Strengths: Totally unique. People still walk past all my mates brand 2009 new V10's etc to check out the Nicolai. This bike is now almost 6 years old and indestructable. It has survived massive crashes and flat landings that have sent me to hospital. Very stable at speed. Never felt like it has bottomed out due to a very progressive linkage system. Stiff, solid amazingly fun to ride. Fast in rough and punishing terrain.
Weaknesses: It ain't light, but once you get going you don't notice it. A bit slower in the tight corners when compared to V10's (quite a big bike). Limited hub and crank choices due to to 100 BB and 165 hub. Bearing replacement is expensive (parts are £100 or so), but if you avoid hose washing and keep then well maintained they should last.
Surprising that this is a German make as I am not sure anyone outside of Scotland is man enough to tame this beast. Please feel free to rise to the challenge!!
Similar Products Used: None really, first DH bike and my mates all run with their brakes the other way round.
Bike Setup: Marzocchi 888 (it really has to be), Magura Gustav brakes (again, really has to be if you want to stop this beast), Rocco rear shock, Mavic 729 rims, Chromag bars, Diabolus cranks (100mm options are scarce), Saint Rear mech, Brookland Machine Works pedals (not the grippiest, but look mean as hell and mauls anyone trying to steal your bike!), Nuke Proof Steel Hset.
Date Reviewed: July 30, 2008
Strengths: -Nice looking
-stifffff and strong
-Linkage suckkkk the ground
-Ajustable travel (7-9)
-Ajustable wheel base
-Very low gravity center
-5 years warranty !!!
Weaknesses: Ok it's a bit heavy, but if you put some light stuff, you won't feel it cause it's very stiff and very low gravity center.
-Of course, you have to baby it (maintainance).
-Part are difficult to find (165mm hub and 100mm BB)
Weaknesses: slightly weighty, paint, construction time...
Ordered this frame, and at the time there was a six week wait for one, but i was in love with it so i persevered. At three weeks i was told it would be a week early so i got all excited and finalised the kit that i was building it up with. Alas, 14 weeks it took. i asked for a ti spring and some t-shirts for my trouble but recieved nothing... However, upon recieving it all was forgiven! The frame is a work of art and when built up has a nice stance that just looks like it rides nice. And it most definately does, being a single pivot it feels really active and predictable, it has next to no pedal bob (which is unusual). the linkage actuated shock is perfect (dont bother with pedal platfrom shcks, they dull the bike) and behaves like its been tuned to perfection, even though it hasn't... and as a bonus its kept nice and clean in the front triangle. The amount of adjustablity is immense, there are three travel settings, countless geometry settings(by way of shock shuttle) and asliding adjustable wheelbase... that works!!! This frame isnt going anywhere, its as burly as they come and weight wise it isnt too bad considering (my full bike 44lbs). After a year of racing, mucking around and drops the bushes (which my i add are a work of art) are still as smooth as the day i got it, and im loving every moment riding it (we are still in love...), the only downside is the paintjob is a bit of a let down when paying nigh on £2300 for a frame (inc addons).
I would recommend this bike to anyone who is serious about going fast and enjoying yourself, this is no tech bike so pure UK short course racers will struggle. Nicolai have apparently stopped making this frame and replaced it with something else, so i hope this review will help possible second hand purchases- IF YOU CAN FIND ONE, BUY ONE! Plus this goes as a testimony to nicolai's other bikes, if they are all made with the same care then you cant go wrong. If you want to place an order with them then good on you but dont expect good customer service, just be patient and remember, good things come to those who wait...!!!
Strengths: Really stiff and low riding machine Excellent manufactured with love to detail One of the best full on DH rigs out there Very stable at high speed and in air
Weaknesses: frame is heavy but unbreakable
This bike truly fits my needs. With having continous bearing problems on the Santa Cruz bikes i was ready for something new.
Very tough bearing on the M - Pire. Very good machining and welding. Really low, BB is about 14". All the weight in in the centre of the Bike, gives it grip like hell. It jumps very well for DH style jumps or big mountain gaps. I bought this bike used and it works still perfect, only some minor scratches. You notice the weight on slow and technical terrain. But for big mountain descents it´s perfect the longer and faster the course the better the M-Pire.
Bike Setup: M Pire ST, Fox DHX 5.0 with RCS Titanium, Magura Loiuse FR, Boxxer WC with E -Thirteen ALI, RF Singnature DH, Truvativ Holzfeller cranks, Specialized Lo Pro Mag, DT Swiss FR Hubs, Mavic 325, Ultegra derailleur, Thomson Seatpost, SI SLR saddle, CK Steelset
from France, Chambéry
Date Reviewed: September 15, 2005
Strengths: the rear suspension. the quality of the frame. the look.
Weaknesses: weight and really hard to clean after a muddy ride
This is not a free ride bike, but a world race down hill bike. Sure it can handle the biggest drop, but mostly the Mpire is a Down Hill bike. Bottom Less. Stable at really high speed, easy to turn. really low. choice of many colors. can't break that frame. Ur last DH frame. Can't go wrong with that bike!
Similar Products Used: Almost all of them, Demo9, M3, Diesel, H-octane, VPS
Bike Setup: 888rc-823 rims-formula extrem dh brakes
Date Reviewed: August 15, 2005
Strengths: Very controled suspension. Feels bottomless, and ramps up off big hits. Stiffest and strongest frameset I've used to date. Tracks well, low BB helps with cornering. Frame build is seconde to none. Proably the best manufactured bikes on the planet (you need to see to understand). Everything is faced, chased, and realy ready to build.
Weaknesses: If I was to be realy picky, I'd say lose 1 lb. make ISCG standard. Also, due to stiffness of rear end, the wheels take more abuse
A solid bike for serious DH abuse. Not a FR bike because it's not a climber. Can take anything you dish out, and then some. I'm very happy, and I will continue to buy from this company as long as they produce bikes designed this well and that perform this well. Bottom line: Best I've used to date.