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  1. #1
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    Cool-blue Rhythm My on-going ramblings about my Santa Cruz Nickel!

    So I got a quick 12 miler in yesterday morning just to test my Nickel.





    Just wanted to share my initial thoughts on this bike:

    I love the way the bike rides, it climbs very well, descends better than the VPP blurs (and similar) in my opinion as the travel seems to be more bottomless and confidence inspiring to me. I like the BB height, as on my other bikes I am used to pedal and crank strikes which didn't seem to happen on the Nickel.

    I managed to build the bike up pretty light at just over 27lbs, it'll be a little heavier when I get my Reverb that's been on order for a while, but it will be a good trade off having to stop far less!

    I thought long and hard about the wheels, tyres and brakes and couldn't be more pleased with the results of fitting the Hope Hoops Pro 2 Evo SP/ Stans Crest wheels with Schwalbe RoRo rear and NoNi front with the Stans Tubeless kit. I also went for Formula R1 brakes and I'm astounded at how well the bike stops and grips, especially having giving the bike a quick shake down a few weeks ago using Panaracer CG tyres (yuck) and the Avid CR's off my Orange.



    Also I seem to have found a sweet spot on the forks, running slightly less air in than I should according to Fox, and only 3 clicks on the Terralogic knob, seems to have struck a great compromise so that the fork is still fully active, yet climbs really nicely too, especially when I turn the Talas knob and go down to 120mm travel for the steeper climbs.

    The XT 10 speed Dynasis seems to be working very well, baring in mind I am more used to SS in recent years, I have found the transition between bikes pretty easy.

    All in all I'm really pleased with my decision to go with the Nickel over the Blur LTc I test rode at the same time.
    Last edited by Just J; 05-30-2011 at 12:14 AM. Reason: Giving the thread a more relevant title...
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  2. #2
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    Nice write up. Sounds like you are really enjoying the Nickel so far. Hope you have the time to post a follow up after you have a little more time.

  3. #3
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    Thanks

    I really do like the bike a lot, hoping that it will become my main ride so I'll definitely update this thread with more thoughts soon...
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  4. #4
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    Just experimenting with the RP23 shock at the moment, I ran it with Pro Pedal on dialled to 2 on Saturday which felt really nice everywhere, just flick and forget kind of thing. I must admit though this bike doesn't bob or wallow at all, pro pedal or not. So far impressed!

    Should be receiving my Reverb seat post for it this/next week which should make the ride even more fun!
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  5. #5
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    Nice looking Nickel! I've been eyeing one of those but just need to find one local to test ride. I'm curious to see a follow up after a couple months of riding.

  6. #6
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    Yeah no problem, I'll keep posting updates as I ride...

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  7. #7
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    This thread makes my eye twitch.

    My Nickel was delivered to my mom yesterday in Illinois.........I'm in Sweden and won't even SEE it until July......

  8. #8
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    So over the weekend I took the Nickel out for a longer ride over the North York Moors:



    What became apparent really quickly was the following:

    1) I need my Reverb, my SDG post with shim was spinning round on the climbs and also slipping down all the time, so much so it pretty much ruined the ride seeing as it was made up mainly of going up long, nasty hills! The Reverb should be here this week but what I'd say to anyone is don't run a Nickel (or any bike) with a shimmed out post!

    2) Shock setup is imperative on this bike as it is on any FS bike. I am still trying hard to find the sweet spot for me, I think I'm about 90% there. I don't for one minute think that this is anything to do with the bike itself, more to do with the fact I've ridden almost solely rigid for the past 4-5 years or so having made the move from FS way back then! I also think that not checking the air levels front and rear did me no favours, as having checked them tonight they were down 10-15psi which didn't help at all!

    3) I think I need a longer stem, I decided to go with a 70mm one on this build despite all my other bikes being 100mm with similarly long top tubes. I think this was peer pressure more than anything as people were telling me to give it a go. It just goes to show that all those years in the saddle are enough for me to be able to make my own mind up!

    4) I need to persevere, I have spent so long on hard tails (and will continue to do so!) that FS feels kind of alien to me at the moment. Don't get me wrong though, I am still mightily impressed with my Nickel, however, I think I need to address these issue which are simply my own setup issues before the next ride!

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J

    2) Shock setup is imperative on this bike as it is on any FS bike. I am still trying hard to find the sweet spot for me, I think I'm about 90% there. I don't for one minute think that this is anything to do with the bike itself, more to do with the fact I've ridden almost solely rigid for the past 4-5 years or so having made the move from FS way back then! I also think that not checking the air levels front and rear did me no favours, as having checked them tonight they were down 10-15psi which didn't help at all!
    Curious to know your weight and rear shock pressure. What is/was your "complaint" with the rear?

    I have read that running the pressure a bit higher than the setup guide suggests is closer to the sweet spot. Have you found this to be true?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbigisbudgood
    Curious to know your weight and rear shock pressure. What is/was your "complaint" with the rear?

    I have read that running the pressure a bit higher than the setup guide suggests is closer to the sweet spot. Have you found this to be true?
    I am 226lbs running 205psi in the shock now however when I checked the shock earlier it only had 190psi in.

    The SC website suggests that I should run between 195-215psi so 205 sounds about right to me.

    I'm going to try running this amount again on the next ride, but I'll make sure I experiment with pressures too. I don't really want to try higher pressures at the moment as I fear it will make things too hard out back, but we'll see and I may try running +/- 5 psi if need be.

    My complaint is pretty hard to put my finger on really, the bike was a bit over active on the road climbs after the first 3 hours, bobbing more than it was the week prior but that was obviously down to the shock not being set at the correct pressure. Any FS bike will bob without enough air in the shock, so this is no slight on the Nickel.

    I've now got the sag about right as far as I can see, so I'm sure once I have the other issues (seat post, stem) sorted everything should be back to normal.
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  11. #11
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    I think I'm about there when it comes to the shock side of things, I went out for a spin round my local loop last night and ended up being 2.5 mins than I was on the same route using my 29r SS when I went out on Sunday, the bike felt good, not as spritely up the shorter hills as my SS but certainly better than it did on Saturday.

    Although very different in feel to a well setup hard tail, one thing I have found is that the bike is VERY efficient, I would say in equal measures to the VPP but with the added benefit of being more active over the rough stuff in my opinion. I have been experimenting with the Pro Pedal setting on my RP23 and have found that I can't really tell much difference, telling me that there is no real need in having the Pro Pedal engaged.

    I think I'm also going to persevere with the stem, at 70mm I don't think it's too short, in fact having a shorter stem does make the steering very quick and ultra fun.

    I've now been informed that the Reverb won't be here until next week now, but I can live with that, I guess!

    It's hard going from HT to FS but the benefits will become more apparent as I get used to this very cool bike!
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  12. #12
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    Dalby SIngletrack with Brian Lopes

    Yup the bike is definitely dialled (well apart from the gears that need fettling!) and it's just as well as I won a Facebook competition to ride with Brian Lopes in Dalby Forest!

    Here are some pics and the route below:





    Yup I had to follow the purple route!



    Brian talking to the group about his bikes, career, other riders etc.



    Reminiscing about the late, great Jason McCroy - RIP JMC

    What a nice guy Brian is, totally down to earth and really friendly.

    I could feel him breathing down my neck during the first part of the ride as it pushed me to ride the Nickel harder than I have done until today! What a rush!

    Here's the bike parked next to my very dusty GTI having had some fun getting both pretty sideways around Dalby Forest!

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  13. #13
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    Don't forget when you put your shock pump on the shock it will always show a lower PSI than what you put in it before because the pump hose needs to fill with air (I find it consistently shows about 10-15 psi lower than what I put it at). Sweet looking Nickel though. I came very close to getting one, but opted for the Butcher instead.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the tip Uncle, I had forgotten about that, since my last FS bike was a few years back

    Glad you like it, hows the Butcher?...
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  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    I've said it before, but that bike is really, really nice.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBY View Post
    I've said it before, but that bike is really, really nice.
    Thank you DBY!
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  18. #18
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    Finished setup report

    Hi guys, I'm not sure if many people are really interested, but this thread might help people out if they, like I was, are deciding whether or not to buy a Nickel.

    On Saturday I finished setting up the Nickel, which involved me and a friend cutting the Reverb's hose down and routing it properly and also spending some time on the gears, removing excess chain and fettling etc.

    So on Sunday morning I got up bright and early and headed back over to Dalby Forest to do the red route again but this time in full.

    I was there last week as you can read above, but only managed to do part of it. The last time I did the whole thing was about a month ago when I took my Orange P7 and had an absolute blast in the scorching sun. Yesterday's weather was completely at odds with last time though as it was wet and drizzly but what better way than to put the Nickel through it's paces?!

    Here are the ride details:



    I thought it might be useful for me to give a full appraisal of my setup starting with:

    The frame - I've found my sweet spot on the Nickel and I'm sticking to it, running the shock fairly firm but still fully active, I didn't touch the ProPedal lever until the final 5 miles of tarmac at the end of the ride when the miserable weather started getting to us!

    The forks, again I'm not using the platform on the forks, makes me think that I should buy some 2012 Float 140's in July when they become available. But the forks run so well without using the Terralogic, I can;t really see how a full suspension bike would benefit from having it. I never reduced the travel once yesterday, the fork has a 140/110mm Talas setting, the lower setting helps on very steep climbs but it is hard to adjust whilst riding and again convinces me that I will be buying some Floats pretty soon!

    I noticed that the forks are getting better as time goes by, I was using all the travel yesterday without noticing any bottoming out, which is just how I like things. The small bump compliance is also excellent, all in all pretty perfect with just a few more features than needed!

    The gears were really good yesterday and coped well with the mud although the front mech is a PITA to adjust as the suspension design gets in the way so things weren't quite as crisp as they should be up front until I started playing around with the tension whilst riding.

    The brakes - WOW the brakes! I've not used a better set of brakes than the Formula R1's. I can't really add more other than - BEST BRAKES EVER! LOL

    Reverb - Again, I don't know how I've lived so long without a dropper post, the only time I had to stop yesterday was to wait for my friend, the Reverb adds so much fun to your ride, just being able to fine tune seat height on the go.

    SDG Ti-Fly Saddle, surprisingly comfortable although I am still experimenting with the angles trying to find that elusive sweet spot...

    Wheels and tyres - Although the Rocket Ron on the back much prefers the dry dusty conditions, they are still stellar performers in the wet, the Nobby Nic on the front was pure class though, offering confidence on the numerous rocks littering the Dalby singletrack! The wheels seem really stiff and ultra fast, again just what I was looking for. The wheels are Hope Hoops with Pro 2 Evo SP hubs mated to Stans Crest rims, I'm running tubeless and can highly recommend that you give it a go if you haven't already...

    Bars - Race Face Sixc, Grips - RF sniper, Stem - RF Turbine 70mm. - Make such a lovely cockpit for me, just the right side of wide and coupled with the long top tube make things pretty perfect for any type of riding.

    The bike really is uncompromised whatever you throw at it, it loves going down hill as much as it does going up which is exactly what I was looking for from my new bike. I know when I've hit a setup on the head when I'm riding my bike thinking that I should probably sell my others as I can't see me riding them as much! I won't be selling the others as I still really enjoy riding them too, but I'm pretty stoked to be able to say that the Nickel is exactly what I was looking for when I was considering what to buy next!

    Here she is, resting on the Dalby Red Route, just about a mile away from where last week's WC race was held...


    Nickel on Dalby Forest Red Route by J5BWS, on Flickr
    Last edited by Just J; 05-30-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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    Very nice to see another North East SC rider. I'm based in Stockton on Tees and ride a Heckler.

    I might start giving that garmin software a go as well.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by unsponsored View Post
    Very nice to see another North East SC rider. I'm based in Stockton on Tees and ride a Heckler.

    I might start giving that garmin software a go as well.

    www.bikeandbivi.co.uk
    Hi

    I'm in Ingleby Barwick so it's a small world! Where do you usually ride?...
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    Well, I find your posts very informative and really appreciate you taking the time to post. It sounds like you are really enjoying the Nickel. Your posts have helped me settle on the Nickel as my next bike. I just have to get the wife on board with it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaddSquirrel View Post
    Well, I find your posts very informative and really appreciate you taking the time to post. It sounds like you are really enjoying the Nickel. Your posts have helped me settle on the Nickel as my next bike. I just have to get the wife on board with it.
    Thanks Madd - really glad I could help!

    Try telling the wife that you'll only need the one bike and the Nickel is THE ONE!
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    Yeah, but I plan to have some parts left over from my old bike so I can build a dj bike.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just J View Post
    Hi

    I'm in Ingleby Barwick so it's a small world! Where do you usually ride?...
    Normally ride out in the Dales from Reeth, Hamsterley or the Lakes.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by unsponsored View Post
    Normally ride out in the Dales from Reeth, Hamsterley or the Lakes.
    Guisborough Woods, NY Moors, Dalby for me, I haven't ridden Hamsterley for a while but will get it in this summer along with Glentress and Kirroughtree...
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