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  1. #1
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    Nicolai v Lapierre ??

    Hi guys, i currently ride a Lapierre zesty and have always wanted a Nicolai. Looking at the current range im thinking a Helius AC would be perfect for my use (Wales/Lake district trial centers).

    I know you are all biased but i am interested to hear the opinion of anyone who has anyone riden both to give a comparison?

    Is the AC worth the extra £ ??

    I want it but i need you guys to justify the purchase

    Thanks, Rick

  2. #2
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    That's exactly the dilema i had only i went with the Helius AM.

    I wanted to stick with a 4-bar suspension set-up after my Zesty's chainstays snapped and the main triangle cracked. I have wanted a Nicolai for a while so test rode an AM and loved it. I was concerned that it might be too much bike but i love the solidity and stiffness and find it pedals so damn well. It making me want to really push myself and i have found it has given me a new level of confidence! If you're happy with running 140/150mm max forks then the AC is perfect but, for me at least, the ability to run longer travel forks in the future is another reason for getting the AM.

    I've only been riding 5 years and feel i have a bike that will grow with my abilities, if that makes any sense at all.

    Try and test both frames then think about it some more...or as i did, test ride one day then order a frame the next!!!

    EDIT: I should have said above that i loved the way the Zesty rode but their quality is crap!

  3. #3
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    Thanks Nick, exactly the info im looking for.

    How does the AM climb compared to the zesty?

    My thinking behind the AC was that i could spec it with AM parts (wheels etc) and still be under 30Lbs. I see your point about future expansion.

  4. #4
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    Nicolai build quality > Lapierre

  5. #5
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    You'll end up with two different arguments here, one for Nicolai vs. Lapierre and one for the AM vs. the AC.

    I can't really help you with the Nic vs. Lap argument except to say that if you want a Nic you want a Nic and there isn't really much point trying to justify the argument logically because you won't do it.

    Lapierre may have quality issues and that may be a hassle but they also have great back up and ultimately, you're just going to get a new bike if you break one, same as you would with Specialized et al.

    What I think is ironic about Nicolai is that they appeal on a fundamentally logical, extreme engineering level, but really, that appeal is located more in the heart than in the head. It's almost axiomatic in marketing terms, but that's the sign of a truly wonderful brand; all the face value reasons you might convince yourself that it's the right choice are strongly logical, left brain oriented, but ultimately, the decision comes from the right hand side of the brain and, more likely, the heart.

    Owning a Nicolai is a fabulous experience. You don’t ever get ‘buyer’s remorse’, you just get, ‘next project’ syndrome (have a read of some of Whafe’s threads and you’ll see what I mean!) If it’s a Nic you want, then almost nothing else will substitute it – genuinely I can’t think of another brand that plays in the same niche as Nicolai, again it’s another hallmark of a truly great brand.

    So really the argument I am offering on the Lap. Vs. Nic debate is this; don’t worry about it, if you want one, get one. You will not be disappointed. And if that’s still not cutting it for you then consider the fact that failed Nicolai frames are like hen’s teeth, their build quality and integrity is second to none and this does translate into ride quality, it’s not just an aesthetical benefit. Their frames have a incredible steering accuracy, enormous stiffness and laser guided responses. You find yourself able to put the bike exactly where you want it. Oh and you get to choose the colour, although most people will retrospectively agree that that’s sometimes the hardest part of choosing a Nic.

    Which brings us to the AM vs. AC question. I have the former and have ridden the latter. To be fair there’s very little between them in terms of performance over the kind of terrain you’re going to be using it on. You will find that the extra travel of the AM is probably less valuable on the extreme terrain that you might find in the Lakes or Peak (I deliberately exclude trail centres because with the exception of the Scottish ones, most of them are pretty tame terrain wise) than the extra material and therefore the extra stiffness in the frame over the AC. In the Alps that would be a different matter as it would on any decent UK DH course.

    The AC works best with a shorter A2C 140/150mm fork, i.e. a Fox 32 or a RS Revelation, whereas the AM works best with a taller A2C fork like the Lyrik or 36; You can run the AM with a lighter fork of equivalent travel and if you spec a super tall crown race with a factory fitted Reset Racing headset, then you’ll likely find that geometry wise, it works really well indeed. I spent 3 months running a 150mm 15mm QR Fox 32 on my AM and the fork’s performance was exemplary, especially over big rocky ground, but it does drop the front quite a bit and on steep tight turns I found the front just too willing to tuck under. I also noticed a lot of flex on the fork on steep landings, roll-ins and compressions but then I am a lardy bugger (which is why I went for the Nic in the first place – see, I convinced myself it was a logical choice!)

    If you definitely want something under 30lbs and you don’t want to ride it aggressively in the Alps and over various DH courses here, then go for the AC. If you intend to hammer it in the Alps, ride DH courses when you can and/or you’re 100kg plus, then go for the AM and just get a bit fitter.

    The integrity of the bike will come from the frame, fork and wheels, not the rest of the build IMO and these days, you can get sturdy AM wheels that weigh around 1700g, which is lighter than XC wheels used to be 10 years ago.

    Hope that helps.

  6. #6
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    Rick, in all seriousness, replies dont get better than geetee's above... Cant add anymore to that.... Oh one thing, there are not many frames that you at times just stare at in bewilderment... I still do on my Nicolai frames.....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  7. #7
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    That's a big spiel geetee but can't fault it

    For us nicolai fanboys there are no 'nic v whatever' arguments, but plenty of 'nic v nic' arguments. There's plenty good and capable bikes on the market these days but if you want a nic then nothing else will do. Go for it. You won't be disappointed.
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  8. #8
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    The Helius Climbs better for sure....steeper seat angle and a dose of Propedal on the DHX Air shock mean it the best climbing bike i've had.

    Mine is approximately 32lbs but it pedals so much lighter! My commuting keeps plenty fit enough anyway! Just returned from a few hours of fun in the Forest of Dean 'DH' trails....the bike was superb!! Stupidly composed over the ruts and roots. I don't think the AC would have suited the riding i can see myself doing in the future especially the weeks spent in the Alps.

  9. #9
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    I came from a lapierre spicy directly to a helius am.
    The way the lapierre perfomed was really good.

    What i disliked is that the seat angle is pretty slack.
    As a large guy that likes to ride bikes on the smaller side I got the problem that I either couldn't extend the seatpost long enough to pedal or not drop the post enough for descents (for my liking, generally speaking the adjustment range should be large enough i guess).
    So with the seatpost far out you sit a bit far above the rear wheel.

    Suspension performance was quite good, but keep in mind that lapierre uses the force of the chain to control suspension movement. Therefore the bike pedals very efficiently, but on the other hand you always stiffen the suspension a bit while pedalling.
    Nicolai is a lot more neutral.
    Also the Nicolai suspension seems to allow more tolerance towards bigger hits without bottoming out.

    The spicy i had was specced with regular qr on the rear end. Stiffness was not bad, but nowhere close to the helius with its through axle.

    To sum it up:
    Both are real quaity bikes, you can't really go wrong.
    Just the layout is a bit different.
    Lapierre is for the Trails guys looking for lightweight bikes while nicolai is more for the guys that want to push it abit more towards the park.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the superb replies guys, particularly geetee's

    To be honest i dont need much persuasion. I didnt post the same question on the lapierre forum

    I remember picking up a nic catalogue about 5 years ago and being blown away by the industrial look of the frames. Im an engineer so i can really appreciate the functional design, machining and the best TIG welding i have ever seen.

    Im still undecided between the AC and AM. It makes sense to over-build but im not sure i would actually benefit from the extra travel of the AM. Other than the slight weight penalty is there a big difference between the AC & AM on the ascents? Im 6'2" and 82kg so not too heavy.

  11. #11
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    6'2"? Sure you don't fancy an AC 29er? I'll shortly have a demo available you're no doubt at the wrong end of the country though! I'm up in the ne of Scotland

    I've yet to ride an ac of any description so can't help much on the ac/am debate but ive ridden the last 2 generations of am and the fr. The new gen am sounds so close to the fr that I suspect the ac will suit most trail riders better. But on saying that the am will offer more versatility in that it will build light or heavy to suit what youre planning to do with it.
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  12. #12
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    I would get a load of hassles if I didnt suggest it

    But have you thought of a Helius AC 29er as dipper suggests?? Not coming from a biased view, I think it should be looked at seriously.... I have a few Nicolai,s and other bikes. I can honestly say if I was only allowed one bike, it would easily be the AC 29er, even over my Jones!!!!
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  13. #13
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    Well Geetee has covered everything

    Iím a Nic fanboy and should be getting my third this week and I agree Whafe they are works of art, I want a frame for my wall. Anyhoo Iíve had a CC and AC but not the AM. For me the CC is king but Iím light (c60kgs) and like going up hill a lot. However the AC climbed nearly as well as the CC but down OMG rock solid. I used mine in the Alps and it was brilliant you felt you could ride anything. The control and balance of the bike was extraordinary. If the AC is like this I can only imagine the AM is better. My mate has one and I know he loves it; he may be along later to comment Ė Marcus!

    No matter which you get you will not be disappointed. For full suss bikes there is nothing, in my opinion, that touches a Nicolai

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the positive comments guys. I'm really conscious that sometimes I might come across as 'having a lot to say', but it's just passion for the sport and the bikes and it's all meant with good intention.

    Plus once upon a time I had the idea of being a journalist and writing is something that I (clearly) enjoy!

  15. #15
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    Whafe, even over the Jones, wash your mouth out with Soap :-)

    Loving my AM, just seem to be making it heavier at the moment tho!

  16. #16
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    mate [mad frank] had a spicy 914 carbon and it cracked at the BB. lappiere UK refused to warranty it [apparently] as they suggested it had been jetwashed and this delaminated the bonding 'glue' !

    FFS, how would it therefore cope with a UK winter...

    then again, most nicolai orders appear to be a little bit pick and mix / gamblecentral dependant on what you spec and what you receive.....

    pay yer money, etc...

    fwiw, the quality of a nicolai frame is hard to beat, but pretty welds don't always mean good welds.....

    do nicolai x-ray their welds prior to shipment ? only this + any NDT can confirm the quality of the weld, not it's prettinesss.

    @ OP : i'd go for an AC..... more than sufficient bike ime.

  17. #17
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    only this + any NDT can confirm the quality of the weld, not it's prettinesss.
    Sorry TLR but I think your return/failure rate (or lack there of) is a far better measure of quality than anything else.

  18. #18
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    TLR, Nicolai has 5 years of warranty on their frames. I think you can be pretty confident the welds are just fine even without x-ray.

  19. #19
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    Without having access to my own x-ray machine I'd rather trust a pretty weld than an ugly one. At least it shows the welder can work can work a stick!
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  20. #20
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    Speaking of seeing inside stuff, I'd love to see an x-Ray o your heid tlr. I suspect it wouldnt pass qc
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  21. #21
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    Speaking of seeing inside stuff, I'd love to see an x-Ray o your heid tlr. I suspect it wouldnt pass qc
    That is fecking hillarious

  22. #22
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    They probably use dye pen to test welds,and there welders would have certificates.Ally welding isnt that difficult,but to get it looking like a Nicolai frame weld is the sign of a very competant welder.I would trust the welds on the Nicolais i have seen,Not seen a bad weld yet.

  23. #23
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    Geetee - you should work for the Nicolai PR dept

    My GF read your first post and now wants a Nic - she has no interest in cycling or bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by geetee1972
    Thanks for the positive comments guys. I'm really conscious that sometimes I might come across as 'having a lot to say', but it's just passion for the sport and the bikes and it's all meant with good intention.

    Plus once upon a time I had the idea of being a journalist and writing is something that I (clearly) enjoy!

  24. #24
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    Dipper - you have PM

  25. #25
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    I'm in a similar boat.....want a new frame set but no spicy frame set available only full bikes which I'm not happy about having to fork out for to be left with a spare bikes worth of bits.
    I think that nic's build quality could trump lapierres....but lapierres suspension could trump nic's......I'm still torn between the two TBH.

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