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  1. #1
    MTB aficionado
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    Questions about the Helius AM

    I'm an American who rides a Titus Motolite, which is very similar in design as the Nicolai Helius models and I have a few questions since I can't read German. I'm most interested in the AM model.

    1) Main pivot - sealed bearings or bushings?? I took a look at the techicals and it wasn't clear. It looks like sealed bearings are attached to the swing arm at the main pivot which then rotates on a fixed axle?? Is this correct??

    2) Horst link - sealed bearings or bushings?? Again hard to interpret the German.

    3) Rear Travel - 130-140-150-160mm. How does the bike ride in the longer settings?? My Titus is 130mm and it would be nice to have more. What shock do you recommend if I wanted to use the bike in 150-160mm mode most often??

    4) Head tube - I see that there is a 1.5 option which is quite nice. Do most recommend this option if using the 140-160mm rear travel mode. It seems that this bike begs for a Fox Talas 36 RLC.

    Kind regards,

    EndUser
    My advice and $3 will buy you nothing more than a tunafish sandwich.

  2. #2
    lazy piston
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    I can try to answer the first 2 questions. I own a '07 Helius FR, not the new AM, but I think they're similar in that regard. The main pivot, the horst link pivots and the lower swing link pivot all rotate on needle bearings. They're not exactly sealed like common sealed bearings are: there are plastic washers which serve as seals but you can remove them easily when you disassemble the frame. There are 'slide bearings', or bushings, only in the upper pivot (where the swing link attaches to the top tube).

    The main pivot axle is fixed in the front triangle and the bearings are pressed into the swingarm.

    Here's what a needle bearing looks like


  3. #3
    steep fast and loose :)
    Reputation: The_Lecht_Rocks's Avatar
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    FWIW, my Helius AM employs ceramically manufactured bearings apparently - yet to be confirmed however.

  4. #4
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    Reputation: Jerk_Chicken's Avatar
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    I don't have a Nic, but wanted to comment on the 1.5- I would absolutely go for one because it offers more options. The weight increase isn't insane, but this allows you to source a possibly less in demand fork that can't move for a savings, whether it's 1.125 or 1.5. The only difference is using headset spacing if you wanted to go with the smaller. Additionally, one can use the zero stack and mess around with the geo and make the HA steeper while using a taller fork.

    As far as the shocks go, I don't know where the problem with Nic is, as it seems there are wide-ranging and differing opinions on the rear shocks. It seems people complain about the rears quite often, on and off board, and I think finding the right one, or getting one custom valved, like an AVY or PUSH DHX is a strong option.

  5. #5
    steep fast and loose :)
    Reputation: The_Lecht_Rocks's Avatar
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    enduser - forgot to answer your other queries.
    regarding shock choice, i'm having problems at the moment dialling out mid stroke blow through with the supplied Monarch 4.2. Im impressed with the ride quality other than the mid stroke. lots of torsional stiffness from the big beamed stays and a great HA for manuals and popping of lips, etc.
    no need to run the bike less than 160mm at the back, as you'll probably get a 50mm stroke shock, giving you 140mm travel anyway
    joking aside, the RP23 fitted to DEREKR's AM works very well, although the mid stroke issue is apparent on his too, and pedal strike is a problem. I'm considering the PUSH upgrade to the Monarch [avail in a few months] once i receive my 57mm stroke unit from Nicolai. this is to firm up the compression stroke and improve rebound. then we'll be happier
    however , my AM is to perform Enduro duties, not FR duties so I need to avoid coil for as long as possible on this rig, until I proove that I need the coil option [CCDB as per my Turner]

    i have the 1.125" HT and run a 2009 36 TALAS. absolutely rock steady stiffness and no need to go to 1.5" unless you really want the versatility, and why not ? a couple more grammes and adaptability is a good thing.
    however, if you are going 1.5" i reckon you oughta go 12mm BT on the rear to keep the same theme running.
    i deffo reckon i'd go 1.5" HT and 12mm on a FR, as it just makes more sense on a 180mm rig, but not utterly convinced you need it on the AM. Too much choice

  6. #6
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    Thanks.... more questions

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    Im impressed with the ride quality other than the mid stroke. lots of torsional stiffness from the big beamed stays and a great HA for manuals and popping of lips, etc.
    no need to run the bike less than 160mm at the back, as you'll probably get a 50mm stroke shock, giving you 140mm travel anyway
    joking aside, the RP23 fitted to DEREKR's AM works very well, although the mid stroke issue is apparent on his too, and pedal strike is a problem. I'm considering the PUSH upgrade to the Monarch [avail in a few months] once i receive my 57mm stroke unit from Nicolai. this is to firm up the compression stroke and improve rebound. then we'll be happier
    I understand you have to select a specific rear shock stroke length to achieve 160mm travel?? Isn't this an option Nicolai offers?? I did look at a PDF which happens to also have an English translation and this is what I understand.

    Also, my Titus ML has poor mid-stroke support as well. As a clyde at 210 pounds, not even the pro-pedal function works well. But, the ML is still a great bike so I can only imagine the Nicolai Helius AM is quite nice as well. My RP3 will be getting pushed this spring so I will get a better idea how that might work on a Nicolai.

    So, will a 57mm stroke shock allow you to run all rear travel options from 130-160mm?? Does a Fox RP23 come with a 57mm stroke??

    Also, needle bearings are an interesting choice for pivots. How do they perform over time and what kind of maintainace schedule is required?? I live in Anchorage Alaska, so I'm no stranger to wet conditions and I find my Titus requires routine bearing service.

    Thanks,

    EndUser
    Last edited by EndUser; 01-13-2009 at 07:37 PM.
    My advice and $3 will buy you nothing more than a tunafish sandwich.

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