::FUN::
    Maybe I wrote it incorrectly, the Nic AM [L] with Deville (-1.5 angleset, -3 shock plates on the way) and VIPr (shortest travel setting) and light wheels is just fab, really good fun - Once it slopes down (like Alps or local DH use) the strong M823 wheels, 2.5 sticky tyres, Idylle SC and S**Toy go on.
    Even locally the SC's stiffness is a great point, but I guess it's heavier than ideal and possibly a bit under damped for regular woods riding with a lot of pedalling being a DH fork.

    It's the Large Pivot 429 29er that's not as much fun in the woods once muscling through stuff is needed, it gets defelected - I guess that feeling's not helped by a combination of lightish wheels (AMClassicTubeless29) and rather spindly 32 Fox Float 100. But, I think it's also about rider position.
    The front wheel "feels" more tucked back IMO. Could be that the 29er rolling ability "safe feeling" is getting me further forward, I guess.

    I do think the longer 29er chainstays are perhaps a good thing for a 6'2" rider like me (no need to shimmy forward as much on seated steeps - [my seat is high and therefore far back]).
    SO for me if it were a trail bike the head would have to be slacker and the wheel base would have to be even longer, maybe I should have got an XL.
    The 100mm travel actually gives an excellent feel and the 2" tyres grip amazingly well so the 29er effect is at play there for sure.
    And, up the road, compared to the AM, the 29 feels like pedalling a road bike, the ability to get away with less tread and tyre volume (and less travel) and have the same ability to roll stuff and get grip is amazing!
    great, all this armchair riding, chewing the fat on geo, I love it ;-)
    neil

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