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  1. #1
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    NICOLAI Helius AC, Model Year 2013: brief Presentation

    Original article published at twentynineinches-de.com | 29"er reviews, news, and more, in German, only. Feel free to translate it online .

    NICOLAI Helius AC 29er (2013 Version) – Im Test: von c_g
    Posted by c_g on July 26th, 2012 12:00 AM | 29er, Bikes-Rahmen



    Die Leser unserer englischsprachigen Schwesterseite erinnern sich vielleicht, dass wir bereits im Jahr 2011 ein NICOLAI Helius AC 29er – das erste 29er Fully der deutschen Edelschmiede (NICOLAI Maschinenbau GmbH) - im Test hatten (hier in engl.). Das Bike hat uns dermaßen begeistert, dass es geradewegs auf den 1. Platz der jährlichen Top Ten geschossen ist.





    Dabei ist der Rahmen zwar ein Musterbeispiel des Alu-Rahmenhandwerks und präzisen Maschinenbaus, aber irgendwie auch wieder richtig konservativ: Mit den komplett geraden Alu-Rohren (Rundmaterial vorne und Vierkant am Hinterbau, ohne jede Konifizierung oder Hydroforming) und wunderschönen aber auch massiven CNC-Frästeilen (Tretlagereinheit, Steuerrohr, Ausfallenden, Verstärkungsbleche, Dämpferaufnahme und Umlenkwippe) ist der Rahmen kein Leichtgewicht … aber das Helius 29er Testbike hatte ein derart ausgewogenes Fahrgefühl, dass es einfach aus der Menge der getesteten Bikes herausragte.

    Nun haben wir die Gelegenheit fast finale 2012/13er Version des Helius AC 29ers für einen Test auf twentynineinches unter die Lupe zu nehmen.

    Dabei handelt es sich keineswegs um einen Nachtest, denn das neue Helius AC 29er ist eine weitgehende Neukonstruktion. Die Ingenieure bei NICOLAI hatten sich dazu entschieden mehr auf die Stärken von NICOLAI zu setzen – sprich die Trail- und Downhillqualitäten des Helius AC zu stärken und damit zwangsläufig ein paar der von mir so gelobten Allroundqualitäten einzuschränken. Mal sehen wie sich das fährt und anfühlt.





    Das neue Helius AC bekam nicht nur 140 mm Federweg spendiert (vorher 120 mm), sondern auch einen kompakteren Rahmen (in der gleichen Größe etwa 15 mm kürzeres Oberrohr und 5 mm kürzeren Hinterbau), einen deutlich flacheren Lenkwinkel (68° gegenüber den 72° des 2011er Modells) und ein paar Details mehr … alles um den Charakter des Bikes stärker in Richtung Trail/All-Mountain zu dirigieren. Allein die Zahlen lassen einen ganz anderes Bike vermuten, als es das letztjährige war … aber wir werden sehen. Neu auch eine frisch konstruierte Tretlagereinheit (noch BSA, aber mit anderer Anlenkung) und der an der Schwinge montierte S3-Directmount Umwerfer, sowie die schaltbare Kettenführung. Manch andere Details, wie das konische Steuerrohr mit externen Lagern, die 135/12 HR-Achse (in Serie dann mit 142/12 angekündigt), die eloxierten Kleinteile oder die komplett externe Zugverlegung sind geblieben. Neu ist allerdings der Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3 High Volume Dämpfer, der ebenfalls ein Attribut an die Trail-Gene des Bikes ist.







    Das Testbike in rohem Alu-Finish ist mit einer SRAM X.9 Gruppe (inkl. 180/180 Elixir 9 Bremsen und 22/36 Dual-Kettenblättern mit Bashguard) und Truvative Husselfelt Lenker und Vorbau sowie einer RS Reverb Dropper-Stütze teilaufgebaut. Vorne verrichtet eine (bisher noch nicht offiziell existierende J) SR Suntour Epicon X1 TA LO RC 15QLC 29 Gabel ihren Dienst – hinter den multiplen Kürzeln verbirgt sich ein konischer Schaft, 15 mm Steckachse, verstellbarer Rebound und Remote-Lockout in der aktuellen Top-29er gabel von SUNTOUR.
    Da das BIKE ohne Laufräder ausgeliefert wurde (Ein Teil einer später folgenden Testgeschichte), habe wir die AMERICAN CLASSIC All-Mountain 29 Laufrädern aus einem letztjährigen Test wieder reaktiviert und mit den WTBs Bronsons in der TCS Variante komplettiert.

    Alles in allem ein guter, funktioneller Aufbau, mit dem das Komplettbike auf etwa 13,6 kg Gesamtgewicht (ohne Pedale) und einen errechneten VK von knapp € 4800.- kommt. Aber bekanntlich setzt NICOLAI bei seinen Rahmen auf Individualität per Baukastensystem und jedes Bike wird erst nach Eingang der Bestellung gefertigt – zahllose Details, von der Farbe, dem Finish, bis hin zur Geometrie und auch andere Sonderwünsche sind (z. T. gegen Aufpreis) möglich. Mit dem notwendigen Kleingeld (ein Rahmen wie getestet würde auf etwa € 2400.- kommen) und etwa 8-10 Wochen Geduld, kann also jeder sein perönliches NICOLAI sein eigen nennen.

    Soweit zum Intro des Bikes – bald schon mehr dazu, denn wir können es kaum erwarten das Bike schmutzig zu machen .

    RIDE ON,
    c_g

    Tags: 140 mm, 29er, Alu, Fully, Helius AC, Nicolai

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  2. #2
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    Let´s tweak this ride with a PINION P1.18 gearbox as well as a 29+ version ready for 29" X 3.0" SURLY Knard tires and SURLY Rabbit Hole Rims.

  3. #3
    "Its All Good"
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    Looking great. Some very nice little tweaks there.... Interesting to see the move to a small type AFR rear, shorten the chain stays I guess. Be a slightly slacker seat angle, with the saddle position the same. This will fool people somewhat I bet....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    It's both great and extremely dissapointing.

    What you see there Whafe is EXACTLY what I asked them to build for me with the exception of the headtube ( I asked for 44/56) but they refused. They also insisted they didn't want to produce the ION style BB area.

    As it happens mine is longer travel but what we have there is very close to what I asked for. Can't tell if that's a 44/56 head tube. doesn't look like it looks like normal taper. That's the one final thing they should do to make adding the angleset easier.

    I'd have to see the rest of the geometry to decide if I would switch to it from my existing custom in a year or two.

    Swingarm looks the same as mine and Cyrils possibly with slight modification to make the front mech a standard item so 454mm
    Aka chainline...

  5. #5
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    Ah, just read the article translated. Rear chain stays actually a bit longer than mine and Cyrils looks like 458mm rather than 454mm.Headtube is standard taper which is a travesty for angleset 29er users. unnecessarily raising the front end on a 140mm bike...the front is a good 10mm higher than with a 1.5 HT....

    Also they have shortened the TT!!! I ended up lengthening it. The 29er AC got it closer to 'modern' geo of longer TT shorter stem. IMHO the standard AC and AM have short TT's for their frame size making use of wide bar/short stem difficult and forcing the custom route.

    Sooo close...
    I hope they make some more tweaks before the final production model
    Aka chainline...

  6. #6
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    Glad they sorted out the bb area. Looks good. I've 2 large's on order with stock geo. was a bit of a gamble ordering without the final specs but should be good. Be interesting to see how they compare to my custom(similar it Phil's but not quite as slack).

    Zero stack tapered is going to be an option. Not exactly sure when. I've ordered it anyway in the ole it's sooner rather than later but we'll see.

    Not sure why they've gone for a 200 shock as opposed to a 216. I'm currently running a 216 but will swap it out for a 200 to see what like
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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    Zero stack tapered is going to be an option. Not exactly sure when.
    After EuroBike apparently. I have a new frame on order myself, full custom this time which sparked a 'you may want to hang on and see what's coming after Eurobike' conversation. I managed to weadle a few more details out of them but am sworn to secrecy.

    Still going for a fully tailored AM though.

  8. #8
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    Just bad luck Warp....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails NICOLAI Helius AC, Model Year 2013: brief Presentation-badluckwarp.jpg  

    Check my Site

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    Geetee. They didn't have that conversation with me!

    Actually there's nothing I'd change about mine. I kinda like the AFR tube style. It compromises tyre clearance a little with a front mech. But I don't use one anyway so no biggie.

    Following my experience I think I could have easily taken half a degree off the head angle but I also don't think I'd make it any slacker than it currently is with the angleset (66.8deg)

    Geetee, if you want to try mine out to make any head angle or chainstay length decisions let me know.

    I will say wheels are crucial on a 29er and in my opinion the most important item on the bike next to the fork. At the moment for me I'd go with either the new Mavics or Carbon.
    Aka chainline...

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    PIlot very kind of you to offer but I'm sticking with 26" wheels. I know that 29ers are probably better but I like the wheels I have and can't afford to change everything (forks, wheels frame).

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    ah, sorry, assumed you had decided to switch based on response on here.

    I don't think that 29ers are 'better'. For the characteristics I was after, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. I think it very much depends on what you like.

    An example being I rode motorbikes for 30yrs. Pretty much owned everything. I went backwards eventually after many many crazy superbikes to big trail bikes. Reason being I could just have more fun. They werent as fast and didnt handle as well, but I had more fun. Bikes are no different. Vive la differerance.

    Enjoy the new one when it arrives.
    Aka chainline...

  12. #12
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    Meanwhile a short-term test of the NICOLAI Helius AC 29er (2013 Version) was published at twentynineinches-de.com | 29"er reviews, news, and more, again in German, only. So feel free to translate it online.

    Here comes the link:
    NICOLAI Helius AC 29er (2013 Version) – Erster Eindruck
    Posted by c_g on August 7th, 2012 12:00 AM | 29er, Bikes-Rahmen








  13. #13
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    The above translated, well some sort of translation:


    Recently we told you that much for 2013 revised Nicolai Helius AC 29ers presented with 140 mm travel - here. Now comes the first field report. Here, this test is equal to three times exciting for us. First, because we the previous model so the top-ranked our last year's top ten won and we are excited about the differences, but also to the short test of the SANTA CRUZ Tallboy LT (see here) a few days with the beginning of this Tests have overlapped and parallel, we also have a brand new Cube Stereo Super HPC unexpectedly got into the test (see here), so we had the opportunity to go top three bikes in parallel on the same trails and to compare directly.



    A comparison of not only three different bikes, but also two different suspension philosophies - the tallboy LT a VPP bike with its own character (it final test here) and the Helius AC as a conservative for years to mature four-bar linkage and the CUBE Stereo an ultra-light carbon-redesign . As for Gesamrgewicht and equipment, are the SANTA CRUZ Tallboy LTa and the Helius AC 29ers on almost the same level - what one does have to ponder how much beauty is behind the organic hydroformed frame of LTa, compared to almost bourgeois-conservative part of the Helius AC - because in terms of subjective stiffness are both very high-level par.

    But now to the Helius AC 29ers. As written, it was the intention of the developers NICOLAI the "new" Helius AC to give more 29er trail potential. Therefore, the 20 mm more travel and a more compact geometry. While I had already praised its predecessor because of his wonderfully direct and agile handling controlled it quickly became clear that the model is even better with '13er sets. The new geometry with a dramatically altered angles, it feels a hand, agile and nimble, but also other controlled and safe in high-speed passages and rough turf. The compact design and droppers Sattelstüze creates additional space for a lot of momentum on the bike.
    Wonderful how nimble and willing can measure exactly the Helius AC through my often narrow forest trails. It is compared to the Tallboy, although slightly quieter, but not a dominant and definitely not a lazy bike - more like a precision tool that does exactly what it is, without any contradiction or idiosyncrasies.



    The seating position is more relaxed from compact - another plus point for the argument and trail use, but just not as efficient for long uphills. I'm still a little play with the seating position to see if there is still room for improvement here, but compared to the '12er Helius Helius, the new for me at this point in terms of lost some touring capability.

    Furthermore, a poem, however, is the 4-link suspension - quite unlike the Tallboy, which feels almost endless, and litter in the rough way - the Helius is quite right to say no firmly. It never saves with feedback and feels far less gently than the previously driven Tallboy, but also brings a lot of control and security in the rough. Here, the suspension works perfectly unobtrusive and unnoticed. Only when one looks down after a few trail miles, you can see how the tail reacts actively and effectively as you travel but the uses. In nearly every trip I found the Scraper in the attack. A big bonus point is the absolute freedom of torque steer. While I have tried through all the settings, I found the fully open setting efficient enough to drive them almost always - also increases. Even in the saddle I have never chosen as the center position. Here too, the Helius AC's completely different suspension philosophy.


    The built SUNTOUR Epicon X1 remains, with its 140mm stroke but also behind the Schluckfreudigkeit and smoothness of a well-tuned FOX F34 back, but it fits very well with the direct NICOLAI rear. Active, controlled and crisp. Except for testing, I have therefore used the clever Lockouthebel almost never on the handlebars. In terms of steering precision and stiffness, I will speak yet - here are a few more trips necessary.

    All other components of the bikes are functional to the smallest detail. The 22/36 chainring combination (with lower chain guide) as well as the entire X.9 drive complement the character of the trail Helius AC perfectly. Also, the reverb can be lowered seat post or the short stem and wide bars. Everything is chosen with care and in terms of function and durability. The reactivated for the test AMERICAN CLASSIC ALL-MOUNTAIN wheels were already evaluated and the WTB Bronson I'll say something later.
    With the exception of the very high tax rate and the green RESET Eloxalteile (Nicolai called the "Extra Love" kit) are not "show components" to see the whole bike. In true engineering fashion is meant to NICOLAI a bike just primarily as a tool to be but carefully designed and constructed with great care needs to run properly, but for gadgets or fashion statement you have no sense (... which in itself is already back on Fashion Statement would be).

    So much for first impressions of the Nicolai Helius AC - in a few weeks, we will give you an update on the bike. Until then ....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm6 View Post
    Original article published at twentynineinches-de.com | 29"er reviews, news, and more, in German, only. Feel free to translate it online .
    The English-speaking readers of our sister site may remember that we are already in the year 2011, Nicolai Helius AC 29er - (NICOLAI Maschinenbau GmbH) is the first 29er Fully German luxury carmaker - had in the test (here in English.). The bike has us so excited that it is heading straight for the first Place of the annual Top Ten is shot.



    Here, the frame may be a prime example of the aluminum-frame craftsmanship and precision engineering, but somehow properly again conservative: With the completely straight aluminum tubing (round bars front and square at the rear, without any tapering or hydroforming) and beautiful but also massive CNC milled parts (bottom bracket, head tube, dropouts, reinforcement plates, shock absorption and Linkage Plate), the frame is no lightweight ... but the Helius 29ers test bike had such a balanced ride that is just sticking out from the crowd of the tested bikes.

    Now we have the opportunity to take almost final version of the Helius AC 2012/13er 29ers for a test on twenty nine inches under the microscope.

    This is by no means a retest, as the new Helius AC 29er is a high degree of redesign. Engineers at Nicolai had decided more on the strengths of Nicolai set - that is to strengthen the trail and downhill grades of Helius AC and inevitably restrict some of what I have promised all-round qualities. Let's see how this goes and feels.



    The new Helius AC was donated not only 140 mm of travel (down from 120 mm), but also a more compact frame (the same size as 15mm shorter top tube and 5mm shorter rear), a much shallower steering angle (68 ° compared to the 72 ° of the 2011 model) and a few more details ... all about the character of the bike to conduct more towards trail / all mountain. But the numbers suggest a very different bike than it was last year ... but we'll see. Also new is a newly designed bottom bracket (or BSA, but with a different linkage) and mounted on the rocker S3 Direct Mount front derailleur chain guide as well as switchable. Some other details, such as the tapered head tube with external bearings 135/12 HR-axis (announced in series then with 142/12), the anodized hardware or completely external cable routing remain. What is new is the Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3 high volume damper, which is also an attribute of the genes of the bike trail.





    The test bike in raw aluminum finish is partly built with a SRAM X.9 group (including 180/180 9 Elixir brakes and 22/36 dual chainrings with bashguard) and Truvative Husselfelt handlebar and stem and a Dropper-like reverb support. Front carries out a (not yet officially exist J) SR Suntour Epicon X1 TA LO RC 15QLC 29 fork in service - is behind the multiple shortcuts to a tapered shaft, 15 mm thru axle, adjustable rebound and remote lockout on the current Top-29ers fork by Suntour.
    As the Bike was delivered without wheels (Part of a later test following story), we have reactivated the AMERICAN CLASSIC 29 all-mountain wheels from a test last year and again with Bronson's WTBS in TCS version completed.

    All in all a good, functional design, with the bike at about 13.6 kg total weight (without pedals) and a calculated CV of just under € 4800 -. Comes. But apparently, Nicolai is at its border to individuality by modular design and each bike will be made only after receipt of order - countless details of the color, finish, to the geometry and other special requests are (some at additional cost) can . With the necessary change (as tested on a framework would be about € 2400 -. Come) and about 8-10 weeks of patience, so everyone can call his perönliches NICOLAI his own.

    So much for the intro of the bike - more on this soon, because we can not expect the bike to get dirty
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  15. #15
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    Whafe,

    thanks a lot for your help as a smooth, automated online-translator.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm6 View Post
    Whafe,

    thanks a lot for your help as a smooth, automated online-translator.
    All good, anted to be able to read it also... Am rather interested in Nicolai 29ers

    Wilhelm, can you please make sure pictures when you post them are no wider than 1024, so as I don't have to come and sort for you...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe View Post
    ... Am rather interested in nicolai 29ers
    This is all new to me.

    Wilhelm, can you please make sure pictures when you post them are no wider than 1024, so as i don't have to come and sort for you
    So be it. Thy will be done, Master.

  18. #18
    "Its All Good"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm6 View Post
    Am no Master , but thanks for sorting the pictures...

    In regards to 29er's in Europe, I really thought with the HUGE push from manufacturers for the 650B platform, I thought the whole more or less full suspension 29er movement would be gone...

    So am really stoked to see Nicolai progressing with the Helius AC 29er. It helps me feel normal all those years back when I pushed them to build my Tangerine Dream...

    So Wilhelm, is the 29er FS thing picking up in Germany? Or is it just simmering along?

    Fully feel that Nicolai will stop any possible development they may have wanted to continue with the AM 29er... Of which is still my all time favorite bike...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  19. #19
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    The follow-up ride report of the model year 2013 NICOLAI Helius AC 29er was published at twentynineinches-de.com | 29"er reviews, news, and more, again in German, only. So feel free to translate it online.

    Here comes the link:
    NICOLAI Helius AC 29er (2013 Version) – Testfazit
    Posted by c_g on August 7th, 2012 12:00 AM | 29er, Bikes-Rahmen



















    Maybe Whafe will chime in and helps as a smooth, automated online-translator once again, provided he is well.

  20. #20
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    Here you go. And yes get well soon Whafe

    Some time ago, we have the new 2013er Nicolai Helius AC 29er get into the test. The technical information and presentation of the 140 mm All Mountain 29ers can be found here. The first driving impressions can be viewed here.



    Now the test is complete and the bike is on its way back to NICOLAI. In between, there has still spent many miles on our local trails and even a few days in the Enduro paradise of Sölden in the Ötztal. It has everything from behind long alpine routes, to heavy enduro use and many more XC-heavy trips themselves. Our image of the Helius AC 29ers is therefore quite complete. Throughout the test, the first observations of Helius from the first impression people have continued to strengthen - it's still a top-class trail and all-mountain with great qualities and a few weaknesses. But first things first:



    The LOOK: The Helius AC 29er is a bike that immediately stands out with its unique look. The raw aluminum finish of the test bikes in the short test period has taken a real patina, which gives him in addition to the clear-cut lines of the frame, a soberly functional look. Were not for the green anodized hardware, you want to keep the bike for a prototype. But the finish is individual for NICOLAI and therefore anyone can design his NICOLAI individually.



    The seating position in the new compact geometry (a comparison can be found in the intro article) fits very well to the AM range - it is centered in the bike, not too straight and not too compact. The shorter top tube and the flatter steering angle do the bike in good technical trails. For Downhillruns the cockpit delivered from external tax rate, the only slightly negative angled stem and the low riser handlebar was appropriate - but for less gravity-oriented application on my local trails I lacked a bit of pressure on the front wheel. After a few tries, the bike felt best with a steeper stem - a 70mm stem with dramatic sounding -17 ° was for me the optimum.
    The observation that the Helius compared to the '12 version would no longer be quite as effective pedaling, has continued to strengthen. Especially with long (eg alpine) increases I can honestly say that I had earned the runs fairly J. culprit is by no means a rocking suspension (on the contrary), or the total weight of 13.65 kg, but the less propulsion oriented geometry. We have on several tours constantly swapped bikes and found this impression confirmed several times. At this point, the Tallboy had more potential tour.



    But this flaw is only necessary for long climbs. On my local trails with rapid changes between uphill and downhill, this was less clear. The general rule, as soon as the force of gravity, the bike forward (or rather down) draws revealed the Helius AC 29er his gigantic trail potential. Both the wooded courses at home, as well as to the often rough trails and splinted in the Ötztal, the bike was a stunner. Direct suspension coupled with the balanced handling and the Big Wheels took so many interlocking passages every terror.

    In handling the Helius AC is very neutral, not quite as playful as the Santa Cruz Tallboy LT, but just a tad quieter. Therefore preferably the Helius no particular driving style. It can be used both in the curve by shifting weight "pressing" as simply "steering".

    Thanks to very good frame stiffness is wonderfully direct and precise control. Granted - the weight it can compete with the modern carbon frame is not - in the stiffness but the Helius revealed no weaknesses in the test.



    Federungscharakterisitk: It is hard for a 140 mm Fully talking about stiffer spring, but in direct comparison to the seemingly endless travel Tallboy LT feels the 4-link rear suspension to much more direct. Herein, the two bikes are fundamentally different, the Helius you realize the continuous progression significantly to the suspension in a positive sense unnoticed doing their spring work. How effective is the full stroke but often exploited, shows the view of the damper. Interestingly, that does not slow down on the ground in the control or the achievable speeds - just a different character. Not better or worse, just different. Jumps, rough beats and roots, the suspension absorbing just as smoothly as the recently so highly praised Tallboy LT.

    When speaking of the rear suspension you have the wonderful drive neutral kinematics when Helius AC 29 but again especially noteworthy. The kinematics largely independent of drive forces, only by heavy weight shift of the rider, it may be tempted to light paddles. The platform of the ROCK SHOX cushioning Monrach RT3 HV damper needed the Helius almost exclusively out of the saddle and the closed position was already an exception - only in steep inclines, to stop it from sinking the tail almost completely I have inserted them occasionally.

    A small problem I had with the rear in the final phase - the axle has NICOLAI (clamped with hex or Allen 6) loosened several times inexplicably after 1-2 hours driving time. Only when I have exchanged the eye axis back against a Maxle thru-axle (with quick release), there was no longer present.
    (The test bike built on the 135/12 rear wheel spindle, which often hampers the impeller assembly is unnecessary to be in series already replaced with a user-friendly 142/12 axis.)

    The Suntour Epicon X1 also streamline 140mm stroke for me was a good complement to the rear. To lockout the fork I used because of the tight pattern rarely. In the few times shown, however, that the original mounting position does not harmonize with the Avid Elixir 9 brake has (see Figure). Either let the Lockouthebel not by pressing until it clicks, or the reach adjust the brake lever is not jammed in the clamping of Lockouthebels. Only a Ummontage on the inside has created the remedy - something to the suffering of ergonomics. Also not my thing - the special axle of Suntourgabel. It comes without thread on the fork (and therefore must be mounted right or left), but made the expansion of the impeller often unnecessarily difficult because stretch out the expander piece in the hub of the train and then get caught.

    If one ignores the fact that Avid is in the long runs in the Ötztal but often come to their stability limits, there were no problems with all the other components. Everything was to detail functional and unobtrusive. Particularly well, we found the 22/36 chainring combination (with lower chain guide), the high ground clearance and a reasonable range of gear ratios always commanded.



    What would we change? As an all-mountain bike with approaches for enduro qualities we would not make much difference ... maybe a slightly lower front by a semi-integrated headset. More visually motivated, we would like also a preparation for installing a reverb stealth but that we come to the end.

    The topic of weight you go left on to NICOLAI and provides the durability to the fore - the fact remains: With a Helius AC is up to no Leichbaurekorde.

    And when you consider that every bike is a custom one-off production in Germany, remains little reason for pricing review. So we would put the equipment of the test bikes as to the level of the recently stalled Tallboy LTa, which it shares with the overall weight ... only that the NICOLAI again good € 600 - € is cheaper.

    *

    CONCLUSION: The 2013er model of NICOLAI Helius AC29er has undergone a reorientation over the predecessor model - with the increased to 140 mm of travel and the highly modified geometry has one hand gained Trail potential, on the other hand also a bit of allround ability (especially uphill noticeable) lost . What remains is a thoroughly "honest" bike with no hidden features or Zickigkeiten, to the last detail and durable construction ... who can give up weight-optimized aluminum tubes in hydroforming or even a carbon frame is but a wishing especially after his built all-mountain 29er "Handmade in Germany" wants to be the Helius AC will not be disappointed. With its well-balanced geometry and great handling, it is hard to imagine a type of driver who would not feel comfortable with this bike, and thanks to the custom options, even special requests not remain unattainable.
    For me, the Nicolai Helius AC 29 good hands in the Oberklassse the all-mountain 29er bikes even if it (in direct comparison with the latest generation of all-mountain bikes of the ilk of Santa Cruz Tallboy LT (travel report here) or CUBE Stereo driving impressions follow scored) serious competition.

    RIDE ON,
    C_G

    Ps: Thank you to the team of Nicolai for the efforts you have taken to provide us with the bike available - another test that has made us a lot of fun and has brought lasting memories.
    Aka chainline...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe View Post
    Am no Master , but thanks for sorting the pictures...

    In regards to 29er's in Europe, I really thought with the HUGE push from manufacturers for the 650B platform, I thought the whole more or less full suspension 29er movement would be gone...

    So am really stoked to see Nicolai progressing with the Helius AC 29er. It helps me feel normal all those years back when I pushed them to build my Tangerine Dream...

    So Wilhelm, is the 29er FS thing picking up in Germany? Or is it just simmering along?

    Fully feel that Nicolai will stop any possible development they may have wanted to continue with the AM 29er... Of which is still my all time favorite bike...
    I believe that NICOLAI is more or less in the same situation like most other bike manufacturers with regard to the 29er thing these days. They are focussed mainly on 26er bikes and at best rather on 29er trailbikes (Helius AC 29er, Argon 29er) than on real 29er long-travel niche bikes. I´m afraid the only way to push them up getting focussed a little more in the latter direction is the way that Whafe did, simply to inquire after and order more long-travel 29ers as yet. In this regard it could be favourable they were focussed more on the US market than Europe and Asia. I believe the demand for 29er bikes in the European as well as in the Asian markets in general is rather muted yet. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Eurobike 2011 was a push for 29ers in Europe. Otherwise the Asian peeps, for whom you remember NICOLAI made the very special Helius MY, seem to prefer rather small sized bikes (size "S" for bonsai or even "XS") in general, at least if you look at the nice build-ups of AttitudeBikes. When you are searching the many NICOLAI related threads and posts at MtB-News.de you will painfully realize how scarce 29er NICOLAI bikes are discussed and presented. So far as I can remember, Whafe´s introduction of his great 29er Helius AM/AFR and 29er Helius AC last year at MtB-News.de was one of the say handful 29er related postings at that German NICOLAI forum at all. Furthermore, I´m afraid the GATES-NICOLAI peeps who sure are helpful in developing, improving and testing the NICOLAI stuff are not on the forefront when it comes to push the demand for 29er long-travel bikes. I´m hopeful the 650B hype will broaden the possibilities to chose from but not displace 29ers. It seems desirable to further realize the correlations between body size/proportions, frame size/angles, wheel size, chainstay length etc. even more in the future and not to build such disproportionate frames like a 26er XXL or similar ones. In such cases an LBS or bike manufacturer should make a helpful and honest recommendation to each customer. Reffering to this Cloxxki recently made an interesting post in the Surly Krampus thread at the MtBR.com 29er forum.

  22. #22
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    Its definitely more down than up oriented, but thats a given really. But also the reason I specced a steeper seat tube and slacker geometry and longer top tube, to ensure climbing remained good. With the new 44/56 head tube (Not on this one yet) or a 1.5" as I have you can just switch the angles to give better climbing or descending. Mine does climb 'better' at 68 deg head angle, but its fine at 66.8deg and 74.5deg seat angle.

    The other thin is it would climb properly with a proper top tube not the short thing Nicolai have specced.

    Get a 610mm top tube on the medium and stop messing about, run it with a 50mm stem and hey presto, climbing ability greatly improved but retaining descending capability.

    The Santa Cruz LT at 69.5 is much more 'all round, every man' friendly and much less downhill oriented.

    Yer pays yer money, yer makes yer choice,,,
    Aka chainline...

  23. #23
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    The updated Helius AC 29er at the EuroBike Demo Day. Check the new tapered head tube (ZS), the new shock rocker-link (like) and the new front shock mount (don´t like, prefer the adjustable AM-style front shock mount of the above-mentioned test bike). Unfortunately missing the new bearing design (sealed caps with O-rings), the trail-key and the PM of the Ion 16.


  24. #24
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    Thanks for the pictures,looks a lot better,especially the headtube,new shock links

  25. #25
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    Anyone knows if the new two-position rocker can be retrofitted to old AC's?

    If so, how much travel should I expect?

    I'm more interested on getting rid of the large steel pin than the travel itself. Anything between 130-150mm will do for me.
    Check my Site

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