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  1. #1
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    Four years in... my Nicolai Nucleon FR170



    We've been together for four years, frame delivered and bike built in April 2004.

    Build is burly; mostly Race Face Diabolus with Hope Mono 6Ti brakes, Fox Vanilla shock and Manitou Sherman Plus (170mm) forks. Forks and Shock were tuned by TF-tuned which made a huge difference - the rear shock has the Push race system which was/is a massive improvement. The Shermans have been good forks... I've damaged the stantions so they are on borrowed time but while they still work well they remain.

    No other major components have been changed since I built it... still on the original gear cables which is mental!

    Drivetrain - it's on it's second complete drivetrain. I change the chains when my Rohloff wear checker tells me to... I go through about 4 chains a year and usually change them both at the same time. The drive train change was because I destroyed the rear sprockets and tensioner after a mishap on a 2inch wide skinny. Nicolai had no spares at the time so I got Highpath engineering (eggring fame) to knock me up a set. I also got some spares from Nicolai when they came in. I file the burs off the sprockets occasionaly which helps.

    Bearings - I go through rear hub bearings every 6 months which is annoying, and the front Hope hub is on it's third set. I never jetwash my bikes... hell... I hardly ever wash them, it's just going to get muddy again tomorrow

    I love this bike. It's not without it's foibles but it's a pleasure to own and an engineering masterpiece. When it does require maintenance I am always amazed at how beautifully built it is and the tolerances involved. Before this I had two Intense's which broke every year and were a pain to work on, simply nowhere near the quality of this Nicolai.

    I wish it were a bit lighter and the drivetrain had less drag ... probably like a new TFR ... but this is the bike I have so all that remains to do is man-up and ride it


  2. #2
    "Its All Good"
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    Great to hear from you, post up more often hey!

    Would be great if you could make it to Dorking next weekend 7th & 8th for a bit of a small Nicolai get together.... Be cool to if you could man up and come join us... LOL

    I have a Nucleon TFR, love that thing.....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    Great to hear from you, post up more often hey!

    Would be great if you could make it to Dorking next weekend 7th & 8th for a bit of a small Nicolai get together.... Be cool to if you could man up and come join us... LOL

    I have a Nucleon TFR, love that thing.....
    Dorking? Is that south of Dundee?

    "Nae past Dundee"... thats what it says on my passport.

  4. #4
    "Its All Good"
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    See this post, has a map..... Bit of a Nicolai Meet in the UK 7 / 8 June
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  5. #5
    lazy piston
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    It's always admirable to see a person with such a love to his bike. Seeing somebody who keeps one frame for 4 years and still adores it so much is like a breath of fresh air, now that I see so many people swapping frames twice a year or more often in search of perfection. Keep it up thepimpmessiah!

  6. #6
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    Four years is nothing - I have a 13 year old Kona Explosif (1995) which has been welded after the chainstays snapped

    If it ain't broke don't fix/replace it.

    Some people change their frames more than I change my underwear... which is another good reason for me not to make the get together
    Last edited by thepimpmessiah; 05-30-2008 at 05:09 AM.

  7. #7
    'All over it!'
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    Yes I agree with that. Unfortunatley, I am one of those who 'was' searching for that perfect bike, I certainly found it when I bought a Nicolai.

  8. #8
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    A couple of pictures of another Nicolai I had in 1995. An ickle blue BMXTB


    Munroe bagging - Disclaimer... I was waiting on the Nucleon sprockets I had broken and hence taken such a silly bike up a HUGE mountain... better to ride up there on this than not ride.



    It was good fun but rather on the short side so I swapped it for a Balfa Minuteman which I still rag senseless.
    Last edited by thepimpmessiah; 05-30-2008 at 06:37 AM.

  9. #9
    "Its All Good"
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    Sweet pictures of an old Nicolai, awesome stuff...... Best you get yourself to Dorking.....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    Best you get yourself to Dorking.....
    No can do

    Dorking is way past Dundee

  11. #11
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    thepimpmessiah - another reason to love Nicolai - 4 year old Nics still look space age.. 4 year old Secs or Treks look super dated... deffo worth the extra coin!

  12. #12
    lazy piston
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karve
    thepimpmessiah - another reason to love Nicolai - 4 year old Nics still look space age.. 4 year old Secs or Treks look super dated... deffo worth the extra coin!
    Indeed. I once saw a 7 years old Helius FR (looked more like modern CC) which had been extensively ridden. Aside from stickers and some cable rub it didn't look any worse than a one year old.

  13. #13
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepimpmessiah
    ... "Nae past Dundee"... thats what it says on my passport ...
    hahaha

    Whafe
    i'd say the next trip you plan, you can do one at Fort William that is just about north of Dundee ...

  14. #14
    "Its All Good"
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinaman
    hahaha

    Whafe
    i'd say the next trip you plan, you can do one at Fort William that is just about north of Dundee ...
    Yes, for sure we need to get up that way, get next weekend out of the way and see what transpires, right, been working this morning, am off to ride before a conference call with the US of A at 3 in the PM
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  15. #15
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    Ghostly gap jump - "The Mighty Quim"- clearing about 20ft



    Just about to launch "Cliff Richard"... the landing is out of the picture

    A couple of pictures to show the beasting this bike gets regularly. Both of these bad boy drops/jumps have been causing the forks to bottom out . The Shermans are also giving a creaking noise from hard frontal impacts, this and the stantion damage is making me think it's time to retire them sooner rather than later .
    Frame is 1.5" Headtube and I'm more than happy to increase the front end height by a few mm as it will raise the bottom bracket which is no bad thing.

    So... 180mm Totem's, Travis or 66's?

    Any comments on any of these three forks appreciated?

  16. #16
    "Its All Good"
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    Pimpman - Great pictures...... In the past this topic came up, with the fact that the Helius AM has been born, this meant that the new Helius FR frames have been strengthened slightly for the frame to be able to take a 180mm Fork.... Check the Nicolai's in Dorking thread, the pimp daddy polished FR is wearing a 180mm Totem fork....

    So with this in mind, am not sure your frame will able to cope with it strength wise.... If you do go ahead, would for sure add a deep cup headset.....

    So in theory the Helius AM is built to cope with a 160mm fork and the Helius FR is built to take a 180mm fork, but more often than not it seems the main fork travel is 160mm

    Am sure some of the other more technical peeps will post on this also....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  17. #17
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    I checked the 04 catalogue (http://www.nicolai.net/download-area...g_04-ebook.pdf), but unfortunately didnt found a maximum axle-to-crown-lenghth for your TFR.

    Maybe it doesn't need a Totem (and 180mm travel). The Enduro/All-Mountain/Freeride-Forks made quite a big step forward the last years, so e.g. a Fox 36 Talas, RS Lyrik, MZ 55, Magura Wotan etc. could be sufficient.

    axle-to-crown-lengths 08 models (from fork test in German BIKE-magazine):
    Fox 36 Talas RC2 - 545mm
    Magura Wotan - 540mm
    MZ 55 SL ATA - 540mm
    Rock Shox Lyrik 2-Step - 540mm
    The Fox and the RS are also available as 1.5. Don't know about the Magura and the MZ.

    So, check out the a2c-length of your Manitou Sherman and maybe one of the "little brothers" above does the job just fine. Including raising the front-end a bit.

  18. #18
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    Axle to crown on the Shermans is 552mm and they are 170mm travel.

    I've just looked back at my 2004 catalogue and the FR170 frame is designed for forks from 170 to 200mm - Mike at Nicolai UK had a demo with 888's on it so I don't think strength will be an issue

    When I got the frame built I asked for the 1.5 headtube as I wanted to run the 170mm Shermans, I did not want triple clamps again which I found a nightmare for banged knees and getting stuck on tight rocky trails. The headset I have in is as deep a cup as you can get with the 1.5 system. FSA Orbit Extreme - lower bearings are feeling a bit rough but they are only 12 to replace...

    Now to find lengths for 66's, Travis and Totem - I want the same length or more... and a little more stiffness would not be a bad thing, the Shermans can feel a wee bit flexy at times

  19. #19
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    I that case a Totem, 66 etc. should be the perfect choice.

    Result of a 2min. search:

    - Totem a2c 565mm +/- 5mm http://sram.com/_media/techdocs/2007...0Standards.pdf

    - MZ 66 a2c 564mm http://marzocchi.com/Template/listSP...LN=UK&Sito=mtb

    - Manitou Travis Single Intrinsic 180mm a2c 572mm http://www.manitoumtb.com/items.asp?deptid=1&itemid=166

  20. #20
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    Wow, thanks for that. From which I can also see the weights, not that it really bothers me but they are all heavier than the Shermans by about a 1lb-2lb (Shermans = 5.1lbs)

    - Totem a2c 565mm = 2857 g (6.3 lbs)
    - MZ 66 RC3 564mm = 3.283 gr /7.24 lbs.
    - MZ 66 ACV 564mm = 3.182 gr/7.00 lbs.
    - Manitou Travis Single Intrinsic 180mm a2c 572mm = Wt. lbs. 7 / Wt. grams 3175

    A little web reading on performance show that 2007 Totems had issues... but mostly the air forks.
    2008 66's are being made by Spinner in Taiwan and are having quality issues.
    2007/8 Travis - it looks like hardly any of these are getting used - usual mixed bag of Manitou reviews... if you get a one good it's great but if you get a bad set Same as any fork then really?

    Nothing decisive to push me one way or other so far.

    Have post mounts changed in the last few years? I wonder if my Mono 6Ti's will fit straight onto any of these?

  21. #21
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    I don't think post mounts have changed over the years Bri. My 4/5 year old enduro 4 front brake went straight onto my Fox 36's so I guess your 6's will be fine.

    Two weeks in with my new Helius FR and I'm also considering new 180mm forks to replace the 36's. I need more travel and front end lift. A friend has offered me a shot of his 66's so I'll try those first. Totems look the business though.

  22. #22
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    180 forks work well with the FR yetiman71. i suspect they will work really well with yours to thepimpmessiah.

    check here



    in action here

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ9TLSh2cKg

    i did a lot of research before settling on the Totem solo airs. They are pretty light.. about as much as a lyric coil. My pair weight 2670g.

    The stiffness esp with the 1.5 headtube will blow you away...... I just point and shoot these baby's and it gobbles it up.

    f you are less worried about weight then it might be a good idea to look at the totem coil.. Coil does feel better up front.

    RS had reliability issues with the totems last year but they are solved for 2008
    Marz has had a lot of issues with the 2008 66 just as RS had with their first year of 180 forks. best to leave them alone until they get it sorted. The 66 ATA could well be the best fork ever for the FR but its not worth the risk at the mo. Easily 400g heavier too.

    The longer forks do raise the front end up a bit but its only a pain on super steep climbs. The trade off of a more burly front end is well worth it in my view.
    Last edited by Karve; 06-18-2008 at 01:00 PM.

  23. #23
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    I like that. I think the Totems look fab on it... they look way more burly than the Shermans, I've not seen any Totems in the flesh as there have not been any in the bike shops near me when I have been in.
    I'm not sure about the squigly graphics but I'd be far to aesthetically lazy to bother removing them I'd much rather be riding

    Now to persuade the wife that I [SIZE="5"]NEED[/SIZE] them

  24. #24
    "Its All Good"
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    When you hold a Totem in your hands before installing, it will freak you out, they are mammoth, a freak of nature...LOL

    I powder coated mine Black, no squigly's at all..... Stealth......

    Be cool to see some pictures when you have the new fork on the steed...........
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  25. #25
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    Karve - They look awsome (as does the whole bike ). I'm definitely a coil man so I've contacted someone who is selling his 2007 Totems with 1 1/8" steerer. I don't have the 1.5 upgrade on my '08 helius. I currently have 2008 Fox 36 Van RC2 fitted but I should have no problem selling them.

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