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  1. #1
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    Helius FR advice required - new Nicolai cult member....

    ....well possibly.

    I'm very interested in a Helius FR and was drooling over a customers bike at Head for the Hills last Sunday.

    The big question is, how useable/versatile do the other UK riders (not discriminating against other contributors!) on here find their FR?

    Realistically my riding will consist of perhaps 1 trip a month to Wales, Scotland or if I'm lucky the Alps. For the rest of the the time it will be Dorking and its surrounds.

    So, I guess my question is - what sort of riding do you do on your Helius FR's and ignoring the 'Freeride' tag for a moment, how usable is the FR on non-epic trails?

  2. #2
    "Its All Good"
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    Welcome....... Good question, of which I think I can add some thoughts, seeing as though I have ridden Dorking area departing from Head for the Hills...

    The Helius FR was a blast in your area, in saying that, I like to jump off things, where ever possible, I would imagine if getting air of any description didnt skid your wheels, the FR may be deemed too much.... But you suggest you are going to head to some great areas once per month..... Mmmmm FR sounds even better...

    Depends too how you built it, I dont mind peddling a 33lbs bike around all day.....

    You could I guess build it a little lighter and have a second set of wheels and a bigger fork perhaps....... Could run a Lyrik or a Fox 36, then for your once per month jaunts to greener riding pastures, whip on a Totem.... Karve another Nicolai peep from the UK has a Totem on his FR....

    What have or are you riding now? Are you just wanting the one bike for all types of riding?
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    What have or are you riding now? Are you just wanting the one bike for all types of riding?
    Hi Whafe, thanks for taking the time to respond.

    I'm actually coming back to riding after a long lay off (work related not injury).

    To answer your question, I'd ideally like to be able use the FR as an 'all day' bike. To me that would encompass exactly what you mentioned in terms of pinging off jumps and generally behaving badly ;-) That said, it would have to climb reasonably well too.

    I was planning on putting Totems on it based on what I had read here and elsewhere but do you think that may be a little too hardcore for the majority of what I intend to use the bike for?

    I'm fairly big at 17st and 6'1" so I need something robust.

  4. #4
    "Its All Good"
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    No problem, it is a good question for sure..... Well I can say truthfully, the FR climbs like a mountain goat.... Sure it could be deemed slightly heavier than what many would like an all mountain bike to weigh, but around 33 - 34 lbs is dam respectable for a bike that is as strong as an Ox.... Taking into account it is now able to accept a 180mm fork, that is saying something about its ability....

    I am no pro rider, far from it, but I feel I have put my FR through its paces...

    I have a 65mm stem on, which shortens the cockpit up, which was what I wanted. I was a little worried that maybe it would no longer be great for all day epics, but have done a 45 mile ride and some 6000 feet of climbing, and I was as happy as a pig in sh!t with it....

    I am 6'4" and went with a Large frame, I like to be able to throw the bike around, Lornibear is ever so slightly taller, he went with an XL, so could be deemed a better all day epic bike.... But with your height I would be getting a Large...

    Myself, I would not put a Totem on the bike, but if it was doable, have one to throw on when you are doing you trips away from your area....

    But for sure a Nicolai Helius FR is a GT3 RS of mountain bikes...

    Post up with any questions and there are good cats who will post up answers to your questions....Keep the thoughts and dialogue going....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  5. #5
    'All over it!'
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    Hey there and welcome to the world of Nicolai. I think Whafe has pretty much summed it all up. I own the XL and for the riding that I do, it's the best size for me. I too have been thinking of the Totem, but to be totally honest, a well set up 160mm fork is better. I went for the Lyrik coil and although I am very happy, it's starting to creak so changes might be in the pipeline. Weight wise, I am a little taller than Whafe, but I weigh in at 240lb, so I went for a heavier build, about 36lb, with coils both ends, saint double cranks and bash etc.

    As Whafe quite rightly comments, don't let the weight scare you off. This bike is awesome, whether climbing or descending. I have just come back from a days riding in Thetford forrest and whilst not the most undulating of terrain, it's hard going and the FR was excellent. My friend who competes in many endurance races couldn't believe how fast a large bike can go, considering he rides a scott hardtail.

    I think if you built the FR to a smilar spec as Whafes, you would be a very happy man. I don't think the FR is designed to be a 'weight weenie' machine, but the pedalling efficiency is unbelievable from a bike with 167mm of rear travel. Try and get a test ride, or meet up with one of the many Nicolai owners in Surrey, I am sure they will let you have a ride. Happy hunting.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Lornibear. I must say that both yourself and Whafe have really fleshed out my knowledge on the FR so I thank you both for that. It's a lot of money to drop on a bike that might not suit ones riding style.

    That said, all you have both done is to make me want one more!

    It looks as if at 6'1" the L size will give me just enough clearance for the 'breeding components' whilst retaining enough cockpit space to be comfortable with a shorter stemn as Whafe recommended.

    I'm looking forward to taking a ride with the other owners in the near future.

  7. #7
    'All over it!'
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    Yes, you are bang on. The Large size is the one to go for at your height. If you do consider one, try and stretch to the 12mm bolt through on the rear, it makes it all so much stiffer. They are very expensive bikes, but once you have seen the build quality, the welds and the simple but so effective technology that goes into every frame, you will see it's well worth it.

    At six foot one, you have the scope for a nice short stem, perhaps a longer reach at 65/70mm or even better at 50mm, entirely your preference. Together with the option of custom geometry and individual colour schemes, these truely are the best bespoke bikes you can buy, In my opinion.

  8. #8
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    Yeah the totems will be overkill for just the S Downs.. however the 160mm forks get out of their range pretty quickly in the Alps so just be honest about what you want to use it for...

    If its only 5 days in the alps each year and no massive road gaps or anything then one of the 160 forks would be ideal.. if like me you are doing a serious 2+ weeks a year in the alps and head over to Chickie and Woburn every month then the 66 or totem is a better bet.

  9. #9
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    I'm only 1 month into Helius FR ownership but so far it's all smiles

    I'm 6' 2" and ride a large. It fits me perfectly with loads of standover clearance and the 65mm stem gives me a great riding position. It's not as light as some other bikes but boy is it built to handle the tough stuff. I started out with 160mm Fox forks but this weekend I fitted a set of Totems so it's very versatile. My local riding involves short 1-2 hr blasts right up to big days in the hills here in the NE of Scotland. I certainly won't be the first to the top of the climbs but I get there and it's what the bike can do on the way down that's most important. It does climb very well though as the frame is super stiff.

  10. #10
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    A lot has been said already, but let me add my experience with my FR as well. Am 187cm, ride a large FR with 60mm stem.

    Cockpit sizing feels spot on, though a bit high off the ground and I feel I cannot drop the saddle far enough. This has cost me one saddle already, of course has something to do with how I land jumps as well, but would have opted for a shorter seattube had I properly realized how tall it actually was.

    As said, it's a heavy bike. You don't really notice it climbing, but to be honest, when I jumped on my lightweight Cannondale (sorry guys, I know it's not a real bike, I'll be getting rid of it shortly ) afterwards, that sure as hell climbed a lot easier. But that's more of an xc bike, so that was to be expected. For a heavy bike it's a decent climber though.

    I have to say, for my riding at the moment, which looks a lot like yours from what you describe (though your local trails are a bit better, but about the same amount of more serious riding), this bike is overkill for sure. Would have waited for and gotten the AM had I known they were planning that. One major plus for the FR though is you never have to worry about breaking it, it's a tank. It also rides so well and inspires so much (false) confidence, that it makes you do things you wouldn't do on another bike. And to be honest, on the ultra booooring xc courses we have in Holland (just moved back from the UK), it's doing alright. No way I can keep up with the fast guys on Spec Epics with it like I did on my 'Dale, but for just good fun it's ok. Still, if I were you I'd consider the AM.

    Btw, I'm taking the Nic to the Alps next week for a 5 day round-trip. Going with my dad, and he's taking my old Cannondale. Lots and lots of climbing and descending, will let you know how the FR was, if you can wait that long

  11. #11
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    Hi Hommedepoire, for Dorking a CC is ideal for most people. But considering your weight/height, an AM or FR would probably be better for you. I think you could build a AM to less than 30lb and a FR to around 32/33lb with good light components. I have for sale an 05 FR with 615mm TT in ano black, if your interested. Just pm me if your interested.

  12. #12
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    Thanks guys for the further contributions. The opinions seem pretty unanimous.

    ryates - thank you for the kind offer but if I do to join the club I'm going to drop my cash on the 08 model.

  13. #13
    steep fast and loose :)
    Reputation: The_Lecht_Rocks's Avatar
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    homme - you do of course intend to demo before purchase don't you ?

  14. #14
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    Yup, I hope to at least try the sizing in an 'around the car park' sort of way

  15. #15
    steep fast and loose :)
    Reputation: The_Lecht_Rocks's Avatar
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    For God's sake - At least find a dealer that can allow you an extended demo / test session on trails similar to the one's you'll ride 95% of the time.
    The FR is a specific beast - As Whafe mentions, effectively a GT3 RS, but you wouldn't go to Tesco's / Commute on the GT3 would you ?
    If you're really struggling, may I recommend Gravity Sports in Scotland. They have a demo Nicolai fleet that changes dependant on Richards current whim, where demo's are available on an extended basis.
    have a look at :
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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