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.”
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.”
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.”