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  1. #1
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    FR - ST - Ion Questions

    Ok so as the season come to a close ive begun to think about next year.... budget allowing id like to make some tweaks for my alps riding next year. This year the FR was fab but id like a bit more beef when in the big big mountains. The FR is one wicked ride and will always be the first bike I turn to, but with me happy using it here in the UK on local, wales, scotland type riding I wonder if some heft is required for the alps. So I have a few options I guess

    Option 1

    Stick a dual crown 200mm on the front the FR - I think the limiting factor on big rutted DH is the time that the air fork takes to get going and 20 mm however small does make quite a difference when the going gets rough- especially if it is a coil. I never really felt hampered by the back end even when it got rough, although more travel on the bigger hits would have helped. The axle to crown of the new boxers is only 3mm more than the totems.

    Pros
    Cheapest option. One bike for all. Easiest
    Keeps the DH setup lightish

    Cons
    Taking the FR to the limit of what its designed for
    A good DH bike has slacker geo than the FR, and so the front end of the bike will still not be ideal, and steep sketchy stuff will still be a bit hairy and not overly stable at very high speed .

    Option 2


    Helius ST

    I'm more FR than DH I guess.. I do like my wheels in the air so this could be a good option I figure.. However I have a few questions

    Has anyone ridden one of the new ones - any changes?
    Is the front triangle identical to the FR?
    Do you think it will work well with he Hammerschimdt?
    How did they get 20mm extra travel out of it this year?
    Has a slacker seat angle and head angle than the FR.

    Option 3

    Ion ST

    How will this handle the tighter stuff.. skinnies shore and such like?
    As it is a 230 mm race bike does using that much travel compromise slow speed technical stuff?
    Is the travel set up to be very linear i.e. supple through most hits with less of a ramp in comparison to the ST which will have the Freeride ramp up in the stroke?
    Do you think it will work well with the Hammerschimdt as the stays look like it could be a bit funky for it?
    Has a slacker seat angle than the ST with a slightly steeper head angle

    Random option could be the UFO ST though the negative characteristics of single pivots such as brakes influencing the suspension mean this is an outside choice. The pivot location might also mean issues using Hammerschimdt as it will be well outside its optimum location.

    Other Option - spend the cash it on beer and loose women

    Look at all those questions eh... something to chew over I guess and if anyone has any input on the bigger Nic bikes it would be appreciated.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Karve, you can try my Helius ST when it is ready, if you like.....it's a large with Totems? Weight around 35lbs? Its going to be a dual set-up with chain guide....according to Falco I can't use the HS....but maybe available in the future? AM is ok with HS....Ion ST may be not? Suggest firing off e-mail and see what he says. I bought the Helius ST following advice from Mike of Nicolai UK...he reckons it's a great do all bike for the alps....I have the CC for Dorking etc. Great reports on the Ion ST though, more DH specific... less of an all rounder probably....but you already have the FR.....so maybe the Ion? Ask Mike if he has one you can try.....I think he may have built one up?

  3. #3
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    I used my UFO ST at Les Arcs this summer and it performed faultlessly,the only time I thought I could have done with a full on DH rig was on the cachette but tbh that was probably me more than the bike.It had a real hammering on the rockiest descents and was perfect on the black 8 and similar.Its coming back with me next year with (maybe) some Fox 40's but if cash doesn't flow then i've no qualms about running it with the 66's.

  4. #4
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    Only you can decide if you want to spend the cash but I can offer you some help with the Ion ST. I haven't ridden the Helius FR but I have an option to try one from the shop I got the Ion from, so if I do try it, I will offer you some comparison then.

    First off, how does the Ion ST handle tighter stuff. I've used mine on a couple of Welsh DH tracks including a secret track that is steep and tight and it was fantastic compared to the Spesh Demo 8 I had before. That bike is supposed to be more FR so should in theory be better in tighter stuff, but the Ion is far more agile and maneuverable - it has more steering lock for a start and the rear end is easy to get round tight turns. Compared to a Helius FR though, it's going to be less maneuverable because it's longer. The sizing of the medium Ion like most manufacturers' mediums is good for the most common 5ft 7" to 6ft camp, but at the top end of this, the large becomes more realistic if you want a pure DH sled as it has more room in the top tube (this is what I am riding at 6ft). But if you wanted to give the bike a more agile feel for skinnies etc, then the medium would be a better bet.

    Travel - the bike is designed around 200mm, not 230mm although it does give this option. Having spoken to the Nicolai race mechanic, he informs me that the race team all run the Ion in the 200mm setting. The 230mm ends up with a massively high leverage ratio. In terms of how that travel works, it is very linear, only ramping up at the very last minute, but also very controlled (although that might be more to do with my compression damping set up.) I really noticed how compliant the Ion was in the mid and end stroke compared to my Demo 8 and this contributed to really giving the bike much more speed, that is, it carried speed really well over drops and jumps.

    I can't comment on the Hammerschmidt. Oddly enough, one of the biggest surprises about the bike is how well it pedals. The secret course I alluded to requires a 10 minutes pedal to get to the start. I was putting my seat up to ride and the Ion felt like a trail bike it was that good. The head angle is 65.7 but the key geometry points are the long(ish) wheel base (46.25" on the large) and the super low BB (14" across the range), with the latter probably making the most difference to how stable the bikes feels. You'll need short cranks to pedal the Ion without constantly clanging your pedals - I'm running 165mm Race Face FRs.

    Hope this helps - it's kind of up to you what you buy and what is capturing your imagination will play a big part of that. If it helps, while I was waiting for the Ion I threw on a pair of 160mm forks to my 140mm Spesh Enduro,added my DH wheels and tyres and thrashed the bike down Abercarn and Cwmcarn DH tracks. Clearly I go faster on the Ion, and yes, I really do love riding the Ion, but the Enduro in DH guise one day and trail guise the next makes a lot of sense if you can't justify having two bikes. A second set of forks and wheels is a pretty good option especially since other components (brakes, cranks, pedals etc) have got so good as to be entirely usable for both DH and trail riding. Have you thought about going this route with the Totems?

    All else fails, I'd love to try out you Helius FR so if you want to organise a mini test day, we can do swaps at Cwmcarn on the uplift or something.

  5. #5
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    Karve - A good topic indeed..

    geetee sums up the ION ST very well.

    Taking into account the fact I have an FR and the ION ST. I would be more in favour of going with having your FR as your do it all bike and then having the ION ST in the stable, knowing that you are not going to ride it as much... However that is all in relation to having the available funds..

    I was stoked how the ION handled in some of the tight stuff. As you would have heard me mention, it was awesome at Whistler in the tighter stuff. But then saying that, in some of the real tight stuff, the FR was better, which is for sure a given as geetee mentions, the shorter wheel base etc makes sure of this...

    The trail at Whistler called Ride Dont Slide was my favorite trail on the ION ST, this trail is steep and very technical in my opinion. Has some tight stuff, some wide stuff bit of everything. The ION excelled in my opinion, it was a trail that I had never seen nor ridden, but I went hard down it for me, with all the crew from up there, the bike gave me loads of confidence and the boys commented on it.

    I am stoked to have the lux of having both an FR and an ION, for me it is the best answer, and I know I will not ride the ION ST as much....

    All trails are still for sure doable and enjoyable on the FR, but to have the slecker geo, lower BB and more travel is SSSSWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTT and gives one hell of a smile.... The ION is awesome and balanced in the air also....

    Keep us updated.

    I would for sure jump at geetee's cunning plan of organising a swal meet to try each others bikes, be down with that...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  6. #6
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    All else fails, I'd love to try out you Helius FR so if you want to organise a mini test day, we can do swaps at Cwmcarn on the uplift or something
    I'll be there on the 19th Nov if you want to try the UFO

  7. #7
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    Awesome feedback as usual guys. This forum does add to the enjoyment of owning a Nicolai for sure. Thanks for all the info. I have had a bit more of a think about what I need and what id like… I will work out what want then figure out how I get it past the missus!

    ryates – I would be super keen to sling a leg over the ST mate. Thanks for the offer. Do you have it already bro – any pics in its no built up form? I think it is the closest fit for the riding id like to do.

    ridingscared – I actually think the UFO might be my favourite looking Nicolai TBH and the adjustability to turn it from a bottlerocket to a full in DH rig is awesome. Glad that you find it a cool shredding machine… I’m just not a single pivot guy, however id love to fondle one in the flesh some time and see if im all wrong about the single pivot ride!

    geetee1972 Whafe thanks for the feedback on the ION – tbh if I was just relying on lifts that would be my choice.. it really does sound like sex on wheels. However the single ring up front factor does need to be considered. I do tend to traverse quite a bit in the Alps.. lift up.. ride along a ridge and down and repeat.. so access to some small gears is something I think I need. I cant run a double ring nor a Hammerschimdt unless I am mistaken on the ION?

    Not being able to use the Hammerschimdt on the Nics is a bit of a worry.. anybody got any more details on that. I see no reason why unless they are trying to pimp their own version instead.. which is daft as it isn’t even out yet.

    I hate to admit it but I have been looking outside the realms of the Nicolai as well but have only found one frame which could be a contender, and that is the Knolly V-tach. I think it is a showdown between the ST and that currently.

    A downhill Nicolai meet up for the boys on the bigger bikes sounds like an awesome idea. Not sure when I can get to Wales next but im always at chicke and Aston Hill (which is fab at the mo btw) Maybe the alps next year!!! There is a thought.

  8. #8
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    Why not use the Hammerschmidt with the Helius ?
    In a video at www.mtb-news.de Falco says the Helius AM is totally compatible to Hammerschmidt. Why not compatible to Helius ST or FR ?

  9. #9
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    Hi Gents, looking at the website it appears to me that if you want to run Hammerschmidt you need a 73mm bottom bracket shell and the i.s.c.g mounts. Any with a 68mm shell as standard will not be compatible.

    Correct me if I am wrong...

  10. #10
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    The Helius AM does have a 68mm bottom bracket and is Hammerschmidt compatible according to Falco.

  11. #11
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    http://www.nicolai-uk.com/ From UK website

  12. #12
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    Oh, thanks !

  13. #13
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    thanks WBT, that answers the question.....seems I can't fit HS because my BB is 68....hopefully this may not apply to the B-Box?

    Karve, ST build will probably not happen until early next year since I am still in recovery.....will probably be riding the new CC in about six weeks to get fit.....you can see my Helius ST frame under the thread "New Bike Porn".....I will PM you when it is built. Knolly looks good but it is heavier I think.....my Helius ST large frame powder coat with CCDB (steel spring) and maxle comes in at 5.5 kg (12 lbs)

    Whafe....would be nice to get your opinion on Ion ST with HS?

  14. #14
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    MMM, mind is racing re the Hammer S on the ION... I actually dont think it would be great, not because of the HS, but more so I dont think the ION can be turned into a pedaling machine, for sure it pedals well for a DH rig, but I wouldnt wish to traverse from the lift at the top to another peak etc, short stuff, yep for sure.... Of which then I feel it is fine set as a 1 x 9 so to speak..

    If a DH machine capable of running dual ring or BBoxx or HS, I would go for the Helius ST all the way, or jump to a Nucleon TFR..... Karve, that is a possibility you could look at, have mine for sale.... All it is needed to get up and running is a front wheel, handlebars, brakes.... Am not trying to spam here, just a real option. Let me know if you would like to know more...

    The Knolly V Tach is a wicked machine... I can honestly say, if I wasnt Nicolai'd and under a spell, I would own more than one Knolly, that my friends is a fact. they are sweet bikes, for me in the same league as Nicolai......
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildboytim
    Hi Gents, looking at the website it appears to me that if you want to run Hammerschmidt you need a 73mm bottom bracket shell and the i.s.c.g mounts. Any with a 68mm shell as standard will not be compatible.

    Correct me if I am wrong...
    You are quite correct as standard the AM comes with 68mm BB and no ISCG mounts. If you want to run the Hamer you need to specify ISCG mounts which in turn specs up a 73mm BB to boot. Hence the Hamer compliance.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekr
    You are quite correct as standard the AM comes with 68mm BB and no ISCG mounts. If you want to run the Hamer you need to specify ISCG mounts which in turn specs up a 73mm BB to boot. Hence the Hamer compliance.
    "It's Hammer Time"
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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