Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail - words & pictures- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail - words & pictures

    So some of you reading this will have seen this thread I started a while back suggesting that the Ion platform would translate into a great all round/all mountain 29er.

    I've called this bike/model/project Ion15 29 but not sure what we/Nicolai will end up calling it, it'll do for now.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/nicolai/new-ion15-809298.html

    Some background:

    In late 2011 I started thinking about a longer travel 29er for my type of riding and for racing Enduro on fast flowing trails. This kind of bike just wasn't available on the market, 150mm travel, light, long, low, maneuverable and with the ability to go slack.

    I had a lot of discussion with Whafe, Cyril and Dipper particularly, but others too off this forum and many, many emails to and from Nicolai.

    Whafe had pioneered the genre with Nicolai, but I didn't want such a hard hitting bike with the weight that brings, it had to be light enough for big days out with a lot of uphill, basically Enduro racing and all round riding. Cyril had commissioned a similar bike for Enduro so we discussed his design and specification, oh did I mention it had to be slack...

    So eventually Nicolai and I settled on geometry, pretty short chainstays, head angles that allowed a lot of flexibility using an angleset/front shock mounts, low BB, long top tube for short stem/wide bar and a target of as close to 150mm travel at the rear as possible.

    In early 2012 this bike arrived and I've spent the year thrashing it, messing about with geometry and learning. It was specified to be really flexible in terms of angles but in a way that wouldn't screw up the riding position/handling so I could get a good idea of what worked and what I really wanted/thought would make it ideal for Enduro and fast all round riding in all kinds of terrain. As an aside the build came in at 28.5lbs with pedals and a dropper post. Not too shabby.

    So fairly quickly I started to get a good idea of the geo and features I wanted.The geo and angles the likes of Cyril and I have moved to with the custom bikes has now materialised in the 2013 AC, they are pretty close, so Nicolai listen, are open to trying and testing stuff, this is good! Mine has a little more travel and is a little slacker but pretty close. There are some things I wanted to change though...

    So mid 2012 I started thinking, Some of the things I wanted weren't available when I asked....then the Ion16 surfaced and I started the Ion15 29 thread..

    Well a few other Nicolai enthusiasts expressed serious interest in trying to progress the idea and we gained a little internal momentum.

    So with the prospect of more than one order for a bike of this nature I approached Nicolai....

    The future:

    After kicking off some dialogue with Marcel at Nicolai, submitting some design parameters and then Marcel talking to Vincent and Kalle, it would appear that we have the go ahead for this project from the top man.

    Based on the key design objectives of long TopTube, low BB and slack with 150mm of travel at the rear, the ability to take up to a 160mm fork (Due 2013), chain stays that can take a 2.4 Maxxis Ardent/2.35 Hans Dampf but are as short as practical, keeping the new bush design, eccentric shock mount, no front mech so no constraints etc.

    This is NOT intended to be a DH 29er but more an AM that can be built with the latest 1x10 kit and light but stiff wheels to create a bike that you can ride all day, uphill too, and then hammer the descents, much like the new 16.

    Nicolai have concluded that design and machining changes to the shock lever, BB/seat tube area are needed, probably some shock curve analysis to make sure we are getting the right suspension characteristics in addition to the usual geometry etc possibly some tube changes to accommodate a max 571mm A2C fork.

    So Nicolai have suggested we document the whole process here, with their full support. That means factory photos and insight into the whole process from this initial idea, through the design process, the engineering development and production, hopefully concluding in April 2013 with the new ION 15 29 hitting the trail, maybe getting first dirt under the tyres around Nicolai HQ, you never know.

    I think this is a fantastic opportunity, and kudos to Nicolai, to provide an insight into everything that goes into taking a bike from idea to trail with a customer directly involved, including photos and words from the factory all the way through. The whole story.

    So far Whafe, Dipper and myself are in for this. Any others interested please let me know. Obviously we will have individual requirements in terms of sizing like top tube/seat tube lengths etc but the key design objectives and frame features are shared.

    I'll post up the initial tech specifications soon and we will go from there. This thing is gonna rip..
    Last edited by the_pilot; 12-14-2012 at 05:36 AM.
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  2. #2
    Err
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    Great news to see this progress. I am following closely and depending on final specifications, I might be in for one.

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    Woohoo!

    This build goes way beyond what nicolai would normally do for a full custom. Tube lengths and thickness is generally your lot. This will be a full ground up build. between Phil, whafe and myself we have 6 iterations of nicolai 29er experience between us. 3 off the peg and 3 custom. Hopefully we'll be able draw on our experiences(and that of Marcel and other forum members)and come up with a sub 30lb, 150/160mm trail bike that climbs like an xc bike and descends like a downhiller. Not much to ask then should be a doddle
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  4. #4
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    Actually thats soon to be 7 iterations as I've a new 2013 frame due any day now
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  5. #5
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    Wow that's a really cool post, I will follow it with nterest, because it might be my next bike. This year is downhill bike year, and as for next year I will see :-)
    Never enough singletracks !

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    Of course Dipper if, in the end you had no desire to incur the extra weight up to 160mm fork might incur in the down tube, and we will be able to determine what that difference is, then that should be fine.

    Based on Vincent's posted weight for the AM in 26' format the Ion16 comes in 200g lighter than an AM which was 3.1kg give or take a few grams with an ano finish. Reading across 3.3kg would seem reasonable to expect.

    Here is the geometry information Marcel at Nicolai is working with for an initial drawing

    Ion15 29er (150mm rear travel)

    -150mm rear travel with 216x63mm shock

    -Fork reference 555mm excluding ZS headset (3mm stack). Maximum 565mm fork reference
    [Option to change this to 565mm reference (150mm) with 571mm max (160mm)]

    -67deg Head angle (zs44/56)

    -74deg (Question - What seat tube angle would avoid the tyre (2.4") hitting under maximum suspension compression or is this not an issue with Ion ST offset?) [It is now clear we will need to change the seat tube offset to deliver 150mm of rear travel so 74deg effective seat tube angle may be possible still]

    -470mm seat tube length (Would change by customer)

    -610mm ETT (Would change by customer)

    -450mm CS (This is a big question, whether 447mm for example can work with a Hans Dampf 2.35 or Maxxis Ardent 2.4) it would be good to know how short is possible and where the restriction is?

    It can be assumed that no front derailleur is needed so no mount is required. Designing for XX1 1x11, 1x10 or Hammerschmidt. So ideally the suspension would work well in pedaling with between a 28t-32t front chain ring.

    - 40mm Bottom Bracket (BB) drop

    -340mm BB height at std. 67deg Head Angle (Considering the Ion eccentric pivot = -1deg/7mm BB drop)
    Aka chainline...

  7. #7
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    Marcel Lauxtermann, who is working on the design for us, rides and races Enduro so he should have some experience to bring to this project too.

    We should get the first draft drawings pretty soon now. Nicolai would prefer the production to run in parallel with an Ion16 run so initial thoughts are this would be during the second production period sometime in Feb-Mar 2013.
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  8. #8
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    This is very cool. Subscribing for sure.

  9. #9
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    Yeah ha, in fact a whole lotta yeah ha..

    Sam, did I just hear you say what i think you said? 26 Kiddies wheels to a 650b teenager wheels and then you will go to adult wheels = BEAUTIFUL...

    This project is going to be rocking great...

    FOr me as we have said, the ability to handle a 2.35 Hans D tyre on the rear is a must...

    More will be revealed as we go along....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  10. #10
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    For now I only have 26 wheels bikes, but why not an all mountain bike a 29er, I still have to think about it and try once before :-)
    650b is for me too similar to 26 "kiddies", so there is no real interest IMO :-)
    Never enough singletracks !

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    Ion15 29 Pinion

    Hello guys, how about Ion15 29 with Pinion (as an option)? I know it adds some weight, but maybe somebody might be interested...
    Last edited by persing; 12-14-2012 at 05:20 AM.

  12. #12
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    It's taken a little convincing to get here persing.
    You can get the AC with a Pinion now, which IanPinder has.

    For this Ion project, not only is it a different world of engineering changes It is just too big a weight penalty for me and I just don't need the extra range,
    I don't destroy mechs on a regular basis. It adds approx 1.8kg (4lb) compared to a 1x11 or 1x10 drivetrain. Thats too much to bear for me. My idea of an all day all mountain schredder is 30lb or under and I just can't see that happening with the Pinion, but its eminently possible with high end parts for this project.
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  13. #13
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    I understand your point the_pilot. I too don't want to have a heavy bike. Not that it would be a problem to pedal it but it is simply too heavy for carrying it if needed (at least for me). But the idea of getting rid of the derailleur is also very tempting.

    I would like to get some 29er in my stable, but I can't afford to have two bikes at the moment and I can't let my beloved Ibis Mojo HD go either.

    All in all your idea of Ion15 29 is almost the same as mine so I will follow this thread very closely. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you to successfuly finish this project.

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    I would be real interesed in this project for my self just want to see where
    It ends up this is big in the US the SC Tallboy LTc is big that would be a great
    Option to that bike

  15. #15
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    We've been having a little debate over BB height. My current custom AC29e is 147mm of rear travel and has a BB height around 350mm. This feels good and I've never picked up pedal strikes even with 175 cranks. My original intent was to aim for 340mm BB height and that's where we have started with the Ion15 for the first draft drawings.

    Based on the fact that the eccentric pivot will reduce head angle (HA) by 1deg and lower BB height by 7mm and this bike will have a little more travel at 150mm my current feeling is to move to 347mm for a BB height with the basic HA of 67deg.
    Thus switching to the slack mode would give an unsagged BB height of 340mm at 66deg HA.
    With the more progressive nature of the Ion suspension curve (At least that's what I'm led to believe so far. We haven't yet seen the curves for this bike, not that far along yet)
    This should give enough pedal clearance (particularly if 170mm cranks used) but also give great descending and cornering potential.

    Given we will be running a ZS44/56 headset, an angleset or fixed angle headset would also enable an easy 66.5/65.5 deg 343.5mm/336.5mm scenario for those looking for a more gravity oriented rig in steeper/faster/rougher terrain e.g. Whistler or similar. with only a 0.5 deg headset in.

    Any thoughts.
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  16. #16
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    Relative to BB height, folks have already chimed in about wanting to run a big tires and Anglesets.
    The Dampf in particular is a very tall tire, wish I had then number handy but if you're arriving at 340 BB height on a nominal 29" tire, it's going to be a bit higher with a Dampf.

    Then if you throw in an Angleset, your BB height creeps up again due to the stack height of the lower cup.

    All of the sudden, that 340 mm (13.38") starting point could become 345 mm (13.58") or more and the BB isn't all that low any more. And in the slack/low position, your BB height is more like 338 mm (13.3") BB instead of the 333 mm (13.1") originally calculated.

    This is all just guess work on the actual numbers but the line of thinking is sound. This is precisely where I've ended up having used both Dampfs and Anglesets on a few 29ers now.

    The new low-stack Works Cups for 44/56 headtubes help out a bit as their new lower cup is only a few mm of stack height, but still. The Dampf is not all that wide, but it's really tall.

    My vote would be to hold at 340/333 mm.

    Just keep these factors in mind. Good discussion.

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    Getting the compromise right is important. Sure low is good(to a point) but it has to be able to climb techy stuff as well. That'll be the benefit of being able to adjust the geo. so we can run a good all rounder in the high/steep(relatively speaking!) setting and drop the bb by 7mm on the low/slack position. I think we're in the right ballpark give or take a few mm. 170 cranks are always an option if we go too low!
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    What's the stack on a ZS Angleset? I was assuming 3mm. We could take that into account when designing the fork reference height. but it does make it important to know what fork is the main one. So running the Fox F34 at 150mm with 562mm a2c if we designed for 345mm incl. that.
    Also rim width plays its part. i'm running Enve AM which I think are 25mm internal, must check that. Are HD the same sort of height as an Ardent 2.4.

    But then using a RS 571 a2c 160 fork would raise the front by 9mm so BB by maybe 3mm?

    I have an OnOne chunky Monkey to try along with a Smorgasboard 2.25, both of which look pretty big. Might check out the Chunky Monkey on the rear too and look at holding hrs on the Enve rim for reference. Also I'll measure the Ardent 2.4.
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  19. #19
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    Unfortunately the 44/56 Angleset for a tapered steerer uses an external cup so the lower stack height is around 15 mm. This is due to the fact that Cane Creek gets all of its offset out of the lower cup.

    Works Components recently released a 44/56 angled headset that has a very low lower cup stack height, around 3 mm, by building offset into both ends.

    Edit -
    I just went and measured a Hans Dampf beaded up on a Sun Charger TR wheel (width = 28 external, 22.8 internal) and the tire measured 747 mm (29.4") tall. I quadruple checked the measurement and used a level to make sure I was getting an accurate reading on the tape measure. This tire is about 1/3 to 1/2 worn and has been mounted for a few months. As a side note, Schwalbes tend to "grow" a bit after they've been beaded up tubeless for a while. So a new tire, recently beaded up is going to measure a little smaller. This tire is close to as tall as one would measure, minus a few mm for the wear on it. All in, this tire measures about 10mm taller than 29" and therefore adds about 5 mm to BB height calculated on a nominal 29".

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Err; 12-15-2012 at 07:43 PM.

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    Thanks Err, I think it does. I will check my Ardents too as this could be important if we all want to ride big tyres. Nicolai take into account wheel circumference when designing so as long as we are clear on the that the BB should be right.

    I am obviously wrong on the Angleset, which means I don't lose anything by having my current 1.5" HT then. The main reason I originally wanted 44/56 was to run a ZS Angleset. I was sure there was a ZS option.

    Nevertheless, certainly for me, I am sure that 67/66 will be spot on and so in theory saving 100g and running a normal headset will be good. If you needed to drop a degree you can still run a fixed cup set, so all good. The Angleset has done its job for me in allowing me to play around with the one I have to find the angles that suit me.
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  21. #21
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    From my view, the CC Angleset is a not to bad piece of kit, however I was never able to get it to tighten correctly and always more or less had a sloppy front end... I removed it and went with a non Angleset and all is good...

    The ability to handle a decent sized Hans D and Ardent etc etc in the rear is paramount for me..
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whafe View Post
    From my view, the CC Angleset is a not to bad piece of kit, however I was never able to get it to tighten correctly and always more or less had a sloppy front end... I removed it and went with a non Angleset and all is good...

    The ability to handle a decent sized Hans D and Ardent etc etc in the rear is paramount for me..
    Yeap, the Works Cups are problem free by comparison. No gimballs to shift and creeeeeeeeek

    FWIW, to keep the angleset quiet, "shim" it by coating it generously in anti-sieze. I have several silent ones in my fleet now using this method.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Err View Post
    Yeap, the Works Cups are problem free by comparison. No gimballs to shift and creeeeeeeeek

    FWIW, to keep the angleset quiet, "shim" it by coating it generously in anti-sieze. I have several silent ones in my fleet now using this method.
    If I went back to using it, I will look at doing that, appreciate the heads up...
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  24. #24
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    Angleset has never caused me a problem but I've always used copperslip (anti seize ) however ideally we will get the head angle right and not need one! But an 'angleset' as opposed to 'the' is always an option to fine tune individual requirements.

    Dipper has been measuring his backside off lately and I we have concluded, empirically, that 150mm travel with 450mm chainstays and ardent or a HansDampf is certainly do-able with 5-7mm for mud clearance at the front.
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  25. #25
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    Cant wait to check it out.
    I am still loving my bike

  26. #26
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    Cool project, would like to see pictures

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    So we are still working on the development of this bike.

    Marcel at Nicolai worked on an initial view of the geometry which looked like this. This geometry still has 454mm chainstays.

    The main problem is the clearance to the seat tube with 145mm or more of travel whilst maintaining the kinematics of the Ion 16, which is a key feature of what we are trying to achieve and the Eccentric Trail Key or ET.

    We have been discussing the desired/most important attributes a lot between myself and Dipper, I think we have concluded that the major opportunity here is to:
    - Improve the agility over our custom AC 29er bike by trying to use shorter CS than the 454mm we have
    - Be able to run a big rear tyre (Schwalbe HansDampf or Ardent 2.4) whilst keeping at least 145mm of travel
    - Ensure the BB is right for the tyres intended, so assuming 745mm diameter, thus keeping CofG low and keeping the stability.
    -Keep the front as low as possible using ZS headset. .
    -Retain the features of Ion features so the suspension action (kinematics of the Ion 16 26" with the progressive to linear rear linkage), weight, post mount brake, improved bearings etc

    You can see in these drawings how in the low setting, at the moment with 145mm of travel the clearance is too small between the tyre and ST based on a 750mm Diameter Ardent.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-ion29-version-1.jpg  

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-ion-29-version-1-fully-compressed.jpg  

    Last edited by the_pilot; 08-29-2013 at 02:26 PM.
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  28. #28
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    So more work has been done on the design now around the BB, kinematics, clearances etc This has resulted in most of the wants being fulfilled

    The latest drawing is here.

    This shows that we can achieve 450mm CS and fit the big tyres, with enough clearance to the ST, with a suitably wide rim
    The HD and Ardent have been measured on Enve AM carbon and NoTubes Flow rims. The new Flow is 1mm or so wider internally than the AM carbon so will give a very similar overall diameter.

    Wheelbase is the same as my current custom AC with the same HA but with shorter CS.
    BB heights look good.

    I have some concerns over the steepness of the ST in 'high' or normal trail mode and we have only 0.5deg difference between low and high mode on the head angle.

    I have no experience of a ST angle that steep or what that does to a pedalling position. I guess it can be resolved by having the saddle slightly further back. My current AC has a 74deg ST angle.

    I think we need to give consideration to bringing the ST angle back to 74.5deg in the high mode and accepting that the low mode is perhaps not necessary. Its clear that 74.5deg gives enough clearance to the tyre as that is the seat angle in the low mode now.

    If a slacker head angle is desirable, switching out the headset to a -0.5 or -1deg ZS works components headset may be a better solution, for example if you're riding whistler and want to run with 66deg then that can be done with only a 2mm drop in BB and 10mm increase in wheelbase, that gives a pretty short rear end compared to front centre.

    On a personal note, I am considering if a 10mm shorter ETT would work for me as I am now running an 800mm wide bar, but given what we are trying to do that is just noise!

    You can see the linkage curves here too. The linkage ratio curve is similar now to the Ion 16 26", obviously with less travel so with a lower overall raito, the curve is slightly less progressive from mid to end stroke than the 26" (a little more linear, but not much.

    This is a very different ratio curve to the AC custom I have which is regresive initally in the sag zone but then very progressive for the remainder of the travel.

    So, we can get to 450mm CS and keep the kinematics of the Ion16
    Some further thought on the ST angle, would 75deg be ok and how important the ET key is (In terms of being able to use it)

    I must say I'm pretty stoked about it at this point
    Last edited by the_pilot; 01-29-2013 at 12:54 PM.
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  29. #29
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    That looks very, very nice.

    I might be interested in one, once you got it ripe for production.

    160mm fork compatibility would be a killer feature for me! Not many 29ers do that yet, but it will be the future.

    I wouldn't worry about a 75 degree ST angle.
    Look at the Rocky Mountain full suspension bikes, it works.

    Once sagged a very steep seat tube angle keeps the riding position efficient.
    If you desire a more classic position you can just slide the seat back or go with a setback seat post.

    I'll follow this project really carefully, might just be my next bike. Absolutely what I am looking for.

    My current Stumpjumper FSR 29er is very nice. Can't imagine to go back to a 26er, because of my really long legs. But the 130mm Stumpjumper and fork are just not as burly as the FOX 36 or Lyrik equipped bikes I rode before.

    The Stumpjumper actually blows them away on the descents, but I just want a bit more.

    Greetings Znarf

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    Now I'm itching to see this frame whilst it's still hot off the tig table...

  31. #31
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    Me too. I wasn't in a hurry before but Now I just want it built! Hopefully we'll make the next production run so its here springtime'ish
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    I spent sometime today discussing the design with Marcel at Nicolai, it was very productive to have the dialogue.I proposed some changes and posed some questions last week based upon the post and concerns identified above and Marcel had been looking at the design based on those proposals. I think we have got what we were aiming for

    The seat tube is now 74.5deg in 'high mode' and 75deg in 'low' mode, using a slightly larger offset at the BB.

    The BB pivot is optimised for pedalling with a 28-32T front chainring and should perform very well when out of the saddle.

    Travel remains at 145mm, but we have lifted the BB height to 340mm in high/333mm in low, with 2.4 tyres front and rear (745mm diameter Ardent or HD) and the rear stays are 450mm or 17.6". I am confident from experience this will feel good but also keep pedal strike at bay with 145mm rear travel.

    The linkage curve remains as above for the Ion 29. Its the same linkage arm as the 26" Ion16 and its this, with the revised packaging, that results in the ET key changing the HA by 0.5 deg rather than 1 full deg and the slightly less progressive curve towards the end of the travel.

    Alot of testing was done with the Ion16 and the CCDB air with a HV chamber was found to be a great match. This revised curve looks like it would suit a CCDB air with a LV chamber and work really well.

    The head tube is kept to 120mm keeping the stack down.

    The revised drawing will pull in the ETT to 605mm for me (with 800mm bars) , I think Dipper will keep 610mm. Whafe may well go to 620mm?

    I imagined keeping the 67/66.5 head angles, but I'm just thinking about the fact that we have mismatched travel, 150mm/145mm or possibly 160mm/145mm F&R respectively so will incur between 1.5mm and 4.5mm of additional front sag, its only .08 to .2deg but I wonder whether to change the angles to allow for it, maybe 66.9/66.4...maybe that's a bit too anal given all of the other variables on the trail! (

    So, just waiting for what will hopefully be the final drawing of the frame with my dimensions, then get Dipper and Whafe's dimensions/angles (I'm thinking ST length/ETT/HA as the rest of the design should be sorted now, though I'd suggest staying with the 67/66.5 based on my experience) dialled in too.
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  33. #33
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    Sounds awesome! What body parts do I need to sell to get on the proto-type queue?

    I think "mis-matched" travel is the way to go with FS 29ers... and this "Ion 15 29er" looks to be the ticket. With a 160mm fork, I get shudders just thinking about it. Might need to add a drag-chute to my CamelBak!

    The geometry looks dialled, though I usually ride a "medium", so would prefer an ETT of ~595mm, a headtube between 100mm~110mm, and seattube of ~440mm for some crown-jewels clearance!

  34. #34
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    StanleyJ, I ride a medium in terms of the crown jewels and I'm only 5'11|", 470mm is the same ST as a Med Helius AM but I found the med too short at 595mm with a 50mm stem and 800mm bar, I needed a big layback seatpost which affected handling. The top tube finished 70mm lower than the ST height on this bike. It could be made shorter tho.

    I think 120mm is as short as we can go on the HT too. Some fairly chunky tubes to be welded on and Nicolai don't do bends period let alone just to make the TT and DT come together more closely and provide clearance!

    I'm in two minds about the 160mm fork. I like the idea of the travel but the potential weight bothers me. My current bike, the Custom AC29 comes in at 28.5lbs with big tyres and pedals but the Fox F34 Float 29 and I am hoping to bring this one in around the same if the relationship between production AM29 and Helius AM to Ion16 remains. so I suspect a weight of around 3.3kg, which will be great.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    StanleyJ, I ride a medium in terms of the crown jewels and I'm only 5'11|", 470mm is the same ST as a Med Helius AM but I found the med too short at 595mm with a 50mm stem and 800mm bar, I needed a big layback seatpost which affected handling. The top tube finished 70mm lower than the ST height on this bike. It could be made shorter tho.

    I think 120mm is as short as we can go on the HT too. Some fairly chunky tubes to be welded on and Nicolai don't do bends period let alone just to make the TT and DT come together more closely and provide clearance!

    I'm in two minds about the 160mm fork. I like the idea of the travel but the potential weight bothers me. My current bike, the Custom AC29 comes in at 28.5lbs with big tyres and pedals but the Fox F34 Float 29 and I am hoping to bring this one in around the same if the relationship between production AM29 and Helius AM to Ion16 remains. so I suspect a weight of around 3.3kg, which will be great.
    Hmmm, I'm a full 2~3 inches shorter than you, and the only vaguely similar bike in the stable is Canfield Yelli, in a medium with a Fox F34 Talas and 55mm stem/710mm bars. The ETT there is ~605mm, fairly slack seat-tube angle though. However being a reformed roadie, which in turn was a reformed BMXer, used to riding bikes that are short (BMXes!) though also prefer to be more stretched out on a bike (road bike!). The Yelli weighs in at 28lbs, so I personally wouldn't loose much sleep over the fact an FS 29er is "a touch" heavier.

    Shoulders are not wide enough for 800mm bars, though 750ish-mm might work. I would think a 50mm stem would work for me, so maybe a slightly longer ETT on this "Ion 15 29er", dead on 600mm or perhaps a touch longer. I think a 610mm ETT, I'd be venturing into sub-40mm stems!

    And to be fair, the headtube is Zero-stack, so having it a fairly "long" 120mm probably is a non-issue. I would still prefer to have a 150mm fork on it rather than "just" 140mm. As for a 160mm fork, that's just vapourware at this moment and it'll depends on which chassis Fox/Rockshox/whoever make such a fork with. Just here on other forums of MTBR, quite a few people would at least like to see a 160mm Fox 36 29er...

  36. #36
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    Actually my mistake, I only ran a 760mm bar on the Med AM,

    This bike is definitely for a 150mm fork Stanley and I agree the 160mm is in the ether right now so designed to take it that's one thing, but I don't think it should be designed around it, definitely not for me.

    But making this ETT shorter should be no big deal if you wanted one, The ETT needs to be right for you and your bars, its custom after all!

    And why does this thread keep not showing the files I've attached!!!
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  37. #37
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    760mm bars makes more sense! As for fork, it's always the rule of thumb +20mm is usually okay, though with how long, longer travel 29er forks are, seems the new-rule-of-thumb is +/-10mm. So in this case, 140mm~160mm, with the design being for 150mm. Now if only Fox will make those 150mm F34s available on the retail channel...

    As for ETT sizing, I know I can get exactly what I want if I go custom... though just going by what the standard sizes where, seems I'm right between a medium and a large, so just talking to myself out loud I'd go down a size rather than up, considering how I'd prefer the bike for its intended application.

    For the images you're trying to upload, tried posting them inline using the [ATTACH]attachmentid[/ATTACH]?

    Testing... (just a Helius AC 29er!), using http://forums.mtbr.com/attachment.ph...1&d=1359252418

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-helius-ac-29-233r9894_1.jpg



    Edit: Weird... it is only loading intermittently.

  38. #38
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    Okay, just got the revised drawing from Marcel

    This incorporates all of the changes we have asked for packaged in a way I think will work fantastically well. The plan is to keep this design around the 150mm fork a2c but with a down tube that will take up to 160mm...just in case, it will add between 50g and 100g, so one less sausage before a ride

    You can see that we have got the stack down a little and reduced the wheelbase down to 1180mm with 4mm less reach and the shorter CS but with 67deg HA in the high position. In low it will be 66.5deg and approx 1185mm which is 10mm shorter overall than my current AC29 custom.

    I have the go ahead to go to Hoshi for some new graphics, the plan being to base them on those designed for the Ion16 team bike over a raw frame.

    I think we should just call it the Ion29. I can't imagine, at this, time any evolutions. I do think this is as long a travel as you would build a 29 as an AM bike.

    Unfortunately, it turns out demand for the Ion16 has been really big, so we will be looking at a delivery wk 21 unless a second Ion16 batch run is required in which case they can be built at the end of that and could be a few weeks earlier.

    I'm waiting for a few photo's of the design process...for now it will have to do, can't wait now!!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-ion29-rev3.jpg  

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    Hmmm, given the "Ion 29er" is designed around a 150mm fork and strong enough for a 160mm... what's the current situation in actually being able to get such a fork in 2013? It would be ace if Rockshox, Fox or anyone else actually offering these at retail level... otherwise, would/could/should Nicolai offer such a fork with the frame as a "chassis"? Exactly like what Niner do with the UFO?

  40. #40
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    I thought I'd replied to this one StanleyJ. iphone fail!

    The Fox F34 Float 29 is available retail, at 150mm if you request it when you order. Certainly in the UK, Mojo will do this.. All 2013 model Fox F34 Float29 can be converted simply with a couple of parts if you already have one.

    More than one industry source has told me that there will be a 571mm A2C crown 29er fork available this next model year from RS, so that's a 160mm fork.
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  41. #41
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    Orders are in! Wk 21 delivery in theory..

    160mm forks are definitely coming. There is at least one other 160mm compatible frame design in the works I know of...
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  42. #42
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    A Specialized or a Santa Cruz 160mm 29er?

  43. #43
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    No, nothing so mainstream. And only long fork compatible, not long travel rear. And only a proto. OnOne Codeine. Short travel rear, sub 130mm, but up to 160mm forks. (Sorry its brief, don't want to derail this thread!)
    Last edited by the_pilot; 02-14-2013 at 07:06 AM. Reason: extra info
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  44. #44
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    Hard at work designing & refining the Ion29 in Lübbrechtsen..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-image-1.jpg  

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  45. #45
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    Exciting stuff, pilot, your work on this project has been outstanding and appreciated...

    Will pull the trigger at some stage. Will be the perfect bike in my opinion. The AM 29er of mine is not really the ideal bike for am and trail, it is great, but not perfect. I am for sure used to the big fork and used to the weight, but to have a trail gobbling lighter 150mm strong fork would be awesome.

    Mmmmmm, the mind boggles

    Have been off the pace with MTB of late having done a half ironman, but am getting really hungry for it again.... Been on the Cevelo S5 heaps of late... Road ride today and a MTB in the morning for me.......
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

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    Thanks Whafe. Kind words. I can't wait now. What with this bike, XX1/bling ring 1x setups with clutch mechs, and Maxxis announing a 29er 2.5 minion front and a 2.35 high roller 2 things are looking good.
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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Thanks Whafe. Kind words. I can't wait now. What with this bike, XX1/bling ring 1x setups with clutch mechs, and Maxxis announing a 29er 2.5 minion front and a 2.35 high roller 2 things are looking good.
    ooh! a 2.5 minion! will we have enough room for one o them in the back?!

    roll on the welding pics. then we'll know its close!
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  48. #48
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    what weight will this beast come in at ?

    XX1 drivetrain but what fork is proposed ?

  49. #49
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    I'm probably not going to run XX1 initially until Chris King makes a compatible free-hub.
    In the meantime I am already running a Sram X0 crank with a 28t, sometimes 30t blingring from MRP with 11-36 XX rear cassette and XT clutch mech. So I get close to the gearing (and its fine for me even in Bonnie Scotland) at the bottom but not quite the top end. I'm not bothered about the top end there as by that time I'm not pedalling!
    When they bring a mech out for less than £240 rather than £50 XT clutch I'll think about it!
    As for forks. The minimum is 150mm 562mm a2c and the plan is for a Fox F34 float29 150mm.
    Rockshox are bringing out a 160mm 29er fork this year with 571mm a2c.
    I worry it might be heavier than I would like. The Fox is the same weight as the 140.

    Target weight, based on my current AC/AM running gear and assuming that the weight relationship is similar between the two 29s as it is between the Helius AM and Ion16 i.e a 3.3kg frame or less, is 29lbs with the extra weight of a CCDB air (300g heavier than RP23 CTD) but the linkage curve on the Ion is less forgiving for air shocks at the end of the stroke but there is plenty if adjustment of the CCDB to make sure it's kept under control (So Marcel tells me based on their setup of the Ion16)
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  50. #50
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    oh the waiting...
    We are discussing some decal options at the moment to keep the hunger at bay...
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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Rockshox are bringing out a 160mm 29er fork this year with 571mm a2c.
    Do tell more.

  52. #52
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    Can't? I don't know more. Other than I have been told by multiple industry sources.
    Nicolai specifically asked if I wanted this frame deigned to accommodate a new 571 A2C 160mm fork from a manufacturer....Then two other sources one designer included, who have dealings with RS said the same thing but separately. However no news of timing or any further detail.

    So the frame will be designed o take it. Although I doubt I will fit it due to weight, unless everyone says its amazing!
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  53. #53
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    There is a review of the new Enduro 29 SE. It has 155mm of travel and 430 mm long chainstays, which in my opinion is very impressive. I can't post a link so you will have to specialized forum to see the review.

  54. #54
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    It is kind of impressive but the seat tube is shaped like a banana! Nicolai don't bend tubes! Even the alloy Spesh are hinged in the middle to create clearance to the seat tube.
    The video shows they tried to make a 26" bike with 29" wheels which is not what we are trying to do here. The Specialized is shorter, higher and steeper so it will change direction in tight corners quicker maybe but stability will not be as high.

    The axle path may not be usual for a Horst link either to try and avoid hitting the seat tube. It is also designed for a front mech so will it take a 2.4/2.5 tyre.

    We could have got 150mm if we had increased ST offset more or made the seat tube steeper bi that creates other compromises.
    The relative rider position, with CS that short so rear centre vs front centre will compromise climbing, you are much further over the back of the bike, realistically speaking, this aids 'playfulness' but makes or a
    More wandery less capable technical climber.

    This was always meant to be an all round bike that can take on big days but descend brilliantly. So fast, steep, sweeping terrain. Ironically like in Finale, which is the race experience I based the inputs to this design! No crazy tight nadgery terrain there. At least no like here in the UK..
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  55. #55
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    Interestingly now the geo has been reinstated I had a look at the Spesh Enduro. The 'corrected' difference for HA and ETT is only about 3mm overall in wheelbase, despite the short rear.

    I had concerns about the weight bias being too far back (if it had super short CS) on the Ion when climbing casuing it to wander and leading to a compromised riding position. With a 430mm rear but approx 1180mm overall length the front centre on the Spesh is, relatively, very long; playful it will be, easy to manual too, no doubt. However the riders position on the bike will be similar to a slack long travel 26" bike (something they were trying to achieve) in my experience this setup is compromised for climbing, particularly technical climbing. easy to very easy to manual also means hard to keep down when the ascent gets tough.

    One of the great things about a 29 is its climbing ability as well as stability in corners and descending. It was important with this Ion to try to design it so it still climbs very well even though it is slack (up to 0.5-1deg slacker than the Enduro)

    The effective SA on the Spesh is also steep at 75deg. (actual 69deg) something else I am not sure about based on my experience, as discussed earlier in the thread. We could have got more travel, or shortened the CS if we had gone down that route with the Ion, similarly if we had specced a smaller rear tyre.

    The one thing we couldn't do was create a Cannonadle Raven/V stylee bananaesque seat tube to fit it all in AND have a super short CS. Not what Nicolai do for sound engineering reasons. Those reasons apply less to carbon, but that's a whole different story.

    So an interesting announcement. Not 'revolutionary' since we have had similar, if not the same, bikes here for nearly 4 years now but then again we don't have a multi million marketing budget ;-)

    What I do know is when we put together this Ion design concept we weren't trying to create bike that felt like a 26" bike with big wheels. We were trying to create an all round, all mountain 29er that climbs well, descends amazingly, is long, low and very very fast and stable downhill on all kinds of terrain...29ers are not stable purely because of the gyroscopic effect of big wheels ;-)

    When they are finished....we will know if we succeeded ;-)
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  56. #56
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    @the_pilot: What, if anything, have Nicolai said about the "Ion 29er" in being able to have it equipped with a Pinion P1.18 gearbox? "Yes"; "... with some compromises" (> CS length), "No chance!"?

  57. #57
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    Nothing at all. I haven't asked! It's not a model in their range and they are having to produce special parts and machining programs for it already. It has been completely driven, and the suspension/pivot points designed, around 1x10 or 1x11 for efficiency and weight. I have only ever asked for that as the main use is for Enduro and All Mountain in the true sense (it has to go up as well as down). I didn't want any compromises. I already ride 1x10 without any problems.
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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Nothing at all. I haven't asked! It's not a model in their range and they are having to produce special parts and machining programs for it already. It has been completely driven, and the suspension/pivot points designed, around 1x10 or 1x11 for efficiency and weight. I have only ever asked for that as the main use is for Enduro and All Mountain in the true sense (it has to go up as well as down). I didn't want any compromises. I already ride 1x10 without any problems.
    Fair enough. Come the day my poor wallet has enough shrapnel... I'll bend Nicolai's ear.

  59. #59
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    ah, so the predicted 160mm 29er RS fork has materialised And BOS will be doing a 29er fork too.

    I think I will be staying with the 150mm Fox for now for the Ion. I like RS forks but they will be half price next year ;-) It'll be interesting to see what BOS do, still my favourite damping/feel of any fork I've tried.

    The Ion29s are due to begin production on the 12th so very soon now. I'm expecting more pictures from Nicolai as production begins.

    Have been experimenting with HA with the 150 Fox forks, steepened my current Helius to 66.9deg static with the 150mm and 30% sag. It's very very good every day, more nimble in the tight stuff, still super stable. I reckon 67deg is spot on for the HA on the Ion with the ETK able to drop it back to 66.5deg.

    The Reverb stealth with an easy remove connector is also welcome, the Ion being stealth routing.

    Can't wait now...
    Last edited by the_pilot; 04-15-2013 at 01:04 PM.
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  60. #60
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    This thread has got me thinking of a half-arsed 650B Ion 15.

    Same geo as the Helius AC 650, but with the Ion linkage. I have not tried it, but the numbers say the Ion linkage is a winner.
    Check my Site

  61. #61
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    You want full fat Warp ;-) no point messing with the skinny latte :-)
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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    You want full fat Warp ;-) no point messing with the skinny latte :-)
    Don't know, man... there are trails here where my Kiddie Wheeled AC and my 720mm bars barely get through the trees.
    Check my Site

  63. #63
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    haha, My 800mm Eastons might be a problem then, the wheels would be fine.
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  64. #64
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    In other news, apart from the Fox 34 29 150mm (Which I have currently( and the recently announced RS Pike, I know of another Manufacturer who can provide a 150mm 29er fork, with....36mm stantions and either carbon or aluminium lowers, tapered steerer and custom damping....I am in discussion with them at the moment. It is not publicly available yet but has been in development for over 1year after it was suggested to them last year.

    I will provide more information when they respond to some of my questions
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  65. #65
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    Wow,
    You guys have really thought this though. Wonder if you considered an eccentric BB? That would allow a fair bit off BB tuning in case of pedal strike on certain tracks. The payoff is the super low BB being possible when the ground tilts down. I know, complexity/reliability/weight. Hmm.
    Also wondering how stiff those RS 29 forks are, heard some complain the 34/29 is a bit noodly.
    N

  66. #66
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    I need to punch myself I think, I'm even adding up the weight of the Ion if I used a Manitou Dorado Pro, like young Whafe has on his AM. It has the right Axle to Crown measurement, but does run a touch long really at 175mm travel, and comes in at 2.9kg. Which is 700g heavier than the Fox and 1kg heavier than the RS Pike. I'll believe the Pike weight when someone weighs one mind. It would move the Ion to an estimated 30lb, which might be a touch heavy really for what I want..ticks all the stiffness/travel boxes though!
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  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    In other news, apart from the Fox 34 29 150mm (Which I have currently( and the recently announced RS Pike, I know of another Manufacturer who can provide a 150mm 29er fork, with....36mm stantions and either carbon or aluminium lowers, tapered steerer and custom damping....I am in discussion with them at the moment. It is not publicly available yet but has been in development for over 1year after it was suggested to them last year.

    I will provide more information when they respond to some of my questions
    It's DT Swiss, isn't it?

  68. #68
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    Nope German-A. I do have concerns over parts availability in the event of failure and also outright cost. Waiting to see what they come back with..

    The Pike is also a 150mm 29 fork not 160mm as it turns out. Sea Otter may turn up others you never know.
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Nope German-A. I do have concerns over parts availability in the event of failure and also outright cost. Waiting to see what they come back with...
    German-German vs. Swiss-German... same, same! Wonder if they have an ETA on it?

  70. #70
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    Staying with the Fox 34...Going to use a CCDB air at the back...Production started this week eek!
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  71. #71
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    Frame production has started.
    The design of the machining work and detail around the swingarm is complete and fabrication has begun.

    The Ion29 swing arm has a different angle and length to the normal Ion to allow for the tyre clearance of the big wheels and suck up a 2.4/2.5 in the rear.

    I'll post production pictures as they come through, but maybe keep a few back for a big flourish at the end.

    The plan is to visit Nicolai, pick up the frames and meet the guys who have made this project happen in early June.

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-img_0232.jpg
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  72. #72
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    dont like the look of yours. looks a bit off
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  73. #73
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    Pilot, you lucky sod, what a great project

    neil

  74. #74
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    Looks great guys, smoking hawt... Stay with the 150 or 160 mm, the Dorado was a fill in until the single crown forks arrived.... Be happy and dam annoyed at the same time if in fact BOS come witha 29er long travel, I pleaded with them to build one when I built the Monster Truck....

    Exciting to see this coming together.....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  75. #75
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    The BOS fork is xc, 80-120mm...sooo last year ;-0
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  76. #76
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    A little update:
    The custom swingarm designs in the pictures above have now been completed and this week has seen the preparation of the fixtures for the new BB design. They are now complete and machining of the new BB design is due to take place today, pictures to follow later.
    Once complete, the rest of the week will see tube selection and preparation for the fabrication of the mainframes. There are no special tubes or fixtures required for the mainframe as all the tubes/fixtures are used on various other models. It's a custom mix for this model because of the fork and angles and the stresses they induce but nothing complicated. So in theory the hard part will be finished this week.

    4 weeks to go...

    Here is a link to a video of Marcel, who has done much of the mechanical detail design on this project, out with the AC29 and an AC650b. It will be interesting for me, and the guys at Nicolai, to test this new Ion alongside these on their home trails...well that's my plan anyway :-)

    NICOLAI Maschinenbau GmbH
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  77. #77
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    A couple of pictures of the completed BB here. quite a few hours of machining to get to this. Looks great to my sad engineering eyes

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-image-2.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-image-3.jpg

    The front triangle is next.
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  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    A couple of pictures of the completed BB here. quite a few hours of machining to get to this. Looks great to my sad engineering eyes
    p0rn... pure p0rn...
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  79. #79
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    The frames have been fabricated now and checked prior to final weld seams being added. Hopefully some pictures to follow....
    I see some of the big manufactureres now showing longer travel, slack(er) than their previous offerings, 29s.

    I can't wait to build and ride this now..17th June....Lübbrechtsen...
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  80. #80
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    Dang that BB is a beautiful piece of kit...

    Looking forward to seeing this finished, then can hopefully order one.... Bring it...

    Stronger 150 mm forks, good to go hard now.... Could retire the Dorado Pro
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    Frames on the test bench for geo & QC before final seam welds...wheels not models own

    Down tube & top tube diameters looking 'built for the job' could be an optical illusion of the raw finish. I'm still holding out for sub 3.3kg :-)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-image.jpg  

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-image.jpg  

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  82. #82
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    I've not added any build specs for this yet but here is the plan.

    Forks: Initially Fox F34 Float 29 150mm but when the Pike is available (July 7th allegedly) it will replace the Fox. Mainly due to the weight difference. The Fox will most likely then get an Avy damper kit and get used on another bike.

    Headset will be a Hope E2 integral

    Shock: is a CCDB air LV to try and make best use of the linkage, also the reason for the Pike as the lighter pike offsets the heavier CCDBair compared to my current Fox RP23/F34 combo.

    Wheels: my trusty Enve Carbon AMs on CK hubs with CXRAY spokes.

    Drivetrain will be a mix at the moment. I do like Shimano kit but am tempted by XX1. i dont like the cost of such a disposable part as the mech but also the possible availability in the event of failure added to the fact CK aren't doing an XX1 free hub yet until testing is complete so sticking with my XX 11-36 cassette, which is lighter, and XT clutch with xtr shifter 1x10. Used with an XX1 170mm crank and 28T/30T chainring running and MRP micro guide but with only the top guide and taco bash.
    If XX1 gets to X0/X9 as suggested so more availability and lower cost mech maybe I'll change unless Shimano respond.
    What I run with is good and very light so little reason to change except for a lower gear.

    Seatpost will be a 150mm Reverb stealth but again not available yet so std Reverb for now.

    Saddle is my trusty Saevid 1.2 carbon at 76g ;-)

    Bars and stem are Easton 35 - 50mm stem with 800mm carbon bar.

    I think that's about it. So I won't be able to finish the final spec until mid July but it'll still be good until then :-)
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  83. #83
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    So latest news is fabrication both of the frames is fully complete. They have also been aligned. The last thing left to do is the preparation of the bearing surfaces, BB, seat tube and head tube. All still on schedule. I only I could get Sram to speed up availability of the 150mm stealth post..

    Only one dilemma left now. Graphics..almost decided.
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  84. #84
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    got my reverb stealth 150 here : ROCKSHOX 2013 REVERB STEALTH 150mm 31.6mm 430mm (Collier Gauche Matchmaker) + Kit de Purge - ALLTRICKS
    Can't wait to see the pictures of your bike the_pilot !
    Never enough singletracks !

  85. #85
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    Frames are now finished! Unfortunately for me I have had to delay my trip to Nicolai HQ from next week to mid July due to commitments at home. It could work out ok as we are waiting for the 150mm RS Pike to break ground here in the UK (and specifically in 51mm offset form) and also the 2014 150mm reverb with connectamajig. I'm not too fussed about the latter but its already on order..
    All the other parts are here now, CCDBair, MRP micro etc..Whatever happens with the forks I will be picking up the frames and testing at Nicolai in mid July. Not waiting any longer..

    Whilst a shame it would be nice to test it back to back over there in final form rather than interim.

    Despite the flood of new longer travel 29ers arriving on the scene in the last few months none quite offer what this Ion does, which. is great for both me and Nicolai I believe.
    Most are shorter travel than the Ion29, run shorter top tubes for their frame size/ST length (this is most definitely a 50mm or shorter stem and wide bar bike, one has too short a chain stay in my opinion to make it (Not sure I thought I'd ever say that about a29er) most aren't slack enough for me. The Ion has a suspension curve designed to work in the gnarr and provide great traction, but we also have a raised pivot in this Ion and it is optimised for a smaller 29er front ring between 28t-32t to give good initial pedalling response and compliance in the travel.
    Added to that all the features added to the new Ion16 are present, PM rear brake, 44/56 ZS head tube for a lower front, stealth routing, 142x12 axle, bigger bearing pivot and seals and the ETK.
    All in all, I'm sure it's going to be a great all round bike and a stunning descender....especially if I can bring it in under 29lbs :-) sorry for the wait guys..
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  86. #86
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    We are all waiting for this bike with intense anticipation.

    It is going to be a very refined weapon...... Quite some development from the AC 29er, then the AM 29er now Phils ION15 Custom, whole lotta yeah ha...

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

  87. #87
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    So the weight is in!

    Here are some pictures...50g more than my best case scenario so stoked about that.
    RS Pikes are on order and their theoretical weight offsets the CCDBair so estimated weight is still below 29lbs, maybe below 28.5lbs who can say! Really hoping they arrive before the time to pick up the frame.
    Very happy about the weight and how it looks. All the back looks very chunky compared to my current AC even the top and downtubes. It is a bike more intended for that but the fact the weight is so close makes it great.

    Nicolai also fabricated a third Ion 16 L (Ion29) for evaluation by them..here is some initial feedback from a couple of weeks riding from Marcel Lauxtermann, who is the mechanical engineer on the project but also races Enduro and does some testing.

    "I am riding the bike for about two weeks now and i have to say that bike is f***king fast.
    Never ridden such a fast bike no matter if its on single trails, roots or rocks.
    It is a size large (I am 195cm) with a 620mm TT and a 450mm reach. Running it with a 40mm stem (liking it with a long reach and a more upright position on the uphills). It is a big ship but it maneuvers pretty well through tight corners.
    Because of its long wheelbase it is pretty stable on longer jumps. On smaller jumps with short takeoffs it is difficult to judge the speed and to find the right timing but i got used to it already.
    The grip is amazing and you can maintain speed through corners pretty easy.


    I am trying to work out the right Decal scheme now...I'll maybe post some of my ideas..
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-image-1.jpg  

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-image-2.jpg  

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  88. #88
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    No comments on the weight! I am surprised...maybe I shouldn't be... Is it only me that's excited now..no thoughts on Nicolai testing...
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  89. #89
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    Just a word ....
    Stunning !!!

  90. #90
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    Kind words Cyril, We wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for the work Whafe and you did in the first place with Nicolai, definitely an inspiration.
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  91. #91
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    ;-)

    You inspire me also my new bike is order and he have quite the same plateform !

    I will make a new post quickly to introduce it ;-)

  92. #92
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    it looks stunning! the linkage, bb area, post mount rear, ion machining on the tt/st brace, eccentric angle adjuster etc. it's easily the most detailed and complete looking nicolai i've set eyes on.

    first time ive gone with a raw frame but im glad i did. would have been criminal to cover it in paint!

    cant wait
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

    flash bikes for flash gits

  93. #93
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    @Cyril_88 have you come back to 29er or staying with 650b??
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  94. #94
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    I smell sex n candy.......

    Looks Hawt pilot, yeah ha... It does look so refined... Am super stoked to see this whole project near completion.... The work has been awesome.....

    To have the ability to build a bike with these capabilities for around 28 lbs, got to be really pleased.....

    My raw Nicolai frame was very very cool in the flesh.... Got to have at lease one raw Nicolai frame in life, it is a must have
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  95. #95
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    650b ;-)

  96. #96
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    Only 2 weeks to go now. Just waiting a couple of parts, particularly the Pikes. All the graphics have been custom made by Hoshi and delivered to Nicolai. Marcel has been testing the Ion29 he has and has given more feedback. Just makes me want it sooner.

    There is a distinct possibility of a picturefest when it arrives!
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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Marcel has been testing the Ion29 he has and has given more feedback.
    ... and he said? :P

  98. #98
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    @StanleyJ, in no particular order here are some mini reviews, copyright @MarcelLauxterman at Nicolai!

    To put it into context they are also comparing the Ion29 with a proto 650b Ion that is the same dimensions (ETT), ST although not geometry, as the 29, in Enduro races to see which has more advantages, for them I should stress.

    For me that isn't too scientific as its down to the rider preferences, style, different tracks etc and of course what you want the bike for...just Enduro racing or also for all day riding etc...but its interesting nevertheless.

    Also interesting, if you're me anyway, is I am going to use the 46mm offset Pike now as I did lots of comparisons on the geometry, specifically focussed on trail and mechanical trail calculations between the 26" Ion16 and the Ion29 as specced for me (605mm ETT) The trail figures are within 1mm of each other at their respective HAs. So 66/65deg for the Ion16 26" and 67/66.5deg for the Ion29, the BB height is almost identical (29 has more drop) and the wheelbase is also also near identical...who'd have thought....I never made reference to the original Ion16 26" geo when we worked this 29er version up, coincidence that a key element in steering handling is so close based on my experience/preferences.

    So, to mini/short term initial ride impressions from Lubbrechtsen...

    "I am riding the bike for about two weeks now and i have to say that bike is f***king fast.
    Never ridden such a fast bike no matter if its on single trails, roots or rocks.
    It is a big ship but it maneuvers pretty well through tight corners. Because of its long wheelbase it is pretty stable on longer jumps. On smaller jumps with short takeoffs it is more difficult to judge the speed and to find the right timing but i got used to it already.
    The grip is amazing and you can maintain speed through corners pretty easy."

    "It is definitely the fastest bike i have ever ridden on local trails.
    On fast pedally stages it is so much faster than the 26" bikes i rode in
    the past it is unbelievable. Even in steep rocky terrain i had no
    problems at all.
    The bearings are still as good as new. The Pike and the XX1 parts are
    flawless as well."

    Had a couple of problems with the chain recently. That you don't need a
    chainguide with this system (XX1) is a marketing myth.
    We tried it a couple of weeks but the chain kept falling off the
    chainring. Even in the most unspectacular situations (like riding down a
    set of stairs).
    I am running an upper chainguide from E13 now and it solved the problem.


    I think its fair to say he likes it, and from the descriptions it's just what I wanted it to be. Lets hope so...
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    Ok, last post before actually picking up the frames from Nicolai on Wednesday.
    The forks are here, as is everything else for the build. The AC has been stripped ready for the roooooaaaaad trip!

    And of course I have weighed everything..not quite as light as I had hoped. The tyres are a bit heavier, the chain device is a bit heavier, (Feedback is its needed) CCDBair is heavier than my previous RP23, although I have kept the RP for long distance stuff, cassette a bit heavier, Reverb a bit heavier....but should be under 30lb anyway with no compromises in any way, everything is very tough. Roll on Wednesday...

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-slide1.jpg
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  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Ok, last post before actually picking up the frames from Nicolai on Wednesday.
    The forks are here, as is everything else for the build. The AC has been stripped ready for the roooooaaaaad trip!

    And of course I have weighed everything..not quite as light as I had hoped. The tyres are a bit heavier, the chain device is a bit heavier, (Feedback is its needed) CCDBair is heavier than my previous RP23, although I have kept the RP for long distance stuff, cassette a bit heavier, Reverb a bit heavier....but should be under 30lb anyway with no compromises in any way, everything is very tough. Roll on Wednesday...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Damnit chainline... that's just giving me the most serious case of new-bike/n+1 itch I've had in a long long time...

  101. #101
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    @Stanleyj It's been giving me new bike itch for 8months!
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  102. #102
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    I've been running my XX1 without a chainguide and even on the roughest trails I know I have had no problems... you won't be needing that guide Pilot as XX1 is brilliant*

    * When its new; I've no idea what it will be like when its been through the wringer.

  103. #103
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    Guys, XX1 does sound fab, but if you're less wealthy and perhaps just need the front security - perhaps try this TT [Thick Thin] chainring from BETD Goldtec - Goldtec TT Ring : Mountain bikes and componets by BETD Goldtec £43.99 ($66.86,€51.91)
    I am waiting for the 32 and I'll be running one on the AM with 11-36 Shimano gears. Saint Shifter (love it), and XTR + mech (Saint Mech doesn't really like the 36, with that short cage the chain gets a bit tight.)

  104. #104
    steep fast and loose :)
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    Never dropped a chain on my xx1 neither. Super quiet too.

  105. #105
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    Well, 3 days with the guys at Nicolai's factory, fantastic hospitality, really dedicated, enthusiastic, passionate people. I've had a great experience...and of course the Ion29 is finished...only just got into the house so pics and write up will have to wait at least a little while, but suffice to say its great! And their local trails are pretty dam gnarly!
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  106. #106
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    The eagle has landed..everything I'd hoped., rides brilliantly. Overriding initial sensation from the first ride in the gnarr of the Deister Forest...feels very stiff and light with fantastic grip and superb suspension feel, front and rear.
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  107. #107
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    Full write up to follow. Here is the full bike out front of the Nicolai workshops just before the first ride...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190327.jpg  

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  108. #108
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    That looks badass. Congrats!

  109. #109
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    Cheers..That is in 'low' so 66.5deg, 333mm BB height
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190412.jpg  

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  110. #110
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    Nice build...the raw and blue bits are sharp!! Looks like you have the RS Pike...would be interested in your thoughts on the fork on the ION...looking to put one on my ION16.

    All the best on your new steed. Ride, enjoy, and ride some more!!

    Cheers,
    "I Like the Cut of His Jib"

  111. #111
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    Wowser!

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    Very nice !!! I love it !!! ;-)

  113. #113
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    That is one neat looking 29" full-susser.

    But did anyone expect something else? I doubt so...

  114. #114
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    I need one of those in anodised Electric Blue... So is "Ion 29" the official name then, assuming Nicolai add this beastie to their range of bike?

  115. #115
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    @StanleyJ on the name I don't know, it's what I wanted it called. The Nicolai name for drawings was Ion16-L I liked Ion29, its not like it will be made in other suspension travels.

    I don't know if they will definitely add it to their standard line up, it depends a bit on the interest this thread, and wider publicity I will try to generate, through magazine articles and other threads I will post in the 29 forum here and on other outlets creates. I spoke to Marcel and Vincent about it before I left. However, as of now you can order one and they will make it for you, that I know, we have done the hard work. And it was Soooooo worth it!

    @jjkit first impressions of the Pike are very much like the reviews. I would liken it to a BOS deville but stiffer. Feels really good. Only time will tell on reliability, but in my experience RS forks have been reliable, especially solo air.
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  116. #116
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    Wow. Yumminess indeed
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  117. #117
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    So, Dipper and I both have our bikes now and are getting into setting them up. I thought I would add my initial ride impressions/review here and some tempting photo's of the bike, describe what I'm trying to achieve and then create a different thread dedicated to the riding and evolution of the bike (Bikes if others get ordered. I hope so cos its pretty great).

    My big impression in Germany was how stiff this thing was. i thought some of that could have been due to the fork being too hard and understanding the new linkage curve and shock. No, its just damn stiff!

    The drivetrain has been faultless so I won't dwell on that at all as have the wheels/tyres. The big things I (and Dipper) am grappling with are the fork (new Pike) rear shock CCDBair and how they work with this frame.

    Well it is undeniably bloody stiff. I think this is a combination of the shorter back end, slightly stronger tubing, 44/56 headtube, gussetting and seriously chunky BB area. I also have the 35 series bar stem and this adds to that feeling. Interesting when 'honking' out of the saddle on this bike its the first time I've noticed any flex in these drainpipe bars! I think that in itself is an indication of the frame rigidity. This translates to a very direct feel on the trail.

    The goal of increasing agility with this bike has really worked. It is just the right balance of fast side to side but with impeccable stability that I was after. Helped of course by a low BB and that stiffness. It really belies its slack head angle. Its a bit shorter than my previous AC as well as lower with a longer front centre. I'm also really pleased the plan to use a 150mm stealth post designed so the seat is slammed when dropped has worked. I love having the saddle completely out of the way.

    It pedals and climbs really well for me, I have left it in the low setting and have had no pedal strike problems (so far) with the 333mm BB 66.5 HA, I am running 170mm cranks though and am conscious of technique wih a BB this low. It can be raised along with the HA steepened of course.

    Getting out the saddle and pedal hard coming out of a corner you can really feel the back stiffen up and drive, a combination of frame stiffness, and optimized suspension setup around the single ring with a slightly raised lower pivot point. Bob has been minimal even with this CCDBair

    I think I should mention this rear shock. I went for a CCDBair on Marcels recommendation.It has a slightly less progressive curve compared to a std Ion 16 and lower leverage ratio, I knew the damping could be tuned to manage this at the end stroke but never gave the air can itself any further thought when ordering beyond thining a std can would also be a good thing as the linkage is less progressive.

    Damper settings were based on the extensive testing done by Nicolai on the 16. These turned out, on first impression, to be largely good, albeit slightly counter intuitive if others were to be believed. I needed to tweak the LSC up to prevent to much bob but other than that I just rode it, set at 28% sag.

    I have been getting about 70-80% travel. with my Helius I was always trying to prevent blowing through, I seem to have the opposite here! The rear feels very very firm.

    Up front, the Pike, again feels very stiff. I initially I had it way too hard and for some reason it was only giving 140mm travel unloaded. A few emails back and forth to Sram and some fiddling fixed that. but I still had it too hard based on the listed pressures. I've backed off, but I still think its too firm, again getting 70% travel or so on trails I would expect to get nearer to 90% on, I clearly need to back off more pressure. They sit up nicely so far, but I guess they would. (We shall see when the pressure is off so to speak!) but they still track very well indeed.

    After a couple of rides I still felt the back was just too hard especially over successive, big square edged hits. As well as the front. Having backed off the HSC and HSR on the CCDBair, despite there being very little on, It still feel its too hard.

    Much discussion with Dipper later after his thrashing with the CCDBair and some research, I have concluded the std highflow air can is just too small for this linkage. I was clearly wrong abut the std can. I think I do need to use the same XV rear can as Nicolai did in their tests. The curve may not be quite 'as' progressive but it still is clearly too progressive for the small volume can. The plan is to fit an XV can and tune back with volume spacers if appropriate (Which it will be based on the experience gained to date) and then add HSC and HSR to suit. I think this will resolve the too hard feeling at the back. I'm pretty sure it needs to be somewhere between the XV can and the std can.

    On the front. the plan is to back off the pressure and if it becomes too soft to bump up progression using the token spacers, its plenty tuneable.
    A full day of suspension testing is in the works.

    Overall, whilst not perfect yet, it has huge potential, I really like its direct feel now and its composure and accuracy will only get better with better tracking suspension. It already has really good grip and you can just smash it down stuff. I love its agility/stability balance and am super happy how it feels in the low setting. I really like how it launches out of corners. I don't think an XV can will change that as its partly a function of the design not just the shock and I am confident we can tune the pedaling to be a good balance with the LSC/LSR and volume spacers.

    The build quality is fantastic as you would expect with lots of great details, as is clearly the case with the 16 too, as well as the legendary welding. I am sure you can see that in the pics.


    So huge thanks to Nicolai. Also big thans to Hoshi who made the decals a reality. Not cheap but they look great and are unique. A pity it took me 3 hours to fit them! The bike It will find its way into some magazines and hopefully inspire some others to get into this great bike brand, maybe with the 29, maybe the 650, maybe 26, but they will all be damn happy with their purchase.. In the meantime I'll start uploading pictures, I make no apologies for the gratuitous pictures! Stoked with this bike...more ride impressions after the testing...
    Last edited by the_pilot; 08-05-2013 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Spelling!
    Aka chainline...

  118. #118
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    Pictures of the factory entrance, design office, assembly room and lovely cnc parts drawers (which are so deep you wouldn't believe and full of shiny things!)
    Courtyard
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190249.jpg

    Ion29 in front of some famous doors, well to us
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190250.jpg

    The entrance
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190254.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190255.jpg

    Assembly rooms
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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190257.jpg

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    Special Machine shop..
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190261.jpg

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    Industrial bannister made from chainstays...
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190264.jpg

    Design
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190267.jpg

    Sales
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190268.jpg

    Factory machines build...

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190270.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190272.jpg

    Deepest drawers full of shiny parts ever
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190274.jpg

    Design office

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190275.jpg
    Aka chainline...

  119. #119
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    Volker, service guru
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190276.jpg

    Marcel checking out the ride
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190277.jpg

    Car park test
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190278.jpg

    Quick discussion
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190280.jpg

    Machine shop and raw material
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190281.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190282.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190284.jpg

    Tubes & fabricated parts
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190286.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190289.jpg

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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190293.jpg

    Custom full suss tandam, yes!
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190295.jpg

    Welding and fab
    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190296.jpg

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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190302.jpg
    Aka chainline...

  120. #120
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    Fabbed parts, heat treatment and alignment/checking.

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190310.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190311.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190314.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190316.jpg

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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190320.jpg

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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190325.jpg
    Aka chainline...

  121. #121
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    Not many companies where the back of the office, outside photo studio is a nice place to relax and chat for employees...great working atmosphere at Nicolai.

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190304.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190306.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190309.jpg
    Aka chainline...

  122. #122
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    And of course the bike..

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190327.jpg

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190328.jpg

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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190370.jpg
    Aka chainline...

  123. #123
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    Problems with uploads!
    Last edited by the_pilot; 08-29-2013 at 02:59 PM.
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  124. #124
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    finally, one of my favourites, don't ask me why, cos I don't know!

    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-p7190444.jpg

    That's all, I've many more memories, and now feel an even deeper affection for the brand and the people who work there. It was fantastic to meet the people that made this happen from the computer screen all the way through the tube cutting, mitering, cnc machining, welding fabrication and finishing and to sense their passion for the work and products. That really came through for me the passion for the products.

    Now its time to get the suspension dialed, turn up the speed dial to 11 and affix the permanent grin Ion29 baby...
    Aka chainline...

  125. #125
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    That was ace

  126. #126
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    ace indeed
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  127. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    .
    So, why am I not seeing the Photo's???

  128. #128
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    Hey Simplemind. I don't know what's going on. I couldn't post any photo's yesterday and all of the photo's seem to have disappeared. They were uploaded from the computer not linked so I don't get it!

    I can upload the photo's they just don't show. They were all here!
    Aka chainline...

  129. #129
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    It appears all my photos have gone! really can't explain why.

    Tried to upload them again. They attach to the post but no joy in display.
    Aka chainline...

  130. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    It appears all my photos have gone! really can't explain why.

    Tried to upload them again. They attach to the post but no joy in display.
    That sucks man. Would have loved to see that beast
    Nicolai Helius AFR frame size L for sale.

  131. #131
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    I was wondering Pilot (and also disappointed not to see them).

  132. #132
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    I think I saw the bike at the Eurobike 2013 Nicolai booth, is that possible?











    Last edited by zonoskar; 08-29-2013 at 12:54 PM.

  133. #133
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    Hi Zonoskar,

    It's not my bike, but it was announced it will be a production bike at Eurobike. It's very close to the bike I developed with Dipper/Nicolai. The production bike is a little steeper than mine with slightly shorter chain stays and steeper seat tube. Both of which we discounted for all sorts of reasons documented in this thread...

    I'll try and upload these photos again!
    Aka chainline...

  134. #134
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    Still wish they would do a Icon20 with a 29er. Looks they they set doing the tweener size now.

  135. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Hi Zonoskar,

    It's not my bike, but it was announced it will be a production bike at Eurobike. It's very close to the bike I developed with Dipper/Nicolai. The production bike is a little steeper than mine with slightly shorter chain stays and steeper seat tube. Both of which we discounted for all sorts of reasons documented in this thread...

    I'll try and upload these photos again!
    What are the numerical differences then? The production bike has:

    Head angle: 67.5° (high)/67° (low)
    Seat angle: 75° (high)/74.5° (low)
    Chainstay: 440mm

    And what's with the fork offset being a non-G2 46mm? Noticed this in the prototype drawings that are no longer visible here. With a 51mm offset fork, the head angle would want to be ~0.7° slacker to get the same trail (98mm).

  136. #136
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    Ah, final changes I didn't get to sort out..
    My angles are below so the Production bike is 0.5deg steeper head angle , just under 10mm shorter chainstay, 0.5deg steeper Seat tube, 5mm shorter TT.

    Mine
    Head Angle 67 High/66.5 Low
    Seat Angle 74.5 High/74 Low
    Chainstay 450mm

    In reality I believe the CS is slightly longer than 440mm on the production bike. Marcel had 440mm stays and felt with a slack head angle was almost too easy to manual/flip up.

    Finally I decided to use a 46mm Offset fork with the Pike, this works really really well. This decision was made after alot of calcs which concluded the Ion16 and Ion29 had trail within 1mm of each other and in fact were very very close on wheelbase too due to the 1deg slacker angle of the Ion16.

    The decision to change the production bikes was based on the main market being Germany and the Germans preferring a steeper/shorter bike due to their trails being wooded and very tight in general with little flow.

    Us English and the French particularly apparently like it slack and long! I have no evidence for American tastes!

    I would not want a seat tube any steeper. I prefer my Ion in Low, its fantastic all round and I can really tell even the 0.5 deg steeper Seat Tube compared to 74 in pedalling and climbing, too much of a tri position on the bike. So I am very glad I discounted the steeper tube, similarly with the chainstay, mine manuals great and turns great too particularly in Low but climbs really well. Dipper has been setting PB's on the climbs on his. AS discussed previously I believe it is possible to make the Chain stays too short relative to the overall length (so the riders relative position on the bike) at which point you compromise other aspects of riding like the climbing, for me 450mm is spot on with a low BB (both BBs are low on the Ion but obviously 333mm is LOW. with 170mm cranks I have had no pedal strike problems though.

    Its why when I see the likes of the BMC/Specialized Seat angles and Chainstay I know I would not like those bikes as an allrounder. For standing up descending fun, no doubt, although I suspect its incremental as they are also steeper, but there is more to riding than that and a lot of it involves pedaling with Enduro style riding as they are finding out in the World Series :-)
    Aka chainline...

  137. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post

    Its why when I see the likes of the BMC/Specialized Seat angles and Chainstay I know I would not like those bikes as an allrounder. For standing up descending fun, no doubt, although I suspect its incremental as they are also steeper, but there is more to riding than that and a lot of it involves pedaling with Enduro style riding as they are finding out in the World Series :-)
    Not sure this makes sense. What other bikes should we make longer? The seat angle of the spec is 75 degrees, like your bike, but it's also not so rear-happy that it manuals just because you sat on the bike, those assertions seem a little ridiculous. The 29er wheels and forces normally encountered help to negate that (weight located further from the center of mass). The idea of the enduro was to insert 29" wheels into an all-mountain bike whilst changing as little as possible with the geometry, despite the massive design considerations (as an example, the seat-tube curves sideways a bit). It was not to take a 29er trail-bike and give it more travel. Sure, you can ride it all day, I've done numerous times by now, but it's also not a 4" travel 29er either (not sure why those need 18" stays either though). I've done everything from full-on resort DHing whilst flying over doubles to level rolling trails, and everything in between. No problems there, the bike does what it intended. I'm pretty sure they did their homework here and it wasn't just cobbled together. Although I wouldn't argue about 435mm stays, 440 gets to be needlessly long. I can't think of why I'd want the rear end longer. 29ers are inherently more stable, so you don't need the stability like the old 1st and 2nd generation DH bikes that came with 457-470mm chainstays, which was probably just accepted due to full suspension geometry problems.

    The Specialized is shorter, higher
    Ok, 5mm higher BB height. Steeper than 67 it may not be for 2014, given the pike IS higher than the old 150 fox, despite a lower axle-to-crown for a given amount of travel.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  138. #138
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    Jayem,

    my bike has a 74deg seat angle NOT a 75. i rejected proposal to go to 75 to get even more travel as there is a big difference in feel even between 74 and 74.5 deg.
    My bike is also 66.3 deg head angle with the Pike.

    I didn't say they were rubbish. The designer himself of the Specialised
    said they wanted to build a 26" bike with 29" wheels for the rollover. They wanted the 'fun' of a 26" bike, easier to manual and pop. He said is not a great climber, but wasn't built for that, winch up and plummet down...I have no problem with that. I have had two custom 29ers with chain stays that short and almost the same relative seating position and you need to be over the front to climb steep stuff, no choice, (its physics) running a longer stem helps. I also don't like the tri seating position, pedalling is less comfortable...for me. For others that may be a compromise worth making, that was my point.

    I can tell a big difference between the 66.3/74 and the 66.8/74.5 settings on the bike, the latter feeling noticeably taller and direction changes from big lean angles are slower. In tighter tech, its a good compromise, but I much prefer the low setting on fast rougher trails....for me, I also prefer the pedalling on the low setting, as expected from my previous experiences. The high is good, I just prefer low.

    I have tried to be really careful and come at this from my perspective as this bike design was based on my experiences and preferences over 4 years of having custom 29ers and racing in events like Trans Provence and the SuperEnduro series in Italy so I had a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve for my riding.

    The bike needed to take 2.4 Ardent/2.5 minion on a 30mm wide rim and have room to spar to shed British mud without a problem? As discussed in this thread it was another key consideration for this bike when deciding on rear CS length. We Could have made the CSs shorter easily but that brout its own compromises, its all a balance and not not just a function of travel. An example is I ride all year in the UK in some pretty disgusting conditions, the kind that build up inches of mud over the rear swing arm...many companies do not consider the conditions we contend with here in the UK, its been a longtime complaint of riders here.
    Aka chainline...

  139. #139
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    Well, if your're riding with 150-160mm you have to be over the front no matter what, it's physics. The Nicolai (the bike you promote) has about the same seat angle, your one-off is slightly different. It's not a "winch up" bike, as you claim, although I guess we could make the claim the ion is as nimble as a Mack truck, with those chainstays and 66 HA. Course that would be a little ridiculous, like the winch claim.

    Sounds like England is like Alaska...lots of mud and rain. Yep, there's gobs of clearance back there on the enduro
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  140. #140
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    Jayem, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree! To say any one individual geometry component defines a bike would be simplifying too much. But one thing is for sure, I had a different goal in designing the Ion than Spesh did (If the video presented bu Specialized is to be believed anyway) with the Enduro. The fact we came up with a different answer should not be a surprise. do I feel like my bike handles like a Mack truck no.have I had a Carbon S Works Enduro, yes. Did Nico vouillioz feel that way when rocking a 63 HA on his trail bike in an Enduro race probably not with his riding style, no.
    This isn't a my bike is better than your bike thread. it's the documentation of a journey I, and a few others went on, to get a bike built that works for us, just how we wanted it based on our experience. You clearly have a different view to which you are entitled.
    Aka chainline...

  141. #141
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    i'd like to try shorter chain stays to see what like but ive no complaints about the agility of the ion15 with 450mm c/stays. its better than many 26ers ive ridden. most of that is down to the low bb.

    the seat tube angle is a potential issue for me. like phil im riding mine in low all the time. id like to run it in high for more xc based stuff as it gives a more sat on rather than sat in riding position. however the seat angle is a bit too steep. it takes too much load off the hamstrings and puts my knees too far over the pedals for my liking. would be ok with a layback post but thats not an option with the reverb. even in low im running my saddle pretty far back on the rails.

    i'm off out on a long run today and am going to try the high position again. ive a 72km enduro race in a couple of weeks and ideally id run it in high for that but i suspect it'll take too much out of the quads. we'll see
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  142. #142
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    well after 3.5 hours with in high position all i can say is, im fine and the world didnt end! feels slightly odd at first after running in low for so long but after a while i forgot about it. it possibly is a slightly better option for xc as the position feels more 'racy' but really i doubt it makes any difference to speed or endurance. the st angle in high is definitely right on my comfort limit as i have the saddle all the way back in the rails. the biggest change is in handling and agility with the 7mm rise in bb height.
    www.gravity-sports.co.uk

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  143. #143
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    yay the pictures are back...

    An update..had some fantastic rides on it so far. So have quite a few others and most have been blow away by it.

    There will be a Custom bikes feature in WhatMountainBike in January, Issue 157. featuring the bike and the story. We haven't done the photo shoot yet, but we did do a non scientific, old fashioned test...We took a trip to BikeParkWales where the TechEditor who is a pretty handy rider joined us for a day..we did a few trails, me following him on the Ion, I was very happy as I was keeping up, not used to that, he is a much quicker rider than I...then we swopped bikes and took the Ion for the rest of the day. I managed to follow him for about 30yrds before he was out of sight...hmmm. At the bottom of the trail, his huge grin gave it away...the test conclusion was it's a bike and he really liked it..the ease with which he was able to wheelie it and throw it about was a real surprise and the corner entry and exit speed was pretty much like nothing else. :-)

    For me, its great, I like it in low the most, high is more XC and good for tighter tech, but not measurably so. The biggest advantage to high is raising the BB where technical climbing is required. You can really tell the difference in height of the bike even though its only 7-8mm. You can tell the steering angle change too, is does speed the steering up but stability, at the speeds I travel is not noticeably different. The feel changes from a more body oriented turn in and pick up to one driven from the bars.

    So..Its now a production bike as you have all sen with subtle difference to mine and Dippers, mainly due to target market..

    and now the 2.5 minion AND high roller 2 are available...whaaaaaaa
    Aka chainline...

  144. #144
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    Not sure if I mentioned this before... if the DE production bike has 10mm shorter stays at the expense of not being able to fit quite as fat rubber... I noticed the rear OLD is still 135mm (as in 142mm X12) coupled with a 73mm BB. Could one get the best of both worlds using a 83mm BB and 150mm OLD (as in 157mm X12)? Plus the DH single-ring cranks will be available in lengths less than 170mm so the low BB would be less of an issue. Q-factor wouldn't be as good though...

  145. #145
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    I think that would get you even fatter rubber Stanly! but it's the length/mud clearance/ST clearance that's the issue.

    I don't think the DE version has quite 440mm stays, marvel suggested they were a touch longer, but they have revised some welded parts to allow a bit more room. Much comes from the fact they went to 75deg SA. That was too mic for me, too steep for an all day bike. 74 is optimum in my eyes, 74.5 I can live with. This has shown itself to be the case in use, for me anyway and I think Dipper agrees.
    I honestly think where we have the chainstays on this version is the right compromise for overall ability, up and down.
    Aka chainline...

  146. #146
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    Stanleyj I Was exchanging emails with Marcel at Nicolai recently and discussing rear chain stays. i was proposing a way to shorten the stays but keep tyre/mud clearance. it turns out thats just what they have done. The production swingarm main pivot arms have been revised to bring the stays further 'under' so to speak. This has allowed a 7mm reduction in length whilst retaining tyre clearance. The new stays come in at a hair over 440mm now.

    I won't be retrofitting as I'm happy as is, with it being a bit slacker and longer relative to frame size. The balance is about right for me.

    Production bike looks damn good now. I'd have no hesitation in recommending it. It needs more publicity....

    There will be a feature on custom bikes in WhatMountainBike issue 157 in Jan with the Ion29 in there...hopefully a bit more good publicity for our German friends..
    Aka chainline...

  147. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Stanleyj I Was exchanging emails with Marcel at Nicolai recently and discussing rear chain stays. i was proposing a way to shorten the stays but keep tyre/mud clearance. it turns out thats just what they have done. The production swingarm main pivot arms have been revised to bring the stays further 'under' so to speak. This has allowed a 7mm reduction in length whilst retaining tyre clearance. The new stays come in at a hair over 440mm now.

    I won't be retrofitting as I'm happy as is, with it being a bit slacker and longer relative to frame size. The balance is about right for me.

    Production bike looks damn good now. I'd have no hesitation in recommending it. It needs more publicity....

    There will be a feature on custom bikes in WhatMountainBike issue 157 in Jan with the Ion29 in there...hopefully a bit more good publicity for our German friends..
    Hehehe. Having a serious bouncy-both-ends long-travel 29er itch that needs scratching and keep coming back to the ION15... dagnammit!

    Though I think I'll have to be greedy, have my cake and eat it with a tight German back-end (CS length) with a slack English front (head angle)... *boom boom*

    Also can't quite figure out why the geo- adjust chip on the ION15 changes by 0.5deg, where as on the ION16 (26er and 650b) change by 1deg? Eye-balling it from photos... the eccentricnesseses(!) looks the same...

  148. #148
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    Hey Stanleyj, I agree if I was ordering now, I would Kick the head angle back out to 66.5 OR why not just NOT go custom, save the cash and fit a 160mm Pike which brings the angles back to 66.5/67 anyway (like mine and its just right) BUT also crucially for me brings the seat angle to 74/74.5 the same as mine. My reservation with production is I prefer the slightly slacker seat angle for pedalling reasons. It only lifts the BB by 2.7mm so basically all good for ripping in Low.
    Aka chainline...

  149. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Hey Stanleyj, I agree if I was ordering now, I would Kick the head angle back out to 66.5 OR why not just NOT go custom, save the cash and fit a 160mm Pike which brings the angles back to 66.5/67 anyway (like mine and its just right) BUT also crucially for me brings the seat angle to 74/74.5 the same as mine. My reservation with production is I prefer the slightly slacker seat angle for pedalling reasons. It only lifts the BB by 2.7mm so basically all good for ripping in Low.
    A cursory Googling does indeed show that a Pike 160mm 29er is available... serves me right for always looking on the SRAM website where it still lists the 29er Pike as 140mm & 150mm only. A 160mm travel 29er just sounds dangerous...ly good.

  150. #150
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    I couldn't get one when designing, building and they are still hard to get hold of, Jan I think we are told now in UK.

    You can change the air shaft on the 150mm to 160mm and back again. Vie asked dipper to get me a 160mm air shaft but mine is more set up for the 150mm. Basically the production bike is crying out for the 160mm!
    Aka chainline...

  151. #151
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    Hey Pilot
    Sounds like a fab bike
    Could you confirm something for me please
    Is that What Mountainbike issue actually Jan or is it Feb please,
    according to t'internet Feb is issue 157
    There isnt PDF of the article anywhere us there?
    Thanks
    Neil

  152. #152
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    Think it's Feb. I got the issue off t' interweb which is possible for approx £3 I think.

    Let me look what I have..
    Aka chainline...

  153. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_pilot View Post
    Think it's Feb. I got the issue off t' interweb which is possible for approx £3 I think.

    Let me look what I have..
    Thanks, yes, Feb. downloaded it and youre in there. They seem to approve. Short but swet, nice pics. Very smart bike.
    Would have been great to hear their opinion after testing too.
    Definitely tempted. Will have to save up.
    N

  154. #154
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    Jon Woodhouse's opinion at BikeparkWales was 'bloody hell that's fast and like no 29er I've ridden. Let me know if you ever sell it!' I couldn't catch him that's for sure..
    Aka chainline...

  155. #155
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  156. #156
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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail - words & pictures

    Nice. Stealth bomber.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Aka chainline...

  157. #157
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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail - words & pictures

    Sick as, that black weapon is hawt.....


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  158. #158
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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail - words & pictures

    Bit of air on the_pilot's last frame, am loving it....




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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail  - words & pictures-imageuploadedbytapatalkhd1402399882.621430.jpg  

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

  159. #159
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    Ion15 29 Uncut - Idea, Design, Manufacture to trail - words & pictures

    Whafe, awesomeness incorporated. Seeing all these Ion15s around and people enjoying how they ride makes me so happy.
    I'm reet chuffed your pleased with it.


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    Aka chainline...

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