Results 1 to 36 of 36
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704

    Helius AC Pinion

    I finally got it!



    It is a bit darker in colour than I was expecting, but it looks very nice.

    Now I just have to build it up and ride it.

    Does anyone know the seat clamp diameter for a small frame? I know the post is 31.6, but 34.9 or 35 for the seat clamp?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    I'm not 100% on the spec yet.

    Frame: Nicolai Helius AC Pinion (decals to come)
    Fork: RS Revelation WC dual air
    Wheels: Enve AM/DT 240
    Brakes: Shimano XT or Zee or Saint 7" front and rear??
    Cranks: Pinion
    Pedals: Time ATAC XC6 or 8.
    Chain: Shimano XTR
    Tyres: Continental Trail Kings/Rubber Queens UST.
    Stem: 50 or 60mm something?
    Handlebars: Answer ProTaper carbon AM
    Grips: Oury
    Shifters: Pinion
    Seat Post: something silver 31.6??
    Seat: SDG Ti Fly
    Headset: ZS 44/56 tapered??

    Any suggestions for any bits?

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,094
    Dropper post not a fixed one! ks Lev if you havn't got stealth routing. Other than that sounds great!
    Aka chainline...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    I've had a couple of dropper posts on different bikes and never really liked them.

    Is the frame meant to come with a manual besides the one for the Pinion gearbox and rear shock? One for the frame itself and set up or do I just rely on the website?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: -jes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    145
    Very nice, silver or chrome decals ?
    +1 for dropper post.
    Ti Fly's look awesome but found it was a bit harsh.

    And when it's built please give a review on the ride and performance of the pinion, can't believe there's hardly any real world feedback on how these ride, thought owners would be raving about them

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,094
    Probably too busy riding them
    Aka chainline...

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Quote Originally Posted by -jes View Post
    Very nice, silver or chrome decals ?
    +1 for dropper post.
    Ti Fly's look awesome but found it was a bit harsh.

    And when it's built please give a review on the ride and performance of the pinion, can't believe there's hardly any real world feedback on how these ride, thought owners would be raving about them
    I ordered chrome decals. They didn't arrive with the frame. I'm not sure why.

    There appears to be a hole in the base of the seat tube to run a stealth post but I also had the guides added.

    I like the Ti Fly!

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: -jes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    145
    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Probably too busy riding them
    I really hope so.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,979
    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    I've had a couple of dropper posts on different bikes and never really liked them.

    Is the frame meant to come with a manual besides the one for the Pinion gearbox and rear shock? One for the frame itself and set up or do I just rely on the website?
    Love the Reverb stealth on my AC.Probably only use it 3 or 4 times per ride,sometimes i find just dropping the saddle by 2" is helpfull for confidence.

    Mine only came with the Pinion manual.

    Just in case you cable it wrong,i have used a Tandem gear cable and carefully cut the nipple off really close.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Stem and seat post will be silver Thomson pieces, silver Salsa Liplock for the seat collar and silver XT brakes weren't in stock so Saints it is!

    Still waiting for the decals that were meant to come with the frame as well.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Nearly ready. It just needs some pedals, frame decals and top headset to match the bottom. The seat obviously isn't set quite right either.


  12. #12
    Distributor
    Reputation: nicolai-uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    234
    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    I ordered chrome decals. They didn't arrive with the frame. I'm not sure why.

    There appears to be a hole in the base of the seat tube to run a stealth post but I also had the guides added.
    Stealth hole now comes as standard. A bit of a faff to fit the post (and needs bleeding afterwards) but much better than having the loop flapping about by the seatstay when dropped otherwise.

    Chrome decals haven't been available for some time - Nicolai can't get the decal material any longer.
    Simon Still
    Momentum Distribution
    www.nicolai-uk.com

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    I wish I knew or had been told about the decals between ordering the frame 6 months ago and getting it.

    I'll have another look at what options are available.

    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai-uk View Post
    Stealth hole now comes as standard. A bit of a faff to fit the post (and needs bleeding afterwards) but much better than having the loop flapping about by the seatstay when dropped otherwise.

    Chrome decals haven't been available for some time - Nicolai can't get the decal material any longer.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    What about variations in colour? I'm happy with the green that I got, but this is what I ordered. I included this pic with my order.


  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Built up.


  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    248
    Very nice ;-)

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jjkitt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    358
    Quote Originally Posted by cyril_88 View Post
    Very nice ;-)
    Concur, she is a beauty! Love the chrome bits and decal! Enjoy, ride, enjoy some more!!

    Cheers,
    "I Like the Cut of His Jib"

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    I'm getting the hang of the shifting now! The bike rides very nicely too.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: -jes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    145
    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post
    I'm getting the hang of the shifting now! The bike rides very nicely too.
    Looking good

    Big fan of natural/silver finish components which ties in well now you have the decals and looks great with the British racing green of the anodized frame, never quite sure about Kawasaki type greens.

    Good to hear it's riding well, but just waiting on that full page magazine type write up/review

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Quote Originally Posted by -jes View Post
    Looking good

    Big fan of natural/silver finish components which ties in well now you have the decals and looks great with the British racing green of the anodized frame, never quite sure about Kawasaki type greens.

    Good to hear it's riding well, but just waiting on that full page magazine type write up/review
    It wouldn't be fair of me to do one now because I haven't ridden it enough just yet. I've also offered it to a magazine to test the Pinion gearbox so I'm going to let them have their say first and then follow up with my thoughts.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Keepiru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    54
    Nice to see when extrem rare german bikes (like the pinion-nicolai) make it out to the world. Maybe yours is the only one of this in the US so far.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Quote Originally Posted by Keepiru View Post
    Nice to see when extrem rare german bikes (like the pinion-nicolai) make it out to the world. Maybe yours is the only one of this in the US so far.
    I'm in Australia. I just checked the garage and the bike is still there too!

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Pikes fitted.


  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    1,979
    looks very Nice.

    Whats the weight of it?

    I am still waiting for my Pikes, Should be end of September for mine.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Thanks. I'm not sure of the weight. It's about the same as the Pivot Firebird it replaced.

    I was surprised when holding the Rev WC and Pike in my hands that the Pike feels lighter, or at least the weight is distributed differently though the fork.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    My Pinion gearbox review...

    The reason I went for a Pinion gearbox was because I went through a period of 18 months where I destroyed 6 rear derailleurs on the different bikes by either catching sticks in them or in one case slipping between some rocks and wedging the derailleur in between. The other option was Rohloff IGH but I didn't like the idea of the weight being located at the wheel. So I waited nearly 8 months for a frame with a Pinion gearbox.

    The set up was pretty straight forward. I gave it to the bike shop and they did it! The mechanic who worked on it said it was okay except for trying to grab the ends of the cable to secure when there is very little space available. The frame came with the cable already threaded through the gearbox.

    After the first ride I adjusted the cable tension at home. I thought it would be a good idea to set it up myself to make sure I could do it. The instructions were very clear, with excellent diagrams. The cable is a single piece about 3m long. I did not go through the process of winding it though the gearbox but it looks easy enough. I secured the cables at the shifter, as per the instructions, and it all worked well. There is very little space in the shifter for grabbing the cable ends, especially after they have already been cut. I had to grab the end with some tweezers, then some long nose pliers to pull them firmly and them tighten the clamp up. Overall, about a 15 minute job including removing and replacing the cover. The barrel adjusters have to be in a specific location to start with and they have plenty of thread on them to adjust in both directions as needed.

    All of the online reviews I'd read discussed shifting to an easier gear had to be done by reducing the load on the pedals. This didn't quite prepare me for the change in technique I'd have to make. You can shift to an easier gear under a very, very slight load, but generally you have to back off completely. It's taken me a few rides to get used to and I was very skeptical about how it would ride in technical terrain, but I didn't miss a shift on the last techy ride I did. You do lose a little momentum when climbing and trying to shift, but it's about the same as when I'd shift a derailleur now. Shifting to a harder gear can be done at any time without any issues.

    There is a little bit of noise in the 7th and 13th gears. A quiet clicking. This is discussed in the manual as being normal and it doesn't seem to affect the performance at all. It isn't distracting either. There is also a distinct feel of the gear engaging when you start pedalling. If I have been rolling along and then start pedalling you can feel the gears engage again. This is apparently normal as well, just a little odd feeling after riding derailleurs for so long.

    The shifter itself feels really well made. I haven't used gripshift since Gripshift was the actual brand! It took no time at all to get used to. 2 minutes in and I was shifting freely in the correct direction each time. The change between gears is a consistent 11.5% and changes are almost undetectable! It is super smooth. The ratios all feel good so far without feeling like a jump has been too large or too small between gears. Low gear is low enough to climb everything I would normally climb when my Firebird was set up 1x10 (32t chainring 11-36 cassette) and with the 2x10 Liteville (26/38 chainrings 11-36 cassette). The other end of the gear range is sufficient for fats fireroad stuff as well.

    The weight of the gearbox is located low in the frame and the only time I really feel it is when trying to lift the rear wheel. It's not the same heavy feeling of a Rohloff at the rear wheel, but it's a noticeable difference to a standard rear derailleur. Changing direction quickly doesn't seem to be affected by the position or weight of the gearbox. It actually feels a bit more stable when plowing through rougher stuff.

    The whole unit feels very stiff as well. I can't feel any flex in the cranks coming from Shimano Saints and XTR cranks on the other bikes. The bb area feels very firm. I do think that the gearbox has had an affect on the rear tyre size I can run, as the position of the bb pivot has been moved slightly from the regular model frame to accomodate the gearbox and the 2.2" Conti RQ/TK doesn't have heaps of extra space like the Liteville or Firebird have. I wouldn't run a larger tyre in the rear due to the space, but I wouldn't run a larger rear tyre anyhow.

    Being able to shift without pedalling is a great feature. I can go into a corner in whatever gear I want and come out in the right gear for that surprise pinch climb that has popped up. It can change as many gears at once as you can shift.

    So overall, I can't see me going back to a regular derailleur if I don't have to! If Pinion or someone else was able to keep the current or expand the gear range in a lighter weight package that would be fantastic. If something could be retrofitted to current frame designs and maintain the stiffness and functionality that would be great too. A light weight version for road bikes would even see me move away from Di2! The only negative for me has been getting used to shifting under load but now that is all good.

    Gearboxes have to be the way forward. I was hoping for a full carbon Firebird with a Pinion gearbox, but the Nicolai has certainly done a great job replacing the old Firebird.

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation: -jes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    145
    Now that's what I was looking for :-D
    Great review and write-up crank1979, you've covered all the positives I was hoping to hear on the performance and function of the Pinion.
    Thanks for taking the time to put that together, really well written and presented.

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    26
    Agree! Excellent review.

    A couple of questions:
    - Can you grab a gear or three for a downshift at the shifter, ie have it ready to pop into place and then back off the cranks for a moment so it can shift, or is it such that if you tried that you'd just make a cable slip or something similar and you have to back off, then grab your gears?
    - Do you love love love it OMG so worth it the drivetrain I've been waiting for, or is it, seems to work and well, won't be replacing wrecked derailluers any more?
    - It seems to me I read somewhere that there is a "freewheel" or freewheeling mechanism of some sort at the gearbox as well as a singlespeed freewheel at the hub. If that is the case, I wonder what happens if you set it up fixie and just let the chain turn when coasting? I wonder would this help the engagement lag?
    - any idea what's up with the chain tensioning device I've seen pictured? Is this just to facilitate chainring/cog size changes?

    Thanks for the review. Hope the thing lasts forever and solves all your problems.

  29. #29
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Quote Originally Posted by oldgearstillrolls View Post
    Agree! Excellent review.

    A couple of questions:
    - Can you grab a gear or three for a downshift at the shifter, ie have it ready to pop into place and then back off the cranks for a moment so it can shift, or is it such that if you tried that you'd just make a cable slip or something similar and you have to back off, then grab your gears?
    - Do you love love love it OMG so worth it the drivetrain I've been waiting for, or is it, seems to work and well, won't be replacing wrecked derailluers any more?
    - It seems to me I read somewhere that there is a "freewheel" or freewheeling mechanism of some sort at the gearbox as well as a singlespeed freewheel at the hub. If that is the case, I wonder what happens if you set it up fixie and just let the chain turn when coasting? I wonder would this help the engagement lag?
    - any idea what's up with the chain tensioning device I've seen pictured? Is this just to facilitate chainring/cog size changes?

    Thanks for the review. Hope the thing lasts forever and solves all your problems.
    You can shift without having to pedal and it will be in whatever gear you have selected. I've found so far that you can shift as many gears as you can twist the shifter.

    I love it. I'd love it more if it was half the weight, but gearboxes are definitely the way forward.

    The gearbox has a freewheel and so does the rear hub. That is one negative I've found. It makes back pedalling to lube the chain hard because the chain won't spin!

    The tensioner will help with chainring/cog changes, but also because the chainstay length changes when the suspension cycles through it's travel.

  30. #30
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    26
    duh... full suspension. I always think in terms of hardtails as that is what I ride. Thanks for the reply.

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    16
    Any further bike reviews on the Helius vs the firebird ?
    Im in Texas and thinking im going to replace a mach 429 with a Rohloff, with a Helius with a pinion. (my pivot frames fragged)
    Ill stick the Rohloff on my other bike, pivot stopped making bikes that a Rohloff could easily bolt up to. All the new ones are 142x12 fat axle now it seems.

  32. #32
    Distributor
    Reputation: nicolai-uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    234
    Quote Originally Posted by crank1979 View Post

    The gearbox has a freewheel and so does the rear hub. That is one negative I've found. It makes back pedalling to lube the chain hard because the chain won't spin!
    But also means you won't derail the chain by back pedalling on difficult terrain. the 2 freewheels do mean it sometimes engages noisily but not an issue.

    You can, in theory, run fixed at the rear but I believe Pinion don't recommend it. the Nucleon used to run that way and you do of course get more chain wear (as it's constantly moving) and also have something running past your ankle when you freewheel. I think 2 freewheels are an acceptable compromise but pick a rear hub with quick pick up
    Simon Still
    Momentum Distribution
    www.nicolai-uk.com

  33. #33
    Distributor
    Reputation: nicolai-uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    234
    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsven View Post
    Ill stick the Rohloff on my other bike, pivot stopped making bikes that a Rohloff could easily bolt up to. All the new ones are 142x12 fat axle now it seems.
    Nicolai still offer the option of a QR, Rohloff Compatible, rear end on most of their frames. if you do want a second frame to put the Rohloff on.
    Simon Still
    Momentum Distribution
    www.nicolai-uk.com

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crank1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,704
    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsven View Post
    Any further bike reviews on the Helius vs the firebird ?
    Im in Texas and thinking im going to replace a mach 429 with a Rohloff, with a Helius with a pinion. (my pivot frames fragged)
    Ill stick the Rohloff on my other bike, pivot stopped making bikes that a Rohloff could easily bolt up to. All the new ones are 142x12 fat axle now it seems.
    Since getting the Helius AC Pinion I jhave also been given a Rohloff equipped Scott Scale carbon that I've converted into a comuter.

    Build quality wise they are both very well made systems. The Rohloff hub looks fantastic and of high quality. The Pinion gearbox is the same. I think the Pinion shift looks a little better and it also feels better in the hand. There are more parts to be made with the Pinion system because it includes the cranks, chainring and rear cog. Mine are the CNC'd cranks, although I would prefer the forged versions. They don't feel like they give anything up in stiffness compared to XTR cranks and are still looking good. The chainring and cog are working well.

    The shifting action is slightly different on both set ups. With the Pinion I can change to a harder gear (or multiple harder gears) under load by twisting the shifter, but to change to an easier gear (or multiple gears) I have to back off for a split second. My legs are the clutch for the gearbox in this situation. With the Rohloff I have to back off slightly for all shifts. While I have the Scott Scale with the Rohloff set up for commuting I think this, road and touring are the perfect style of riding for the Rohloff. The Rohloff also isn't as precise to get into gear as the Pinion is, but the Rohloff did have about 14k km on it when I got it where the Pinion gearbox was new.

    Whether it is just the noise in the bottom 7 gears or actual drag, there is a lot of perceived drag in those gears on the Rohloff. On the Pinion there is a clicking noise in 7th and a lesser amount in 11th (I think) that also make it feel like there is some drag. Overall though, the Pinion feels a lot smoother and nicer to shift gears.

    One of the biggest differences is in the weight distribution. Even on the commuter I can feel the extra weight on the back wheel. The Pinion gearbox, while making the overall weight of the bike heavier, doesn't seem to affect the bike handling.

    I think the Pinion is the better product overall and is better suited for mtbing, but the Rohloff is a great product and suits road/touring/commuting just as well. I wouldn't mind a Pinion equipped commuter though.

    I've got no regrets about the change from the Firebird to the Helius. The suspension action is a little different in feel. I can feel the rear get stuck on square edge stuff very rarely on the Helius, but more than on the Firebird. Other than that the Helius feels brilliant. Plenty of traction when climbing and descending. I find the frame geometry of the Helius AC better suits my riding style, with the biggest improvement being when cornering.

    I think coming from a Mach 429 you'll probably notice more of a difference than coming from a Firebird. I bought the Helius AC Pinion specifically to replace the Firebird so it's built up with a heavier parts spec than I have on my Liteville 301 or Mach 5. However, if I think you'll appreciate the action of the Pinion gearbox over the Rohloff hub and also the improved suspension characteristics by moving the weight low down in the centre of the frame.

    Now if Shimano or Pinion would develop a lighter, Di2 shifting style gearbox I think that could be perfect!

  35. #35
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    16
    Thank you so much for the reply.
    I have two Rohloff currently, I went Rohloff so I could run a half link chain. After a year of breaking a chain twice a month, and a X-9 every few months... I wish i had gone rohloff sooner. I could have bought another bike just in broken bits. The one I ride most of time time was on my Mach 429, I too always had to lay off torque for a split second to shift. Its nice to know the pinion will probably shift faster. The Pinion seems to be a developing technology and the Rohloff remains unchanged for many years. They may eventually have to evolve it as the entire mountain market seems to be going to 142x12. ( for now )
    My mountain rohloff is going on back up HiFi29er. That rohloff I got used and I know has probably 10,000 miles.

    My other Rohloff is on a full suspension disk brake recumbent, The previous owner, Mark Weisbecker rode the bicycle around the PLANET, LITERALLY. ( some of course unpaved ) I bought it after he did so, and I saw his photos. It still rides GREAT ! ( although some scratches ) its a German made Velotechnik GTE, THAT bike tracks and corners like nothing else I have ever ridden, even corners as well as BMW, Ducati or Moto Guzzi motorcycles. The Velotechnic along with a few other german things with wheels, have me convinced German handling is where its at.
    Ive noticed on that I do have to back off on torque for a split second longer on the recumbent than I do with the mountain bike. Perhaps its that the chain is eight times as long and has some spring energy in it ? I don't know.. It just feels like I have to back off a split second longer.
    I LOVE my two rohloff. I never want any derailleur again. I am reading nothing but great stuff about the Nicolai & Pinion, the only thing is it sounds like it will have a little bit of pedal bob and a little bit of bob climbing as opposed to the DW-Link.. too bad they dont make a Pinion on a DW link bike yet. And if, if it ever breaks good god its going to be a far thing for service or parts.

  36. #36
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai-uk View Post
    Nicolai still offer the option of a QR, Rohloff Compatible, rear end on most of their frames. if you do want a second frame to put the Rohloff on.
    Let me know where I can find the extra 5K to build a SECOND Nicolai I will GLADLY Do so !

Similar Threads

  1. Anyone got a Helius Pinion AM yet?
    By Paco Loco in forum Nicolai
    Replies: 153
    Last Post: 08-14-2014, 11:09 AM
  2. Helius AC Pinion 27.5
    By cyril_88 in forum Nicolai
    Replies: 35
    Last Post: 07-22-2013, 01:21 AM
  3. Helius AC 29er Pinion
    By ianpinder in forum Nicolai
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-02-2012, 02:29 PM
  4. Helius AC Pinion 27.5
    By StiHacka in forum 27.5
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-01-2012, 10:12 AM
  5. Helius Am Pinion
    By marcoton21 in forum Nicolai
    Replies: 98
    Last Post: 01-19-2012, 06:51 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •