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  1. #1
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    XL Helius AM - anyone got one?

    If anyone has a Helius AM in XL, preferably from the last year or two, I'd really like to see a pic. The 2012 bike is on my (very short) shortlist and there don't seem to be many XLs around. If you do have one, how do you find it standover-wise? Is there sufficient testicular clearance for confident DH riding; can you get the saddle low enough when you need to?

    Also, can anyone on a recent AM of any size let me know their static BB height? I know axle-height is roughly 13" depending on tyres, so the measurement Nic gives as +17.5mm would make it 13.7" or so, does that sound about right?

    Cheers all

  2. #2
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    Hi Franz - I don't have an XL AM, just a large but I opted to have the seat tube cut down to just above the junction with the top tube. This was easy to achieve; Nicolai just removes the seat mast and the supporting brace. The benefit is that I can get the seat really low for very steep DH tracks. In the Alps, this was a real bonus as otherwise I wouldn't have been able to get the seat low enough.

    Depending on where the XL top tube joins the seat tube, you should still be able to get more than enough extension on the seat pin. My seat tube is now effectively 15", which is really short, but the seat pin is more than long enough. It's worth taking the time to work out how much seat pin extension you're likely to need.

    Standover clearance is fine to DH on the Large; I imagine it will be proportionally the same for you on an XL?

    Static BB is 13.7" and hasn't changed between models of AM. You can run the BB lower with more sag, which I've always done although some people do then find pedal strike a problem.

  3. #3
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    Thanks geetee, the cutdown ST sounds like a good option. I've been in contact with Simon at Nic UK who's been very helpful answering all my questions - he suggested that too as 'part-custom' with a smallish upcharge. Do you have any pics of your cutdown L that you can stick up here?

    I've been doing some trawling through the setup thread, and it looks like Ianpinder here on MTBR has (or had) an XL with the cutdown ST...? I'll send him a PM in a bit.

  4. #4
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    Happy to oblige


  5. #5
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    Dear lord, that is beautiful. I need to start thinking about spec but I'm sure mine won't touch that. I don't see many Middleburn cranksets around - what do you think of them? Are they stiff? And how about the Havens, do they hold up to abuse & rocks?
    Every day I change my mind on colour, it's getting ridiculous. I need to man up

  6. #6
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    Franz - those are very kind words, thanks for the approval I shoudl add that my wife has a very well paid job and 'indulges' me somewhat! It's not my money although I do tend to use for a year, sell and then refinance a new part. Which is why I've gone BOS Devile/Vipr on the bike now (still have the CCDB though as that;s brilliant).

    The wheels, hmmm, well I would say two things about them. The first is that they are brilliant; I mean you can really feel the difference both in terms of their lightness (which makes a huge difference to this bike) and their stiffness, which you can really feel in hard turns.

    But they aren't quite as indestructible as Easton would like you to believe. I was in Verbier last August and the rear wheel lasted all of 3 hours before I'd broken two spokes. The amount of tension in the wheel is huge, so if you break one spoke it places a massive strain on the other spokes and the wheel is then effectively dead; you'll break a second and a third and so on and so on.

    The rear hub also isn't perfect. I've had to replace the bearings once because I couldn't get the cone adjustments to stay correctly tightened and consequently damaged the bearings. This is something I've heard happening to other people and it looks like I've got the same problem again so the wheel will be going back.

    Cranks wise, Middleburns are just a little bit different; I honestly couldn't tell the difference in performance between them and XTs or XTRs; they just appeal and look nice.

    Colour is always the thing but here's a few tips. The matt gloss finish that comes as standard on the dizzy urban camo is a lot more hardwearing than the gloss finish. The gloss finish on any paint starts life looking a lot better than matt, but after a year or two, it dulls and looks scruffy. The matt finish does not do this so it stays looking cleaner. My bike is not over three years old, been ridden maybe twice a week at least, through three british winters (and summers), the alps three times, big mountains in the UK and still looks almost as good as new.

    Ano is the obvious choice for preservation of finish and to show off those welds; go front only and either a white or black rear for cost effective bling. The regular Green ano looks lovely (look up 'Attitude Bikes' as they have lots of good quality pictures including a green ano UFO which looks the schizzle).

    They also have a picture of probably the best looking dizzy camo finish I've yet seen, probably one of the best paint jobs Ive seen. It's green, beige green and off white and looks fabulous. I will try to hunt out the picture.

  7. #7
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    Franz, how tall are you actually?

    An XL is a huge frame, I am 6'4" & an XL is to big for me...

    What are you after in a bike? Do you like short stems?

    And agree with geetee BIG time, the dizzy camo looks even better in the flesh
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  8. #8
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    @geetee, interesting to hear that about the massive tension in those wheels. I suppose given the carbon rims they are worried about letting the whole structure flex too much, and start to come apart & crack.

    @Whafe: I'm 6' 4", with a long back and short 33"/34" legs. I do like a short stem, especially on an aggro bike like the AM, certainly no more than 60mm. 24.5" of eff. TT is as short as I want to go, as the bike will be doing a fair trail mileage here in the UK as well as coming with me to the Alps for rocky natural singletrack duties at least 2 weeks of the year.
    With respect, I wouldn't say the XL is huge - it's high in the ST like most other brands, but in terms of eff. TT length I don't think it's that big, comparitively. The XL Trek Remedy, Intense Tracer and Spesh Enduro have broadly similar steep ST / slack HA angles to the Nic, and all reach out to 25"-plus. In fact the L Enduro is very close to the XL AM in many important measurements - reach, stack, eff. TT, wheelbase... and it actually has less standover room.
    I'd like to get your take on it though. What is it about the XL AM that you find too big?

  9. #9
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    @geetee, interesting to hear that about the massive tension in those wheels. I suppose given the carbon rims they are worried about letting the whole structure flex too much, and start to come apart & crack.
    Not sure about that but I do know that the strength of the carbon rim allows much higher spoke tension and therefore wheel stiffness than allow rims. At least that is what I have been told.

    The carbon Havens are certainly incredibly stiff even compared to wheels with many more spokes.

  10. #10
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    id be tempted to try out a large before ordering a XL. I'm 6'4 and ride a large FR which is perfect with a 50mm stem and 180mm fork. What forks are you planing on running? as the new am's can run 170mm but that will obviously raise the top tube slightly over a 160mm.
    You'll have to check with the AM owners on here but i know the FR feels much better descending with seat down and 'hanging off the back'. The longer the frame the harder this becomes... just food for thought.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe View Post
    Franz, how tall are you actually?

    An XL is a huge frame, I am 6'4" & an XL is to big for me...

    What are you after in a bike? Do you like short stems?

    And agree with geetee BIG time, the dizzy camo looks even better in the flesh
    the only downside to dizzy camo is EVERYONE you meet on the trails asks you about it! well they did when i demo'd one a few years back! haha

  12. #12
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    My main reason for asking was, many years back when we had a bit of a Nicolai get together in the UK, there was an XL Helius FR, it was to big in my opinion. I am with shakeyakey, same height, L was perfect with a 50mm stem...

    I felt the bike was to tall in the head tube area, which was only asthetically wise...


    XL Helius FR in the middle



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

  13. #13
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    I think that XL FR looks pretty decent... it's probably an illusion but the standover looks as good if not better than the large. Yes, the HT is high, but the beautiful plate gussets on the AM help disguise it IMO. And with a 1.5" HT the proportions will get more of a helping hand.
    Nice woodpile clearance BTW

    Shakeyakey, I'm definitely up for trying out a L if I can. I'll be running a 36 (160) up front. I'm going to get in touch with a dealer and see what they've got that I can have a sit on

  14. #14
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    Sod sitting find one to take for a spin!
    Most Nicolai dealers are owned by ' enthusiasts' who I'm sure will no doubt have a bike you can take a spin on.
    Warning: demoing a custom build may lead you to purchasing some of the other components attached too!!


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  15. #15
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    You should buy dippers L Helius FR frame, of which is my old one, which is doing the rounds around the world. It's kind of like a frame that needs to be owned by all.....

    I have to say, it is the best frame model made by Nicolai is the Helius FR
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  16. #16
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    6ft2 here and rode two Large Fr's,large Ion,large Ac.
    no problems with size of TT for me
    dizzy camo is stunning,i owned the Fr that Dipper has before him,lots of people ask about that colour when you are out riding.
    In my opinion i think an Xl would be too long,would make steep descents feel twitchy,and your body position would feel to far forward.
    Last edited by norcosam; 02-03-2012 at 03:11 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe View Post
    You should buy dippers L Helius FR frame, of which is my old one, which is doing the rounds around the world. It's kind of like a frame that needs to be owned by all.....

    I have to say, it is the best frame model made by Nicolai is the Helius FR
    I'm sure it's been said before but "all the fastest riders ride FR's" ;D haha


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  18. #18
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    As I highlighted on the other thread, that large Helius FR also has the option of fitting a Cane Creek angleset if you wanted to update the geometry - slacken it out a little. The pain job is tough as old boots; I wouldn't be surprised if it still looked factory fresh.

  19. #19
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    Hi,
    I am nearly 2 metres tall and possessed a 2009' Helius AM in XL. Because I wanted to be able to slide in my 500mm Shannon Harcore Seatpost into the seat tube as deep as technically possible I ordered the frame with the smaller seat tube lentgh of the "Large" frame and an extra deep reamed seat tube. As Simon from Nicolai UK said, it did cost a custom upcharge which was of course lower than the entire custom made frame option.

    here is a poor pic of the whole bike as it was back then:


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