Two New Nicolais – 4X and 29er

by Chipps 13

Marcus and Tim recently caught up with Nicolai marketing man, Vincent Stoyhe, to talk about two hot new bikes from the German über engineers.

First up is the Ion 14, an adapatable 4X bike, that will replace the historic UFO DS in their line-up. Vincent said that “Our Gates Nicolai race team 4 x Riders, David Graf and Quentin Derbier, asked us to design a reliable and durable full suspension 4X frame that was super stiff yet could compete at the highest level on the new breed of harder and larger 4X tracks. We decided to take a good working kinematic system from the ION ST and build it down to a lower travel.”

What bike? We're interested in hearing more about that bonkers bike stand

But, if you think it’s just a 4X frame, then think again. Kalle Nicolai and his team are renowned for their bikes offering the ability to take on more than one application, and the Ion 14 is no exception. In the 4X setting, it can be run with a 100mm fork and 200x51mm stroke shock that allows for 106-114mm of rear travel. Vincent explains that “in this setting, it is more progressive and designed just to help through the hard bumps, whilst maintaining a super stiff feel whilst pedalling.”

What's German for 'NeeeeeOWWWW!'?


It can also be used for bike park slopestyle, or in UK speak for messing about down your local woods. “In this setup it can be ridden with a 140mm fork and a 200x57mm stroke shock, releasing 117 or 126mm of rear wheel travel.”

In general, therefore, the Ion 14 can be built up to either be a race or fun bike. “But, as Vincent says, “the seat angle is more slack than on a trail bike, so it’s not built for all day adventures, for that you would be better looking at the Helius range for that.”

Speaking of which, after taking a few requests for custom big wheeled versions of the Helius AC, Nicolai also now make a production version. Built around a 120mm fork and adjustable rear shock range between 100-120mm, Nicolai feel that it “is a perfect stable mate for the already popular 26 inch version, intended for quick work on singletrack and all day excursions.”

As always, both frames will be available in all shades of the colour spectrum, with custom tweaking for an additional cost.

ION 14 tech sheet link here
Helius AC 29 spec sheet link here

Comments (13)

  1. Gravity Sports up my way has a demo of the 29er AC… which I must borrow some time.

  2. yawn………….more pedal strike ?

  3. You’re the only person I’ve ever heard constantly complaining about pedal strikes. Sounds like a technique issue rather than a bike one.

  4. To be fair to TLR it has now become something of a standing joke on his part. But to be fair to everyone else, the joke has worn as thin as the gap between his pedals and the ground.

  5. More pedal strike talk?? Yawn…

  6. I tried an AC 29er a few weeks ago and just didn’t gel with it, however, it was my first time riding a big wheeler so I maybe just need more time to adjust.

    TLR – I’ve spent quite a bit of time on messiah’s AM and not once did I suffer pedal strike. something must be wrong with the set up of your shock.

  7. I’ve had the following Nicolais:
    2x helius FR
    1x helius CC
    1x helius ST
    And I have never suffered from pedal strike. I even short-shocked the ST from 222mm e-e to 215mm e-e, which lowered the BB height to about 35mm, and still didn’t have an issue.This is definitely a technique thang.

  8. Do you mean 35cm? 🙂

  9. ooh that 29er could tempt me into the world of FS again

  10. Yes (DOH!), because at 35mm I think I would get pedal strike too.

  11. That’s the 1st 29er that I look at & think: Well done, I want one.

  12. Oooh the tech sheet sold it for me. It is now my life’s ambition to own one of those ION 14 frames. Completely pointless and utterly wonderful.

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