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  1. #1
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    What's new for 2013?

    Anybody know what Nicolai are planning to bring out for next year?

    I, for one would love to see the Ion range extended with more sizes in the Ion 14 and a Ion 16 with 650b compatability all round.

    Simon, Whafe do you want to chime in?

  2. #2
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    id like to see a few things

    AM style 29er along the lines of whafes, cyrils and soon pilots. with ion style bb area

    helius 29er race/enduro. same as the AC but lighter

    160mm ion AM frame. ion 18 is the best turning nicolai ive ridden to date. a more trail orientated one would make a great AM bike

    more pinion options. less gears, less weight on more frames. ions as well as helius

    more HT options. tapered(44/55) or integral (44/44) is neater and tidier than 49 and gives as much options as you like.

    142mm rear. no big deal to me really but makes sense

    650b i think would be great and would almost certainly kill 26" for me but i dont even want to think about another wheel size at the momet as it'll make me dizzy!

    internal cable routing to tidy up the DT.
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  3. #3
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    Too early to say at this point but always interested in hearing what people are looking for as new models are driven by demand. Unless people are ordering custom versions in volume new sizes are unlikely.

    Ion 14 - what changes are you thinking of?
    Ion 16 - what would this offer over the Helius AM?

    650b compatibility. Which model? What needs to change?
    Simon Still
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  4. #4
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    I'll second Dipper. You only have to look at whats happening out there to see where the 29er market is going. I went custom but there are many options coming out as I speak that would fit the bill quite closely, not all cheaper I might add!

    1. They really have to adopt the 44/56mm tapered head tube, it loses another 12-15mm off the front end of a 29er, thats the difference using a riser AM bar or getting a much better position with a flat bar and a 140mm fork. I had to go 1.5" as they wouldn't make me a 44/56 but I still have to have an external bottom cup with a tapered fork. ALL 29er forks will be taper. The 34/49 taper is a pain for a 29er owner looking to keep the front low.

    2. I know I asked them for this too and they said no!!! A lighter AC29, even if it means just machining the connections and mounts like an RC but leaving the tubing. I do appreciate the stiffness issues with the tubing on a 29er having had a lot of discussion with Cy and Paul at Cotic recently on this subject and their experience with the Solaris so lighter tubing may not be the best option.

    @dipper I would have specified internal routing! BUT it adds weight. And the BB area has grown on me. The Ion is prettier but heavier I suspect. However if they put some R&D into it I think they could sort it.

    3. in my opinion they do need to revise the HA on the AC29, it works great if you've ridden it as an xc bike, IF you've ridden it (How many people get to do that!), but is a little limiting at high speed in steep stuff that its very capable of. But much more importantly than that it puts buyers off with all others moving to slacker angles. They are doing that because of the new 46mm offset forks for 29ers and buyers want options with their geometry now, they are clued up on the changes increased offset makes to trail and steering. it used to be the case a 29er needed 2deg steeper to steer similarly to a 26' bike. I think thats now at 1.5deg max with 46mm, maybe even 1deg with 51mm offset.
    Set the AC29 to 70deg with 522mm (120mm) fork reference measurement and use either a 1.5" or the 44/56mm tapered head tube as standard. It provides a great basic head angle for AC use and options to go steeper or slacker between full on Enduro or marathon riding.

    They are listening as the RC is getting 120-140mm capability and a 68deg HA, just not listening fast enough.

    5. I agree with the 142mm rear axle option. It doesn't bother me either, but provide the option.

    6. Provide confirmation of what has been ordered all the way back to the buyer!! People make mistakes on order forms, getting confirmation of what you have ordered, in good time, i.e. within a week, is common sense on a 2K frame and provides a better buyer experience. This is a premium product guys!!

    7. Nicolai's get used for a long time, changes get made to models. Set up an archive section on the website with tech sheets and geometry figures for frames along with production periods. This would help people setting up older frames or changing shocks etc.

    8. Take a leaf out of Banshee's book. IF a frame is to be developed, make a small batch, sell them to (vetted) customers at cost price in return for rider feedback within a set time period. That way, designs get real world testing, at negligible cost to the factory. This would have been the ideal way to develop what Whafe/Cyril and I have ordered on faith, and which I believe should become a stock model alongside the standard AC (Which is really an XC in modern magazine and rider speak)

    9. If they mess up a custom frames specs after 8, 10 or 12 weeks of waiting, offer the customer some form of deal to keep him going if there are racing commitments and he's told he has to wait another 8-10wks! You don't have to lose money, just not make the same as if you hadn't messed up, then allow the dealer (the good ones anyway) to help their customers out i.e. supply the frame at cost tot he dealer/distributer. Again, premium product, probably with a high customer return rate. It sours the experience if you have to go into battle.

    10. Finally perhaps offer the option to fetch your frame and tour the factory. VW and Mercedes do it. I thought about asking. People who buy Nicolai are interested in the process, the people, the engineering. There are other bikes that do similar things, not many that build them in the way that Nicolai do though.
    That is another USP and one that in an increasingly competitive and carbon driven market sets them apart.

    Sorry for the brain dump. I was going to write half of that straight to Kalle, Vincent etc!
    Aka chainline...

  5. #5
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    carbon fibre..............potential problem for nicolai imo.................

    however, i love my ac29r. truly amazing for what i ride, but agree about the integral headset issue......

    interesting that nicolai get flamed for horst link and errors in frame orders elsewhere.........

    horst link is brilliant imo, vpp, DW link etc all solutions to the HL licence issue, but errors in frame order are unacceptable......the confirmation idea is good.......

    how about a lightweight hardtail 29er ? proper headtube, iscg, 135 or 142 bt rear, 31.6mm seat-tube for dropper, real hardcore ht 29er ?

  6. #6
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    Pilot, all your ideas are really good. Order confirmation and archiving are long overdue.

    142 rear, 31.6 seat tube and 44/56 tapered should all be standard.

    Simon,

    Longer top tube version of Ion 14 so that tall guys like you and I can ride it. 625?

    Morphology....Helius ST became a lighter version in the AFR, which became the Ion 18 with lower C of G. So why not an Ion 16?

    Although some current Nicolai frames (AC and CC tested) will accomodate current 650b tyres (not the larger versions coming out in the future), ideally a 650b specific frame should take into account the increased trail angle and have the bb height adjusted to match the larger wheel.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by loamranger View Post
    Although some current Nicolai frames (AC and CC tested) will accomodate current 650b tyres (not the larger versions coming out in the future), ideally a 650b specific frame should take into account the increased trail angle and have the bb height adjusted to match the larger wheel.
    Running the numbers - just an alternative font shock mount for Helius AM should make it a great 650b frame with the new upcoming forks. Maybe only loosing the top travel option. Just a tad more clearance and chain-stay length in the rear. Would be nice if that was offered as an option for existing frames. I would guess it would take them little effort to program their CNC machine.

  8. #8
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    Keep them coming....

    31.6mm seat tube? This is already standard on everything except XL and the longer travel frames (currently the Ion) which use 30.9 - thicker wall diameter = stronger. This changed from 30.0 a couple of years back for compatibility and the major uppy-downy posts are available in this size. What's the problem?

    142mm rear. Sounds sensible but probably adds quite a lot of complexity as an option - not least it would require a redesigned RADO incompatible with existing. As far as I can make out it's purely a convenience of fitting rear wheel which isn't a frequent problem.

    44/56mm Tapered headtube - completely with you on that. IMO this should be standard on the whole range - if you go with this is there any reason to use 1.5?

    Ion 16 - would need to supercede the Helius AM. Does that make sense?
    Simon Still
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  9. #9
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    Some great thoughts / ideas on this thread, great thread to have been started. Thanks loamranger.

    My own opinion on the slowness for want of a better word in an ION 16 coming to market is that the kiddie wheel Helius AC & Helius AM are the back bone of the product line up. This is what pays the bills I would suggest. Just my thoughts...

    I am in agreeance totally that the AC 29er needs to have the HA slackened some what. When I begged to have the Tangerine Dream built, the HA was where things were at, evolution has been very quick since. The HA is to steep. In saying that, I am used to it and it doesnt give me issues, in our riding group, we have 2 AC 29ers, the 2nd rider does not have an issue with his HA either...

    I am stunned that the AM29er has not picked up more support. Yes you can say I am totally biased because again I begged to have it built. But all that aside, it is a beast of a bike. I ride the AM 29er far more than the AC 29er, purely because it is so versatile. My goal was to build a replacement for my Helius FR that was a 29er, it has done this perfect for me..

    Just for kicks, of all my frames, the one I miss most if I had to go back to a kiddie wheel bike is the Helius FR ( a freak of nature good frame! )

    I hear that the Fox 34 140mm 29er fork can in actual fact be set to 150mm. This would have been my fork of choice instead of the Dorado, but again, I had no real options when I built the Monster Truck... It is funny how things evolve, I dont even think about the weight of the Dorado, the Monster truck still only weighs 33 lbs !

    I too would like to see better handling of orders, confirmations are a must. We all love Nicolai frames, but we cannot move away from the fact that these are far from cheap frames, worth every cent, but as thepilot mentions, still a premium frame.

    I agree with the idea of going to the factory to see where your frame is so handbuilt. It was a great thing I did, never regretted it. Anyone is welcomed with open arms...

    a 142 rear is more or less the norm now, a move is needed to this.

    I too am at a loss as to why a RC 29er is not able to be built. I have asked and been turned down. If I was to replace my AC 29er, it would be to an RC 29er, the AC is to close to the AM 29er...

    A load of rambling from me, sorry was a brain dump whilst really tired after a long day of work..
    Last edited by Whafe; 04-11-2012 at 02:51 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Confirmations - how would people like this to work? Practical suggestions?

    As UK distributor we do get confirmations from the factory (but of course they're in the form of our invoice so not something we'd want to send on).
    Our dealers send their orders to us using a form that feeds into a spreadsheet. We check the Nicolai confirmations back to that. Retyping any of this to send out to the customer adds time and the potential for an error at that stage.

    Factory visits - as Whafe has found this *is* possible but I'd really discourage Nicolai from allowing lots of people to do this - think how much disruption there would be to your day (and productivity) if there were customers dropping in regularly wanting to look round. The annual open house is the opportunity to go see how and where Nicolai frames are built
    Simon Still
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai-uk View Post
    Confirmations - how would people like this to work? Practical suggestions?
    I agree, notification via invoice is sort of to late for a customer really. When an order is placed, a time is given, generally even adding a month onto the 12 weeks, it is rare that a frame arrives on time. Am not knocking things, just being real to it...

    An update to you as a customer of Nicolai, so as you can pass that onto your dealers, then to the final customer... This should not be to difficult really, not saying it is easy as, but accuracy in frame timing should be accurate. Timing wise is vital for a good many. Nicolai customers are not fly by nighters, considerable thought goes into a Nicolai frame purchase, this should be repaid in accuracy of timing and info....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  12. #12
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    All good points.

    Simon, very well made point on 142 re compatibility with the existing dropout. It is just ease of assembly thou, does anyone really have a problem with the 135mm Maxle getting a wheel in??

    Also a good point in customers dropping in, I wasn't aware of an open day.

    On order confirmations the key thing is being able to confirm what the dealer input (as a customer we don't see it) compared to what we, the customer, has asked for.

    Of course the Nicolai invoice/order has to match with the input spreadsheet, but if the dealer did it wrong, it's just a compound error.

    If the input spreadsheet from dealer and Nicolai invoice match up. Just re-issue that spreadsheet to the customer and say "this is what your dealer has ordered, confirm this is what you want before we agree it with Nicolai and they build it" that could just go to the eager to communicate with the customer.
    It's just affirmation that what you thought you asked for, is what has been ordered.

    And oooooh 150mm F34 ;-) @dipper, you need to check that out before you ship mine to me ;-) if possible, that would be awesome..

    If 44/56 tapered headtube was available there would be no need for the 1.5" no. I begged Them for it and they said it would be a one off. I even said it should be standard across the range. The taper they use is very limiting in this day and age where head angle is so readily changed to suit the rider.

    @whafe. I'm sure some machining work could be done to lighten up the AC a little, but when you get a high front and lower seattube/type tube the stiffness becomes much harder to achieve and requires thicker tubes so I understand their point when they say it compromises their ethos. Machining of other areas though shouldn't affect it.

    I worked out that with the parts I have on my RC 26" (they are some pretty light parts I grant you) even with a 3.2kg frame. I could hit 23.5lbs, that's using parts without weight limits, though not for nutty use and a dropper post!

    So if they brought the AC down to 3kg it would still be worth it, it's just a different build. Heck it's almost worth it at the current 3.1kg, ish ;-) forks and wheels are the key...
    Aka chainline...

  13. #13
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    i think the order conformation could be done fairly easily. possibly even automatically. when i fill in the order form and hit send it dissapears. literally. gone! if ive cocked it up(which is fairly easy with the drop down box style form. as even trying to scroll down the page while a box is still highlighted will also scroll down the options as well). ive had one issue where an order came through that wasnt what the customer wanted. i could have sworn i filled the form in correctly but i have no hard copy to back that up. chances are it was my error but this could be avoided if when i hit 'send' i get an automatic email confirmation showing exactly what i ordered. i can then pass this on to the customer.
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  14. #14
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    going back to the ion 16 thing Simon, i think it could very well replace the helius AM. i much prefer the linkage design to the helius models. it also keeps the mounting hardware nice and short which is both stronger and lighter. getting the shock lower in the frame also helps with weight distribution. the way the Ion 18 flicks from side to side is a good step forward from the AFR. im sure the shock placement along with the lower BB is the reason.
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    That's a good explanation of the ordering issue dipper.

    I is OT but the ion linkage design is very aesthetically pleasing as well as offering short and stiff seatstays. The BB is also very neat and the cabling.

    Again I asked for this BB design on my custom AC29 but they said no. The AFR style uses existing machining and tools set up for the Helius series.

    @whafe, @dipper so an Ion design optimised at 555mm a2C with a 150mm F34 at 68deg HA with 29" wheels using an AM downtube but AC tube specs elsewhere, with a 44/56 taper headtube, 454mm chainstay, 30mm BB drop and 340mm BB height, 74deg ST, running a 216x63mm shock to give approx 150mm of rear travel with a low leverage rate and a target frame weight of 3.2kg and internal cable routing....
    Aka chainline...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper View Post
    going back to the ion 16 ... it also keeps the mounting hardware nice and short which is both stronger and lighter. .
    That's true but there's a big chunk of ally running seat tube to downtube - there looks to be more metal in the Ion design which isn't likely to do the overall frame weight any favours.
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    I is a big chunk of alloy, but it looks awesome :-)
    Aka chainline...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai-uk View Post
    Ion 16 - would need to supercede the Helius AM. Does that make sense?
    No.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    oes anyone really have a problem with the 135mm Maxle getting a wheel in??
    142 will be the future standard. If you expect your frame to last for a few years.. Having to settle on 135 was a concern. Maybe time for modular dropouts?

    Same for 44m headtube. BB92 bottom bracket would be nice too (or BB30).

    In short - look at what the other high end custom aluminum frame maker introduced this year and repeat that. I am talking about Ventana. They just switched to 44/56 HT, BB30, modular dropouts. Adding 650b model (Zeus). Short and long travel 29 with modern geometry..

    I did choose Helius AM over Cyclon - did not want to wait until new Terramoto or Zeus, but for my next frame purchase I am leaning toward El Rey over AC29.

  20. #20
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    Hi @ all,
    very interesting to read these comprehensible ideas :-)
    I remember a chat with Vincent from Nicolai half a year ago and he mentioned that they are already considering to go on 142mm on the rear, though probably not exactly integrating the Syntace X-12-system.
    I also asked him about PM on the rear brake mount with changeable threaded inserts and he replied that they are already discussing different options for a new design of the rear brake mount internally.

    I don't know if anything of this will become reality, but that's just what I can chip in this discussion.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai-uk View Post
    That's true but there's a big chunk of ally running seat tube to downtube - there looks to be more metal in the Ion design which isn't likely to do the overall frame weight any favours.
    yeah you'd think. thats certainly how it looked but i weighed the afr and ion18 back to back and the ion was lighter. afr was powdercoated versus raw ion

    Ion 18 3520grams
    Afr 3800 grams
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  22. #22
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    I prefer the 142 axle and i think the newer bigger taper headset makes more sense... move with the times I say. An Ion 16 would also make sense as an addition to the line not a replacement for the Helius AM. Keep the AM as it is or lighten it a bit and build the Ion 16 for more hard hitting terrain/riders. I can feel the flex in my AM when I'm beasting it and would rather I couldn't. Would need to be 73mm bb etc so less doonhall than the other Ion's.
    My exerience of bb30 on a Whyte was pants.

    Good thread.

  23. #23
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepimpmessiah View Post
    Keep the AM as it is or lighten it a bit
    Move it to 650b.

  24. #24
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    ^^ 650b, fu.ck yes!

  25. #25
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    Why would someone purchase a Helius AM instead of an ION 18????

    Yes there are some slight differences for sure, but dam, pretty close... BB height would be an issue for some, but sheesh the ION 18 would rail.... Pop an ION 16 in between the 14 & 18, and bang, a AM beater!

    Helius AM Large

    top tube length 605 mm
    seat tube length 475 mm
    head angle 66,5
    seat angle 73.2
    bottom bracket height to axle 17,5 mm
    effective chain stay length 430 mm

    ION 18 Large

    top tube length 608 mm
    seat tube length 470 mm
    head angle 65
    seat angle 73.5
    bottom bracket height to axle 10mm
    effective chain stay length 429mm
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What's new for 2013?-helius-am.jpg  

    What's new for 2013?-ion-18.jpg  

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

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