a Weekend Warrior
from St.George, UT, USA
Date Reviewed: September 16, 2007
Strengths: Extremely well built, classic German attention to detail. When aboard this bike the words that immediately comes to mind are stiffness and stability, it's very confidence inspiring for a bike to feel that way when you weigh nearly 250 lbs geared up. It's hard to pin how the suspension feels, it's not fluffy or firm but a sublime medium that always feel just right. I don't do the lift ticket scene, I pedal to the top and this bike pedals very well though you can feel the weight beneath you. The one last thing that has really stood out so far is the balance.....it's perfectly centered and low, this bike rides like a stealth bomber.
Weaknesses: Remember how I said the bike is extremely well built, well that make her a stout little gal but on a free ride rig it's to be expected. The low bottom bracket (low as opposed to other long travel bikes) means you have to watch your pedals over obstacles.
I've owned and ridden quite a few different rigs, My journey to the perfect bike started this spring when I decided to get a long travel ride and since then I've owned/ridden many bikes always thinking this next one will be the one. Well about ten thousand dollars spent and recouped later I've found the one. This bike doesn't ride like anything I've ever tried, in fact at the risk of sounding like a rich jerk I'd say the closest thing I've ever ridden on, or in, is my Mercedes! The bike is just so dang substantial and stable, which equals trust and confience in your's and the bike's abilities! The balance is such that with very litte fore or aft body language you can be climbing or descending some wicked steep stuff. I know a lot of people have had concerns with parts availability and such but Matt over at Nicolai USA is great and can patiently handle loads of ridiculous inquiries. I researched this more than when I bought my car! Thanks Matt. This bike is definitely not for everyone but my search is over, and I've got my "ONE" bike (I still roll the gemini 900, and Turner XCE. I couldn't find a reason to get rid of them, also great bikes).
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Gemini 900, Maverick ML8, Gary Fisher Super Caliber 29, Turner Sultan, Turner XCE, Cannondale Super V 1000.
Bike Setup: Medium frame with a Romic rear coilover ( I'm 5'11', and it's a slightly compact and upright fit which is good for the bike's application ) 66 Light, X7 shifters, X9 rear der., LX front der., Hayes 9, Thomson seatpost and stem, FSA freeride bars, Truvativ holzefeller cranks, Sun Rhyno Lite's with Ringle hubs.
a Weekend Warrior
from London, UK
Date Reviewed: July 27, 2005
Strengths: This is a review for the 2005 Nicolai Helius ST.
Geometry designed around 888 forks (no more slack tanking) giving a good 66.7 degree head angle. Super Stiff - not tried anything as stiff. Lots of options available. 4 bar & pedal efficient placing of pivot. Quality of build - absolutely peerless, very high attention to detail. Just look at the welding and the neat cable runs. Very strong supportfrom the UK importer Mike who was willing to answer my constant inane questions. Rohloff hub compatible - I run mine with a traditional drive train though. Highly adjustable. Several different travel settings as well as abilty to take different shock lengths & tune head angle. Bottomless travel. Option of a demountable tower to allow for a front mech (although it looks minging with it so I went without & run a chain guide).
Weaknesses: Waiting time - each one is built to order so expect a lead time of 10 weeks. Expensive - although when you get it and see the quality you know why. Pivot point - low point means not as supple as say a 222 as it is more of a freerider than a DH, although can be used very competently for DH. If you ride a lot where you have to carry your bike this will be a problem as you can't really get a hold along the top tube due to shock placement.
Rides VERY sweetly, geometry spot on for me (6' & medium). really nice head angle with 888s on. I've not got on immediately as well with any bike as this (although the VPFree I tried did feel a perfect fit in a car park test!)
I've owned this bike for close to 3 months with on average 2 - 3 rides a week.
Since I've had it my riding has become so much smoother and more confident than when riding my old Stinky or my hardtail. The 8" eat everything up even in case of user error. The quality of the suspension action is also spot on. Very Stiff bike. The 4 bar action means much smoother braking as well.
Very good weight for a big bike. Noticeable difference between this and a friend's Demo8.
Comments I have had from friends include "Oh my God Rog looks like a smooth rider", "Makes my Patriot feel like a flexy thing, I want a new bike", "I've not seen a bike as nice before in the flesh"
Totally pimp ride, no one else will have one and you'll draw all sorts of admiring looks and questions from randoms. Suitable for anyone who wants a top of the line big bike for extreme freeride/ freeride / a bit of downhill. COuld even be run nicely in a lower travel setting with some nice long singe crowns & lighter kit as a harcore trail bike.
Similar Products Used: 222 (ridden friend's) Demo 8 (ridden friend's) Kona Stinky
Bike Setup: Marzocchi 888RC 200mm 6.6" to 8" travel although I've not taken it out of 8" Fox DHX5.0 (other options available) Saint cranks Magura Lousie FR brakes Hope/ Mavic wheels. ODI lock ons (the important bit) Other top drawer kit
Up for grabs, an 8.75 x 2.75 (222 x 70) Elka was on my AFR for 2 rides. Will fit AFR, Helius-ST, UFO-ST, ION-ST and has the correct damping for all of these frames. Smokin deal on the best shock on the market right now, ships world-wide. Ti Spring will work for a 165-175 lb rider, possibly others ... Read More »
Looking at building up or getting a play bike to increase confidence on jumps etc, and looking at something like a Helius ST. Other ideas include a Spesh SX Trail, VP Free, Bottlerocket.
Any thoughts / insights??Read More »
Am looking at an SX Trail (prob 08 but also maybe 09) and interested in peoples' views vs Transition Bottlerocket or a Nicolai Helius (FR or ST)? Would be used as a playbike, and perhaps a few uplifts, as I have a 5-Spot for general trail duties.Read More »
Ok so in a few weeks when I get back to egypt I am going to order a new ST to replace my stolen fr (after summer will be getting a neww am to).
Some of you may remeber when I got my fr i had problems finding a spring to cope with my massive mass.
With kit I weigh close to 150kg (lost 20kg si ... Read More »