by Mark Alker
July 23, 2010
Mark finally gets his long termer test bike out of the door
Nicolai Helius AC
Price: £1,700 – Frame only
Here she is. It’s taken an age to get it built for one administrative reason or another but today I indexed the gears and gave it a car park spin. Tomorrow the hills and all the tweakery that will be done.
I’ve gone for a reasonably mainstream build and I wanted a general trail bike with a slant towards some steeper, technical descents. So we have Fox Talas 32 forks so I can drop the front for the longer climbs. I’ve selected the longest travel setting for the shock mounting – I’ll rely on the platform ability of the shock to keep things calm on the ups rather than limit the bob by limiting the travel – just doesn’t feel right to me to have a bike with lots of travel and then set it up with less. There’s DT Swiss Tricon wheels with a Maxle rear and a 15mm bolt-thru front, so I’m expecting full on Germanic stiffness throughout… as it were.
The Helius is a true Four Bar suspension bike, which is going to be interesting as it turns out that the majority of my long term full suspension experience has been on single pivot bikes. Nothing deliberate – just the way it’s gone really.
Groupset is pretty much XT all the way. There’s a variation in the chainset in that I’ve gone for a Gusset BB instead for no other reason than for a bit of variation and curiosity. It does have company with a Gusset 70mm stem though. The groupset is 10 speed. I tested the SLX 10 speed on a Genesis Altitude earlier this year and I loved it. Now I’ll get to see how better the XT system is and also to test out the claim that 10speed gets the most out of your rear suspension.
I have a rather wide set of carbon bars at 720mm and I suspect that may be where the first change comes, but we’ll see. I want a bike that will handle technical DH well. It’s quite short, with a 21.5inch top tube length, but I like short bikes.
So there it is. I have a month to get it tweaked and poked before I take it to Morzine for my annual week of uplifted laziness. I’ll report on the ride as soon as I’ve done some beyond the car park.
Some other numbers for you..
Top tube length is 21.5 inches
BB Height is 13.75 inches