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  1. #1
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    New question here. Nicolai and the carbon revolution...

    Will Nicolai get left behind in the carbon revolution, with frames becoming stiff and very light, the use of ballistic carbon etc?

    Were becoming used to carbon wheels and helmets and their durability, the carbon concerns are fading. When comparable frames at comparable cost are 1kgor more lighter and as stiff, will it become harder to keep using the glorious Aluminium...

    Just a discussion point really, Ihave my own views it came to me as I ponder further a 29er Nicolai race bike and feedback as to what Nicolai may or may not do to make a lighter frame at the same time as being bombarded with Eurobike new products..
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  2. #2
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    A couple of weeks ago, I'd have said it was unthinkable that Nicolai would use carbon. At the same time I'd have said the same thing about Orange and Intense, as they too make their aluminium bikes in house. Since then both have launched carbon offerings, which makes it less unthinkable that Nicolai will do the same. The complication with Nicolai is the custom side of things, but how many people really go for full custom geometry or sizing? If they do, it'll still be a few years off. I guess it'll happen when the weight penalty of aluminium becomes to much of a price to pay for the handcrafted custom beauty of a Nicolai as we know it. Or they'll just whack an electric motor on to make up for it........

  3. #3
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    From an outsider NOW..... i used to be told Nicolai was a fabrication company first and foremost. They dont build hydroformed tubed bikes, they didnt even build bent tubed bikes.... i cant see them jumping on the carbon train.
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  4. #4
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    i guess falling sales would be a big driver. if carbon starts taking over in a big way(which i suspect it may the way developments are going) then its either sink or swim. i'd hope theyre already looking at the technology and at least giving it some thought for the future. the material may be different but its still design, engineering and fabrication. requires some different skills and tooling but i dont think it would be beyond them.
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  5. #5
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    Big travel 29er would be the way forward for them. Chasing carbon is pointless, theres a shitload of cheap companies doing it now, Nicolai needs to stick to their guns and release a AFR29
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  6. #6
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    All valid. Having said that, steel has made a significant comeback and steel alloy developments are still taking place. Perhaps similar developments will continue with Aluminium.

    I think there is a place for the custom manufacturer and one that can adapt quickly to the market place.

    Also from what I have ridden, which isn't everything granted, they are still among the stiffest most precise frames in absolute terms. Many manufacturers talk of 'relative' stiffness I.e to weight.

    It's also true that weight isn't everything and I've never seen a broken one!
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  7. #7
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    I want a lighter RC29er but still stiff and accurate. I'm hoping they'll build it for me. But some have said they don't like building lighter. I don't want miracles but a 100mm travel frame under 3kg, maybe even with a 200g shock, should be possible. I'd take 3kg with shock

    The reason this started me thinking was the thought of fitting a lefty to minimise weight and seeing the Cannondale Scalpel 29er 2kg with shock or even under. That gives alot of scope for sensible components that won't break but keeping weight low. I don't want one! but it made me think.
    Last edited by the_pilot; 09-01-2011 at 05:05 AM. Reason: spelling cockups!
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  8. #8
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    There are companies that do custom carbon. That cannot be a major obstacle.

    One thing that sets Nicolai apart from the rest is a distinctive style. When you look at a Nicolai frame, you know it is a Nicolai. With carbon, they'd need to find a way to make a similar statement with that material.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  9. #9
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    They need to find a way to weld carbon tubes and gussets. And also to anodise carbon.

    Won't be too long now ... just be patient

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinaman View Post
    They need to find a way to weld carbon tubes and gussets. And also to anodise carbon.

    Won't be too long now ... just be patient
    Silly

    You glue it together with epoxy. ,,, I don't recall any carbon frames that use gussets. That would surely be distinctive.

    I wonder if you could apply those military grade ceramic finishes to carbon

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  11. #11
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    This is for sure an interesting topic. Carbon is gaining it's way to becoming the norm with many companies.

    Am sure Nicolai are looking at it, but as a smaller company, will they be sharing their development time with internal transmission development or carbon say? I doubt it could be both.

    At the same time as was mentioned, I don't think Nicolai are sitting around waiting for orders. It is a very different business model to most large companies. It is a bit of an F You, I will do it my way, one of the many reasons I love Nicolai....
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  12. #12
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    If they do, I expect to see straight tubes in the front and rear triangle in square carbon tubes,
    as in true Nicolai way !!

  13. #13
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    Niner have just changed their Air9 from 7000 scandium alloy to 6000 alu as they couldnt hydroform the 7000... personally i think its only a cheap out effort. The Scanduim alloy tubes are thinner, stronger and lighter than alu so that may be an avenue they go down as my ONE9 and AIR9 are straight tubed frames weighing in around the 1500g mark.
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  14. #14
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    They can continue being a small, niche, manufacturer.

    There are tons of bike builders that live from working on one and only one material. If you don't like it, the'll kindly point you to someone else waiting to make you happy.

    Also, they have a shaitload of engineers and machinery waiting to jump onto another industry if needed.

    It wouldn't be neither the first nor the last bike company having a main or complementary branch in other industry. Magura, Thomson, Twenty6 and others come to my mind as an example.

    I can easily see them working as a R&D facility for other bike/engineering projects and custom bike shop. I don't see them going carbon unless they can do it themselves. It's just not the "Nicolai way" so to speak.
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  15. #15
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    There will always be a place for aluminum.

    While everyone is waiting for the carbon bikes to come back from warranty we will still be riding out aluminum bikes.

  16. #16
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    There will never be a carbon Nicolai unless they launch themselves as a bike company.
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  17. #17
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    It's my view they won't build carbon. And I think they have their own unique style in a world where increasingly the carbon bikes are looking more and more similar.

    Interestingly I didn't really like their style when I started mtbing, I also didn't see myself going back to alloy. But having been spoiled by the stiffness and precision of my Jones, it was the only Full Susser I felt had similar stiffness in the rear triangle. I have an xc carbon bike currently which actually also feels plenty stiff, but it's only 100mm, and doesn't feel bombproof like my Nicolai, hence the reason for looking into an RC29er, please please Mr Nicolai tell me it will be under 3kg ;-)
    Last edited by the_pilot; 09-01-2011 at 10:58 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    please please Mr Nicolai tell me it will be under 3kg ;-)
    Nicolai is like Burger King... "Have it your way"

    You could custom order lighter tubing.
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  19. #19
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    I'm still waiting for some kind of answer Whafe. Felt a little weird about calling Karl cold. Emailed them via the contact form on website, no response. Have now gone through Dipper and Nicolai UK, still no answer yet, but had some feedback that Nicolai won't want to build to a weight or that using lighter tubing would lead to them beefing other areas of the frame up resulting in a heavier frame. I don't want them to build to a weight. Just give me their honest opinion if an RC tubed/design for a 100mm 29er would be lighter in their opinion than the AC but retain good stiffness/precision, and if yes would they be prepared to build it. Can't be that hard to answer can it? I is Eurobike tho, but they seem to be answering questions on Pinion boxed AM's!

    Sorry that's off topic..
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  20. #20
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    have you seen the welds on orange and intense bikes?! they NEEDED to go carbon!! ;D

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by shakeyakey View Post
    have you seen the welds on orange and intense bikes?! they NEEDED to go carbon!! ;D
    Very true. I had a lad in with an orange 224 he bought off eBay. When I first saw it I thought the previous owner had welded in a new dt himself.
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