by Andi Sykes
December 29, 2016
As the first 29er mountain bike from NS, just how well does this modern steel hardtail perform? Andi fills us in on how he is getting on with the NS Eccentric Cromo with a mid-ride review.
I have a soft spot for steel hardtails. In fact, steel is my sole material of choice when it comes to bikes without rear suspension. So when I was asked if I wanted to review the latest hardcore hardtail from Polish brand NS, it really was a no-brainer.
The NS Eccentric family is made up of three hardtails. Two of them are alloy bikes, while the third is a skinny tubed steel offering produced from Tange Eccentric tubing no less (retro bike lovers are now nodding in appreciation).
To further differentiate the Cromo from its alloy brothers, this particular NS also comes with larger 29in wheels. But rather interestingly, it’s adorned with a 27.5+ fork, and it also features Boost hubs. I’ve not tried it yet, but it should be possible to run 27.5+ wheels and tyres on the Cromo.
Now, for those of you who still think 29ers are lightweight whippets only good for winning XC races on, there are more and more bikes hitting the market right now that will seriously change the way you look at big wheelers. In the case of the NS Eccentric Cromo, prepare to have your eyes opened. This thing corners like it’s already learned the trail, and is possibly one of the most playful hardtails I have ridden in a while. By playful, I mean it not only wants to hop and jump over every feature on the trail, it actually creates its own features. Despite it holding a bit more weight in the steel frame, it actually enjoys sprinting (even uphill) and it really does push you to ride things you might have forgotten a hardtail is capable of.
The skinny steel tubing and a short 420mm rear centre helps to give the NS Eccentric Cromo that playful feel, but we can’t ignore the fact that NS have done the numbers pretty well too. The medium size frame comes with a roomy 617mm top tube (effective), with a 74° seat angle and slack 65° head tube (with the stock 140mm travel fork). While the NS is playful on the pump track and jumps, it’s also pretty stable at speed too thanks to a 1179mm wheelbase for the medium frame.
Frame details also include a bolt through rear axle and routing for a stealth dropper post, although the bike comes out of the box with a standard Kalloy post.
In honesty, the lack of dropper post on a bike that retails at €1799 did come as a bit of a surprise, especially when the majority of finishing kit comes from the NS parts bin (the wheels, hubs, stem, bars are all NS branded). I was also a little sceptical with the choice of Manitou Machete fork (the last Manitou forks I used simply didn’t work) but so far they’ve worked really well, not quite as nice and sturdy as a Pike but pretty close really.
The rest of the kit comes from SRAM for the 1×11 NX groupset and the brakes. Maxxis has supplied skinwall Ardent 29 x 2.25in tyres, and SDG has dropped in a Circuit MTN Saddle.
I’ve still got to put a few more miles on the NS Bikes Eccentric Cromo and I do have a few niggles here and there, but I’ll address all of that in my final full review coming in a few weeks time.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about the bike feel free to leave a comment below.