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  1. #1
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    Helius AM shock tactics

    Talking to ncig over the last couple of days prompted me to post my impressions so far on the few shocks I've tried on the AM.

    The frame came with a DHX-C mounted in the 2nd hole down and with the top hole blanked. As discussed in previous threads there's a bit of confusion with regards to whats for where regarding the hole positions. I've still not cleared this up totally to my satisfaction. Nicolai UK are under the impression that the top hole is for full travel with a 50mm stroke shock(which would explain why mine shipped from Germany with the top hole blanked). Others on here have heard that the top hole is for full travel with a 57mm stroke.

    Anyway, I've now had the time to do a few basic trials myself. I had previously checked the rear tyre/seattube clearance with a 57mm stroke shock in the top hole using a 2.25 NN and mavic 819. Clearance appeared to be fine with between 5 and 10mm. I've now tried a 2.4 NN with a DT 5.1 rim and clearance is much the same. maybe closer to 5mm. Thats with the bottom out bumper fully compressed as well

    So as far as I'm concerned and until I hear different from Nicolai then I'm quite happy to run in the top hole. However if you are running really big tyres I suggest you drop the spring out and check clearance for yourself.

    My right index finger is now getting weary typing so I'll contiue later

  2. #2
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    I am running michelins mountain dry 2, 2.3" and with my SPV 4 coil (57mm) at full compression, the tyre gets very close to the seat tube (less than 5mm) ... ie the top mounting position.

    With the high possibility of collecting muck up these days in the UK as it has not exactly been too dry ... I have decided against that position. A stone stuck in one of the grooves will be higher than 5mm.

    But i have noticed that on the 09 catalog, the travel is printed as 160mm. My logical deduction is that as they have recommended a 57mm shock on the 2nd mounting position, that will naturally mean, that is the position with the 'maximum' travel. So if you can get away with a 57mm at the first position, does that mean slightly longer travel? And a higher leverage ratio ...

    I did notice that the shock mounting linkage is furthest forward ie at full compression, with a 57mm shock on the 2nd position than it is with a 50mm shock on the top position.

    20080825 rear shock mounting position MTBR FORUM.jpg

    Just out of curiosity, I prop the bike up on a bike stand with the front and rear wheels on the ground. I move the rear triangle to a position where the 2nd mounting position is 143mm from the front ... assuming that is at full compression for a 57mm travel shock (but of course we know it will be less than 57mm for the actual shock) and took a measurement of the height of the wheel off the ground and it is about 150mm. Allowing a possibility of an error of +/-5mm, that is still not very close to 160mm.

    But ... I have been very very very happy with the frame and so wtf ...

    I am still playing around with the various mounting options. Quite like the lower leverage ratios on the 3rd mounting position with the air shock.

  3. #3
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    Why isn't the skinny on this issue readily available on the Nic. web site?

    Not tolerable that this isn't readily available. Sheesh. These bikes cost a fortune. Nicolai should have a help line with a guy that calls you with the answer to this type of question.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twister
    Why isn't the skinny on this issue readily available on the Nic. web site?

    Not tolerable that this isn't readily available. Sheesh. These bikes cost a fortune. Nicolai should have a help line with a guy that calls you with the answer to this type of question.
    That's Nicolai for ya!!! Nobody knows nothing,or If they do know something It's wrong..I was told my 07 FR was a 4-7" bike and that my 07 and my 08 CC was 3-5.5". Not to mention the insane waiting game. Two more weeks.two more weeks.two more weeks..Or (this one's my favorite) your frame is done BUT!!! we can't ship just one frame so we are going to wait another 3-5 weeks so we can ship a bunch of frames at once.. I've been riding for a loooong time and have had MANY MANY bikes, My Nicolai's were most likely the best bikes I've owned(Or dam close) but I'd never buy another one because of the price, the wait, and the now no U.S. support..I've seen up close recently how they threat a DEALER not a customer but a DEALER and I must say It's pretty sad...Besides 26" wheels are for kids anyway. ....CF........

  5. #5
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    Thing is, I have dealt with some German engineers and business people in my job a few times over the years. I am certain there are several guys who know the math of these bikes right down through the trig and into the calculus of it like they know their own faces.

    That's the way they work, and I admire and respect the h@#$l out of them for it. Just look at the bikes and it's obvious they are designed to the maxim "form follows function" to the nth degree.

    It just seems weird they haven't set up a way to share the info better.

    I guess they are bicycle builders first, and business people second. Perhaps they just don't really want to expand too much.

    They sure do make some awesome bikes.
    Last edited by Twister; 09-13-2008 at 10:43 PM.

  6. #6
    "Its All Good"
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    It is indeed a pain, share that with you Twister, just to be clear though, note that the Helius AM is not on the website as yet as a model, so all this may well be getting sorted, not at all defending if it sounds that way, just saying what I know..

    If indeed people wish to know specifics, I do know that customer service is very good in this regard... Drop Nicolai an email...

    See this screendump from the 09 Catalogue, mentions all 4 travel options for the Helius AM
    Attached Images Attached Images
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    ...note that the Helius AM is not on the website as yet as a model, so all this may well be getting sorted...

    If indeed people wish to know specifics, I do know that customer service is very good in this regard... Drop Nicolai an email...

    Excellent point.

  8. #8
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    whafe
    I saw that spiel in the catalogue but it doesn't mention shock stroke at all. I suspect it's all for a 57mm stroke shock. Not knowing is a pain in the arse(especially as a dealer!) but then it gives us something to talk about and speculate over. Like Chinaman said, I'm also very happy with the frame so wtf!

    back on topic.

    I've tried the following shocks.DHX-C, RP23 and CCDB. All 57mm stroke. Can't say I spent a great deal of time on either the Fox's as I was keen to get the CCDB on. But as there's not a huge amount of tuning to be done on either, set up is pretty straightforward. These frames(the AM and FR) don't particularly need fancy shocks in that they pedal very well and take the big hits well regardless of shock. However, after a hesitant start with the CCDB I have to say it's stunning! It really does do everything very well. pedalling is effortless while still retaining traction. It stays smooth and controlled through Hi speed damping stuff like roots and rocks. Drops are so effortless that I'm tempted to get more than my usual 3' of air . Also, and this is something I've really struggled with on other shocks. Through fast, smooth, rollercoaster type pedally trails the Lo speed comp and rebound damping allow you to set it up with no pogoing or wallowing. Have you ever seen how top end rally cars stay so flat and composed over fast whoopy terrain and how there's no bounce when landing jumps. Just a single 'whump' followed by forward motion? thats how the CCDB feels

    There are issues however. 1 - it's expensive 2 - it's heavy compared to an air shock. 3 - you need to be an anorak and/or have the patience of a saint. 4 - you need to carry tools during set up! whats that all about? 5 - your forks will feel like crap!

    For those considering the CCDB. Your first impressions on stock settings will be very dissapointing. they're nowhere near. First ride out, whack the Hi speed rebound wide open and take that as your base setting. I'm not finished with it yet as I've just upped the spring rate so pretty much starting again. I've basically got a good bit more LS comp and rebound over stock and @ stock on the HSC. HSR is really where you'll notice the biggest differences though. On a 550lb(@ 40% sag) spring I had it fully open. I'm now on a 600(@30 odd% sag) and have needed to wind it in 1/2 a turn.

    As far as sag goes. It works perfectly well at 40% but i wanted to get back closer to 30% to see what effect it had on geo. Can't say i've noticed a big difference really.

  9. #9
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    dipper - it is a good topic, for sure I agree fully that the catalogue does not have much tech info etc, for me the Catalogue is a coffee table piece to drool and get some wood in your life... The website is where all the info should be, however as i said before, the Helius AM is not on the website as yet....

    There must be a reason for this, not sure if it as simple as the fact 1) all hands on deck on the B Boxx, 2) all hands on deck to get all ready for EuroBike, 3) not bothered..... I think it would be more like thoughts 1 & 2....

    It seems kind of that the Am got out there and released maybe before all the final details were sorted, am just thinking out loud, I know the cable routing changed etc and am sure other things did...

    I type these posts and read them and hate to seem coming off biased, am not at all, so please anyone dont take it that way... Nicolai is a company that is very small, 2000 frames across what 15 plus models per year, so if the company is expanding, it will take sometime to get into full swing for want of a better word...

    Anyway, I have Nicolai triplets, well and a 4th at present, I have not had problems at all, sure waited 7 months for a frame, this was not Nicolai, was other factors which dont at all need to be mentioned, that was the past, can only look back, but shouldnt at all stare....

    Back on topic, I agree, the CCDB is a rip snorter of a shock, superb, but can be fiddly, I get it to a setting that feels good and leave it and ride, ride, then ride some more.... Wish I enjoyed playing with shocks, just prefer to play with other things.. I get to stoked riding to fiddle with things....

    Anyway, its all good..........
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  10. #10
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    Hi Twister, if you need help just try e-mailing Falco at Nicolai........always got a quick response.......or if your in UK Mike or Simon are always very helpful.....I've had very little problems in getting answers. I think a lot of problems would be solved if there was an English version of the Manual....I know Mike is working on this, so hopefully will be available soon. As Whafe and others have said, the new version of the catalogue is a bit light on tech. stuff, which is a bit disappointing.....could do without those complete builds and have more room for the specs?

    Dipper, interesting thoughts on your CCDB settings...... I will need to set up my CCDB's on the two new bikes: Helius CC and ST. Any suggestions on where to start with these settings......my rider weight is 200lb.......spring rate 350lb on CC......400lb on ST?

  11. #11
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    ... agree fully that the catalogue does not have much tech info etc ... There must be a reason for this, not sure if it as simple as the fact 1) all hands on deck on the B Boxx, 2) all hands on deck to get all ready for EuroBike, 3) not bothered..... I think it would be more like thoughts 1 & 2 .... It seems kind of that the Am got out there and released maybe before all the final details were sorted, am just thinking out loud, I know the cable routing changed etc and am sure other things did ...
    totally agreed there ... small company coming up with a new frame ... made a proto and got a few photos taken, by some of the peeps here and pixs posted ... looks owt'ov't'is world ... gets calls from dealers querying about the frame and thought well, why not since the CC and FR has been well designed and has so far stood the test of time, this is just something in between and so ... might as well start production ... hence the slight delays here and there ...

    i am the better off as a result ... ... having previously owned a cc and saw how well the frame is made and so i just head-in knowing that nicolia will not change the way they make their frames overnight ... i basically ordered the frame the moment i saw the first few proto pictures ... just liked the design of how the rear and front triangle comes together .... all ends well ...

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