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  1. #1
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    Nicolai Carbon Frame

    Any chance Nicolai will start manufacturing some of their frames using carbon fiber? As much as I have absolutely loved all my Nicolai bikes…it seems like the movement to carbon (and all it has to offer) isn't slowing down.

    How will they ultimately compete, at their high-end price point, if they don't start moving in the carbon direction?

  2. #2
    "Its All Good"
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    Nicolai Carbon Frame

    For the Nicolai die hard supporters, don't think it will stall things...

    I to have pondered carbon loads of late. In my opinion, which is worth jack s h i t, carbon will become the real base frame material.. Aluminium still has loads of development on terms of tube thickness etc etc etc.... Think this will now start to be focused on......

    Be hard not looking at the stunning engineering styles, skills etc etc on a aluminium Nicolai Frame
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  3. #3
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    Carbon has many advantages, and a number of disadvantages. But think about how Nicolai would position themselves in the market, where is their competitive edge vs. Say one of the big 2 or 3 or against a direct market model where a carbon frame costs peanuts.
    The weight difference is usually 20-25% on the frame. There is more and more valuable weight to be saved in other parts of the bike, wheels for example and indeed better suspension that may not be weight but a cost factor.

    Also longevity and crash resistance is uncertain, not that carbon won't take a crash, maybe even better than aluminium, but that you don't know if its structurally sound anymore and prone to catastrophic failure. With Aluminium, you will see the problem.

    The environmental credentials are not great for carbon. It's very very very expensive to produce a custom carbon frame in one off numbers, not so for aluminium with skilled labour.

    Nicolai have a USP in custom that I don't believe is fully exploited to be honest.

    And as for price, premium? if you look a Nicolai is cheap. Similar price to a certain Californian brands aluminium offerings mass produced in the Far East... And €1000 or more cheaper than the carbon offerings..I can get some sweet suspension and wheels for that saving even before I factor in that I get exactly what I want with the knowledge that it's almost certain I am never going to break it...

    One last element of public perception...how many used carbon mtb frames do you see changing hands, would you buy one? Maybe after an x-Ray. Road bike has much less risk, tho still some risk..

    Nicolai could focus on weight reduction by looking at butted tube sets but then there would have to be consideration on longevity etc..

    I don't think we will see a Nicolai carbon frame anytime soon...
    Aka chainline...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Also longevity and crash resistance is uncertain, not that carbon won't take a crash, maybe even better than aluminium, but that you don't know if its structurally sound anymore and prone to catastrophic failure. With Aluminium, you will see the problem.

    The environmental credentials are not great for carbon. It's very very very expensive to produce a custom carbon frame in one off numbers, not so for aluminium with skilled labour.

    And as for price, premium? if you look a Nicolai is cheap. Similar price to a certain Californian brands aluminium offerings mass produced in the Far East... And €1000 or more cheaper than the carbon offerings

    One last element of public perception...how many used carbon mtb frames do you see changing hands, would you buy one? Maybe after an x-Ray. Road bike has much less risk, tho still some risk..
    Carbon frames have one huge benefit - holes/dents/non-catastrophic failures can be repaired . Aluminum frames - not so much.

    True, custom carbon frames are not happening. Is this niche market big enough for a long term longevity of the brand though?

    Nicolai is not cheap, at least not here in the US. $2.6k for a plain frame (add $450 for anodized color) without a shock + sales tax is not cheap, that's what the top boutique carbon frames cost these days. The new Canfield Balance, an alum 160mm frame with a virtual pivot suspension costs $2.1k with CCDBA-CS. The US made Turner Burner costs $2.2k raw with a shock. Nicolai is not cheap.

    I bought a used, beat carbon AM frame. It is holding fine. I am loving it. I would buy another used carbon frame in a heartbeat. This is a non-issue, especially if you buy brand that is known for good customer service.

  5. #5
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    Nicolai Carbon Frame

    I meant relative cheap. In Europe or at least UK we pay much more for the kind of carbon frame you mention, same for alloy.


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    Aka chainline...

  6. #6
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    On the european market the Nics fair quite well with their pricing. They are still much cheaper than the most boutique manufacturer carbon frames and are not far off weightwise.
    Alone by their philosophy I don't see carbon frames coming out of N production. It is still their A1 prioritiy to do everything in-house, this is not gonna happen with carbon as material. The price would skyrocket. Aluminum is still a perfect material and allows the small custom builder to react to necessary changes etc. very quickly.
    Besides being a superb marketing argument the weightloss of carbon is negligible in real world application of gravity oriented bicycles. DH WC racing shows that you can still get top results on a bike weighing 4 or 5 pound more than a carbon bike. There's just so much more to the frame than pure weight....

    If you ask me, it ain't gonna happen...

  7. #7
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by raschaa View Post
    On the european market the Nics fair quite well with their pricing. They are still much cheaper than the most boutique manufacturer carbon frames and are not far off weightwise.
    This. A frame from an american-based manufacturer gets its price magically converted to pounds or euros (if it is 2,100USD it becomes more likely than not 2,100 sterling or 2,100 euros) plus shipping, taxes, you name it.

    Europe gets really shafted on prices. Well, in Australia we also get beat a lot price-wise on bikes.

    Also, run off the mill carbon bikes can cost up to 4,000USD, like a Spesh Enduro. For that kinda coin you can get a custom made Nicolai.
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  8. #8
    yet another stupid german
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    Yepp, we do get screwed here with the pricing on US "made" bikes... Spec Demo or V10 Carbon frames cost roundabout 4000 euro, that amounts to about 5500 USD. I could be having a look at an Ion20 Effigear for that kind of money...

  9. #9
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    been a while guys....

    spoken to karl and vincent personally about carbon come years back. a good solution to stay competitive in terms of customer demand. BUT .....

    well, karl put it down real and simple.

    Carbon - no way to calculate a true fatigue point/time frame. Hence material is deem some what unpredictable and unstable in extreme or long term usage?

    Alu - you can control the quality, fatigue point and much more possibilities to make one offs with this malleable material. More importantly ( if a nicolai ever fails!) it can be repaired easily. Less costly. and the possibilities to personalized it is endless compared to high cost mold dependent carbon frames.



    well its been a long time since i had this topic with them - so yah words are explained in my understanding of what they had shared with me!


    PS:! Whafe! Good to see you in Singapore!!! Weeks ago!

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