08 Helius FR v Old Turner 6-Pack- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    08 Helius FR v Old Turner 6-Pack

    Carrying on from a couple of previous threads on the subject, here's my initial impressions of the new 08 FR. Iíve only had 2 rides so far (both yesterday!), so this is very much 1st impressions

    Within a couple of hundred yards, I was struck by how little pedal bob there is. I spent a small fortune on my 6-Pack trying to get it to pedal well. Eventually settled on the Roco TST for it as it did the best job of not letting the shock sag too much into itís travel while remaining supple. I definitely needed the TST function though as it would bob significantly while pedalling.

    The FR is a revelation in comparison. At no time did I require the platform damping of the Roco. Sitting and spinning or standing and cranking. Power transfer is significantly improved over the Turner. At 36lb itís no XC bike but it pedalled like a good XC bike should(only slower obviously). With a handful of turns on the low speed damping on the fork , both ends were well matched and allowed some proper out of the saddle sprinting.

    The possible negative side to this is that it may sacrifice some small bump compliance and may not track the ground as well as the turner(not sure about this yet though). It certainly feels firmer. And thatís with a 650lb spring whereas the turner needed a 700.

    Iíll not say too much about coming down until Iíve had more time on it but so far itís very good. Doesnít give up itís travel as readily as the Turner. Seems to use just enough for the situation and no more. The Turner, while smooth and controlled would often make a drama out of every drop by launching through itís travel. Iím no freerider but I certainly feel more confident on the bigger drops with the Nicolai as it feels like thereís more in reserve.

    Off out again now or another blast. Back soonÖmaybe!

  2. #2
    steep fast and loose :)
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    out again ! ? !

  3. #3
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    jealous Simon? that'll be 4 runs in 3 days. You need to pack in that day job!

    Up Ben Aigen today. A bit harsher terrian than the last few days. very impressed with the helius. It feels rock solid to the extent that you expect it to be a bit harsh but it's not. Probably every bit as smooth as the Turner but more controlled. Currently running @ 25% sag so may try a lighter spring to increase that to @ 30%. It pedals so well it should work fine. There's also the TST on the Roco if it starts struggling on the climbs. Tried it back to back with Dawsons 5-Pack. Thats still a very good bike, pedals well and is nice and light at 32lb. Oddly, the front end feels twitchier than the Helius. Both running 70mm stems, same wheels/tyres and 36 forks(Van on Helius and Talas on 5-Pack). I noticed yesterday how solid the front feels on the FR. Feels like there's a steering damper fitted. Not sure if it's the extra weight of the van or what. Will know better once we try your 6-Pack/36 van back to back.

    May be heading to kirkhill late wed afternoon if you fancy a run
    Last edited by dipper; 11-26-2007 at 06:36 AM.

  4. #4
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    nice...keep posting your impressions!

  5. #5
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    cool to hear these first impressions, makes me even more excited than the huge jiant excited thing that I am awaiting my FR.....

    I think there is many more subtle improvements with the 08 Helius FR over the 07, there is not so much hype so to speak on the changes, but they have more or less mad ea totally different frame / bike...

    Some back to back testing will be great.....

    dipper, some riding pictures of this beast would be great...... I live through you as I am stuck in South Korea for one more day, where I have not seen the sun in days....

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

  6. #6
    steep fast and loose :)
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    kirkers on wednesday sounds ideal for the back to back richard !
    call me - i'm at work

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    I'm interested to know a bit more about all the adjustments. talking to Nicolai UK it appears there's no real travel adjust(I was under the impression they were adj between 4.5,5.5 and 6.6"). The upper of the 2 holes at the rear of the shock are for accomodating a 50mm stroke shock. It can't be used with a longer stroke as it may cause tyre/seattube contact. However a 50mm stroke shock in the lower position will reduce the travel.

    The 4 additional holes at the front are to allow the use of longer stroke/i to i shocks. I'd be interested to try this at some point. I'm guessing a longer shock should improve the shock feel. Not sure why this wouldn't be specced as standard though. Seems like an easy performance upgrade so maybe I'm missing something?

    I have a 200mm X 50mm DHX Coil so I'll try that to see how it compares to the Roco. Never used to like them on the Turner as they sagged and wallowed too much so it'll be interesting to try one on the FR

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    Not ride pics just more of the same but dirtier!

  9. #9
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    All sounds good so far dipper, like Whafe, I am in the same situation just waiting for my Helius to role off the production line. Let us know your impressions with the DHX Coil. Nice looking ride there bro, especially in the black.

  10. #10
    CAO
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    nice write up Dipper. i was under the impression that the stock shock was a 200x57. and that the forward carrier was for changing the head tube angle and bottom bracket height, while the holes on the rocker were for changing travel. looking forward to reading more ride reports. =)=)=) Congrats on a sweet ride.

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    Please correct me if I am wrong, but the mounts are for two different shock mounts. The 200x57 was for coil shocks and the 200x50 was for air shocks? I know here in UK, Mojo will fit the Helius with an RP23 at 200x57 to allow full use of the 167mm of travel.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lornibear
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but the mounts are for two different shock mounts. The 200x57 was for coil shocks and the 200x50 was for air shocks? I know here in UK, Mojo will fit the Helius with an RP23 at 200x57 to allow full use of the 167mm of travel.
    should use the same size shock. ie 57mm

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    the standard shock is 200x57 but the upper mount will allow the use of a 200x50 and still get full travel.

    I'm curently using a 650lb spring but if i go to a 222x70 I should be able to drop to a 400 or 450 with the much lower leverage ratio.

    has anybody tried this on the older models?

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    Hey dipper, what are your nokian tyres weighing in at and what size are they? Also, have you a weight of your Roco TST? I am trying to get a better estimate on the weight of my FR when built up. Cheers

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    lazy piston
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    has anybody tried this on the older models?
    Look here: http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=308310

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    Lornibear

    Got some weights for you. Just done on a kitchen scale but should be pretty close

    2.3 NBX UST is 1100g(for reference, a standard folding NBX is @ 700g and can also be used tubeless with sealant)

    Roco TST with 650 spring is 900g.

  17. #17
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    thanks Smith. that was a useful link.

    I've just gone and done some trials and a 222x70mm stroke shock is a no no. Can't comment on older FR's but on the 08 you will contact the seatube. That was in the 2nd position with BB @ 7mm higher. You could try position 1 but the BB will go up yet again.

    With a 200x57 in pos 1 and bottom hole at the rear there's @ 5mm clearance between tyre and ST so looks like 57mm is the max stroke you can use on the 08

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    Thanks dipper, by my thinking, I can save around 700g off the total build weight with my CCDB with Ti and the Schwalbe Big Betty UST. This means, that my build should come in around the 34/35lb mark which I am really pleased about. Thanks for the info.

    Thanks for the link smith, interesting reading.

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    I can see me going down that route as well. CCDB/Ti spring and some lighter UST tyres. I do like the Nokians so maybe fit the non usts with sealant.

    what shock size are you going for? Do you see any benifit going for a longer i>i with a 57mm stroke?

  20. #20
    lazy piston
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    thanks Smith. that was a useful link.

    I've just gone and done some trials and a 222x70mm stroke shock is a no no. Can't comment on older FR's but on the 08 you will contact the seatube. That was in the 2nd position with BB @ 7mm higher. You could try position 1 but the BB will go up yet again.

    With a 200x57 in pos 1 and bottom hole at the rear there's @ 5mm clearance between tyre and ST so looks like 57mm is the max stroke you can use on the 08
    That's quite disappointing I should say. Turns out the '08 does not possess the versatility of the previous model.

    By the way I forgot to tell you dipper that you've got a very nice bike here! I love the looks of it even if I'm not so keen about the changes from the '07 model.

    A little piece of advice: I would put some protection on the right chainstay AND the seatstay because if not, your chain will soon leave scratches and nicks on that beautiful black ano.

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    yeah.I forgot to protect the stay 1st ride out. Done now though.

    Looking at the pics of the old frame I can't see how you get away with running a 67mm stroke shock. Have you dropped the spring out to see how much clearance there really is?

  22. #22
    lazy piston
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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper
    Looking at the pics of the old frame I can't see how you get away with running a 67mm stroke shock. Have you dropped the spring out to see how much clearance there really is?
    If you're addressing to me, I haven't tried a longer shock yet. I'm waiting for the RS Vivid to start selling here in Russia.

    However Roelant did this in the topic I gave you the link to. The trick is to use only two lower holes on the swing-link. With a 57 mm stroke shock they give you 115 mm (lower hole) and around 130 mm (second from the bottom) of travel. With a 70 mm stroke shock travel increases to approximately 140 and 160 mm, respectively.

  23. #23
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    It was for you Smith. I read the other thread wrong. I thought the white FR was yours.

    It would have been good to try a longer stroke shock but it's no problem really. I've heard it said on here that the old model feels best at 5.5". The 08 pedals so well at the full 6.6" that I'd see no reason to drop to less travel anyway.

    However, the 222x70 shock I tried was taken off a RM RMX. It seemed to have custom TST settings as it was very firm(even with an overly light spring) fully engaged but super smooth off(and still pedalled well!). not really a big deal to me as a trail rider but I'd a imagine this type of Jeckyl and Hyde character would be useful for the big boys. Then again, I suppose they could just go and buy a Helius ST!

  24. #24
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    Dipper, I haven't a clue what shock size my ride is coming with. It is being installed by a Nicolai dealer but as soon as I get my greasy paws on it, I will let you know.

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    Dipper, that's a very nice bike! What do you think of the Vanilla fork, especially in how it compares to the Talas on your 5-pack? As I'm looking into getting the Vanilla myself as well, I was wondering how it handles drops (especially the big ones if you've done any, bottoming out a lot or not) and how it climbs, being without travel adjust? I'd rather go coil than air for the better small bump sensitivity, but am just a bit unsure about climbing abilites and bottoming it out all the time on big drops.

  26. #26
    steep fast and loose :)
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    boozzz
    i ran that particular 2008 36 TALAS R, and replaced it with a 2008 36 vanilla RC2, as the action of the vanilla was stuning in comparison.
    much more supple, reactive with far greater sensitivity, and very little weight penalty.
    however - big drops tend to blow the vanilla through it's travel fully, whereas the TALAS controls square edged hits better, never fully bottoming out as the air spring rate is designed not to allow 'top-out' from what i experienced.
    so, if you want a supple reactive trail fork, i'd buy the vanilla.

    hth

    simon.

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    Thanks Simon! Makes me leam towards the Vanilla even more. I'd rather have a fork that's more oriented to the trail than to jumps only.

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    I'd agree that there's no benifit running the Talas over the Van. You won't need the adjustability, the weight is neither here nor there and the van performs better.

    however it's not the holy grail of trail forks I originally thought when running one on the Turner. It is very controlled(RC2 version anyway). Stabilty under braking, turning or hard pedalling is excellent. My only issues(the forks still new and I'm still setting it up so this may change) are that the small bump type stuff that buzz your hands and tire your arms doesnt appear to be filtered out and drops can bottom them overly quickly in my opinion(and i don't do big drops). A bit more compliance at the start of the stroke and a bit more bottom out control and I'd be a happy bunny. Still the best all round forks I've used though

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    Pic of recent outing with the_lecht_rocks on his 6-Pack.

    The comparison was much as i expected. Suffice to say, simon now wants a Nicolai I'm sure he'll be along to post his own thoughts shortly.

    Both bikes are running similar specs. same rear shock, forks and brakes. I'm a bit heavier than simon so rear shock set up was probably more in my favour. the Turner had a 700lb spring and the FR a 650.(the Turner was once mine and the 700 was what I used)

    There were 2 big differences for me.
    1 - the Nicolai is in a different league while pedalling. much less effort to get it up the hill.
    2 - The back end is more controlled off drops with none of the wallow and banging through it's travel like the Turner.

    Standing them side by side and eyeballing the geometry they are very similar. ST, DT, TT and HT all the angles match up almost perfectly. The Nicolai is possibly a fraction slacker on the HT and has slightly taller standover but thats about it(don't have the actual specs to hand to confirm)

    All in all, they're both great bikes but if you're over 190lb I think you'd find the FR easier to get along with. the Turner needs silly high spring rates in comparison. I still felt that the Turner needed a higher spring rate still(to help combat bobbing on the way up and to stop it launching through the travel on the way down)while I think I'll get away with a 600 on the FR. Simon on the other hand likes the 700 on the Turner and felt oversprung on the Nicolai

  34. #34
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    the eagle eyed amoung you will notice that I've changed the bars/stem - 70mm atlas and atlas bars to 50mm diabolus bars and stem. The shorter cockpit, wider bars and higher rise feels much better. Shame it's a good bit heavier. I've changed the speedball to a good old Thomson. The speedball has it's place but for me, it didn't drop enough. Also, if your mates don't have them as well you end up stopping anyway!

  35. #35
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    Interesting comparison we achieved at the weekend.
    The Nicolai is currently set up with a new pair of 36 VAN RC2's, whereas mine have now bedded in, so taking into consideration this fact, I won't review the front end too much, other than to report the Nicolai's geometry with the 36 was spot on. I found the 50mm stem too short, and overly nervous compared to my 70mm set up.
    The Nicolai also ran an overly sprung shock for my liking, so I've requested a shot of a lesser sprung version next ride ;-)
    As a result of the shorter stem, higher bars and stiffer back end, you'd naturally asume the bike would climb 'peculiarly'. In fact, the opposite was true. It climbed amazingly well ! Even mashing the pedals, standing up and cranking, the bike refused to bob or wallow. Stunning.
    Descending is a different issue though. With a too stiff spring rate, new forks and too short stem, I found the bike to be overly compliant, and nervous into fast dry turns. I always felt the bike may tuck under too soon, as the steering was quickened with the 50mm D2 fitment. However, off some pretty good jumps, once the spring settled further into it's stroke, you could determine the control available from the suspension design. The bike does not blow through the mid-stroke and remains very very tight and controlled no matter how big you drop, whereas the Turner doesn't offer that level of control (yet, until I try the CCDB), as it has a tendency to stroke smoothly all the way to it's max stroke. I can't wait to fit the CCDB to my 6 Pack, to see if it gives more mid stroke control over the ROCO TST R ;-)
    It's still a relatively unfair comparison anyway, until I build a new pair of 819's on Pro II's and run the same tyres, as I was running DT Hugi's on 321's with 2.4" Big Betty's !!! More a rock and drop associated wheelset that the wheelset Dipper was running (819's on Hope Pro II's + NBX Lite's) !
    So, Dipper - Get me a wheelset built up (819 on red Pro II's + Lite NBX's), get my spring for the CCDB and we'll do it all over again, as a more favourable comparative test !
    One item of note would be the stiffness available in the rear stays of the Nicolai. Remarkable. The bike tracks direct and true, irrespective of forces generated through the rear end, and I'd say that this combined with the linkage / stroke ratio provides the biggest noticeable difference between the 2 bikes, although final judgement is being reserved until I fit the CCDB and different wheelset.

    simon.

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