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  1. #1
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    Would you buy a Nicolai hardtail or opt for something made of Titanium?

    I done the testing and know that I definitely want a hardtail in the garage but the issue is whether the Argon FR, which is the obvious choice in the Nicolai range, is the right choice versus something like a Ragley Ti or other similarly Ti tubed bike. The Argon is perfect in terms of geometry but it's pricey for an aluminium hardtail, i.e. the same as a comparable Ti framed bike. I don't have a problem with that so much but I'm curious to know from those of you that have ridden Ti hardtails whether they are something a little more special by virtue of their material. They will naturally feel very different of course.

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't buy a Nicolai hardtail, they are pricey, and aluminum hardtails are just too stiff, the Argon's chain/seat stays seem Very stiff so it'll probably ride pretty harsch. This is only speculating though since I've never ridden one.

    I can recommend Cotic Soul/BFe as a super cool hardtail.

  3. #3
    steep fast and loose :)
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    i have a Cove Hummer and a Ti456.............go figure................

  4. #4
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    The Cotic BFe feels very much like the Argon in terms of ride and stiffness/harshness, whereas the Soul does feel more 'springy' but then it also changes gear of its own accord as well.

  5. #5
    steep fast and loose :)
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    cove hummer. just do it. unless you can find a lynskey built ti456 of course. fox float 15mm bt 140 rlc's on the front - stunning trail centre bike

  6. #6
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    What about the Ragley Ti, which is basiclly a 456 and similarly built by Lynksey.

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    Stand over on the Hummer is no existent and pretty compact in sizing, it soaks trail buzz really well but the back end also flex's and kicks like a wild horse

    If you US side, there seems to be plenty of Custom builders working with titanium

  8. #8
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    Well, the decision between the two options is quite fundamental:
    A friend has the Argon FR and that thing is as stiff as possible. You'll feel everything that the trail has to offer. He raves about it! And, to my opinion it is the most beautiful aluminum hardtail there is.
    Ti frames are known to be the exact opposite of that - some call it flexy. Or comfortable. Of course, Ti looks stunning and has a reputation of being indestructible.

  9. #9
    steep fast and loose :)
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    omg - another load of BS without experience on here.

    huimmers are certainly not flexy. if anything the ti456 is more compliant.

    the ragley has a silly head angle for normal trail use.##
    the ti456 is the one - it is sublime..... an absoultely stunning trail centre ride - seriously.....


    meet you at glentress sometime if you want a demo.

    i also hear that CRC are selling Lynskey Ridgelines off - they are worth a look too

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    omg - another load of BS without experience on here.

    You should put that disclaimer before everything your write

    The Hummer ive been riding for the last 3 years I have absolutely no problem in saying the back end flexes and kicks

  11. #11
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    TLR - certainly value your opinion on this as I know you've got/had both the Hummer and the Ti456.

    CRC currently have 09 Hummers for £1050 but they are 17" only and that does look a little compact for someone just under 6ft. How tall are you and what size do you ride? The reports I've read of the Hummers is that they are definitely not flexy; actually quite the opposite for a Ti frame.

    I've seen a few people on Ti456s and they do look sublime but it's finding one that is the tricky part.

    Not sure of the geometry of the Ragley either; it does look almost comically slack.

  12. #12
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    If I were to get a hardtail, I would through some cash at it and get a custom Argon FR 29er with gates belt drive!

    much like this
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  13. #13
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    I have an Argon FR that I predominantly use for blasts around the woods and winter riding. At the moment it is my main ride as the CC is stripped and about to be sold (AC has arrived with Dipper!) and the AFR is my other bike.

    There is no doubt that compared to my previous hardtail, a Cotic Soda, that the Ti was more comfortable, but the geometry of the FR is WAY better IMO, just spot on (for me). I went for it because in less than 2 yrs I had written off in one way or another a carbon hardtail, a Ti hardtail and another alu HT. I was convinced by the fit and finish of the Nic and knew it stood a good chance of being strong enough given I'd cracked/snapped two of my previous HT's. With a 140mm fork it is spot on.

    Price aside (you can't compare it in anyway to pretty much any other mass market alu HT for reasons we all should know) as you'd expect the quality is excellent and it is a great bike, but I would say that if comfort is your number one consideration and you want a HT, go Ti as the Argon can be harsh as Hell. That said, you can compensate a bit for that with some pretty big volume tyres in there. Having said that, of course the pretty extreme rigidity of that back end makes for a very direct ride, and coupled with the relatively short back end makes a bike that is very responsive, nippy on the trails and a lot of fun to ride.

  14. #14
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    I already have a very stiff aluminum hardtail, but if it ever needs replacing, the Argon FR is one of the top candidates.

    ... but if I get old and rich, I'll go and talk to Darren Crisp about a stronger than average Ti bike ...

  15. #15
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    but then it also changes gear of its own accord as well.
    Wtf were you doing to it??? That smells suspiciously like a gear set up issue to me. Surely you'd have to move the BB sideways a mahoosive amount to get it to autoshift at the back.

    The new Soul is stiffer than the old one, which is stiffer than my Soda, and although I'm jeyboylycraweeniefaggot weight, I've never had a problem.

    BFe is indeed stiff (did 6 hours solid in the Slurrey Hills on it on Sunday, and boy did I know about it by the end), but compared to a mates Chameleon, it's not so brutally harsh

    At the end of the day though, YM,YV..

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Edwards
    Surely you'd have to move the BB sideways a mahoosive amount to get it to autoshift at the back.
    Just a slightly compliant rear triangle and a rider with some weight and/or power

  17. #17
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    Jon - it might well be a gear set up issue but it is a problem I have always had with hardtails. The fact that I notice it only when climbing out of the saddle is what makes me suspect it's a flex issue, but again, a little tinkering needed before I draw any real conclusions.

    BTW had an amazing weekend in the Alps - PPDS on Saturday and all day ripping down La Flegere in Chamonix on Sunday. Cham riding is just the best I've ever tasted and th Nic with CCDB was just sublime.

  18. #18
    steep fast and loose :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpuk
    You should put that disclaimer before everything your write

    The Hummer ive been riding for the last 3 years I have absolutely no problem in saying the back end flexes and kicks

    wpuk - i'd send it back to silverfish then - it's obviously damaged at the chainstay where you've had insane chainsuck and that's what's giving you the flex FFS............

    hummers DO NOT FLEX............repeat..........DO NOT FLEX !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    they are specifically designed to NOT FLEX !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    fukkn h3ll man ?????????????????

    geetee - fwiw, a 19" would be best - i'm 6' tall riding an 18" hummer but the tt is too short on the 18".
    whereas the ti456 is an 18" and it's perfect with a 50mm thomson stem............beautiful set-up and ride.

  19. #19
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    ok, ti frames don't flex
    ah, hummers don't flex
    hm, someone doesn't flex here, maybe me

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    wpuk - i'd send it back to silverfish then - it's obviously damaged at the chainstay where you've had insane chainsuck and that's what's giving you the flex FFS............

    hummers DO NOT FLEX............repeat..........DO NOT FLEX !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    they are specifically designed to NOT FLEX !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    fukkn h3ll man ?????????????????
    Calm down pettle i get the message you've read loads of reviews that have stated they don't flex

    Mine does flex and there is nothing wrong with the integrity of the rear triangle

  21. #21
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    The question I am asking is evil sovereign or a argon fr

  22. #22
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    Regarding frame materials. You can build an aluminum frame that is flexy, and a Ti frame that is not. Easy to engineer it either way.

    For me, I would totally go the custom route. Ideally a builder who can work Reynolds 953 Steel, then polish it. Ti is so purple ano...doh, I guess purple is finally back in fashion, so maybe go Ti?

    My triathlon bike is Ti. But that is because I mostly hate road bikes, and want something I can sell in 10yrs for exactly what I bought it for.
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  23. #23
    steep fast and loose :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by wpuk
    Calm down pettle i get the message you've read loads of reviews that have stated they don't flex

    Mine does flex and there is nothing wrong with the integrity of the rear triangle

    no - i've ridden mine extensively over the last 4 years and it has NO NOTICEABLE flex whatsoever, as per it's design............................... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ??????????????????

    lets see yours - have you a pic ? perhaps you best look for a snapped rear stay.........

  24. #24
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    Sure no probs, you've accused me of being a bull****er and a lyer, so what ill do ill pander to the lovely one child upbringing you've got and post a picture for you (/sarcasm)

    FWIW, i have no problems accepting the fact that when you ride your hummer it doesnt flex, when i ride mine it most definitely does, the OP has already stated he values your opinion (which i have no problems with but it doesnt make you correct), he'd be better off taking you up on your offer and having a ride out to form his own opinion

    If he's closer to Exmouth way he can come have a blast out on mine, although he'd have to bring a set of wheel/tyres as i have it set up for commuting

    Edit: Just because you state its "purposely" designed not to flex also doesn't make it true

  25. #25
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    It has happened that I don't notice things about my bikes

    Then, someone else puts his hands on it and...

    - your headset is loose
    - hey, tighten that front quick release
    - Yup, we'll tighten those Octalink cranks too...

  26. #26
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    Unfortunately I am niether near Exmouth nor Glentress, much as I would like to be and much as I would like to take up your kind offers.

    Wpuk, I don;t think TLR meant to come over the way he did; he's an engineer, probably quite a good one (given that he can afford the bikes he does) and therefore likely to be very bright and very 'mechanically' minded. I imagine he's very good at 'processing data' and then drawing conclusions which he would see as holding true in all situations. Which is logical. One of the things that egineering types tend to do is assume that their concusions, empirically reached, must therefore hold true for everyone. But as you've stated, you don't experience the Hummer the same way and you're more comfortable with there being some ambiguity in the data.
    TLR, you're probably a sensor/thinker whereas Wpuk, you might be either an intuitor/feeler or an intuitor/thinker; most likely the later.

    Anyway, enough MBTI. TLR probably won't give much credence to that model anyway ;o)

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by geetee1972
    he's an engineer, probably quite a good one (given that he can afford the bikes he does) and therefore likely to be very bright and very 'mechanically' minded. I imagine he's very good at 'processing data' and then drawing conclusions which he would see as holding true in all situations.
    Please do us all a favour and edit this bit out before he comes and reads it!

    Anyway, never mind Ti, IIRC carbon is the new super material and isn't TLR about to showcase us his new '6 inch sublimely damped trail muncher' (or some such other BS)?

    So come on, where is then???

  28. #28
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    @ WPUK : the flex is probably extended from the wheels / tyres as opposed to the frame.....
    CEN testing on the Hummer showns a massive fatigue life as a consequence of the over-built frame structure......something Cove insisted upon from their original Sandvik designs........

    @ nicolai - CF frame option no more - production problems extended delivery so i'm now re-considering an Helius AC........again.........

  29. #29
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    I'd say the ti456 is a little cracker, nic HT is a bit of a waste.
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  30. #30
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    @ geetee : the ti456 wins the debate, as follows :

    it's got relatively conventional proven geometry for a hardcore hardtail, but........

    it has a slightly lower slung BB height as well as being corrected for 150mm forks, so 140mm forks work stunningly well [a2c permitting of course].

    it has a slightly longer than usual top tube which permits a very short stem for the same stand-over. this combined with a nice 140mm fork means the steering input is electric and right on the nmoney, but the balance between the wheels due to the longer TT gives a better spread of weight than the all over the front Hummer.

    it has a compliance that the hummer cannot match either - it rides and soaks trail buzz nicely, but the difference is marginal.

    the new hummers have a revised chainstay which relieves the inherent designs chain-suck.....and rejoice say all of us !

    in terms of real world feel, the difference is down to the top tube length........i prefer the short stem long fork option of the ti456. it's more instant.

    the ti456's lower bb height rails trail centre berms harder, really letting the bike carve in, but the shortwer stem balances the weight transfer so the spread is more even - not loading up the front like the hummer.....

    i love my hummer, but i also love my ti456.....unfortunately, the hummer busted it's stay, so is now singlespeeded.........

    it's a great position to have both - great bikes each of them - but for me, the ti456 has been better thought out, is designed in the UK for UK riders and UK riding and is / was the next generation on from the hummer.

    i know Cove looked long and hard at the ti456 on their revised hummer for 2009 / 2010 but for me it was playing catch-up.

    are new lynskey built ti456's no longer available ?

    bear in mind all this is subjective, but I maintain my stance that hummers aren't meant to flex, don't flex and the frames are pretty tough riding bits of kit - i associate WPUK's flex to tyres and wheels.......

  31. #31
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    New here, but had an Argon Fr but now ride a Lynskey 456 Ti and Tracer vpp.

    Argon FR is very stiff and feels indestructible, the geometry though is brilliant for thrashing st but it is brutal for rides longer than a couple of hours.

    Now ride 456Ti. Awesome and faultless. A zillion times more comfortable than the Argon FR and the geometry is just as good for st riding. I have nothing negative to say about this bike, I've had mine 18 months, I'm not bored with it and love it every time I go out.

    No brainer get the 456Ti and stick a Fox 140mm fork on it.


    Currently waiting for a Helius AC to arrive to go with the 456Ti - not replace it.

  32. #32
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    On One are getting more Ti456s in but they will not be built by Lynskey, rather by Van Nicholas. Not sure what that means in terms of quality etc. I spoke to someone there are it sounded as though they were on work experience. Not the most confidence inspiring conversation in the world.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by geetee1972
    On One are getting more Ti456s in but they will not be built by Lynskey, rather by Van Nicholas. Not sure what that means in terms of quality etc. I spoke to someone there are it sounded as though they were on work experience. Not the most confidence inspiring conversation in the world.
    Van Nicholas? never heard of them...i would probably pass and ask Lynskey to make you an AM hardtail direct if you want Ti. I had a Ti 456, LOVED IT, and now have a custom AM hardtail from Lynskey and LOVE IT MORE

  34. #34
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    Van Nicholas is an old enough name... but I was not aware that they actually do their own welding. Do they?

    One of the strong riders in my area has a Van Nicholas cyclocross bike that he has also used on trails.

  35. #35
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    As geetee72 has already suggested, the Ragley Ti is designed by the guy who designed the original On-One Ti456 (Brant Richards). I've had a wee shottie of a Ti and the alloy mmmbop, which both felt fine... if a little big for me. The bikes I tested are owned by the same guy, and he swears the Ti is sweeter... but it is built lighter so it should. I'd like a longer test before I bought as I think I'm between the sizes available

  36. #36
    Neg reppers r my biatches
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepimpmessiah
    As geetee72 has already suggested, the Ragley Ti is designed by the guy who designed the original On-One Ti456 (Brant Richards). I've had a wee shottie of a Ti and the alloy mmmbop, which both felt fine... if a little big for me. The bikes I tested are owned by the same guy, and he swears the Ti is sweeter... but it is built lighter so it should. I'd like a longer test before I bought as I think I'm between the sizes available
    yep, ragley great option from Brant. Only thing i dont like, to include not liking about the Ti 456, is that it is not SS friendly - my only complaint as I prefer to run single or dinglespeeds nowadays

  37. #37
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    the ragley is too slack at the front for general trail riding.
    good idea for super steeps / shutttling / ht downhill.
    it loses out as theres no iscg tabs - i wish brant had considered those............

  38. #38
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    Go with a Jones HT, very compliant, pretty much nill trail buzz..... And fockin sexy as...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  39. #39
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    Chromag FTW! Just received some custom handy work from those guys...


    I do love the Nic's though and quite liked my BMXTB, but that's a different kind of hardtail...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    the ragley is too slack at the front for general trail riding.
    good idea for super steeps / shutttling / ht downhill.
    it loses out as theres no iscg tabs - i wish brant had considered those............
    Exactly the same was said of the 456 when it first came out, there is more to a design than head angle. A slack HA can be hustled along fine with a bit of extra effort, but worth it for the doonhall and daft stuff stability. Iscg and ss dropouts would be nice... so go custom.

  41. #41
    steep fast and loose :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepimpmessiah
    Exactly the same was said of the 456 when it first came out, there is more to a design than head angle. A slack HA can be hustled along fine with a bit of extra effort, but worth it for the doonhall and daft stuff stability. Iscg and ss dropouts would be nice... so go custom.
    hence why i mentioned previously :

    it has a slightly longer than usual top tube which permits a very short stem for the same stand-over. this combined with a nice 140mm fork means the steering input is electric and right on the nmoney, but the balance between the wheels due to the longer TT gives a better spread of weight than the all over the front Hummer.

    in terms of real world feel, the difference is down to the top tube length........i prefer the short stem long fork option of the ti456. it's more instant.

    the ti456's lower bb height rails trail centre berms harder, really letting the bike carve in, but the shorter stem balances the weight transfer so the spread is more even - not loading up the front like the hummer.....

  42. #42
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    TLR... all I was getting at is don't dismiss the Ragley purely for the head angle... there is much more to the geometry of a bike than a degree or so of head angle... as you well know and have so eloquently posted.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    the ragley is too slack at the front for general trail riding.
    good idea for super steeps / shutttling / ht downhill.
    it loses out as theres no iscg tabs - i wish brant had considered those............
    I didn't realised you'd ridden one.

    I don't really think ISCG tabs are essential for "general trail riding" either.

    It's a 68mm shell, so not a hardship getting a guide on there.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    the ti456's lower bb height rails trail centre berms harder, really letting the bike carve in, but the shorter stem balances the weight transfer so the spread is more even - not loading up the front like the hummer.....[/i]
    btw - 456 has a 3 to 4mm higher BB for the same fork length compared to a Ragley.

  45. #45
    steep fast and loose :)
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    i rode a ragley at glentress recently [1st week in may].
    it was happier on some of the steep off-piste sections rather than the singletrack in comparison to my ti456.
    of course there are variations in feel due to fork choice, tyre choice, etc........
    neither is a bad bike but i need a bike that's suited to my local riding 95% of the time and my few weeks of trail centre riding every 6 months or so. i simply don't use the hardtail for super steeps or downhill, therefore remain happy with the ti456's geometry.
    the ti456 ride is almost impossible to quantify from numbers however. as a whole, it's just sublime. fork choice and tyre choice [and pressure] will make more of a difference than a couple of degrees of geometry tweak in my experience.
    however, i've had the pleasure of the ti456 for 18months or so, and it's had 3 pairs of forks and numerous tyre swaps to optimise the settings for my preference.
    it now runs on 2010 32 float 15mm bt's which run lots of sag and quicker rebound than normal as well as a 50mm stem and 711mm bars. the front end works fast, and everything else blends beautifully......but set up and preference is a fickle business and as such reviews are pretty much worthless...........
    the best thing to do geetee is get a test ride on familiar trails or take a leap of faith.......but titanium is satisfying as it's titanium and that's about as basic as it is........
    it can be built tight and stiff or built to flex to high heaven.........

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    i rode a ragley at glentress recently [1st week in may].
    it was happier on some of the steep off-piste sections rather than the singletrack in comparison to my ti456.
    I would certainly agree that the Ragley geometry shines more in extreeeem situations (dude).

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    Brant - do you have a 'batphone' that blink red whenever one of your brands is referenced in a forum

    Good to have your input here. Feel free to sell me the idea of a Ragley Ti (or should I get one of the new OnOne Ti456s that are being built by Van Nicholas?)

  48. #48
    steep fast and loose :)
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    i talked myself into taking the ti456 out today - as i remember [as i've ben on the AM all spring & summer]...............it's brilliant,

    it does need fat tyres however, but the lithe 32 floats are just so good, with max feedback and next to no weight - it makes me realise why the am is a trail devestator - numbs the trail..............the ti456 is just sublime ............... organic perhaps ?

  49. #49
    steep fast and loose :)
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    geetee - go buy either A ti456 or a raGLEY TI - YOU'LL BE DELIGHTed with either..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    i talked myself into taking the ti456 out today - as i remember [as i've ben on the AM all spring & summer]...............it's brilliant,

    it does need fat tyres however, but the lithe 32 floats are just so good, with max feedback and next to no weight - it makes me realise why the am is a trail devestator - numbs the trail..............the ti456 is just sublime ............... organic perhaps ?


    TLR, you do a good line in BS, I'll give you that.

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