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Thread: Helius AM vs FR

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    Helius AM vs FR

    Hi all,

    For your info and my nosiness I knocked up this comparison which in all honesty doesn't shed any light on ANYTHING for me but maybe will help someone see what the main differences are other than the obvious weight difference.

    I thought they would differ in wheelbase but as you can see there is only a 1mm difference overall!?!?!

    Excuse the crude sketch.

    Derek
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Are you a designer or architecht or something?

    That's pretty cool - looks very draughtsman like. Here's an interesting thing - my Spesh Enduro is almost identicle in terms of geometry to the AM
    Travel" ST" HA TT" BB" CS" WB"
    Enduro (M) 5 18.0 68.0 23.5 13.3 16.7 44.4
    Helius AM m 5-6.6 18.1 67.7 23.0 13.8 16.9 44.4

    Spooky. And yet I still really really want a Helius AM!

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    Yep, I've asked about this before - those that know say it is all in the handling, but they do look very similar.

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    the difference is basically in the stubborness of the FR in comparison to the AM to turn in.
    the FR is more stable at speed, slightly more slack and definitely different to the AM , but if you like 'em tight and loose, then the AM has it imo.
    the AM lends itself perfectly to trail usage. it's a mountain bike. simple as.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by NICK-O-LAI
    Yep, I've asked about this before - those that know say it is all in the handling, but they do look very similar.
    No, that's a lie. Those who know, ride Ellsworth. Everyone knows that

    So what is the difference in tubing/weight on the frame? I gotta say that by those numbers, the weight seems like it would be the biggest difference, along with the differences in rear linkage on the FR. I don't know how different the leverage curve is and how the rear of either settles into travel dynamically or statically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    No, that's a lie. Those who know, ride Ellsworth. Everyone knows that
    Well, Tony knows for sure!!

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    Apparently right now, nobody knows

  8. #8
    steep fast and loose :)
    Reputation: The_Lecht_Rocks's Avatar
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    having ridden both the AM and FR, the difference is as listed above. The AM is a quicker trail bike, less suited to the Alps than the FR, better suited to trail than the FR.

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    i would like to try a medium fr though simon. The difference may have been down to frame size

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    I have to agree i dont think the slightly lighter frame would make it turn that much quicker? But altho the numbers are similar above there are other differences which *could* make it handle differently. I'd also likje to try the FR in medium altho i have never ridden any FR's.

    Anyhow i'm very happy with the AM, maybe an ION or ST in the future tho

  11. #11
    steep fast and loose :)
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    nothing to do with the frame being lighter - all to do with the slight geom differences and the effective geometry inc. sag once riding.
    stiffness in the stays also adds to the effect.

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    Just like @ Work eh I do the drawings, you explain them!

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    TLR - "having ridden both the AM and FR..."

    Simon, I've spent longer on a woman!

  14. #14
    steep fast and loose :)
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    aye, but look at the consequences

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    maybe thats where you're going wrong

    i'd show you how but that would just be wrong!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    having ridden both the AM and FR, the difference is as listed above. The AM is a quicker trail bike, less suited to the Alps than the FR, better suited to trail than the FR.
    Then here's a pointed question: What would be needed, in terms of equipment to bring the FR to a more trailable position? Would it boil down to putting a 36 on with a crown spacer, or otherwise?

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    I have to agree with The Lecht Rocks the AM is more of a trail bike. I have ridden both and the AM is much quicker handling bike and feels like less slack head angle even though the number don't suggest that. I also feel that where the rear rockers are located has something to do with that too. The weight i don't think really play's a big part in either bike.

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    I haven't ridden either, so perhaps I should keep my mouth shut. But I have ridden a lot of bikes and understand a bit about how they work so, very guardedly, can I suggest this:

    The FR is design for just that - Freeride, while the AM is for All Mountain. Ostensibly the geometry is the same as ultimately, you ideally want an AM bike to handle pretty similarly to a FR bike - relatively slack, relatively long = stable and predictable handling. You need some room in the cockpit to move your weight around and a relative low, but not too low BB.

    There are two key differences between a FR and AM bike as I see it. An FR bike is going to get hucked off bigger stuff and is going to see more DH orientated action so it needs two things more than you would expect from an AM bike - strength and a more progressive suspension rate to cope with these hucks.

    So the FR has 400g more metal, principally in the head tube gussets, where you really need it and in the stays, where you also need it (to cope with those drops and bottom outs).

    I don't know this for a fact, but I imagine the FR would have a more progressive suspension, so that it ramps up quicker towards the end stroke. It will also take into consideration the fact that most likely it will have a coil spring rather than an air coil. Air is naturally progressive in terms of spring rate because of the relationship between volume and pressure being non-linear.

    The FR is also designed to take a longer fork as it does after all, have an inch more travel. There's a big difference between a coil spring 180mm travel FR bike and a 160mm travel air sprung bike. Thing of it like this - the new Trek Remedy and the Spesh Eundros have 150mm of travel and are effectively peers of the Helius AM. Now think about the latest iteration of the Sunn Radical or the Commencal DH Supreme, both of which have 7" of travel, i.e. 180mm (in the case of the commencal they only increased the amount of travel from 7" to 8" this year). Comparing the Trek/Spesh with the Sunn/Commencal, you can see the difference that an inch makes in terms of how its applied (if you still don't believe me, ask your wife/girlfriend, or even your boyfriend if that's what clicks your freehub

    I hope that contributes to the discussion positively - you know it could just be that the biggest difference is the one we have in our minds when we decide which bike we really want.

    Personally I am gagging for the AM - I don't need the FR having an Ion already and what I really want is a bike that can build into a sub 30lb trail bike for the majority of riding I do, with the ability to beef up a little for riding in the Alps, the Lake District or Scotland. I wouldn't run the AM in 160mm mode, I would keep it in 140mm with a matching (lighter) fork because the majority of the riding I do does not require more than this.

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    The head angle is important to me - I like it on the slack side. Although they have the same H/A on paper (with the difference in the reference length being 5mm) in reality the FR must have a slacker head angle as you would use a fork with more travel? I dont know why they reference them with forks that are pretty much the same length but in use the difference must be more?

    I am not sure if I am right here but I would like it cleared up as I want a Helius but I am still trying to decide which one is right for me. I currently ride a Specialized SX trail - I am thinking FR but the ST is more like the SX on paper (ish). Sod climbing its all about the gravity sections for me...

    Feedback?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildboytim
    The head angle is important to me - I like it on the slack side. Although they have the same H/A on paper (with the difference in the reference length being 5mm) in reality the FR must have a slacker head angle as you would use a fork with more travel? I dont know why they reference them with forks that are pretty much the same length but in use the difference must be more?

    I am not sure if I am right here but I would like it cleared up as I want a Helius but I am still trying to decide which one is right for me. I currently ride a Specialized SX trail - I am thinking FR but the ST is more like the SX on paper (ish). Sod climbing its all about the gravity sections for me...

    Feedback?
    I have an SX Trail and I reckon its closer to the Helius FR than the ST. The ST is more or less a full on DH/Freeride bike. I mean in terms of travel it's got up to 220mm, maybe it runs better in 200mm mode but it's still way more of a bike than the SX.

    Have you got a DH bike or will this be your only ride? If you've got a DH bike then you'd probably be better off on the AM, if not then maybe the FR is the better ride.

    Here's the thing - my SX trail has been modified so that it has a 150mm fork but 140mm rear travel. I rode this thing with DH wheels while waiting for my Ion - I rode a couple of DH courses in South Wales - Cwmcarn, which is very fast, relatively smooth, hardpack, some big(ish) jumps and a few medium sized drop offs and Abercarn, short, steep, switchbacks, technical, loose and loamy in places, rocky in others - now yes I am quite a bit quicker on the Ion, but its maybe 10 seconds different on a 3 minute course.

    So then the question is this - do you want a Helius ST that you can't fit a front derailleur to and probably won't be that much quicker than the FR, which you can fit a front derailleur to and is considerably lighter but still a heafty build if you're using solid components.

    Or do you want to ride all day, say maybe 4 hours plus, but still rail on the decents? I am absolutely certain that for anything other than full on World Cup DH courses, the AM is going to be fine and yes, that means that my Ion is effectively overkill.

    But here's the thing - I love riding it It's just that I don't have to pedal it back up.

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    So then the question is this - do you want a Helius ST that you can't fit a front derailleur to and probably won't be that much quicker than the FR, which you can fit a front derailleur to and is considerably lighter but still a heafty build if you're using solid components.

    Great question! I have always ridden my SX with a single ring (38t) and on Sunday I took it out at Afan with no issues. Tomorrow I am going to swap to a dual ring set up and see what happens although I think I might go back to the single ring at some point as I am a 'park and play' type of rider. Weight has never been an issue - before the SX a Demo8 was my main bike and man that was heavy...

    The SX was my big bike for a bit (I had a 6.6 as well but I did not get on with it) but it is now my only bike. I was thinking about the ST as it has the same wheel base as the SX and I think that makes it really stable at high speeds. I generally spend 2-3 weeks a year in the Alps and I like to ride pretty hard.

    If I was going for the ST it would be with a Totem and the frame would be in the 180mm setting. I am 90% sure the FR is the frame for me but I want to be 100% before I commit (and decide on a colour).

    Your Ion is sweet BTW...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildboytim
    So then the question is this - do you want a Helius ST that you can't fit a front derailleur to and probably won't be that much quicker than the FR, which you can fit a front derailleur to and is considerably lighter but still a heafty build if you're using solid components.

    Great question! I have always ridden my SX with a single ring (38t) and on Sunday I took it out at Afan with no issues. Tomorrow I am going to swap to a dual ring set up and see what happens although I think I might go back to the single ring at some point as I am a 'park and play' type of rider. Weight has never been an issue - before the SX a Demo8 was my main bike and man that was heavy...

    The SX was my big bike for a bit (I had a 6.6 as well but I did not get on with it) but it is now my only bike. I was thinking about the ST as it has the same wheel base as the SX and I think that makes it really stable at high speeds. I generally spend 2-3 weeks a year in the Alps and I like to ride pretty hard.

    If I was going for the ST it would be with a Totem and the frame would be in the 180mm setting. I am 90% sure the FR is the frame for me but I want to be 100% before I commit (and decide on a colour).

    Your Ion is sweet BTW...
    Right well if you want to be sure about the FR, then you need to test ride one. Nicolai UK have got one built as a demo bike. The shop where I got the Ion from has it currently - this is Head for the Hills in Dorking. It's built up relatively big but the fork is one of the new Maguras, which isn't something that I'd have on it, but you're still going to get the idea.

    Their number is 01306 885007 - ask to talk to either Dan or Roger and say Greg directed you to them.

    Thanks for the positive vote on the Ion - always great to get the thumbs up from other riders. My SX was also my big and only bike for quite a while. It was the original 2005 SX so it was effectively the same as the regular Enduro and quite different to the later SX models. It's now changed quite a bit to make it work for where i ride, which is the Surrey Hills (near to Dorking), and isn't really that narly but it is great riding, more loamy soil and wet roots on off camber single track. I went from the SX as a pseudo DH/Trail bike to a Demo 8, which was great until I got the Ion, which I got about 2 months ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    maybe thats where you're going wrong

    i'd show you how but that would just be wrong!
    J E S U S !

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    Morning,

    Got a bit more time on the AM this weekend (Around 10 - 12 hours) and jesus am i happy with it. I'm sure the CCDB isnt tuned correctly for my liking but i'm no suspension expert and wouldnt attempt (or do i want to waste hours of ride time) to start tinkering with it since its not staying on anyway.

    I have realised one thing tho and that is it LOVES to go fast, i mean to the point of, aim it in the direction you wanna go and fire and its off. I used to be a huge fun on my VP-Free blasting down the Fe-y hills but this thing just blows me away, i'm even having fun going up which is a new experience for me! Did several drops and jumps (Not huge stuff) but it just sucks it up without a problem.

    I think once i have the RP23 installed on the back and dialled in with the Float's on the front it will be everything i need!

    Just stunning, I was grinning like a cheshire cat all weekend!!!

    Derek

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    Glad to hear you're enjoying the AM Derek. Hopefully catch up with you in Fetty at some point in the near future. I'll tie you to the back of my FR with a bungee cord so you HAVE to follow me off the quim. Honestly, it's the best way

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