Another custom ION 16 post!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Another custom ION 16 post!

    Hello all.

    I am very close to ordering a custom ION 16 and I am trying to decide on the final figures.

    Firstly I don't want anything as radical as the geometron but recently I demo'ed several bikes and the two that stood out were the Kona Process 153 and the Bird Aeris. Neither are light bikes but the fit and geometry felt spot on for me.

    My main riding is here in the Lake District where it's a lot of hike-a-bike up mountains and descending very rough technical terrain. So a big issue is durability/reliability.

    My current bike which has been superb is a 2013 Helius AC standard with 160mm front/150mm rear. The only complaint I have had with the AC is the reach has always felt a little too short for me (445mm) and it feels like another 15-20mm would make it spot on. This would bring it into line with the bikes I recently tried. I am 6' so not very tall just going XL will not work.

    So I thought a standard Large ION 16 but with around 15/20mm more reach would be a simple solution but then I started reading about chainstay length and seat angle and it all got complicated again!

    I tried the AC with a angleset to make the head angle 65 degrees but I found that affected climbing somewhat but more importantly it made the front wash or wander out at high speed when descending. I believe this is a function of not enough reach/length to allow a modification of riding position for the slackness. I went back to the 66.5 and that strangely didn't feel much steeper but felt much better for climing and descending.

    So I would be very interested to hear from custom ION owners on their geometry. At the moment I think a reach of around 460/465mm works really well for me and a head angle of around 66 degrees. I am unfortunately not in a position to demo a custom ION so it will be blind faith for this purchase!

  2. #2
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    Scarlet,

    You really should try a Geometron with an open mind and not think of it as radical, try not to even compare to what you have previously ridden as it is the sum of its parts not an individual statistic!
    That was probably the biggest thing that came out of the demo weekend at Forest of Dean, evryone that rode the bike said how completely normal it felt, how it climbed really really well but dealt with everything thrown at it.

    There are sound reasons why, without a modification of riding style, making the AC slacker would make the front wash and wander. Mainly due to the combination of other factors affecting the geo and the difference in weighting the front wheel, whether that is natural for you as a rider or the bike 'encourages' it through other factors.

    You have nothing to lose from a test, it's available and if you don't feel the need for a full setup session at BPW then it doesn't have to cost 200, just the travel to meet and ride with Chris. I suspect you will be very surprised. It will also end up somewhat cheaper than a custom Ion.
    If you aren't sold on the concept, you've lost nothing.

    The Small Geometron is quite close to the figures you are suggesting, especially with a 30-35mm stem.I don't know what stem you are using now. I would recommend the M however, all the riders at the demo over 5'8" felt at home on the M version. I wouldn't want anything shorter.

    The front can be configured to be steeper with a std 160 (height) fork if that is needed (travel on the front is about 160-165mm) but I would put money on the table if you rode it you wouldn't even think about the front angles.

    Msg me if you are interested organising a test and I'll see what I can do with Chris.

    If its too difficult maybe I could come up to you or meet in the middle say Hebden and you can ride mine, its the right size for you even though I am only 5'10.5"

    If you aren't sold, I can help you to get to a good geometry on a custom with the reach you mention pretty easily and with front angles you feel happier with.
    Aka chainline...

  3. #3
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    The the very thing that makes me want Nicolai's is the individuality of it. If I get a geometron, that is just somebody else's idea of what makes a perfect bike so I would prefer to get my own ideas built. Also do they only do the geometron in anodised black or can it be customised like other Nicolai's?

    I think my preconceptions stem from not having read any reviews from people that ride mainly big mountain days out in the Lakes and Scotland which is the bulk of my riding. Most of the rave reviews seem to be from bike parks and man made trail centers with an emphasis on descending.

    I am aware that this is however my preconception so it would be interested to hear from owners who ride that type of stuff and would definitely like to try one at some point.

  4. #4
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    I ride that stuff! I'm just back from 7 days in Spain in the big mountains, Pyrenees. Natural riding in the likes of Hebden and local riding which is pretty flat!

    The stock bikes are black or raw in future. However I was discussing with Chris that people that want a Nicolai also want their colours and custom choices etc (me included) and there are ways to do that. Not everyone wants a stock bike. totally agree.

    As mentioned its not a problem. I would be happy to help with custom geo etc.

    I think riding a geometron would give you an appreciation, a reference range of what you do or don't want and that in itself is incredibly valuable in terms of getting a custom right.

    I've done 4 customs in the last 4 years and have learnt a lot through the process. I've not always been able to be brave due to the cost of possibly getting it wrong. As such the value in trying the 'extremes' is in under standing what is acceptable or not.

    For me, the big thing the geometron has established, and which I had approached with my last custom is the value in a bigger reach in conjunction with a steep seat angle, slack head angle and not too short chainstays. Couple that with carefully considered suspension kinematics to work with an air shock specifically, allowing the good pedalling characteristics and you have a fantastic all rounder.

    My friend (kbrembo) on here, who has my version of the Geometron lives near Inverness and rides almost nothing but Cairngoms and Torridon big days out.

    Also Dipper, again natural trails, Scotland.

    Its neither a winch and plummet bike nor a trail centre bike but is also very different on paper to the norm. Its not been around long enough for lots of long term reviews and they are not being provided free to magazines to long term test either, neither UK Geometron's or the GPI. So owners are the source of info.

    The offer is there is you want to chat etc. The important thing is you get what you want, a Nicolai is certainly a great route to that end.
    Aka chainline...

  5. #5
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    Just out of interest I rode the geometron at the FoD Demo day on Sat. I'm 5-10 and rode the medium/longer. I initially thought I would ride the small/long. I have a geeky spreadsheet of bikes geometry and on paper I would of said the geometron would be way to big for me. Anyway apart from the 1st 5 mins the bike soon felt normal. I rode it for approx 1 hour. It climbed really well, due to the steep seat angle, it was much easier to manual and bunnyhop than I expected due to the long chainstays. The suspension was nice and playful / poppy. It cornered really well, it was very balanced (not pitchy) and stable, as though everything was happening in slow motion. As said above its geo numbers don't reflect its personality.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone and some very good input.

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