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Thread: AC 29er built

  1. #1
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    AC 29er built

    finally got it finished.

    weighing in at 31lb dead. thats inc some fairly heavy gear. current spec is:

    medium frame with conehead, 12mm rear and iscg tabs
    hope hubs, flows and ardent 2.4's running tubeless
    fox float 29ers
    monarch shock
    xtr crans, XO shifters and mech
    i900 post and sdg saddle
    race face atlas stem
    sunline V1 bars
    Acros headset
    XTR brakes with hope rotors
    easton flatboy pedals
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails AC 29er built-29er.jpg  

    AC 29er built-ac29er.jpg  

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    Very nice.
    Are you riding it today?
    What colour is it?

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    did you get the bushes for the shock ?????????? !!!!! ??????????

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    Won't be riding today unfortunately. Sunny and dry as well

    Frames grey but no idea what grey! Colour I specced wasn't a nicolai colour so i just asked them to pick the closest.

    Tlr - Bushes were waiting when I got back after our ride out yesterday. Yer frames ready by the way.
    .
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  5. #5
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    @dipper - did you get toe-over lap on the AC 29'er ?

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    I didn't like the colour when I saw the frame only. As a complete bike it looks nice, especially with the white fork and seatstays. Only thing I don't like are the shiny Nicolai stickers.

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    i dont like the colour either.

    one thing that struck me about the frame was the apparent "closeness" of the wheelbase and the potential for toe overlap.

    of course, i haven't yet had a shot of the bike, but hope to get a demo in later on this week.......as long as the weather remains cold and dry....

    looking forward to dippers initial ride report

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    Nice bike, but where's the heavy bits?

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    Toe overlap? Is this 29er equivalent of pedal strike?

    Heavy bits are the bars, pedals, stem, seatpost and wheels. For trail riding it's not an issue but I've a couple of endurance events planned with it so I'll ditch those in favor of lighter stuff. 28-29lb should bs easy enough

    Colour is plain in comparison to my afr. I like it though. Pics give it a funny green tinge but it's more like aircraft grey in the flesh. Chrome decals rock!
    Last edited by dipper; 01-30-2011 at 11:05 AM.
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    Very nice indeed ) Have you ridden it in anger yet? How does it perform?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mugtree
    Very nice indeed ) Have you ridden it in anger yet? How does it perform?
    Not in anger no. Road it down the road and it felt like a dogs dinner to be honest! nearly fell off just turning it around in the road! I guess it'll take a few miles to adapt to the bigger wheels. Should get some miles in this week and will report back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Not in anger no. Road it down the road and it felt like a dogs dinner to be honest! nearly fell off just turning it around in the road! I guess it'll take a few miles to adapt to the bigger wheels. Should get some miles in this week and will report back.


    Ha ha.Wheres Whafe

  13. #13
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    i only sat on it in the shop and i suffered toe-overlap,,,,,,,,,,,,, LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Not in anger no. Road it down the road and it felt like a dogs dinner to be honest! nearly fell off just turning it around in the road! I guess it'll take a few miles to adapt to the bigger wheels. Should get some miles in this week and will report back.
    Do you want me to make some stabilisers using 24" wheels

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    FOCK - Lets all just knock the ***** out of this bike without even really riding it...

    It will take some time to adapt, I make no bones about that... I will say I can swap between my AC 29er and the FR easy now, at first it was odd...

    TLR - as I posted earlier on another thread, no toe overlap issue for me...

    Colour combo looks good in my view. Colour looks similar to my DJ Nic... Sweet...

    Well I look forward to hearing how you all get on with the wagon wheels....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  16. #16
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    I just whipped out to the garage and sat on mine, no toe overlap at all possible, was some 10 - 12mm of length from the front of my foot to the closest part of the tyre......
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    Forgive me Dipper but in that top photo it looks like the sun is shining.

















    Have you relocated?

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    TLR on the phone to Dipper, trying to understand why he has toe-overlap........


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    Geniuine LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpm100
    TLR on the phone to Dipper, trying to understand why he has toe-overlap........

    Post of the century for me.... BEAUTIFUL
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  21. #21
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    that clown looks better and dresses better than me.

    FAIL !


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    Now that's funny

    Christened the 29er today. Not sure what to say about it to be honest. It's no where near as alien as I expected but without some decent reference points I'm struggling to put it into context. I've mainly been riding AM/FR type bikes for a few years now so the steeper geo of the ac will take a bit of getting used to. However, some early observations

    -It pedals great. As per all helius models
    -No issues with toe overlap. Never even crossed my mind
    -Turning is very fast which i didn't expect. Nearly crashed on a few occasions when I turned too quickly and
    lost the front. A steady hand is required
    -it's comfy but not exactly 'racy'. Could do with dropping the bars another 1/2" but I'm already running a 0deg stem and flat bars robbed from the afr.
    -The new xtr brakes have way too much initial bite. Too savage IMO. Need more modulation
    -i missed not having the hammesrschmidt. Front rings are rubbish in comparison
    -rolls well. Predictably
    -29ers don't chuck mud in your face. Seriously, not a drop! Same ride 2 days ago on the far and I couldn't see for mud on my glasses!
    -it's no where near as hard to lift the front as i expected
    -can't see the 26" ac being better at its intended purpose but I'd need to ride one first to see.

    All in all i think it's going to be good. Possibly very good If I can get used to the speed of turn(didn't think I'd say that about a 29er!). It's comfy and I can see it being excellent at
    long days and all round good old fashioned mountain biking. Should compliment the AFR very well.
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    Quick turning - that'll be the HA i'd imagine

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_b77
    Quick turning - that'll be the HA i'd imagine
    perhaps the HA has been sharpened deliberately to offset and disguise the 29" wagon wheel effect

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    funny thing that toe overlap has been subject of discussion, that can actually be a problem when riding a 29er.

    I ride flats, and when I had a 29er I frequently suffered from toe overlap, actually to the extent that it made me sell the bike. Of course this is just a function of geometry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikael_nr1
    funny thing that toe overlap has been subject of discussion, that can actually be a problem when riding a 29er.

    I ride flats, and when I had a 29er I frequently suffered from toe overlap, actually to the extent that it made me sell the bike. Of course this is just a function of geometry.

    i swung a leg over dipper's AC 29'r on Saturday and the first thing i noticed was the toe / wheel over-lap........................

    he reports otherwise of course..................

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    I ride flats also but as you say, the geo has a big effect on that also.

    I really need to ride it back to back with a standard ac for comparison. Sold a few but never ridden one yet!
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    i swung a leg over dipper's AC 29'r on Saturday and the first thing i noticed was the toe / wheel over-lap........................

    he reports otherwise of course..................
    You sat on it with the pedals horizontal and in the middle of your foot. Then turned the bars till it hit your foot!

    I on the other hand rode the b****y thing and had no issue! On exactly the same run we did on Saturday which had a fair bit of tight turns.

    Same deal as I've been spouting all through the Bos thread. Ride it before making
    opinions!

    Speaking of Saturdays ride, got any preconceived AFR opinions you'd like to take back?
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  30. #30
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    Some interesting initial thoughts dipper....

    As I have said many times, it will take a little time to get used to it. In the beginning if I swapped from the AC29er to the FR, I felt really off balance, odd in the air etc etc.... Now it is easy to swap back and forth.... I guess it is like clipless pedals when a newbie starts using them, it is really odd, then it becomes second nature...

    mikael - the toe overlap you suffered on the 29er you sold, seems odd, what was the goe of the frame... As I said above, I sat on mine yesterday with jandles on and could not get any toe-over lap, even with my pedals in the arch / middle of my foot... Real test is on the trail, never even had any issue... I have had on the Jones 29er though, only when in real real tight trackstand turns once or twice...

    TLR - Would it be fair to say, by nature you will ride this bike with the mindset that you will not like it and it will not be as good as a 26 inch AC?

    It will be more enjoyable to go at it with an open mind....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    That looks bloody awesome dipper, much nicer than i expected! Colours work really well and are a nice change from the usual.

    Intersting reading your thoughts on it, not so interesting reading others thoughts
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    PS. conehead tube looks very good! prob. nicer than the 1.5 as it dosent look as out of proportion when running reduced forks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe

    TLR - Would it be fair to say, by nature you will ride this bike with the mindset that you will not like it and it will not be as good as a 26 inch AC?

    It will be more enjoyable to go at it with an open mind....
    i hereby sincerely promise to ride it with an open mind.....

    i want to like it as i'm keen to see what the band-wagon [wheel] is all about, but dipper reckons it's a live with thing before he'll know.

    i may only get a couple of hours on it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    i hereby sincerely promise to ride it with an open mind.....
    Great to hear, be an interesting few hours on a bike then....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    Great to hear, be an interesting few hours on a bike then....

    hopefully on friday if mary poppins get's his finger out............

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    hopefully on friday if mary poppins get's his finger out............
    Erm....did the mountain come to Mohamed?
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Erm....did the mountain come to Mohamed?

    i may make the trip north if you'll prepare my lunch on arrival............

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    and you are King of Cliche..................

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    i may make the trip north if you'll prepare my lunch on arrival............
    Nor did the mountain make mohamad his denner!
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    Had an excellent ride on the 29er today. Really starting to get to grips with it. It's good. Possibly very good but without trying the standard AC I've got no reference points so cant say one way or another which I prefer.

    I was expecting quite a marked difference going to the big wheels but I cant say it's that big a deal. Neither the pros or the cons I've read about are that pronounced. It's different but not by so much that it's a marmite bike. It goes up, it comes down and it goes round and round and does it all very well.

    Set up compared to a 26er is proving to be different. First off is tyre pressures. I run exactly the same wheels on my afr(albeit smaller!) and on those I run 22ish psi according to Joe Blow. I started with this on the AC but was way too hard(and was the main cause of me always loosing the front!). I gradually dropped the pressures during the ride and checked the result with Joe Blow and they were less than 15psi. I plan on dropping a bit more as well. Even at such low pressures the tyres don't look soft when riding.

    The other oddity is how it affects the suspension. Rear in particular. I started with 30% sag on the rear(monarch 4.2) for no other reason than it felt about right. However, even taking in some drops and jumps(nowt daft!) it still wasn't using more than maybe 70% travel. It felt like it was using more but the o-ring doesn't lie

    Now I just need a certain forum member to get his finger out and pick a colour and I'll be able to try it alongside a 'normal' AC!
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  41. #41
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    i may well be a 29'r convert prior to any 26'r selection, but i'll reserve judgement until i've had a shottie [assuming it's me you're referring to]....?

    shame the weather's turned - tomorrow would've been perfect...

    any pedal strike ? toe-overlap ?

    how controlled is the suspension action - does the rear feel super lively or numb and heavily damped ?

    any idea what the leverage rate / curve is on the AC 29'r ?

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    No I wasnt talking about you! You've been talking about an ac for 2 years. Maybe by the time you get round to it nicolai will be making zimmers!
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  43. #43
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    zimmer may struggle with toe-overlap and ankle strike though - the bane of Nicolai

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    dipper - Interesting comment re the rear suspension. That sums up what most have said when they have thrown a leg over mine. You feel you are using up all the suspension, but in actual fact you are not. I run more sag that 30%.

    I bet you are really annoyed at how slow a 29er gets up to speed... LOL..... Thats the main question people comment to me about, never had such a problem, it is BS in my mind... Oh and be real careful on the tight techy stuff... PPfffttttttt

    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    Whafe- I'll probably do the same with the rear shock. Drop it a bit more and see how I get on

    All the negatives I've heard about are pretty much non existent. On the positives though it is very stable, fast rolling and feels like it has more travel than it has. It's definitely not a niche product and deserves it's place in mountain biking.

    What weight is yours whafe?
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Whafe- I'll probably do the same with the rear shock. Drop it a bit more and see how I get on

    All the negatives I've heard about are pretty much non existent. On the positives though it is very stable, fast rolling and feels like it has more travel than it has. It's definitely not a niche product and deserves it's place in mountain biking.

    What weight is yours whafe?
    Just weighed the Orange Crusher, 29.69 lbs. It is for sure not a weight weenies build, 12mm rear axle, 20mm front axle etc etc...

    Beautiful: "It's definitely not a niche product and deserves it's place in mountain biking"

    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    i see a trend developing. every time i ride the 29er i'm more and more impressed. Had its first real challange today as i was out with a mate on his AM. we hit a technical rocky section and for the first time in a long time he was in my way! it's usually hard enough to keep with him down here on the AFR but the AC just cruised over the rocks. Conditions werent great and the slightly slower speeds maybe played into the hands of the Ac but still, i was impressed
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails AC 29er built-29erbin.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    i see a trend developing. every time i ride the 29er i'm more and more impressed. Had its first real challange today as i was out with a mate on his AM. we hit a technical rocky section and for the first time in a long time he was in my way! it's usually hard enough to keep with him down here on the AFR but the AC just cruised over the rocks. Conditions werent great and the slightly slower speeds maybe played into the hands of the Ac but still, i was impressed
    Sweet to hear, you know you are helping me realize that I am not crazy

    It takes some time to feel totally at ease to fully let the AC 29er go on DH sections, but you will be rewarded for sure....

    I am going to have a go with the arm tomorrow morning, will ride the AC 29er, thought about putting the new Enve wheels on the AC, but will wait for the new bike...

    Off to see Nitro Circus tonight, should be a laugh..

    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  49. #49
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    interesting conversation with Dipper about the wagon-wheeler.....

    looking forward to giving it a proper shot sometime next week....

    sounds like a proper XC Jey trail bike, which is exactly where i'm at......

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    Not sure I'd call it an 'xc jey trail bike'. It certainly could be with a lighter wheel set. As it is with the 2.4 ardents and flows it can take a proper hammering. The wheel set is heavier than my afr wheels(as it's the same set up but bigger) so it's no flying machine going up. It is very efficient though.

    I'll be building up a set of crests with lighter tyres when I get a chance. I suspect it doesn't actually need such a big set of tyres for general trail riding. They do feel very good though.
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  51. #51
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    indeed - i'm more interested in the lesser wheelset - get them built, fitted and ready to ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Not sure I'd call it an 'xc jey trail bike'. It certainly could be with a lighter wheel set. As it is with the 2.4 ardents and flows it can take a proper hammering. The wheel set is heavier than my afr wheels(as it's the same set up but bigger) so it's no flying machine going up. It is very efficient though.

    I'll be building up a set of crests with lighter tyres when I get a chance. I suspect it doesn't actually need such a big set of tyres for general trail riding. They do feel very good though.
    Is it a quicker climber than the AFR? We know thats quick

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    I'm sure tlr could tell you how well the afr climbs. Although maybe he couldn't see from that far back!

    It's quicker than the afr purely because it's 7lb lighter overall. I still got whupped up the hill by my 6'4", 12.5stone mate on his 34lb AM. Just by not as much! Then again, he could still beat me when I was on the vf2 at 27lb!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    I'm sure tlr could tell you how well the afr climbs. Although maybe he couldn't see from that far back!

    It's quicker than the afr purely because it's 7lb lighter overall. I still got whupped up the hill by my 6'4", 12.5stone mate on his 34lb AM. Just by not as much! Then again, he could still beat me when I was on the vf2 at 27lb!
    6'4" and 12.5 stone,Get him some food,is there no food deliveries because of the snow.

    Some people are just natural climbers on a bike,I have a mate who kills everybody on climbs,he is 8st and 5ft7,i dont even try to keep up with him anymore,it ruins me.

  55. #55
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    TLR - Just concentrate on riding it as it is first, then ponder wheels etc later...

    Mine is 29.4 lbs, when my FR was around 30 lbs it was quick uphill, the AC29er just kicks its a s s .....

    All I can say is its great to see another Nicolai Ho with a AC 29er, I am pretty certain you will all be following on... Reading the latest edition of Bike Mag Bible of tests, the amount of 29ers in the was out there. It is by far not a fad.....

    Them big wheels keep on rolling.....
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  56. #56
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    dipper - update us with some thoughts on the AC 29er
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    Ok. Like I said early on, I'm reluctant to get all giddy over it till i get a ride on a normal ac. However, i doubt very much it can be any better. All the good traits you read about 29s are there and none of the bad. If i was to be picky, then yes it doesn't feel as fast up a hill compared to a 31lb 26er but it's not by much(I suspect some of that is perceived due to the effect it has on the gearing compared to a 26) and also it is running fairly large wheels. I've also singed my arse on the back tyre coming down a particularly steep section but lesson learnt. I'll not do that again!

    It's comfy,flowy, fast and stable and tramps through rocks and roots like a much big bike.

    Only thing letting it down is the suspension. The rear monarch is pretty constipated. It's a B tune and I suspect way over damped. Despite trying really hard it refuses to give more than 70% travel. I've 2 rp23's here to try as well. A big volume and a smaller volume. Again, they're on quite firm damping tunes so I'm undecided if to Push one of the shocks I have or wait for the bos stoy air.

    The forks are very plush(by far the best FIT forks out of the box I've tried) but too boingy. Fortunately, I can run them quite hard and well damped as the 29er doesn't really need the small bump compliance a 26 needs. I need more support and less dive on the brakes but i think they'll be ok once I settle on settings!

    Other things of note. Big bars are great even on xc bikes, xtr brakes are impressive. I'm getting used to the grabbiness. Chainsets and front mechs suck! Might try sussing if I can get away with 1x10 but I doubt it. I need my wee gears too much might also try it with the hammerschmidt but that'll take it over your AM weight!

    Overall, I'm seriously impressed.
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  58. #58
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    Great stuff, helping me keep my sanity in place in that I am not the only one whom loves the AC 29er.......

    Be interested to hear thoughts with other shocks... I am happy with my RP23 Boost Valve...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    Sounds great! I must say reading all this has changed my mind on the 29" thing!

    I must say whafes AM looks dare i say "NORMAL"

    I do think the 29er thing is here to stay altho at this point 26" will do me
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    Dipper - perhaps i should get my AC on a plane now it is built up and we can have it out! Next time I'm in Aberdeen....

    Hearing you on the big bars - running Easton Havens on the AC (not the biggest at 711mm, but wide enough given the spacing of the trees around here) and the extra stability, particularly downhill is notable. Also compensates for the short stem I'm running. XTR brakes are fantastic arent't they? Took a bit of getting use to the bite point coming in the middle of the stroke - a bit of modulation at first then full on stopping. I'm liking them.

    Running 1x10 on my AC - some steep climbs to be had around here, but are pretty short compared to what you have I suspect. Would take pushing the gears over a front mech any day though. Not sure if I'm totally sold on the new XTR rear mech and shifter though - need a bit more time to get it properly dialled in, certaintly a bit more fiddly than the (old) XO I was previously running.

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    Dam, so hope I can pull a work trip off to the UK in your summer, be stoked to get 3 AC29ers in the one place! But am thinking I would bring the AM29er, listen to me saying that without even riding it...

    Yep, wide bars are where its at... Loving the Chromag bars on the FR... May have a swap onto the AM29er if all goes well and the carbon bars are not wide enough.....

    Great feedback on the XTR brakes, real positive...


    Quote Originally Posted by NICK-O-LAI
    Dipper - perhaps i should get my AC on a plane now it is built up and we can have it out! Next time I'm in Aberdeen....

    Hearing you on the big bars - running Easton Havens on the AC (not the biggest at 711mm, but wide enough given the spacing of the trees around here) and the extra stability, particularly downhill is notable. Also compensates for the short stem I'm running. XTR brakes are fantastic arent't they? Took a bit of getting use to the bite point coming in the middle of the stroke - a bit of modulation at first then full on stopping. I'm liking them.

    Running 1x10 on my AC - some steep climbs to be had around here, but are pretty short compared to what you have I suspect. Would take pushing the gears over a front mech any day though. Not sure if I'm totally sold on the new XTR rear mech and shifter though - need a bit more time to get it properly dialled in, certaintly a bit more fiddly than the (old) XO I was previously running.
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    I'm also a fan of the wide bars although these raceface bars are maybe a bit wide for me!

    Last time i was out with sdr08 i smacked my nuckles off a fence post due to the width of the bars but i guess i just need to get used to them. I've always used the easton carbon dh bars @ 711 so 780 is on the wide side
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  63. #63
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    Apparently 725 is the New width for trail bars. I thought 711 was fine. Fashion over function perhaps ??

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    I think i'd be happy to go back to 711, or maybe a bit wider but i deffo want to go carbon bars again.
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    Have you tried them?

    The 780's I'm currently running are possibly a bit ott as I've had a few close tree/knuckle interfaces. Other than that they're great. The 745's I had before were
    Probably about right for all round use
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    Just a couple o' rides dipper but i guess i should give them more of a chance. I may lop a little bit off then ends to make them a bit more manageable.
    Last edited by derekr; 02-11-2011 at 07:20 AM.
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  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by NICK-O-LAI
    Dipper - perhaps i should get my AC on a plane now it is built up and we can have it out! Next time I'm in Aberdeen....

    Hearing you on the big bars - running Easton Havens on the AC (not the biggest at 711mm, but wide enough given the spacing of the trees around here) and the extra stability, particularly downhill is notable. Also compensates for the short stem I'm running. XTR brakes are fantastic arent't they? Took a bit of getting use to the bite point coming in the middle of the stroke - a bit of modulation at first then full on stopping. I'm liking them.

    Running 1x10 on my AC - some steep climbs to be had around here, but are pretty short compared to what you have I suspect. Would take pushing the gears over a front mech any day though. Not sure if I'm totally sold on the new XTR rear mech and shifter though - need a bit more time to get it properly dialled in, certaintly a bit more fiddly than the (old) XO I was previously running.
    Hi Nick
    I'll be working out of Aberdeen for the next year or so. If you're coming up, give me a shout as we could get out in the evenings if you'll be working.

    Might give the 1x10 a whirl but I'm using the 22/34 quite a lot. Them big wheels alter your gearing so not sure what to try if I go 1x10. A hope 9-36 and maybe 28 or 30 up front might do it. We'll see.
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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Hi Nick
    I'll be working out of Aberdeen for the next year or so. If you're coming up, give me a shout as we could get out in the evenings if you'll be working.

    more than happy to show you'd the sneaky off-piste [pedal striking] stuff around here

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    more than happy to show you'd the sneaky off-piste [pedal striking] stuff around here
    Its ok. We'll find it
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  70. #70
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    Had a pleasant surprise tonight. Went out with the intention of not using the granny ring at all to get an idea of the gearing I'd need if i went 1x10. Well I survived but that wasn't the pleasant part! Turns out I'm running a 32t cassette when I could have sworn it was 34. So based on tonights ride a 34t cass should make things fairly easy and therefore a 1x10 with a 36t should be a piece o piss

    Initially i think I'll go 1x9 as it seems a bit daft to ditch the perfectly good xo/xtr gear to gain 2 rear teeth. The legs will just have to man up. If Hope come out with a 9>34 9speed cassette(which I think is the plan) I should be able to drop to a 28 or 30t front
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  71. #71
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    Dipper, exactly my plan. Does anyone know what the latest is with the hope cassette? If and when is going to be released? Can't wait to loose the front Der, but I need that damn 9 tooth cog!

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Its ok. We'll find it

    suit yersel...... if we see you, we'll be sure to EXOCET you off the trail.........

    interested in the 1x9 or 1x10 potential...let me know how you get on with 34t.

  73. #73
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    Hope 10 speed integrated free hub cassette due out February 2012.

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    feb 2012 - LMFAO !!!

    what about their chain-guide ?

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    feb 2012 - LMFAO !!!

    what about their chain-guide ?
    Didn't ask, as it just looks like every other C/guide.

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    At least it looks like their seriously testing it rather than just spitting it out unfinished; I think most people with hope hubs will at least consider the hope cassette so its in their best interest to make it as good as possible.
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    From: TWENTY NINE INCHES

    Nicolai Helius AC: Short Term Test: Intro
    July 18th, 2011 by Guitar Ted

    NICOLAI is a brand with an almost mythical reputation for their awesome execution, attention to detail with an air of being near indestructible. They are only working with aluminum and make every frame specifically by order … so each bike is basically one of a kind. NICOLAI had always been on my horizon for their design and execution but them not offering a 29″er until late 2010 and me not being too much of an alloy fan … we just never really crossed tracks.



    That did change when during last year´s Eurobike NICOLAI introduced their Argon CC RC 29″er hard tail (shown here) and announced the Helius full suspension platform as an upcoming 29″er as well. It took a while – until Freiburg Collective actually, till we first saw that Helius AC 29″er bike live and get a very quick spin on it – see the event report here.

    Now we have been given the opportunity of a world exclusive short test – short for Twenty Nine Inches, not for other mags -and ride the Helius AC for a bit over 2 weeks.



    The Helius AC is Nicolai´s interpretation of a high performance Trail-/All-around bike with a true four bar linkage suspension. The Helius AC 29″er is no different is and designed to be agile, yet confidence inspiring, efficient to tackle any ascent, yet forgiving and stiff enough to master any descent with confidence. Neither aimed at pure racing or hardcore technical riding only but a All-Mountain bike in the true sense of the word. Sounds like a lot of marketing slang to you? By these claims which basically describes my riding style, NICOLAI have put up the bar very high for themselves in terms of how I want to feel riding that bike. Personally I often find it easier to achieve a use-specific characteristic (say Race-/XC-oriented or Trail-bike handling) than one that will do good on anything.

    Is the NICOLAI Helius up for that? Well will see, but first let´s take a closer look at the bike before we get to take it out in the dirt.



    Like I said the NICOLAI Helius AC is based on a four bar linkage suspension with a rocker link connected to the top tube. There are four settings, where the 200 mm length shock can be attached to achieve 120, 108, 100 or 90 mm of travel. The tech sheet says the lowest setting is 103 mm but I remember having read someplace it was 90 mm which somehow makes more sense to me – I plan to find out when riding.

    The one outstanding trademark every rider will immediately comment on and that NICOLAI is famous for, is the immaculate and wonderful machining and execution of every little detail on their frames and the Helius AC 29″er is no different. To save you the continuous repetition I will say it once and for all: Each detail of this bike is a piece of machining and production mastery that searches for a rival – be it the CNC machined parts (all in house), the welding or the anodizing and paint. All that with the industrial air Nicolai purposefully nurtures being more engineers than designers – no hydro-forming or excessive bending as is so common for modern alloy frames … in fact, there is not one single bent tube on the entire frame!!

    The front triangle is executed in round tubing with the addition of some reinforcements on the head tube junctions and the top tube/seat tube junction, not to forget the shock mounting via two welded on plates. The rear is all in straight rectangular tubing and elaborately machined dropouts and a machined yokes – the right drop out being interchangeable.

    The basic contact points to components are a tapered head tube (beautifully machined), a pretty standard BSA 73 mm width bottom bracket, a 31.6 mm seat tube diameter (30.9mm on size XL), a 135 mm width rear dropout spacing (my sample frame came with a MAXLE through axle system) and an IS 2000 brake mount (approved up to 203 mm rotor size!!!).

    Tire clearance is said to be around 2.4″ and by what I see there is plenty of room for all tires currently available.



    When talking about the geometry (see the Helius AC page here ) – the numbers look a bit on the steeper side looking at the 72° head and 74° seat angles but coupled with rather longish chain stays of 463 mm. Interesting combination … which sounds like Nicolai trying to get both agile handling and very stable climbing combined in one geometry. Will that concept prove its worth on the trail and will the weight distribution not potentially be too far forward?

    The frame I received is Medium which translates to a 600 mm effective top tube and a 485 mm ST length center to top. Interestingly Nicolai chose to keep the stand over clearance identical on all sizes by only modifying the seat tube extension above the top tube which makes for a rather tall size Small and a low size Large. Bottom bracket drop is a moderate 30 mm (without sag).

    Nicolai does not give a big deal about weight – openly saying their bikes are “built to last and be as precise as can be” and so the Helius AC 29″er also does not aim to be a weight weenie frame. Nicolai´s sales front-man, Stephan G., communicated a bare frame weight of ~ 3.1 kg (6.8 lbs), which seems right considering the bike built consisting of XX drive train and brake components, rather basic wheels and a Reba XX (20 mm Maxle, 120 mm) fork and the complete bike weight (incl. pedals) of 13.2 kg (or 29.1 lbs)

    The Helius AC´s frame is built around 120 mm forks (526 mm axle to crown length) which by employing a 118 mm head tube and a external headset sounds like the front might not be the lowest one.



    All cable routing is external and fixed by removable clamps (did I already mention their beautiful machining?) and full length enclosed in housing – I love that in our often foul weather and serviceability sure is a whole lot easier than with any internal routing! On the right chain stay there is a nice screw on plastic piece that functions both as chain stay protector and cable guide.

    But all this German Engineering sure is expensive some would say …. and YES the quality material, precision in-house production and attention to detail does have its price but at € 2099.- for the frame (w/o shock but incl. VAT) that seems more than justified. Including is your choice of colors (even mixing different colors on front triangle, chain stay and seat tube is possible). At up charges one can order an anodized part kit ( € 50,- the sample frame has them in blue). Anodized frames cost an additional € 400.- while full custom geometries come at an extra € 600.-. As a form of personalizing your NICOLAI frame you can also have the rider´s name name engraved into the seat stays for € 99.-. There is a myriad of other custom options which I´d refer you back to Nicolai (www.nicolai.net) to discuss when ordering your personal frame. As I already mentioned; all frames are produced by order and so a 6-8 week long waiting list is what you face when ordering a Nicolai today.

    I don´t know about you, but I am really curious to find out how the suspension feels, how the bike handles and whether the nice looking package delivers as positively as it looks. Give me 2 weeks and I´ll come back with my impressions.

    Until then … RIDE ON,

    c_g



    Nicolai Helius AC: Short Term Test: Final Review
    August 1st, 2011 by Guitar Ted



    OK, it has been two eventful weeks on board NICOLAI´s first production 29″er full suspension platform – the Helius AC 29″er. The bike is designed to be a true All-rounder – excelling in epic rides equally as in technical conditions.

    In this short test period I have been blessed with the opportunity to ride the NICOLAI every day and even do two alpine adventures to test the bike on. Furthermore we had wide variety of trail conditions from torrential rain and mud fests to bone dry trails (which was very welcome for the simultaneous tire testing going on) and so my ride impressions are rather complete on this bike.



    FRAME BUILDING: Like I said in my intro – I had never been too much into NICOLAI´s love for aluminum and them entering the 29″er market only last Eurobike had only just shifted my attention their direction. To be fair – NICOLAI had been doing 29″er frames for very long time, but always as pure custom builds – the Argon CC and RoCC 29″er and the tested Helius AC are their first standard geometry production 29″ers.



    When I had the opportunity to really inspect the bikes during Freiburg Collective and see how immaculately manufactured and designed they were I grew interested though … they really are as beautiful to the eye as they are from a technical point of view. But would it prove equally as good while riding?

    Even after the test period I found very few details I´d change in the bike´s design. One these details was the straight rectangular seat and chain stays that caused me on some occasions (particularly when pedaling in technical sections) to hit my heels on the stays – not too badly though, and after some time I seemed to have adjusted to it, but a bit of bent tube shapes there would better the situation and avoid unwanted contact altogether.



    It is very uncommon for a modern day alloy frame to have absolutely no bending on any tube or hydro-forming, and some may argue that there is constructive potential missed. However; Nicolai is a engineering driven company, and as such they firmly believe that any straight tubing will always be the shortest and strongest connection between two points. If it were not for the occasional heel contact I´d agree, and by riding impressions I have found no reason to doubt this execution.

    FRAME FLEX: There is no flex in this frame – anywhere. Everything is built (one might say overbuilt) to transfer the utmost in pedaling force and steering input directly to the wheels and so it comes as no wonder that the Helius AC really is one of the most precise bikes I have ever ridden. This counts double for it being a full suspension bike. That applies for the massive front triangle which is superior in stiffness and precision, and the multi linked rear. Though the testing has been too short to verify long term durability – the shear size of the bearings and bushings, and the precision manufacturing applied, makes me believe there won´t be much trouble in the future in this aspect either.

    My test frame was equipped with an Maxle rear (available as an up charge option) adding extra stiffness (not sure it is needed but I had it anyway). This did make the rear wheel mounting somewhat elaborate, since the wheel was not self centering, and threading the axle was sometimes challenging my patience.



    SUSPENSION ACTION: The suspension design with the mounted Rock Shox Monarch RT3 shock creates a suspension platform that is not the most sensitive but the most stable I have ridden up to date. I am very sensitive (if not to say anal), about rider induced suspension action, and the Helius AC (despite its 120 mm max travel) really rides like a hard tail in almost every setting. Only when fully open and rebound to the lowest – would there be very little action under rider input. This applies equally to seated pacing as to hammering standing. Of course this comes at the cost of small bump sensitivity, (which I don´t mind all that much), but not at all by sacrificing shock absorption capacity. When riding the Helius AC hard I frequently found myself using up all its travel without ever coming to the point of bottoming out. Interestingly the suspension action was very subtle, and active to anything but the small chatter, yet super linear – I never felt it to sink in too deeply when riding ditches, or depressing too much under weight shifting, or ramping up on big hits. I am not sure to what extent the suspension design is the cause or more to the shock´s set up, but in combination the Helius AC 29″er was the very first full suspension bike I felt like the suspension was assisting me when riding 100% of the time and not only for a part of my riding.

    The only thing I could see changed when it comes to suspension action would be to go for a lighter damping on the shock to allow for a bit more sensitivity when desired by the rider. As it is, the bike rode so stable that I never ever needed to go to the strongest platform setting. The 120 mm Reba on the frame thus felt a bit too active when set up as usual and I chose to reduce the negative pressure to balance with the stable rear.

    I did try out the other shock mount settings which alter both the effective travel and the bike angles and ended up liking the 120 mm and 108 mm best. But that really was less because of the differences in suspension feel and more due to the change in rider position and altered angles (since the fork remained at 120 mm all the time). Besides, why go with less travel when even the longest travel already gave me such an efficient and stable ride sensation?



    HANDLING & STEERING: So the suspension is good, but how about the handling? Like our past tests have shown the Euro manufacturers often attempt to mimic 26″er handling when designing their 29″ers, which often leads to exaggeratedly stable or agile bikes but rarely the golden middle grounds.

    How did the steep angles (72°/74°) and the longish CS (463 mm) add up? First of all the Helius AC climbs like a mountain goat. It requires very little weight shifting when climbing and can be paced up confidently almost every ridable ascent. I love to climb and so this gave the Helius another big plus on my list. I climbed the bike both seated and standing and it is great in both types of riding, though in my opinion it favors the seated mode. The 118 mm long head tube plus the external head set did create a slightly tall front, but I never found this to be an issue – neither for ergonomics or efficiency, nor for climbing. The very neutral suspension sure helped making the climbing even more enjoyable, too. (The only bike that climbs as willingly that I have ridden lately was the BULLS Tirone – also with long chain stays, but this bike suffered from its overly stable steering).

    Interestingly the Helius did not steer slow at all. In fact it was one of the more agile and nimble steering bikes I have ridden, yet the superior precision (assisted by the thru axle wheels back and front) kept me in control all the time. This agile front and slightly long rear lent to ever so slight feeling of imbalance, but it took me less than one ride to adjust and learn to really love the way it steered. The thing I credit the HELIUS AC most with is that it had me enjoy every ride regardless of what the character of the ride was – it always provided the sense of confidence to tackle any section willingly yet never made me feel bored.

    But even more so, the bike handled so naturally and with such an ease that it would manual and allow for wheelies whenever needed. There is one particular log that I hardly ever clear on the first attempt on any full suspension 29″er, but with the Helius it was no issue at all … WOW!!

    By being a true “Do-It-All” bike the Helius AC gives up a bit of a competitive edge though: While some bikes simply make me chase my own lap-time intuitively, on board the Helius AC that thought never even crossed my mind … maybe because I was simply having too much fun riding it through all kinds of terrain . But don´t mistake this with a touring bike – the Helius AC can well be ridden fast and aggressively.



    Verdict: So was it the perfect bike in my opinion? By ride feeling, handling and suspension action – YES. In these respects it has been among the best bikes I have ridden up to date.

    To me the combination of superior climbing stability yet maintaining an agile single track-loving feeling, really sets the Helius AC apart from most other full suspension bikes I have ridden. Couple that with the stable yet very capable suspension and excellent steering precision and what you get may well be your dream bike (it came very close to being mine ).

    Only when it comes to weight, would I say that there must be potential to go lighter without sacrificing too much of the other qualities. If Nicolai managed to lighten up the Helius AC frame a bit – it would get a perfect score.

    RIDE ON,

    c_g


    PS: Personally I have entered this test with some curiosity and skepticism, as I felt NICOLAI had been a company that was being hyped a bit too much. But the ride really made me change my mind. By this brief test I have been lead to really giving them credit not only for their attention to detail and their sense for creating a well executed machine but also for creating the near perfect ride – for me that is. I am definitely keeping them on my radar for more 29″er news.



  78. #78
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    Great review, That AC looks sweet !
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    excellent review. despite having only ridden the one 29er id agree with most of that review. Not sure about its 'manualing' ability though!

    i put in 70 XC miles on mine this weekend and really cant fault it. I still think the front could be a fraction lower as did the tester above. not a big issue but id definitely go with a 1.5HT next time round and run a flush mount headset. For XC i'm running an inverted 80mm sunline stem and wide flat sunline bars. i've also commited the ultimate fashion faux pas and fitted bar ends! There's some big boring fire road climbs around here and teh bar ends make a big difference when standing and cranking.

    I'll be using it for Tour de Ben Nevis in september(72k race in the mountains around Ben Nevis). if i was a competitive racer id maybe prefer to do it on a lighter bike but im not, and i cant think of a bike i'd rather do it on
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  80. #80
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    A great review. I didnt actually think it would get a review that good to be honest.

    I was out on mine again today, still love it and it still gives me a smile a mile wide!

    It was interesting hearing the thoughts re the square chain stay tubes, mine are a little scuffed, but nothing that is of concern to me...

    Be interesting to see how sales progress on this bike. Not being a prick, but it made me laugh when the article says when the AC 29er came about, I shot a message to them, they said they meant when it became commercially available... As you know, I have been hammering mine for near 2 years from memory....

    I urged them to get a AM / AFR 29er... another pure beast that I love...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  81. #81
    steep fast and loose :)
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    subscribed.

    indeed a good [unbiased] review and almost exactly my experience of having demo'd dippers AC29er that lead to my order.

    i never noticed a particularly high front end, but will spend time dialling in the stem / saddle position and fit on receipt.

    how well does the AC29er cope with out of the saddle mashing climbs ? does pro-pedal make a significant impact on the dynamics / bob ?

  82. #82
    "Its All Good"
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    TLR, depends how you have your sag set up, but standing climbing is not to bad at all. In saying that I have mine setup with quite a bit of sag... If I added a few psi into the shock, bob would be near nil...

    Stem / saddle setup will be important.... Notice that my Thomson stem is upside down, which lowers the front some.... As I said, was out on my AC yesterday, hadnt been out on it for around 2 months, finished the ride grinning big time, this bike rips!
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  83. #83
    just ride the thing!!
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    TLR... everyone is different, wants, need's, ability... never mind all the techno mumbo jumbo.. ride it, like it, buy it else leave it alone if it aint for you... stop analysing and start riding... and before you start I know I’ve no been out much this year… but I’m no the one Sysco analysing

  84. #84
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    Well I had my first go on a) a 29er and b) a Nicolai. Dippers one in fact...

    It was everything I've ever heard/read about both good and bad.

    Although to be fair it's difficult to say on just one ride with a whole host of variables (wiiiiiiide bars, shoooort stem, dodgy tyres, suspension..., etc.).

    What I would say is that I was impressed with it's climbing ability and I like the way it rolls.

    I was less impressed on the downs but to be fair it would have helped if I had noticed that propedal was 'on' the whole time...

    Looking forwards to taking it again over the next few days (with the propedal off, a bit more puff in the shock and a bit less in the tyres). (Mods - Can we have a numpty icon please?)

    Edited for pesky icon... As I said can I have a numpty icon please, I feel I deserve it...
    Getting older... One day at a time.

  85. #85
    steep fast and loose :)
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    pro-pedal won't improve the ride doonhill min !

  86. #86
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    Well I can categorically state that a set up shock with the propedal turned OFF makes a huge and positive benefit on the riding characteristics...

    And running the right pressure in the tyres helps too!

    Went out on an old school xc run in Glen Tannar and loved it.

    Great, now I can go bug dipper almost as much as tlr
    Getting older... One day at a time.

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