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  1. #1
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    Helius AM Review by IMB

    Just been sent the link to IMB (International Mountain Bike) magazine as it has a few pages on this years Mega but on scrolling through I noticed a review on the Helius AM. Check out pages 119/120.

    IMB - Issue 13 - Free Online Mountain Bike Magazine

  2. #2
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    If you want to demo the AM that IMB tested here it's now at Head for the Hills in Dorking, fitted with H/S and Marzocchi fork

    Head For The Hills : Bike Shop in Dorking, Surrey

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    They borrowed my wheels and suspension for that test too.

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    Thats a pretty cool article.

    That first build was what I would call very untypical Nicolai from my experience. The one with your wheels Ian much more similar!

    The interesting thing is their weight with the 'light kit' is using similar (Suspension & wheels) if not heavier kit (Most of the rest except Hammershizzle & KS) than fitted to mine and I make mine 32.5lbs. Maybe their weight was without pedals..OR mine is lighter than I thought...

    29lbs encroaching on an xc build though!

    I do notice that the former CC/AC/AM frames are all very similar in weight which does beg the question as to durability, i.e. how overbuilt are the 'lighter frames' Nic could be missing a trick there I feel..

    Good mag though, I've subscribed..
    Aka chainline...

  5. #5
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    Mine weighs 31.8lbs and theirs was similar to mine, except my frame is xl.

  6. #6
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    Your not running HS though are you Ian?
    Aka chainline...

  7. #7
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    No, but I am running a chain device, bash, front mech.... So whilst the hs is heavier it's not that much Heavier, less then 400g whilst other components are not that light, saint mech, 785 wide bars Thompson stem.... Etc comparable with their weight at least, also I held the scales when he weighed it.

  8. #8
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    I went out with a chap on Sunday who was testing that bike. I took it back to the shop but not before I put it on my Park digi scales at home.

    The bike had Pace FIghter forks, so quite a bit lighter than the Zoke 55s, but it still had the HS/Syncros wheels/Hope M4 brakes with Tech levers/XT drive train etc and with all that, plus the lighter fork, it still weighed 33lbs 8ozs.

    For reference, you could get an AM built to under 29lbs but you'd need to go silly.

    Mine with 1x10, carbon wheels, float 36, CCDB with ti spring and a Reverb weighs around 29lbs 10ozs.If you swapped out the CCDB for an air can, dropped the Reverb and put a Fox 32mm fork on it, it would happily drop below 29lbs but I don't think it would be worth riding.

    The AM needs the bigger fork otherwise you may as well have the AC instead (which is the AC's main appeal).

    Light kit is all well and good but it's also more friable.

    I spent a week in Verbier two weeks ago and my rear Easton Carbon Haven wheel lasted, ooh about four hours before giving up. Two spokes broken and that was it. Happily replaced under warranty but still, not quite as durable as you'd like.

    My Point One Racing Podium pedals also died quite drastically. The three eensy teensy bearings in the end of the axle literally distintegrated into dust. In both pedals.

    Lightweight saddle didn't survive a small man, tree, bike interaction either.

    Also managed to melt (seriously!) a set of brake pads in the rear XTR brake. And yes they were the ones with cooling fins!

  9. #9
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    Damn, back to 32.5 for mine then:-) but that's what I thought it weighed.

    Interesting times then in Verbier geetee, I really want to go there :-)

    The only thing that made me take xtra notice was the point one pedals. I have those.
    Had they seen much use before the week. I presume they are ok after a bearing change? Seems short to kill them tho! Its not a serviceable bearing either is it, just change..

    To get to my 32.5 with HS I've had to hit the flows with cx-rays, carbon havoc bars, point one stem, ozgrips (40g) short ratio kcnc cassette (as light as dura ace), hollowpin chain, ti bolts everywhere except suss mounts BUT not willing to compromise in key areas as geetee says so HS, CK hubs, saint (short cage) mech, V2s with 203's. I still wonder whether to keep my Stoy for that stuff and the vip'r for enduro's. (32.5lbs is with vip'r )33.5lbs with Stoy..
    Last edited by the_pilot; 08-24-2011 at 02:22 AM.
    Aka chainline...

  10. #10
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    One of the Singletrack guys also picked his long term AC as his "bike of the year".
    Check my Site

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    The Point One Podium pedals were about 8 months old and were fine before the trip to the alps. The three bearings (per side) that are in the end of the axle are really tiny so no they probably aren't serviceable but to be honest, they were running smooth and play free when I went out to Verbier.

    The problem is that it's just so rocky out there and I did mash my pedals quite a bit (keeping up with the very quick guide on trails I was riding for the first time and I was a little hamfisted on occassions with them).

    If you think about it, all the force/load going into the pedal cage when you hit a rock is transfered straight to the bearings, hence they basically disintegrated.

    Honestly I thought they had originally had bushings in them until I saw the bearing replacement kits on the Point One Racing website.

    Happily the distributer in the UK replaced them under warranty. You can get replacement kits but once the bearings have disintegrated, it's apparently very tricky to get all the bits out, which just causes more problems.

  12. #12
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    Thanks geetee. I've also editedmy last post not to be full of auto text nonsense!!!

    No solution for point one then really? in very rocky terrain pedal whacking is just a fact of life.

    I was super happy with the pedals, now I have concerns, don't want to have to take spare bearings out to such places!! I know i can but id rather not.
    Aka chainline...

  13. #13
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    Now I love the purple zocchi's but that's a personal thing.

    Wheels were heavier than we would normally fit to an AM but we knew the bike was going to the Alps so putting a tough wheelset on there seemed a good call. It was that or the DT 5.1's. As the article says, the bike was put together in a bit of a hurry so some compromises.
    Simon Still
    Momentum Distribution
    www.nicolai-uk.com

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    It wasn't a critisism Simon, just a comment. I merely thought it was light giveny own experience with trying to build a light but tough build.

    Tough is better than not, breakage would be the overriding impression if something had gone.

    The review is all the better in some ways in that it was well received even with a non typical build.
    Aka chainline...

  15. #15
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    No solution for point one then really? in very rocky terrain pedal whacking is just a fact of life.
    It is odd how it worked out; it was like one minute they were fine, then the next the bearings had literally just disintegrated.

    Thinking back, I do three days hard riding on them before I noticed the problem, but in that three days, they literally went from OK to being toast.

    Those bearings in the end of the axle really are tiny. There may be three of them, but still I haven't seen bearings that small in a pedal before. The key is to replace them before they break up, but if their size means they break down without giving any advance notice that they are on the way out, that's a problem.

    Personally I should never have sold my original pair of Burgtecs. They are more or less indestructible and are very easy to maintain and service.

    On the subject of building light, one of the things I've found is that as long as you've got a really strong and light set of wheels, the overall weight is less of a factor. My mate who was with me in Verbier is also running the Haven Carbon wheels and had zero problems with them, but he is about 20kg lighter than I am and doesn't have quite the same 'attacking style' in the rocks

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by geetee1972 View Post
    It is odd how it worked out; it was like one minute they were fine, then the next the bearings had literally just disintegrated.
    If a bearing ball cracks, then it becomes grinding material for the rest of them, balls displace and the axle falls in the gap, more load is transmitted to the rest of the surviving bearing balls, etc.

    Long story short... bearings can go from OK, to doom-mode really quick. When the balls just pit the races, then the failure is slower.

    Sorry to hear your woes, especially on such an expensive set of pedals. Good to know they stand behind their product, though.
    Check my Site

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    I'm not sure if I'm overstepping the mark, but.

    The reviewer borrowed my own helius am for a couple of weeks, mainly to try the bos forks rather then the am. Anyway, needless to say he loved riding my bike, even though it was slightly too large. Mine is set up in terms of pretty high end, light but strong build.

    When he rode the demo bike the heavy ish build particularly the wheels blunted the feeling of the bike. When he got back to England he stripped most of the nice parts from my bike and rebuilt the demo nicolai with a more suitable bike. Then he loved it, to the point where he is looking to buy one himself. I think that most of this comes accross in the review and I think it's quite a balanced review and a very positive review too.

  18. #18
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    Hi all - new to the Nicolai forum, mainly because I'm the guy who test rode the AM with geetee. I really liked it, in fact I've ordered one! I'd second gees comments re the forks - while the Paces work on the frame they're not ideal and I'll be upgrading when I have the cash. I've just sold my Yeti 575 for this and have to say the I found the AM (and geetees 'you can do it' encouragement!) seriously confidence inspiring. Now on the count-down to arrival!

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