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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 06:09 AM.

  7. #7
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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 07:37 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
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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
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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 02:00 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 NEED them

  24. #24
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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.

  26. #26
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    Checking the Nicolai's travel...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuY1dDN104c

    Yup... used it all there

  27. #27
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    Niiiiiiiiiiiiice that is exactly the sort of trail feature i love.. organic drops.. fab!

    ya if ur into that sort of stuff a totem or 66 is really going to help keep that front end in shape.

  28. #28
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    That's why I also want to fit a pair of Totems to my Helius. We're testing the limits of suspension travel on some of our trails and I'm getting fed up with the Fox's bottoming out. It looks like I've found a 2nd hand set for sale so will hopefully get them fitted in the next couple of weeks.

  29. #29
    steep fast and loose :)
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    paul - a lad i works with is selling totem's.

    simon.

  30. #30
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    At 7.30 this morning I rode that on a hardtail for the first time... I'm still buzzing

    Simon - if the Totems are 1.5 and coil I could be interested.

  31. #31
    thats right living legend
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetiman71
    That's why I also want to fit a pair of Totems to my Helius. We're testing the limits of suspension travel on some of our trails and I'm getting fed up with the Fox's bottoming out. It looks like I've found a 2nd hand set for sale so will hopefully get them fitted in the next couple of weeks.
    How many forks can those wacky Nicolai'a run at a time? Must be nice to have the ability to buy all your forks in two's.
    Can't stop, Won't stop.

  32. #32
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    I've got some 2006 Travis TPC+ ready to go on and replace the Shermans - but my 2004 Hope Mono 6 Ti's don't fit so I need a new Caliper
    New forks just in time I think - the Shermans gave some loud creaking noises last night and bottomed out off the bigger drops
    The fork pinch bolts were loose for half the ride which was very stupid of me

    I've got some serious maintenance issues to address -
    Rear axle bearings need replaced - squeek, squeek, squeek
    Bottom bracket bearings need replaced - clunk, clunk, clunk
    Headset lower bearings need replaced - knock, knock, knock
    Cables getting sticky - lube or replace - nnnng, nnnng, nnnng
    Shock bushes need replaced - thunk, thunk, thunk
    Chainring and sprockets need filed or replaced - grind, grind, grind
    Shock could probably do with a service - squish, squish,squish

    Maintenance is part of the fun... but riding this bike is awesome

  33. #33
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    Hey what calliper you need. I bought an IS to post 203 adaptor accidentally this week. Its nice bright red.. looks cool. let me know if you are interested!

  34. #34
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    Pimp Daddy - you really need to take my TFR GBoxx off of my hands, which would then enable me to get a new ION GBoxx................... What say you? Sound as good an idea to you as it does to me......
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  35. #35
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    See below
    Last edited by thepimpmessiah; 07-17-2008 at 05:38 AM.

  36. #36
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Karve
    Hey what calliper you need. I bought an IS to post 203 adaptor accidentally this week. Its nice bright red.. looks cool. let me know if you are interested!


    Thanks Karve but it's not an adapter I need - the first year of Hope Mono 6 Ti brakes had a funky unique caliper and adaper - according to Hope it cannot be made to run on later post mount brakes, I need a whole caliper


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Whafe
    Pimp Daddy - you really need to take my TFR GBoxx off of my hands, which would then enable me to get a new ION GBoxx................... What say you? Sound as good an idea to you as it does to me......


    I can see one big problem with this idea... MY WIFE Hence me buying secondhand Travis forks instead of new Totems Nice idea though... if I mention it tonight I can image the reaction Anyway; I may have to start saving for an Ion GBoxx myself
    Plus your TFR is large, and my Nuky is medium with custom geometry which I would want to repeat
    Last edited by thepimpmessiah; 07-17-2008 at 06:30 AM.

  37. #37
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    Hear you Pimpm
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  38. #38
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    Update...

    I've had the Travis forks on for a few months now and they are superb; much smoother than the Shermans and without the horrible creaking when I hit things
    The Shermans lost all damping and adjustment in the end and the last couple of rides with them were pretty unpredictable.
    At the same time I blew the rear shock which had injested it's bottom out bumper I think I'll buy a heavier spring for it as I'm obviosly bottoming it out big time: Probably something to do with hucking off cliffs
    I also got the Pike forks on my Balfa Push'd by TFT at the same time because they were trollied inside too Again, probably something to do with hucking off cliffs

    The Travis I have are the all black forks from 2006 with the TPC+ damper which is supposed to be more supple than the platform Intrinsic. I changed the oil and made sure everything works and so far I am chuffed to bits with them... nae bad for 112 (although I had to pay about 55 for the new Hope Calliper )

    Here's to another few years hard riding

  39. #39
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    thepimpmessiah, awesome nicolai looks the business and i see your nailing the drops @ Fetty, nice 1!

    I can confirm Totem coils are a great fork, best single crown i've tried and as said above they are super chunky!

    Pitty you didnt need 1/1/8th Totem as Dipper @ Gravity Sports just got my old ones in a trade-in.

    Cheers

    Derek

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekr
    thepimpmessiah, awesome nicolai looks the business and i see your nailing the drops @ Fetty, nice 1!

    Derek
    Someone knows there North East Scotland riding spots

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepimpmessiah
    Someone knows there North East Scotland riding spots
    Yeah fetteresso (Swanley) is my local ride (Although i'm not a Stonehaven lad, I'm from Cove!) But i do love it.

    Would like to get involved in the trail building/maintaining if possible too but the forum i visted some time ago wont let me login and seems to be priv8.

  42. #42
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    Ah yes... the private forum

    We're a very secret society with some very dodgy practices

    Arrange to ride with myself or Yetiman and we can get access sorted for you once were sure that you not a tw@t.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepimpmessiah
    Ah yes... the private forum

    We're a very secret society with some very dodgy practices

    Arrange to ride with myself or Yetiman and we can get access sorted for you once were sure that you not a tw@t.
    I think that's a requisite isn't it?

  44. #44
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    As with most Aberdonians I'd like to assure you i'm not but some may disagree, who knows, so i'll leave it at that for the moment!!! hehe

    Would be good to put some faces to the names, thepimpmessiah If you used to ride an Intense 6.6 (I noticed you said you used to have an intense) we may have met breifly already! Cant say i've ever spotted anyone on a Nicolai such as yours.

    I'm easy to spot i'm normally the one normally breathing through me ar$ehole at the top of the hills!!!

    I do recall the first day i visited Fetty on my Cove hardtail some time ago, some kind locals (I think from First Drive) showed me round (or tried too) but to say my fitness was lacking would be the biggest understaement EVER made!!

  45. #45
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    OLD Steeds




  46. #46
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    You might have spotted me on any of these over the last few years!

  47. #47
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    Good god man... how come you've had so many It shows we're a bunch off sad bike geeks when we're trying to work out if we've met by posting pics of our bikes I don't think I've seen any of them... I tend to skive off work and ride PM rather than evening

    I remember BoyC and co from Firstdrive saying they had a "guest" one evening.

    The Intense 6.6 will be Sheena - he is usually a blur in Fe-y but he can have off days when you may have seen him

    I'm just as likely to be seen in Fe-y riding any of my other steeds. I'm usually pushed for time due to family constraints so I tend to sprint out of the house on a bike I reckon i can get round the trails in the time I have. I also tend not to stop and speak to folk for the same reason... I'm not being rude... it's just that my wife is sulking before I've even left the house... if I'm later than I say I'm in trouble and I've usually planned my route to fill every second+

    Winching the Nicolai round takes much longer than the other options... but I don't huck the quim etc when I'm riding a 25 lbs 1993 race hardtail or a 21lb fully rigid fixie/singlespeed.





    The Balfa has been off both the Quim and Cliff Richard... but I had to send the Pike's off to TFT shortly afterwards because they died TBH they were dead beforehand but that made them worse



    I don't tend to change bikes often... once I've used them a few weeks they are only good for scrap or keeping till they die,

  48. #48
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    Ahhh i'm sure i've seen that balfa before it looks familiar! Those are some serious racing snake stems you have there I cant see me ever flying off TMQ on a hardtail since i bottle it on an 8.5" bike!!! Respect there for sure!

    Your right pretty sad re ur comment above, but its sometimes easier to remember a bike than a face when your zipping thru the woods

    I had decided to keep my VP-Free tilldeathdouspart but i was convinced otherwise by the pure smile the nicolai put on my face, Its always a dangerous visit to Fochabers/Buckie and Gravity Sports with reagrd to wanting something you really dont need! I only tried the demo AM on Sunday past and now its sitting in my house waiting to go (When i get a bloody rear disc!!!!)

  49. #49
    from 0 - sideways 3.2 sec
    Reputation: derekr's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    Was at Fe-y today and had great fun on the AM altho the Quim still aludes me!!!

    Maybe when its not so windy i'll grow some big enuf nuts to try it!

    AM really ripped it up today tho i'm amazed im going faster on a smaller bike, it just seems to steer so sharply and launch off even the smallest jumps. Had a huge grin on my face all the way round, even on the UP's!!!

  50. #50
    mtbr member
    Reputation: thepimpmessiah's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
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    UPDATE - we've been together for 5 Years now!

    I finally got a picture of the new set up with Travis forks, Funn super wide bars and Hope V2 stoppers which replaced the 6pot-Ti's.



    The travis are much nicer than the Shermans and the V2's feel better than the 6pot's (which were never short of power and I only changed as I needed new brakes on my other bike).
    Not sure about the silly wide bars yet. I had them on the hardtail for a while and I found they hampered my ability to manual things... we shall see if they make any difference to this as it's not the easiest bike to manual.

    I still love this thing.

    The Pushed Fox shock. Getting this sorted 4 years ago made a huge difference to the bike.





    Avalanche shock which needs some fettling to make it fit.



    I'll get round to sending this off to be reconfigured some time.

    And finally... the new home for the Hope 6pot brakes... my stupid over-built hardtail with the longest seatpost known to man.



    Awesome fun

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