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  1. #1
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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail - words & pictures

    So some of you reading this will have seen this thread I started a while back suggesting that the Ion platform would translate into a great all round/all mountain 29er.

    I've called this bike/model/project Ion15 29 but not sure what we/Nicolai will end up calling it, it'll do for now.

    New Ion15?

    Some background:

    In late 2011 I started thinking about a longer travel 29er for my type of riding and for racing Enduro on fast flowing trails. This kind of bike just wasn't available on the market, 150mm travel, light, long, low, maneuverable and with the ability to go slack.

    I had a lot of discussion with Whafe, Cyril and Dipper particularly, but others too off this forum and many, many emails to and from Nicolai.

    Whafe had pioneered the genre with Nicolai, but I didn't want such a hard hitting bike with the weight that brings, it had to be light enough for big days out with a lot of uphill, basically Enduro racing and all round riding. Cyril had commissioned a similar bike for Enduro so we discussed his design and specification, oh did I mention it had to be slack...

    So eventually Nicolai and I settled on geometry, pretty short chainstays, head angles that allowed a lot of flexibility using an angleset/front shock mounts, low BB, long top tube for short stem/wide bar and a target of as close to 150mm travel at the rear as possible.

    In early 2012 this bike arrived and I've spent the year thrashing it, messing about with geometry and learning. It was specified to be really flexible in terms of angles but in a way that wouldn't screw up the riding position/handling so I could get a good idea of what worked and what I really wanted/thought would make it ideal for Enduro and fast all round riding in all kinds of terrain. As an aside the build came in at 28.5lbs with pedals and a dropper post. Not too shabby.

    So fairly quickly I started to get a good idea of the geo and features I wanted.The geo and angles the likes of Cyril and I have moved to with the custom bikes has now materialised in the 2013 AC, they are pretty close, so Nicolai listen, are open to trying and testing stuff, this is good! Mine has a little more travel and is a little slacker but pretty close. There are some things I wanted to change though...

    So mid 2012 I started thinking, Some of the things I wanted weren't available when I asked....then the Ion16 surfaced and I started the Ion15 29 thread..

    Well a few other Nicolai enthusiasts expressed serious interest in trying to progress the idea and we gained a little internal momentum.

    So with the prospect of more than one order for a bike of this nature I approached Nicolai....

    The future:

    After kicking off some dialogue with Marcel at Nicolai, submitting some design parameters and then Marcel talking to Vincent and Kalle, it would appear that we have the go ahead for this project from the top man.

    Based on the key design objectives of long TopTube, low BB and slack with 150mm of travel at the rear, the ability to take up to a 160mm fork (Due 2013), chain stays that can take a 2.4 Maxxis Ardent/2.35 Hans Dampf but are as short as practical, keeping the new bush design, eccentric shock mount, no front mech so no constraints etc.

    This is NOT intended to be a DH 29er but more an AM that can be built with the latest 1x10 kit and light but stiff wheels to create a bike that you can ride all day, uphill too, and then hammer the descents, much like the new 16.

    Nicolai have concluded that design and machining changes to the shock lever, BB/seat tube area are needed, probably some shock curve analysis to make sure we are getting the right suspension characteristics in addition to the usual geometry etc possibly some tube changes to accommodate a max 571mm A2C fork.

    So Nicolai have suggested we document the whole process here, with their full support. That means factory photos and insight into the whole process from this initial idea, through the design process, the engineering development and production, hopefully concluding in April 2013 with the new ION 15 29 hitting the trail, maybe getting first dirt under the tyres around Nicolai HQ, you never know.

    I think this is a fantastic opportunity, and kudos to Nicolai, to provide an insight into everything that goes into taking a bike from idea to trail with a customer directly involved, including photos and words from the factory all the way through. The whole story.

    So far Whafe, Dipper and myself are in for this. Any others interested please let me know. Obviously we will have individual requirements in terms of sizing like top tube/seat tube lengths etc but the key design objectives and frame features are shared.

    I'll post up the initial tech specifications soon and we will go from there. This thing is gonna rip..
    Last edited by the_pilot; 12-14-2012 at 05:36 AM.
    Aka chainline...

  2. #2
    Err
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    Great news to see this progress. I am following closely and depending on final specifications, I might be in for one.

  3. #3
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    Woohoo!

    This build goes way beyond what nicolai would normally do for a full custom. Tube lengths and thickness is generally your lot. This will be a full ground up build. between Phil, whafe and myself we have 6 iterations of nicolai 29er experience between us. 3 off the peg and 3 custom. Hopefully we'll be able draw on our experiences(and that of Marcel and other forum members)and come up with a sub 30lb, 150/160mm trail bike that climbs like an xc bike and descends like a downhiller. Not much to ask then should be a doddle
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  4. #4
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    Actually thats soon to be 7 iterations as I've a new 2013 frame due any day now
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  5. #5
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    Wow that's a really cool post, I will follow it with nterest, because it might be my next bike. This year is downhill bike year, and as for next year I will see :-)
    Never enough singletracks !

  6. #6
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    Of course Dipper if, in the end you had no desire to incur the extra weight up to 160mm fork might incur in the down tube, and we will be able to determine what that difference is, then that should be fine.

    Based on Vincent's posted weight for the AM in 26' format the Ion16 comes in 200g lighter than an AM which was 3.1kg give or take a few grams with an ano finish. Reading across 3.3kg would seem reasonable to expect.

    Here is the geometry information Marcel at Nicolai is working with for an initial drawing

    Ion15 29er (150mm rear travel)

    -150mm rear travel with 216x63mm shock

    -Fork reference 555mm excluding ZS headset (3mm stack). Maximum 565mm fork reference
    [Option to change this to 565mm reference (150mm) with 571mm max (160mm)]

    -67deg Head angle (zs44/56)

    -74deg (Question - What seat tube angle would avoid the tyre (2.4") hitting under maximum suspension compression or is this not an issue with Ion ST offset?) [It is now clear we will need to change the seat tube offset to deliver 150mm of rear travel so 74deg effective seat tube angle may be possible still]

    -470mm seat tube length (Would change by customer)

    -610mm ETT (Would change by customer)

    -450mm CS (This is a big question, whether 447mm for example can work with a Hans Dampf 2.35 or Maxxis Ardent 2.4) it would be good to know how short is possible and where the restriction is?

    It can be assumed that no front derailleur is needed so no mount is required. Designing for XX1 1x11, 1x10 or Hammerschmidt. So ideally the suspension would work well in pedaling with between a 28t-32t front chain ring.

    - 40mm Bottom Bracket (BB) drop

    -340mm BB height at std. 67deg Head Angle (Considering the Ion eccentric pivot = -1deg/7mm BB drop)
    Aka chainline...

  7. #7
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    Marcel Lauxtermann, who is working on the design for us, rides and races Enduro so he should have some experience to bring to this project too.

    We should get the first draft drawings pretty soon now. Nicolai would prefer the production to run in parallel with an Ion16 run so initial thoughts are this would be during the second production period sometime in Feb-Mar 2013.
    Aka chainline...

  8. #8
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    This is very cool. Subscribing for sure.

  9. #9
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    Yeah ha, in fact a whole lotta yeah ha..

    Sam, did I just hear you say what i think you said? 26 Kiddies wheels to a 650b teenager wheels and then you will go to adult wheels = BEAUTIFUL...

    This project is going to be rocking great...

    FOr me as we have said, the ability to handle a 2.35 Hans D tyre on the rear is a must...

    More will be revealed as we go along....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  10. #10
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    For now I only have 26 wheels bikes, but why not an all mountain bike a 29er, I still have to think about it and try once before :-)
    650b is for me too similar to 26 "kiddies", so there is no real interest IMO :-)
    Never enough singletracks !

  11. #11
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    Ion15 29 Pinion

    Hello guys, how about Ion15 29 with Pinion (as an option)? I know it adds some weight, but maybe somebody might be interested...
    Last edited by persing; 12-14-2012 at 05:20 AM.

  12. #12
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    It's taken a little convincing to get here persing.
    You can get the AC with a Pinion now, which IanPinder has.

    For this Ion project, not only is it a different world of engineering changes It is just too big a weight penalty for me and I just don't need the extra range,
    I don't destroy mechs on a regular basis. It adds approx 1.8kg (4lb) compared to a 1x11 or 1x10 drivetrain. Thats too much to bear for me. My idea of an all day all mountain schredder is 30lb or under and I just can't see that happening with the Pinion, but its eminently possible with high end parts for this project.
    Aka chainline...

  13. #13
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    I understand your point the_pilot. I too don't want to have a heavy bike. Not that it would be a problem to pedal it but it is simply too heavy for carrying it if needed (at least for me). But the idea of getting rid of the derailleur is also very tempting.

    I would like to get some 29er in my stable, but I can't afford to have two bikes at the moment and I can't let my beloved Ibis Mojo HD go either.

    All in all your idea of Ion15 29 is almost the same as mine so I will follow this thread very closely. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you to successfuly finish this project.

  14. #14
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    I would be real interesed in this project for my self just want to see where
    It ends up this is big in the US the SC Tallboy LTc is big that would be a great
    Option to that bike

  15. #15
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    We've been having a little debate over BB height. My current custom AC29e is 147mm of rear travel and has a BB height around 350mm. This feels good and I've never picked up pedal strikes even with 175 cranks. My original intent was to aim for 340mm BB height and that's where we have started with the Ion15 for the first draft drawings.

    Based on the fact that the eccentric pivot will reduce head angle (HA) by 1deg and lower BB height by 7mm and this bike will have a little more travel at 150mm my current feeling is to move to 347mm for a BB height with the basic HA of 67deg.
    Thus switching to the slack mode would give an unsagged BB height of 340mm at 66deg HA.
    With the more progressive nature of the Ion suspension curve (At least that's what I'm led to believe so far. We haven't yet seen the curves for this bike, not that far along yet)
    This should give enough pedal clearance (particularly if 170mm cranks used) but also give great descending and cornering potential.

    Given we will be running a ZS44/56 headset, an angleset or fixed angle headset would also enable an easy 66.5/65.5 deg 343.5mm/336.5mm scenario for those looking for a more gravity oriented rig in steeper/faster/rougher terrain e.g. Whistler or similar. with only a 0.5 deg headset in.

    Any thoughts.
    Aka chainline...

  16. #16
    Err
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    Relative to BB height, folks have already chimed in about wanting to run a big tires and Anglesets.
    The Dampf in particular is a very tall tire, wish I had then number handy but if you're arriving at 340 BB height on a nominal 29" tire, it's going to be a bit higher with a Dampf.

    Then if you throw in an Angleset, your BB height creeps up again due to the stack height of the lower cup.

    All of the sudden, that 340 mm (13.38") starting point could become 345 mm (13.58") or more and the BB isn't all that low any more. And in the slack/low position, your BB height is more like 338 mm (13.3") BB instead of the 333 mm (13.1") originally calculated.

    This is all just guess work on the actual numbers but the line of thinking is sound. This is precisely where I've ended up having used both Dampfs and Anglesets on a few 29ers now.

    The new low-stack Works Cups for 44/56 headtubes help out a bit as their new lower cup is only a few mm of stack height, but still. The Dampf is not all that wide, but it's really tall.

    My vote would be to hold at 340/333 mm.

    Just keep these factors in mind. Good discussion.

  17. #17
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    Getting the compromise right is important. Sure low is good(to a point) but it has to be able to climb techy stuff as well. That'll be the benefit of being able to adjust the geo. so we can run a good all rounder in the high/steep(relatively speaking!) setting and drop the bb by 7mm on the low/slack position. I think we're in the right ballpark give or take a few mm. 170 cranks are always an option if we go too low!
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  18. #18
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    What's the stack on a ZS Angleset? I was assuming 3mm. We could take that into account when designing the fork reference height. but it does make it important to know what fork is the main one. So running the Fox F34 at 150mm with 562mm a2c if we designed for 345mm incl. that.
    Also rim width plays its part. i'm running Enve AM which I think are 25mm internal, must check that. Are HD the same sort of height as an Ardent 2.4.

    But then using a RS 571 a2c 160 fork would raise the front by 9mm so BB by maybe 3mm?

    I have an OnOne chunky Monkey to try along with a Smorgasboard 2.25, both of which look pretty big. Might check out the Chunky Monkey on the rear too and look at holding hrs on the Enve rim for reference. Also I'll measure the Ardent 2.4.
    Aka chainline...

  19. #19
    Err
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    Unfortunately the 44/56 Angleset for a tapered steerer uses an external cup so the lower stack height is around 15 mm. This is due to the fact that Cane Creek gets all of its offset out of the lower cup.

    Works Components recently released a 44/56 angled headset that has a very low lower cup stack height, around 3 mm, by building offset into both ends.

    Edit -
    I just went and measured a Hans Dampf beaded up on a Sun Charger TR wheel (width = 28 external, 22.8 internal) and the tire measured 747 mm (29.4") tall. I quadruple checked the measurement and used a level to make sure I was getting an accurate reading on the tape measure. This tire is about 1/3 to 1/2 worn and has been mounted for a few months. As a side note, Schwalbes tend to "grow" a bit after they've been beaded up tubeless for a while. So a new tire, recently beaded up is going to measure a little smaller. This tire is close to as tall as one would measure, minus a few mm for the wear on it. All in, this tire measures about 10mm taller than 29" and therefore adds about 5 mm to BB height calculated on a nominal 29".

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Err; 12-15-2012 at 07:43 PM.

  20. #20
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    Thanks Err, I think it does. I will check my Ardents too as this could be important if we all want to ride big tyres. Nicolai take into account wheel circumference when designing so as long as we are clear on the that the BB should be right.

    I am obviously wrong on the Angleset, which means I don't lose anything by having my current 1.5" HT then. The main reason I originally wanted 44/56 was to run a ZS Angleset. I was sure there was a ZS option.

    Nevertheless, certainly for me, I am sure that 67/66 will be spot on and so in theory saving 100g and running a normal headset will be good. If you needed to drop a degree you can still run a fixed cup set, so all good. The Angleset has done its job for me in allowing me to play around with the one I have to find the angles that suit me.
    Aka chainline...

  21. #21
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    From my view, the CC Angleset is a not to bad piece of kit, however I was never able to get it to tighten correctly and always more or less had a sloppy front end... I removed it and went with a non Angleset and all is good...

    The ability to handle a decent sized Hans D and Ardent etc etc in the rear is paramount for me..
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe View Post
    From my view, the CC Angleset is a not to bad piece of kit, however I was never able to get it to tighten correctly and always more or less had a sloppy front end... I removed it and went with a non Angleset and all is good...

    The ability to handle a decent sized Hans D and Ardent etc etc in the rear is paramount for me..
    Yeap, the Works Cups are problem free by comparison. No gimballs to shift and creeeeeeeeek

    FWIW, to keep the angleset quiet, "shim" it by coating it generously in anti-sieze. I have several silent ones in my fleet now using this method.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Err View Post
    Yeap, the Works Cups are problem free by comparison. No gimballs to shift and creeeeeeeeek

    FWIW, to keep the angleset quiet, "shim" it by coating it generously in anti-sieze. I have several silent ones in my fleet now using this method.
    If I went back to using it, I will look at doing that, appreciate the heads up...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  24. #24
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    Angleset has never caused me a problem but I've always used copperslip (anti seize ) however ideally we will get the head angle right and not need one! But an 'angleset' as opposed to 'the' is always an option to fine tune individual requirements.

    Dipper has been measuring his backside off lately and I we have concluded, empirically, that 150mm travel with 450mm chainstays and ardent or a HansDampf is certainly do-able with 5-7mm for mud clearance at the front.
    Aka chainline...

  25. #25
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    Cant wait to check it out.
    I am still loving my bike

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