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  1. #1
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Nicolai Helius AM 2008

    thought i'd post some measurements for my medium AM frame ... note (+/- 5mm) accuracy except for the head tube length which should be quite accurate to 1mm.

    20080820 am frame geometry MTBR FORUM.jpg

    BB is 68mm
    Last edited by chinaman; 08-25-2008 at 02:52 PM.

  2. #2
    wyrd bi ful rd
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  4. #4
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    custom made chain stay protector ...

    rear 12mm bolt thru and front 20mm maxle ...

    20080823 building AM - 08 custom stay protector n rear wheel MTBR FORUM.jpg
    20080823 building AM - 09 front wheel MTBR FORUM.jpg

  5. #5
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    Nice!!!

    Looking forward seeing further "birthing" pictures!

  6. #6
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    sweet...congrats on the new ride, chinaman!

  7. #7
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    Looking good! Chinaman, which Lyriks are those?

  8. #8
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisillo
    sweet...congrats on the new ride, chinaman!
    cheers cris ... will need to get you over here with the el T.

  9. #9
    Nightriding rules SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinaman
    cheers cris ... will need to get you over here with the el T.
    yessir!

  10. #10
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by NICK-O-LAI
    Looking good! Chinaman, which Lyriks are those?
    they are the coils 110-160 ... they have so far held up ok ... have so far done about 400km in AM terrain and small drops only ...

  11. #11
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Testmaen
    Nice!!! Looking forward seeing further "birthing" pictures!
    cheers Test more to come ...

  12. #12
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    More Birthing pictures ...

    22 32 44 ... thinking about getting a chain tensioner and bash guard any recommendations ... are there any chain tensioner that i will still be able to use 3 rings???
    chain tensioner + bash guard OR just chain tensioner alone ...
    20080823 building AM - 11 cranks MTBR FORUM.jpg
    does using a short cage rear derailleur actually reduces chian skipping?

  13. #13

  14. #14
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    finger food???
    20080823 building AM - 12 controls MTBR FORUM.jpg

    all that is left is to get this baby out for a walk tomorrow and cox it to get over the first few tentative steps ...
    20080823 building AM - 17 done MTBR FORUM.JPG.jpg

  15. #15
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    Chinaman - are you riding around Holmbury tomorrow?? Am around myself from 8am till about 10.30am and would love to see it in the flesh!!

  16. #16
    "El Whatever"
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    China.... that ride is as sick as they get.

    The bike and colours just blow my mind. I'd love a bike just like that one.

    Gorgeous. Great, congrats bro!
    Check my Site

  17. #17
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    Looking gooooooooood!

  18. #18
    searcher
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    very nice. Congrats! Am looking forward to read some ride report , too!
    Kovi

  19. #19
    "Its All Good"
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    looking very very cool indeed, love the stealth black look.... Looking forward to hearing how this puppy rides.....

    Yeah ha.................................. Enjoy
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  20. #20
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    Nice colour scheme chinaman but then I'm biased

  21. #21
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    Chinaman, see Helm for 3 ring chain device, now bought by E13 who are due to relaunch
    soon.

    I like the raking top tube look of the AM. I will look out for you up at Leith Hill, when I get
    going again. Keep us posted about the ride. All the best.

  22. #22
    Drink...sleep
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    Not a fan of black myself, but a very nice bike nonetheless (has to be, it being a Nicolai ). Just shorten those brake cables perhaps for a cleaner look.

    I think 2 rings would be enough for about everywhere for a bike like this. No need for the big ring, unless you're going to do lots of road miles. Put on a bashguard, switch the middle ring for a 36t and install a simple chainguide like the Blackspire Stinger .

  23. #23
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by heihei
    Chinaman - are you riding around Holmbury tomorrow?? Am around myself from 8am till about 10.30am and would love to see it in the flesh!!
    hey ... only got to read this post of yours about 12 hours too late ... dang! ... i was there from 12 to 3pm. will let you know if i am there next weekend ... it was really heavy going today ... i think i might be looking to down size the tyres ... currently running 2.3" michelin mountain dry 2 which weighs about 783 g each ... and mud sticks to it like glue.

  24. #24
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    warp ... i had to have it black ano ... no two ways about that ...

    boozzz ... i know the hose is way too long for the rear ... will have to shorten that sometime ... but i could not wait any longer to get it out ... the front i have managed to tuck it around the lowers but will have to be kept slightly longer due to the fork travel adjustability ...

    cheers kovi


    there has been a lot of different speculation about the rear travel (167mm? 160mm?) and various adjustments and so i thought i give it a go at trying to measure the rear travel at various positioning ...

    20080825 rear shock mounting position MTBR FORUM.jpg

    I prop the bike up on a stand with the distance between the rear shock mounting position at 200mm, with the wheels touching the ground and took a vertical measurement of the axel to the ground ... so quite a bit of error there +/-5mm?

    tried to moved the first position to 143mm, trying to replicate a shock of 2.25" at full compression (2.25"=57mm) ... the rear wheel will hit the tyre ... but with my shock above, i did notice that even though it is a 57mm travel shock, the actual distance of shock compression is less than 57mm ... if anyone has fiddled with their shock and noticed other than this, do let me know if i am right here ... my 57mm coil does not travel 57mm at full compression as well, there is the shock damper in place too restricting further compression ...

    moving the second position to 143mm, the rear axel has moved up by 150mm (leverage of 1:2.63?), at this setting the distance of the first mounting position is more than 50mm and so if you do install a 50mm travel shock at the first mounting position, then the travel is actually less than if you were to use a 57mm travel shock at the second position.

    moving the third position to 143mm, the rear axel has moved up by 135mm ... (leverage of 1:2.37?)

    moving the fourth mounting hole to 143mm from the front mounting hole, the rear axel has moved up by 120mm

    considering that the there is an error of about +/-5mm, it can make a lot of difference, so dont be surprised if nicolai comes out with some other figure ...
    Last edited by chinaman; 08-25-2008 at 02:51 PM.

  25. #25
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    took the bike out for a ride today ...
    weather ... wet and muddy ... climbs and descents and small drops about 1-2'

    20080825 helius am right dirty close 02 MTBR FORUM.jpg

    my only basis of comparison is with the my old helius cc which is a large with a coil and the am having a RP2.

    i did not need the propedal at all ... it climbs really really well ... the rear track very well with no bobs ... but i have not had the luxury to ride a FS with the existance of bobbing ... so unsure how that felt ... i think it has to do with the 4 bar linkage more than anything else. i was not bottoming the rear shock at all but i was only running it at 10-15% sag and the max travel was only approx 65% travel. could be the mounting position as it is on the second hole from the bottom ...

    i thought the seat angle was steeper than my cc but that could be due to me only having 140mm on the front whilst on my cc, i used to have the front forks at 135mm ... interesting to see how nicolai comes out with the spec ...

    it is definitely a lot 'nippier' if there is such a word ... i can throw it around turns with ease ... very well balanced ... possibly because my cc was a large + being built heavy ie too big for me and so the cc did felt more sluggish ... i think a cc needs to be built below 30lbs at least, not more than 28 if possible ...

    it is very stable at speeds on descents. that is all i can say ... ... excellant ride ... very happy with it to put it politely ...

    more tweaking possible ... coil and different positioning ...
    Last edited by chinaman; 08-25-2008 at 02:18 PM.

  26. #26
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    Chinaman, very interesting to read your first thoughts on the ride. I think you could be right about the 4 bar, which makes me wonder how a it'd do with plain old Fox Vanilla rear shock. I can say that with my VPP bike (SC Nomad) you notice the pedal bob when you're up and out of the pedals, and I've had it set with a DHX air and coil (although admittedly the PP works better on the air shock to iron out the bob). My CC uses a DT XM180, which doesn't have any kind of external adjustable damper like the RP23, and I notice no pedal-induced feedback, even on steep climbs out of the saddle.

    Anyway, will be interested to see how she performs with a coil - although the AM looks very sweet there, I can't help thinking a coil would really set things off!

    By the way, how tall are you - interested in the sizing issue.

  27. #27
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by NICK-O-LAI
    ... By the way, how tall are you - interested in the sizing issue ...
    i am 5'10" thereabouts ...

    one thing i noticed is that when you change the rear shock mounting positions, the bottom bracket does not lower or increase in height from the ground unlike the cc or the older FRs with the 4 different positioning.

    reducing the rear travel on the cc actually lowers the bottom bracket ...

  28. #28
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    Your AM full weight?

    Hi, Chinaman, can you tell me how heavy is your complete bike?

    I plan to have a similar set up as you and was wondering if I can achieve about 28lbs.

    My parts list roughly should be:
    Frame size S or M
    Lyrik solo air or Fox 36 RC2
    XTR crank
    Marta SL brakes
    Tune hubs with DT 5.1 (front thru axle, rear QR)

    The rest of you please feel free to make your input on this matter.

    thanks

  29. #29
    "Its All Good"
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    What is your height?

    It will be interesting to see a 29lbs AM.... Am sure it is possible, especially with a small frame, be easier.. I think in my opinion, the slight extra weight to have a maxle rear is so worth it.

    Keep us posted please on your build...


    Quote Originally Posted by carbonloading
    Hi, Chinaman, can you tell me how heavy is your complete bike?

    I plan to have a similar set up as you and was wondering if I can achieve about 28lbs.

    My parts list roughly should be:
    Frame size S or M
    Lyrik solo air or Fox 36 RC2
    XTR crank
    Marta SL brakes
    Tune hubs with DT 5.1 (front thru axle, rear QR)

    The rest of you please feel free to make your input on this matter.

    thanks
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  30. #30
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    Hi,

    although Magura makes good brakes, I don't see that brake with its skinny rotors on a bike like the Helius AM.

    Specialized put them on the first Enduro's for the press and media testbikes 2(?!) years ago and I remember, that every mag loved the bike, but didn't like the brakes.

    Of course it depends on the riders weight and your riding style, but a bike with that much travel, very stiff frame, is capable of so much speed, I don't know if the brakes are capable of killing that speed quick enough.

    Other than that, NIIIIICE built.

  31. #31
    "Its All Good"
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    Interesting topic Testmaen... I totally disagree with your thoughts. I have Magura brakes on all my bikes, that is 2 sets of Marta SLs, 1 set of Martas and 2 sets of Louise...

    A Marta SL with a 180mm rotor on the front, 160mm on the rear with braided hoses all round is a bomb proof brake in my opinion..

    I have a set that was on my Ellsworth Id, went onto my ExoGrid MotoLite and now they are on a Ventana ElCirclon and still rocking it, never had a problem...

    And am not coming from a biased view. People rode those bikes and when I asked their thoughts, they all commented on the brakes first....

    I still think that Magura make the best brakes hands down for MTB

    Sorry to possibly have derailed the thread....



    Quote Originally Posted by Testmaen
    Hi,

    although Magura makes good brakes, I don't see that brake with its skinny rotors on a bike like the Helius AM.

    Specialized put them on the first Enduro's for the press and media testbikes 2(?!) years ago and I remember, that every mag loved the bike, but didn't like the brakes.

    Of course it depends on the riders weight and your riding style, but a bike with that much travel, very stiff frame, is capable of so much speed, I don't know if the brakes are capable of killing that speed quick enough.

    Other than that, NIIIIICE built.
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  32. #32
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    That's the difference between people, who write what they ride and people, who write what they read.


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    Hi Whafe, good to speak to you again. Just to recall, you introduced me to bikerbob for the Titus Motolite. I didn't buy it in the end. But I got an Ells Epi instead. Also following your recommendation.

    Based on my riding and terrain, I don't need a bike that's over burly. That's why I went for the Epi and others that are similar. The AM will be something new to me.

    Since you contributed to my query, might as well ask you for your opinion. Again. Do you really think it's possible to get the AM to 28lbs and below?

    My friend told me that in the 2009 Nicolai online catalog the stated frame weight for the AM is 3.3kg which is 7.3lbs. Assuming he's right about that and assuming that the number includes a rear shock then it's almost definitely possible to get it to 28lbs.

    How am I so sure? I used to have a Chumba XCL and Iron Horse MK3 with Fox RP23 and Fox Float R respectively. Both frames weigh about 7.2lbs size S and 17-inch (which is Medium equivalent) respectively.

    I used to have the Fox TALAS fork on both. The final weight came up to about 26.5lbs for both bikes.

    So if I transfer all these parts from my old bike to the AM and use a Fox 36 RC2, do you think it's possible to hit 28lbs?

    Here's the break down of my plan for the AM.

    Frame size S
    Rear shock Fox RP23
    Fork Fox 36 RC2
    XTR crank
    Marta SL brakes with 7 and 6 inch rotors
    Tune hubs with DT 5.1
    Sunline carbon bar
    Thomson stem and seatpost
    CrankBros Candy Ti pedals
    Nevegal 2.35(F) and 2.1 (R) tyres

    Oh two more to ask.

    What do you think of the Monarch rear shock compared to the RP23?

    If you're familiar with MAgura forks, do you think the Wotan is ok or shall go for the LAurin 130mm? I probably will leave the AM in its full travel all the time.

    And if you opt for Wotan, will that be better than the Fox 36 RC2?


    thanks


    carbonloading






    .

  34. #34
    steep fast and loose :)
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    The AM isn't a cross country bike. For ~ 28lbs, look towards the Helius CC, otherwise you're not reaping the AM benefit.

  35. #35
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    The AM isn't a cross country bike.....
    What if...
    you want a moderately tough trailbike?
    A cross country frame might not be burly enough but something like the AM should be solid enough to hit some rougher trail sections without worrying about durability, even if you are not exactly a lightweight guy.

  36. #36
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    Chinaman,
    what kind of transparent protection tape are you using in seat-/chain-stays ?

    Thanks in advance!

  37. #37
    steep fast and loose :)
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    durability ? the frame (e.g. the CC) will take abuse, whereas the wheelset won't.
    mate the frame's capability to the component and wheel capability and I'd reckon the AM would come in around 30 to 32 lbs realistically.
    a Mavic XC 717 wheelset on a 160mm trail bike is a bit stupid, to be honest. unless you weigh less than 60kg's.
    get my point ?

  38. #38
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    a Mavic XC 717 wheelset on a 160mm trail bike is a bit stupid, to be honest. unless you weigh less than 60kg's.
    I have Mavic 721 on my sturdy SS HT, just to be on the safe side (and the color is right)...

    I doubt very much that I want 160mm. 130mm is about right for what I really do on a bike but I prefer bikes that are on the strong side for that amount of travel.

  39. #39
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    carbon, if you want to keep weight down I think you are better off with 36 Floats than the Wotan.....although the Wotan is a very good fork its going to be over half a pound heavier. I hear that the new 09 Fox's are very good. If you really want low weight then consider the DT Swiss 150mm with bolt-through, one of my dealers rates them but I have no first hand experience. Monarch should be a good alternative to RP23 by all accounts. DT or I9 wheelsets for low weight and good performance.

  40. #40
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    Nevernmind a moderatley tough trail bike, the CC will give you a tough trail bike IMO (and that is based upon giving my CC a good thrashing - it has 717's on Industry nine hubs). I'd agree though, with TLR, that they wouldn't really be at home on the AM - I'd want wide tires for a start, and am not too sure they'd be happy on those kind of rims, nevermind the strength. I'll be sticking with my DT 5.1D's on Pro2's for my new AM, which have taken a hammering on my Nomad with no probs.

  41. #41
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe
    ... Sorry to possibly have derailed the thread ...
    the term "derailed" is not in my vocabulary ...

    the forum is there for discussions and as long as anyone is happy to add, even though sometimes a topic can quite easily "go off tangent", it is perfect as that is all this site is about ... peeps sharin the same love for 2 wheels, in this instance nicolai ... and discussing about anything that comes to mind and sharing ideas ...

  42. #42
    steep fast and loose :)
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    i'm with Nick-o-lai.
    My AM will be run on DT 5.1D's on Chris King ISO's, 2.4" Nobby Nic's providing grip

  43. #43
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Testmaen
    ... Chinaman, what kind of transparent protection tape are you using in seat-/chain-stays ? ...
    3M helicopter tape

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/1m-x-10cm-3M-H...d=p3911.c0.m14

    you need to clean the surface properly and make sure it is dry before you apply the tape ... and a bit of patience to prevent any bubbles from forming

  44. #44
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    ... durability ? the frame (e.g. the CC) will take abuse, whereas the wheelset won't ...
    perttime

    the CC is only a XC frame only in description. It is actually quite sturdy and if you order it with a 12mm bolt thru rear that should stiffen up the rear more

    btw i was using my AM with 140mm fork setting and it was still very well balanced ... and it was still able to climb like a mountain goat except that the legs pedaling it was not up to it ...

    a few more pictures ...

    20080830 helius am right rear 800#643 MTBR FORUM.jpg

    20080830 helius am left rear 800#698 MTBR FORUM.jpg

    with my coil this time ... the titanium spring is on its way ...
    was a bit more difficult to set up ... i think the leverage ratio is higher. the sag was set at about 25% and just loved the "plushness" of a set of coils as compared to my fox air can ... at the end of my ride, the bumper was at the limit (ie must have gone to full compression) but i did not feel that the shock has bottomed out if you know what i mean ... will try with higher pressure for the spv which should help with higher speed compression ...

    20080830 helius am right 02 1024#786 MTBR FORUM.jpg

  45. #45
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    Chinaman, I notice your favourite riding spot is holmburry hill, so I guess you got your Helius AM from head for the hills? If so, I reckon I saw it in the shop the same day I was placing my order for my Ion ST - would have been about 4 weeks ago?

  46. #46
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    Thanks for your inputs Ryates, Lecht and Nick-o-lai. YOu guys have definitely made a strong case about setting up the AM with parts it was designed to go along with.

    After trying lots of log legged XC frames that are lightweight and some burly trail frames that are a bit heavier, I kinda prefer the latter. Keep in mind, though, all the parts are carried over (which are mostly lightweight racy stuffs), except maybe the fork which I normally change.

    Well, I'll see how it goes. It has never been a problem for me to upgrade parts anyway. Hehehe

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinaman
    perttime

    the CC is only a XC frame only in description. It is actually quite sturdy and if you order it with a 12mm bolt thru rear that should stiffen up the rear more

    btw i was using my AM with 140mm fork setting and it was still very well balanced ...
    I just figure that being close to 100 kg my trail bike should be stronger than what a 60 kg guy needs. And when I buy a bike I want it to have a chance to live for several years.

    My current FS ride is extreme overkill... and I think an AM might be a more sensible choice. Also, I get the impression that the AM has better standover than other Helius models. I realise standover is not the most important thing but it is still nice to have.

    What sort of tyres are you fitting on your CC's and AM's? I've had Mountain King SuperSonic 2.4 on the hardtail for a while and they do what I need tyres to do on a variety of trails.

  48. #48
    "Its All Good"
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    Quote Originally Posted by carbonloading
    Thanks for your inputs Ryates, Lecht and Nick-o-lai. YOu guys have definitely made a strong case about setting up the AM with parts it was designed to go along with.

    After trying lots of log legged XC frames that are lightweight and some burly trail frames that are a bit heavier, I kinda prefer the latter. Keep in mind, though, all the parts are carried over (which are mostly lightweight racy stuffs), except maybe the fork which I normally change.

    Well, I'll see how it goes. It has never been a problem for me to upgrade parts anyway. Hehehe
    Hi ya Carbon, havnt talked in a while... Hope all is well...

    I think you are making a good choice, as the boys mention the Helius CC is very strong, but that is also relative..... I moved away from the ExoGrid ML for the reason that I didnt feel comfortable jumping off of anything more or less the trail provided, and no am not talking 12 foot to flat drops, just mean the usual lips, jumps most trails provide....

    In riding my FR and seeing a CC in action, i think for certain the AM is indeed going to be a tough tough hard core trail bike, AM bike.....

    I would think that your desired weight of around 28lbs will be achievable for sure. Myself though, I would go for an 09 Fox 36 Talas, the adjustable travel is a great option, I use mine all the time, also go with the Maxel rear, it will bind things in the rear and help with strength and stiffness.....

    My FR is 32lbs and that is a large, so using your small frame and components, it should well be doable... Have a study through the build database...

    The hardest thing about putting an order in for a Nicolai is choosing the frame colour..
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  49. #49
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    Hey Nick, you think you can post a pic of your CC? I haven't seen a built up CC before. Or if there's a link somewhere in this forum, let me know and I'll try looking for it.

    To me the CC just don't look bad ass enough like the burlier Nicolais. Then again I might be wrong.

    A good bro of mine just got his Nonis CC (yesterday) in size XS and it looks the danglies... A damn gorgeous piece of art unlike in the picture in the catalog, which I believe is a large frame.

    cheers

  50. #50
    mtbr member
    Reputation: dipper's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    I certainly agree with the other comments about building this frame so light. It's completely missing the point and performance will suffer as a result. Mine is now weighing in at 34lb. 32lb is easily achievable without sacrificing performance.

    However, the problem with going to a CC is that you not only loose weight but the geo is different as it's designed for a different style of riding.

    If you want AM geo in lighter package I'd be looking at something like a Cove Hustler. It makes a very sorted trail bike at sub 30lb. Personally I'd still run a 2nd set of wheels as skinny, light wheels ruin these bikes

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