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  1. #1
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    Press type release from Falco @ Nicolai re the AFR

    Following the AM and the AC the new Helius line is getting a new sibling. Our latest baby has taken the name of the Helius AFR, it stands for All Freeride. The name is the destination: Bikepark playgrounds, trail hunting, gaps 'n steps, epic descents, spot hopping while dropping in where ever you want and always full throttle.
    The AFR provides 7 to 8 inches of poised rear wheel travel that is still rapid in acceleration due to the Horst-Link technology. With a 7 inch Totem that matches the frame perfectly, the head angle sits at 66,8°. We've lowered the top tube while the seat-tube is offset and flattened. These are the ideal preconditions of a purebred fun-bike. A frame weight of under 8 pounds and a BB height of 0,9 inches over the wheel axles all match up. For the AFR we've added a Hammerschmidt adapter and 12 mm thru-axle as standard.
    Oops, almost forgot to thank our diligent test riders Elmar Keineke and Carlo Diekmann for their great help during the trial stage enabling us to start the production even before Eurobike. So, who is willing to order one now? Your AFR can be supplied directly after Eurobike.


    attached photos showing Elmar Keineke's Helius AFR test-bike

    high res product foto:

    http://whyexfiles.dbap.de/Public/NIC...s/233R2150.jpg

    pdf Attachment: Helius AFR frame geometry


    Best regards, Falco
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  2. #2
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    Interesting they went back to the longer seatstays.

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  4. #4
    steep fast and loose :)
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    yeah - the FR still runs on st.st bearings whereas the AM runs on fancy ceramic bearings and has a lean and more purposefull feel about it.
    they're right - time to accept newer technologies and move forward ....

    chapeau to nicolai imo

  5. #5
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    Are the AM bearings full ceramic, or the hybrids?

    That's going to cost at changing time...

  6. #6
    steep fast and loose :)
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    it's going to cost, but with any luck the ceramic will chew up the dirt and spit it back out again
    realistically, the ceramic -v- st.st. capex -v- opex argument should favour the ceramic......

  7. #7
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    The thing with ceramic is that you don't have to change them ! The frame should be dead before the bearings !
    This new AFR lookssick, a perfect small-downhill bike !
    Never enough singletracks !

  8. #8
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    That's why I asked if the bearings were full ceramic or hybrid. The latter,under some circumstances, could have a shorter life than steel.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisillo
    Yea that makes interesting reading >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Quashing the rumours

    Nicolai have also released more pictures of their new Helius AC, which we showed you back in June – see the lower half of the thumbnail gallery at the top of the page – and quashed internet forum rumours regarding the demise of some older models. Here's what they had to say:

    "Normally we don't drop models – see the Lambda, for example. Since the Lambda's glory days, three generations of new Nicolai downhill frames have passed by, but we're still keeping it. I admit that compared to modern downhill frames the Lamda is a dinosaur. But some people do love dinosaurs, and from time to time we still receive a Lambda order. Then we take that old, dusty welding jig from the attic, build another Lambda and make a customer happy.

    "The new Nicolai Helius generation will have a similar effect on the elder Helius models. With the release of the Helius AC, AM and AFR there will surely be increasingly less interest in the Helius CC, FR and ST. The new Helius generation is technically advanced, lighter; it comes with the new, lean design, new bearing technology, state-of-the-art geometry, new options, devices and extras.

    "But there will still be riders preferring the old style; riders who don't care about weight so much, who want to do an epic ride on a bombproof enduro frame and race the same one down the track at a local downhill race. So, from time to time we will take the old dusty jigs from the attic again and weld two or three Helius FR or ST frames."


    Cool!

  10. #10
    lazy piston
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    Interested in learning more about the new bearings... does anyone have any info?

  11. #11
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    I have a bit of a dilema, due to my problems with the FR (clearance) Nicolai have offered an AFR as a replacement but i'm worried its a bit too DH for me.

    What do you all think? Bear in mind most of my riding is trail so maybe i'd be better with an AM with 1.5" HT / bolt thru etc?

    Opinions appreciated please.

    Derek
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  12. #12
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    My personal feeling, off the cuff, is to go AFR. With a 1.5, one can tweak geo a good amount. At that point, you might be giving up some weight. Not saying the geo is the same, but the AFR might possibly be more versatile and will never leave you in the position wondering "what if?"

  13. #13
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    if most of your riding is trail then go for the AM - the AFR is squarely aimed at the Chatel Winterburg Whistler crowd.

    Think of it as Nicolai does the North Shore... im sure it pedals well but it wont be a nippy as the FR and that isnt very nippy to start with!

  14. #14
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    AFR might possibly be more versatile and will never leave you in the position wondering "what if?"
    If you have any doubt about AM not being burly enough, then AFR does not look bad at all: about same weight as FR and the angles are not particularly slack (depending on fork and headset choice, of course).

    People have been saying that some shocks are pretty wonderful on the AM, when using the shorter travel settings. Who knows: maybe the AFR is heaven, for agro trail riding, in the shorter travel settings...

  15. #15
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    That's exactly along the lines I was thinking.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Who knows: maybe the AFR is heaven, for agro trail riding, in the shorter travel settings...
    Good point! Someones going to have fun finding out!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karve
    if most of your riding is trail then go for the AM - the AFR is squarely aimed at the Chatel Winterburg Whistler crowd.

    Think of it as Nicolai does the North Shore... im sure it pedals well but it wont be a nippy as the FR and that isnt very nippy to start with!

    Not if this pic is anything to go by. Definitely a DH/fun park bike rather than trail/FR bike like the current FR. Nice as it is it I don't see it as a viable replacement of the FR as it's not going to be as versatile.


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by yetiman71
    Not if this pic is anything to go by. Definitely a DH/fun park bike rather than trail/FR bike like the current FR. Nice as it is it I don't see it as a viable replacement of the FR as it's not going to be as versatile.
    well as what posted in Bikeradar, Nicolai doesn't "replace" models, so one can still order an FR, if one so desires :-)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekr
    I have a bit of a dilema, due to my problems with the FR (clearance) Nicolai have offered an AFR as a replacement but i'm worried its a bit too DH for me.

    What do you all think? Bear in mind most of my riding is trail so maybe i'd be better with an AM with 1.5" HT / bolt thru etc?

    Opinions appreciated please.

    Derek
    Derek - Am sure the Nicolai team will build you an FR if you want one... For me it would depend on your terrain.... If I was to replace my FR, I would go for this AFR, but my FR is a play bike that does the odd all day epic.... If the AFR could be built to 35 lbs, of which I dont know if it could be sensibly, it will be a weapon........

    But if your usual rides are 15 - 20 miles plus, guess the AM would be the weapon....

    The AFR will be a solid staunch bike, be the bike to take to Whistler instead of an ION ST and a Helius FR.... You would be able to carve up the mountain runs and also do the rides outside of the park.....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  20. #20
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    Yeah im unsure which way to go, my current spec is as per the attached pic and i dont really want totems altho i wouldnt mind if i had to goto a coil shock.

    I paid for the full tailor and 1.5 HT etc so i could in theory get the exact geometry i want on either the AM or AFR but i'm just unsure.

    Plus with the AM would be that everything including shock would transfer over without issue.

    If i got the AFR i'd need a new shock due to the size and i dont know how it would work with a 36 float. I could get as per my current FR a 66.5deg head angle with 540 A2C running in the 160mm setting so the geometry would be very similar to the current FR but without the clearance problems.

    I really would like to know if Nicolai are saying the AM is as capable as the current FR and the new AFR is more like the ST.

    Any advice based on what i've posted? Also any idea's on a sweet colour that would go better with the red wheels? I thought maybe just white.
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  21. #21
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    I really would like to know if Nicolai are saying the AM is as capable as the current FR and the new AFR is more like the ST.
    That's a really interesting question. Does anyone have weights of the three variations?

  22. #22
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    ST = 4,0 kg - max travel 220
    Extreme Freeride means cliff and gap jumps with landings distant from the take-off - motocross style jumps most bikers would refuse. This is the stuff that we see performed by the freeride professionals. For such stunts a highly stable and reliable machine is required: enter the Helius ST. In terms of travel and robustness the Helius ST makes a capable downhiller but manoeuvrable enough to ride trails that don’t just point down. The Helius ST gives its enormous potential directly to the rider and encourages you to push your limits ever further. Whether a day at the bike-park, a downhill race or a short trail ride with the Helius ST it will be tremendous fun

    AFR = (quoted as below 8lbs = say 3.4-3.6kg) - max travel 200
    The name is the destination: Bikepark playgrounds, trail hunting, gaps 'n steps, epic descents, spot hopping while dropping in where ever you want and always full throttle. The AFR provides 7 to 8 inches of poised rear wheel travel that is still rapid in acceleration due to the Horst-Link technology. With a 7 inch Totem that matches the frame perfectly, the head angle sits at 66,8°

    FR = 3,5 kg - max travel 167
    The Helius FR is virtually indestructible. It provides masses of travel and a plush suspension action. It is clearly aimed at the bike park and loves to play on the rough. Whether it is north-shore trails, big drops, gap jumps or fast downhills, the limitations of this bike are ultimately the limits of the rider. Nevertheless, the Helius FR is still light enough to pedal up the mountain when there is no uplift, or to ride between your favourite local spots, and still have energy left to session them.

    AM = 3,1 kg - max travel 160
    all day epics spiced with a neat pinch of fun and action. An All-Mountain bike must not be too heavy, as it has to cope with any climb, and should be able to take anything that you can throw at it. That is exactly what the Helius AM is built for. It offers plush travel and a relaxed, upright, riding position which provides stability and allows you to push your limits further. It’s favorite spots are rooty alpine trails, jumps and steps, rock gardens and fast downhills. The Helius AM keeps keeps enough reserves of strength and travel without turning the ascents into torture.

    I figure those are for a medium anno

    I guess we should go with what Nic says they are for - A lot of overlap between the ST FR and AFR

    Outside of the overlap there are some differences
    ST is the only one to mention racing
    AFR only mentions park
    FR is the only one to mention climbing

    Of course this is all based on Nic's marketing pitch
    Last edited by Karve; 07-30-2009 at 04:33 AM.

  23. #23
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    yeah i must say i cant see why the AFR in the 160mm setting wont be every bit as versatile as the current FR? (Esp. if the geometry is setup for 540 A2C with 66.5 HA)

    Explain to me why not?
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  24. #24
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    With geo options, perhaps fine tuning the HA with a headset also, I don't see why it can't be as versatile. Personally, outside of geometry, the combo looks a lot like what I would want the FR to be.

    Still, I'm baffled on why they went "backwards" and put the original swinglink position and longer stays.

  25. #25
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    Well prob. because the shorter stays cause clearance problems unless you run a short stroke shock (50mm instead of 57mm).

    If the suspension action is anything like the AM then it'll work well.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by derekr
    Well prob. because the shorter stays cause clearance problems unless you run a short stroke shock (50mm instead of 57mm).

    If the suspension action is anything like the AM then it'll work well.
    I see what your saying but I think Jerk_Chicken is talking about the fact that the stays extend further beyond the seat tube toward the top tube more than the current FR and ST. Im a bit baffled too.

    The old FR (2005)had this layout - it was dropped for the current fr and st with Nic citing the fact that moving the shock against the seat tube and shortening the overall length stiffened things up - now with the AM and then the AFR they have gone back to the old design - haven't heard a reason for it as yet... might be a question for Falco but to me longer stays will exhibit greater unwanted stress on the shock area laterally, will be a bit heavier and they dont look as neat.

    Perhaps its to do with achieving the right leverage ratio's or something but that is just me guessing. As you said no one complains about the way the AM rides so im sure this will be the same.

  27. #27
    steep fast and loose :)
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    derekr - why buy a bike that's so overly capable and overly built than the trails you ride 99.9% of the time ?

    keep your FR, buy some lightweigh wheels and ride further / more.

    glentress next saturday remember

  28. #28
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    I too am a little perplexed why Derek wants to get rid of the FR....

    Myself, just a feeling, am not sure I would ride what I do on the AM... I could be wrong though....See my post from last night...:

    Derek - Am sure the Nicolai team will build you an FR if you want one... For me it would depend on your terrain.... If I was to replace my FR, I would go for this AFR, but my FR is a play bike that does the odd all day epic.... If the AFR could be built to 35 lbs, of which I dont know if it could be sensibly, it will be a weapon........

    But if your usual rides are 15 - 20 miles plus, guess the AM would be the weapon....

    The AFR will be a solid staunch bike, be the bike to take to Whistler instead of an ION ST and a Helius FR.... You would be able to carve up the mountain runs and also do the rides outside of the park.....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  29. #29
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    i'm lovin the look of that white AFR. If i thought for 1 minute it would do the 'all round' stuff my FR does I'd have an order in tomorrow! It looks long, low and slack though. I'll go look at the geo's to see how they compare

    anyone want a medium FR in ano black?

    fwiw Derek, I reckon your FR is about perfect for you. it's relatively light, pedals well, suits the 36 better than a standard FR(on paper anyway as i've yet to try it) and it's more than capable regardless of the travel limitation. As with most of us, anything bigger than the FR will be wasted 90% of the time.

  30. #30
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    ohh aye! Looking at the tech specs i see no reason why the AFR couldn't do the 'all round' thing also. ST and HA should work fine for trail(especially with an adjustable travel 180mm fork). CS length is the same as the FR.Can't see the BB height of the AFR but it's intimated somewhere thats it's lower than the FR which is no bad thing. Hopefully the static BB height will be about the same as 30>40% sag on a long stroke CCDB will drop the dynamic BB height usefully lower.

    ignoring the (potentially)slightly odd implications of 200mm rear travel on a trail bike I think it'll work well assuming it can be built @ 36lb for trail, upping to 38lb or so with big wheels for DH

    someone plaese talk me out of it!

  31. #31
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    [QUOTE=Whafe]I too am a little perplexed why Derek wants to get rid of the FR....

    Myself, just a feeling, am not sure I would ride what I do on the AM... I could be wrong though....See my post from last night...:

    Derek - Am sure the Nicolai team will build you an FR if you want one... For me it would depend on your terrain.... If I was to replace my FR, I would go for this AFR, but my FR is a play bike that does the odd all day epic.... If the AFR could be built to 35 lbs, of which I dont know if it could be sensibly, it will be a weapon........

    But if your usual rides are 15 - 20 miles plus, guess the AM would be the weapon....

    The AFR will be a solid staunch bike, be the bike to take to Whistler instead of an ION ST and a Helius FR.... You would be able to carve up the mountain runs and also do the rides outsi
    de of the park.....[/QUOTE

    Just putting my 2 sense in guys. I have to agree with Whafe the new AFR is a graet looking bike but unless you are doing crazy stuff I don't see why you need it. The guy's that are riding FR know are doing some crazy stuff and they are not even pushing the limit of the bike! Unless you just want another bike I see the FR to be more bike then most people need.

  32. #32
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    ncig
    I fully agree. I'm no where near the limit of the FR(or even the AM for that matter) but 'need' has nothing to with it. If it can do the FR thing, then i want one. end of!

    Then again, i think part of me just wants to custom spec a nicolai. As i run them as demo bikes I've taken the last couple of FR's off the shelf so to speak. Both being Ano black. Looking at dereks FR makes me want some colour. I could go for another FR as they are damn near perfect or try something new like the AFR. But, and it's a big but, it has to pedal as it would replace the FR as my everyday bike.

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    can someone(derek you're an anorak...) superimpose the catalogue pics of the yellow AFR on the other thread with the FR catalogue pic?

    despite what the geo specs state(73deg versus the FR's 73.2deg) the AFR ST looks far slacker than the FR's

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    dipper I am the same way I think you should be the one to get it and let us all know
    how it doe's basically you will be the quineepig

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    yeah cheers! And if it sucks are you going to buy it off me?

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    That what being a quineepig is all about

  37. #37
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    studying the pics of the white one above, i'm thinking, I don't need all that travel so what if they did me one with a conventional ST and did away with the daft mech tower? Oh..and of course they'll have to fit a shorter shock to prevent tyre/ST interface. Erm..wait a minute, i've already got one of them! Damn it!

    I think what I want is an FR with a lower BB, 10mm longer on the TT(over the medium), a HT gusset like the AM and 180mm fork compatability. Or maybe thats more like a slacker/burlier AM? Either way I'm not sure the AFR is that bike. A bit of modernising of the FR would have done me

    Think I'll go pester Nicolai with some questions.

  38. #38
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    the more I compare the specs of the AM, FR and AFR the more I'm convinced that this frame should be just as capable an all rounder as the FR. assuming the specs are correct that is. I'm not sure I see how the ST angle can possibly be 73deg(compared to the 73.2deg of the AM and FR) when there's such an offset at the BB area. Unless the whole ST has been moved forward which would be daft as you'd sit too far ahead of the BB

    The ST angle needs to be clarified for sure. I'm 6' and prefer a medium FR but with the much lower TT of the AFR I may need to go up to a lrg AFR. I can get away with that with a 73deg ST but if it was slacker I'd need arms a foot longer to reach the bars!

    I ran a medium RM switch as a trail bike for a while and didn't mind the slack ST as it meant plenty of room for pedaling with the seat up and a compact cockpit with the seat well out the way on the downs.

    One things for sure, if I do go for it I'll want the numbers written in blood first so I get the right size!

  39. #39
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    bloody hell dipper - you call me obsessive - get a life and get the oil out the ground will ya - we're in a recesssion here !

    derek - as i said, keep what you've got - it's a cracking bike and can do everything you'll ever need it too !

  40. #40
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    Been a bit behind on the site for the past few months, but wow, this AFR looks lovely. A silly question, but does the use of a front mech limit rear travel?

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by lornibear
    does the use of a front mech limit rear travel?
    Looks like it does:
    Helius AFR.

  42. #42
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    aww come on Simon! I've been running an FR for a couple of years now. You on the other hand have been going to buy in the last few months alone, a UFO ST and an Ion ST. You've also enquired about a Chumba VF2 and just yesterday asked about a px against an FR! I'm no where near your league of obsessivness.

    and apologies if i've just broke pimp/druggie confidentiality

  43. #43
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    dipper - just get one already. If I wanted to replace the FR for my type of riding, I would be into an AFR like a pig in s h i t.........

    It will be a farken weapon, and the weight of our FR frames...... Pure Beast...

    I cant get one, cause I have the FR and TFR........... But if someone wants a TFR, let me know, then will get an AFR.....

    Not long though till me pure custom Nicolai 29er, yeah baby.... Have all the parts, just waiting on the frame....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Looks like it does:
    Helius AFR.
    So does anyone know what it limits it to?

  45. #45
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    I've pretty much talked myself into it now. Just waiting on some details back from Nicolai before i decide for certain. Of course then I'll have the hardest choice of all...damn colours!

    what size is your TFR? If it's a medium I may know a man...

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper

    I've pretty much talked myself into it now. Just waiting on some details back from Nicolai before i decide for certain. Of course then I'll have the hardest choice of all...damn colours!

    what size is your TFR? If it's a medium I may know a man...
    Yes colour choice is real hard.....

    Sorry bro, the TFR is a Large.....
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  47. #47
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    Err, you know you want one of these bad boys.....

    Hope all is well and you are shreading those SLC trails...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  48. #48
    steep fast and loose :)
    Reputation: The_Lecht_Rocks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    so, is the AFR DH capable and able to run a set of 40's up front ?

  49. #49
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
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    I don't see why you couldn't put a DC fork on it. Clearly, it isn't designed as a DH race bike, with the "steep" HT angle. It might even be a bit tall for that.

  50. #50
    mtbr member
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    A note on the AFR as a trailbike debate: IMO 175 mm of rear travel (minimum) is too much. Not because of pedal bob or weight penalties but because it becomes too easy to ride. Seriosly, being overbiked turns the trails to smooth tarmac, sort of.

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