Well, it has been a long time coming and in fact is not finished yet..
I am lucky enough to have a Nicolai dealer close at hand and when the boys started talking about a Whistler trip I figured it was time to upgrade the Knolly DT.
Given that the DT was my All Mountain bike I don't mind pedaling a heavy bike around, I do think I have lost some weight going to the Ion 18. That is quite impressive since I have increased the front travel my 33mm and rear by 38mm.
I originally spec'd a Fox Float 180 but was unable to get hold of one (the distributor told me they had put one aside). So... along to Rock Shox I went. I managed to get hold of some carbon 35 bars and direct mount stem...
Differences vs old bike
The Ion climbs very well. Yes it is still a big bike. I have mine set at 8" and it would be no problem for me to keep up with the boys on a trail ride. The bike feels very solid and controlled rather than plush or mushy.
Seems very neutral, maybe not quite as flickable but since I have only ridden it the once, probably a bit early to tell. My bigger issue with jumping is that the bike feels stable at high speed and therefore I am overjumping the flowy style jumps.
Night and day difference, lower bottom bracket and more neutral handling make it an awesome handling bike in the corners. It feels like a smaller travel bike in terms of trail feel with the benefit of the extra suspension when needed.
Everything just feels like you have a far larger margin for error (overjumping jumps aside)
There is nothing that this bike does worse than the Knolly and most things that it does much better. I am very happy with how it turned out. The front end stiffness is outstanding, due to the dual crown fork and stiff head tube.
My Hadley hubs have not arrived so have used my old front wheel and a borrowed blingy gold on gold I9 on the rear.
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Thread: Green Goblin - Ion 18