iv had the bike 8 years now and only now have the seals started to go on my manitou axel elite forks that came on the bike, looks like the uk versions came with different forks as some said they got manitou sx as stock, great bike and its a pleasure to ride all the time, iv had no problems with it at all so far
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2011
Strengths: Tough, just keeps on giving. Great climber. Handled and road much better after replacing the Manitou, fork and Python tires.
As someone mentioned earlier the Manitou, fork failed the very first ride. So did mine. Shop replaced it no question. About a week later that one bit the dust. I was able to workout a really good deal on the Fox fork. Since then I've loved and rode this bike many thousand miles without hesitation. I enjoy climbing this bike enjoy's climbing. Get rid of that stock fork take care of the bike and the skies the limit. 8, years I have no intention of replacing the bike. I live in a canyon there are no paved roads. Long steep hilly rides are pretty much the norm. The NRS 2, has never let me down since replacing that stock fork.
Similar Products Used: Fugi Odessa, Gary Fisher Sugar
Bike Setup: WTB Saddle, Fox Talas Fork
a Cross Country Rider
from Ventura, Ca
Date Reviewed: February 7, 2009
Strengths: This bike made good on it's promise of rear suspension that did not bob. The value for your money at the time could not be beat.
Weaknesses: Manitou SX Fork
This is more or less a fond farewell and tribute to my first full suspension MTB. I bought my Giant NRS DS/2 in 2001. She was a left-over 2000 model.
I went from a hardtail GT Karakoram (a very sweet cromoly steel frame, with an upgraded RS Judy front fork) to the NRS. At just under 4" of travel, the NRS made the rough trails I normally rode feel like smooth pavement in comparison. I put a lot of research into full suspension at the time; I knew I wanted full suspension, disc breaks and the pedaling efficiency (or close to it) of my hardtail. Giant promised this in the NRS, and in my opinion, delivered it.
I put thousands of miles on my NRS over the 8 years I owned it, replacing the chain a few times, the tires numerous times and a few odds and ends like the stem (stripped one of the bolts on the Titec it came with) and the brake levers (the Diacomps it came with worked ok, but Avids were sexier). Rebuilt the front hub once, replaced the Hayes MX1 disc brake pads a few times and maybe a couple of other minor maintenance items.
The only major component that had a flaw was the Manitou SX front fork. It failed after about a year and never really felt all that great, even compared to the RS Judy from my GT. I replaced the Manitou with a Rock Shox Psylo and never looked back.
As for the components let me break it down: The WTB Laserdisc wheelset was strong, not super heavy and rarely needed any attention at all. The Formula disc rear hub has worked flawlessly for 8 years. The the front hub - also a Formula disc - had a bearing issue within the first few weeks of me buying the bike, but Ray's Bikes repaired it under warranty and it never had a problem after that.
The Hayes MX1 mechanical disc brakes, while not as exciting as hydraulics, work pretty darn good. Took 'em apart a few times to clean 'em and relube them, but other than that and a few pad replacements over the years, zero problems, good feel at the levers and the stopped the bike (with me on it) down everything from Sycamore to Hummingbird.
The Race Face Prodigy cranks, bottom bracket and chainrings never bent, never ticked, never squeeked. Strong, maybe not so light, but strong.
Shimano Deore shifters: Yeah, not as sexy or crisp as XT, but they shifted the gears. In fact, with the LX rear derrailer and the Deore front, I really never had any trouble shifting, even under loads. The rear especially worked well, even after thousands (maybe millions) of shifts. I just could not break the stock Shimano parts, thus could not justify buying upgrades.
The rest of the parts, like the Titec Hellbent handlebar, seat post and and saddle hung in there as well. I did replace the saddle. They tend to get a little torn up after all those off road miles...
Last year (2008), I was rebuilding the Rock Shox SID rear shock every other ride. The Psylo was binding and the stanchion bushings had a lot of play in them. The pivot bushings in the frame's suspension components were worn, cracked and creaking. She was getting old.
I did a complete dissassemble of the rear suspension frame members. The bushings were wasted. The frame itself is sound: no dings, no visible cracks and no rubbed to the metal scoring. But, considering all the hard miles I have put on the aluminum frame, the need to replace both the front fork and the rear shock, plus the bushings and bearings for the rear, plus replacing some of the out-dated and well-used parts on the drive-train, plus a few parts just because...well, the dollar amount started to add up to "new-bike-range."
So, she has been retired. Not gloriously, with all her parts in a plastic tub; but her frame, her heart, is hanging on the wall like the piece of art she is. Rest in peace, my friend, and thanks for all those great years of service!
In the mean time, I've got a brand new 2009 Giant Trance X2 waiting for me to pick up down at Newbury Park Bikeshop. I suspect I will get at least as many years, miles and enjoyment out of my new Giant as I did my trusty NRS.
Do I recommend an NRS to anyone? Hell yes! But only if you have limited cash and can only afford a used bike. If you can score an NRS with low miles it will be a good bike. Not as plush or sophisticated as Giant's subsequent designs, but adequate, and compared to brand new, "inexpensive" lower-range full suspension bikes on the market today, a used NRS is a strong competitor. Just beware: worn out shocks and forks are very expensive to replace, and if the rear suspension bushings are worn at all, they need replaced. Do your homework.
Value: 5 chilis in each catagory. I got my $1200 worth, and then some!
Similar Products Used: None. This was my first full suspension MTB.
Bike Setup: Currently in pieces in a big plastic box, but before she died, she was stock except for IRC 2.1 Mythos tires, Avid Speedial brake levers and and Easton Stem.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bend, OR. USA
Date Reviewed: November 19, 2008
Strengths: Great frame,strong wheels,love the Avid disc brakes and the Fox AVA shock. Shimano LX and XR,Raceface cranks are all good for the money. Climbs like my old Stumpy hardtail.
Weaknesses: First FS after years of riding hardtails and I`m ready for more suspension travel but I wouldn`t sell the NRS `cause it`s too much fun. No weaknessess if you ride it for what it was intended. Oh yeah, dumped the Pythons and have used Weirwolfs that past couple of years.
With the new Recon and more travel up front the ol` NRS2 is much better in the rock gardens and on the descents but it`s still a short-travel Cross-Country racer-type bike. It is what it is. That said, I`ve ridden mine hard for four years and it keeps on tickin`n with common-sense maintenence and for the money it`s been a really fun, fast bike. The Anthem is the new version but at this stage of the game I`d be looking at the Trance or Reign for the bigger hit performance but for railing the single-track my NRS is hard to beat....`nuff said!
Similar Products Used: Trek, Kona, Stumpjumper hardtails
Bike Setup: Stock from the shop. Crunched the 80MM Manitou Elite and replaced it with a 100MM Rockshox Recon...much better!
a Weekend Warrior
from Brisbane, Australia
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2008
Strengths: Great bike for people who want hard tail performance on uphills and road, but a bit of added cushyness and traction on trails. Fast bike for racing.
Weaknesses: Was always that little bit harsh to ride, unless the pressure was dropped on the rear shock unit. But that made it a bit saggy, which is not the design intention of the bike. But it was still fun!
This is another memorial for a stolen bike! People, locking a nice bike in Brisbane City is not a good idea.. Sadly, the bike survived for years in the Philippines without being stolen - even in a poor country. But weeks after it arrives in Brisbane (I lived in the Philippines for a while), it gets nicked by a selfish ba***rd! I'm a student, and I love biking - having a bike that I earned through a part-time job stolen is bad news! Anyway, it was a fun bike to have - my first full suspension.
Sadly I'm just riding a Merida TFS Alivio-clad hard tail at the moment, while I save some money for something else. Thinking about a Trance for a bit of all mountain-ish performance.
Happy biking everyone. Oh, by the way, I totally recommend a well-maintained second-hand NRS for people who want a fast dually :-)
Bike Setup: 2003 NRS frame, X7 stuff, Avid BB7s, Manitou Black Super Air 100/120mm, Mavic 223s...
a Cross Country Rider
from Richmond, Va, USA
Date Reviewed: August 4, 2008
Strengths: Climbs like a billy goat. Handles well and looks fairly good, Aesthetically.
Weaknesses: Bushings are worn out on the shock mount so the bike clicks a little. Nothing else really weak I'd say.
Extremely light frame in my imho. Or course for the money. Some bushings are going in the bike now, but I have beat the crap out of it and it just keeps ticking away miles. I am going to ride this frame into the ground as I see no need for a change unless I ride more aggressive terrain or get into full on racing. With swapping all the components I think this bike was meant to move and shift like a dream.
I would recommend this bike to anyone.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Epic, Fuji something or another full suspension
Bike Setup: Only thing original is the frame...
X-9 all around with XT this or that. Race face XC bars, Clark's Clim8 Hydraulic disk brakes, Rock Shox Duke fork, Thompson post, San marco seat, Mavic 717 wheels with XT hubs.
a Cross Country Rider
from Phoenix, AZ
Date Reviewed: June 22, 2008
Strengths: Good frame with great components.
Over 4 years since I posted my first review of this bike. I still ride this NRS all the time and don't even think they are made anymore. Bike has served well, only changed out tires. Regular maintenance. Still looks new (with exception of few scratches here/there.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: June 14, 2008
Strengths: Solid, medium light, rear suspension does what it says, cushioning without sapping your pedaling action. Snappy paint job. People will inevitably say "Nice bike" if you own this - I sure got that often enough, from more than just fellow bikers.
Weaknesses: It's a mid range priced bike and you get what you pay for (not that it was cheap, in price or quality).
This is kinda memorial for my bike, as it got stolen recently. I had it for three years, put about 4500 miles on according to my odometer, had some good times. I don't have car, so this was my main mode of getting around, aside public transportation, and to that end it served me well. I didn't hit trails as much I had liked with it, though when I did it was certainly suited to such. The guy at the shop where I bought it from said he had raced with the same model (different year though) for several years.
My college is notoriosly vertical and fraught with stairs, though I had no problem throwing my bike over my shoulder to scale the steps as needed - the thing's no carbon frame, but it's fairly light.
Looking at other reviews here, I'm a little annoyed I paid what I did for it, but as a bike by itself, it's a nice ride.
Similar Products Used: It was my first full suspension bike - it's a lot better than my last one, which was sans anything of a springy variety.
Bike Setup: Everything was stock expect the pedals, saddle, and tires, for reasons of my feet, sperm count (hah), and thorns (got a pair of kevlar tires - solved the problem).
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: October 4, 2007
Strengths: Nice feel when climbing and going fast, but bike feels "distant." Brakes are good and provide fair modulation. Fox air shock at the back is always going to be good.
Weaknesses: The back comes up sharply when you brake. Disconcerting until you get used to it. Front shock got "stuck" more than once, when switching between lockout and free.
Didn't get around to doing a race on it, just training runs and some cross-country on the weekends. Very good but didn't excite me like some other bikes can (Cannondale and Kona for instance.) I do not feel like one when riding the bike, so moving on to Giant Trance...
Similar Products Used: Cannondale Super V500 & Jekyll, Trek VRX 200.
Bike Setup: Stock, but changes the tyres: Larsen TT at the back and Hutchinson Scorpion in front.
a Weekend Warrior
from Charlotte, NC
Date Reviewed: July 12, 2007
Strengths: Great bike - see below
Weaknesses: seatpost, tires
Great bike value and it has exceeded expectations. Agree with strengths listed for others - climbing, suspension, disc brakes, etc. However, the Titec X-wing seatpost that came stock, busted on me recently. The saddle clamp bolt sheared off and the clamp cracked under fairly mild riding. Although I didn't see other NRS folks note this problem, check out the X-wing seatpost review and it is clear that this is a design issue. Luckily, I made it without injury - others may want to replace it or keep an eye on it. I had to replace the tires after about a year, but other than that, it has been a great purchase.
a Weekend Warrior
from houston, tx
Date Reviewed: March 12, 2007
Strengths: no bob on rear suspension (which makes it quite handy on pavement if you want cardio), avid discs have saved my *ss a number of times on the trails.
Weaknesses: shifting is tweaky (LX Deore) and needs fine adjustments; little heavy; rear suspension is only active on 4" plus drops (but i think this is a strength too). skareb on front is pretty weak. so are hutchinson tires in the serious dirt.
used, this bike is a great ride. strikes me as a great hard-core hybrid (where you could go on some fairly serious trails / jumps & then go for a cardio-type ride on pavement), but probably not the way to go for full time trail jumpers (though it'd do fine, theres likely better out there). lack of bob on rear end is a boon for those who want to take it on pavement or on hard inclines, but it will soften the blow on a decent drop (i've done 1' drops and it soaks it up beautifully).
Strengths: Fairly light, sturdy, corners well... and it climbs like a mountain goat!
Weaknesses: could have better components and a bit more travel... but for its price, I can't complain.
Absolutely great bike for the price... if you are fairly new to mountain biking, and you plan to do more x-country than downhills... this bike is great. Too bad Giant stopped making it. Climbs very well for a FS bike, but it handles and brakes well on downhills. If you aren't riding a ski lift to get to the top, or expecting greater than a mile of straight downhill, you will not miss disc brakes. The perfect bike for hill country.
Similar Products Used: Cake 3, Fuel 80... a sporting goods store mongoose, wait.. that isn't all that simular.
Bike Setup: Manitou Super Axel forks, Fox Float R AVA shock, Deore shifters, LX front and rear derailers, Time Attack Allium pedals, Mavic rims, Hutchinson Python tires, Avid V-brake
a Cross Country Rider
from Sunny Brisbane
Date Reviewed: February 28, 2006
Strengths: Efficient, affordable. Climbs really well. I can commute on weekdays and MTB on weekends.
Weaknesses: Locks up under brakes, every bas...d has one - limited wank factor. Past its use by date. Squeaky undersized bearings and sloppiness in the rear.
The bike that brought full suspension to the masses.
I have gone full circle on this one - was amazed at first, then I got the sh.ts with the squeaky bearings and felt envious of the new bikes, but now I have come to grips with its handling limitations and have many fond memories.
Like every design it has its limitations. I dig the versatility and climbing ability. Theres better bikes out there, but none at this price.
Similar Products Used: Steel hardtails & KHS softtail (don't get me started - dirt jumpers and BMX riders know steel is real. The younger generation with their disposable aluminium and carbon frames will blow their minds when they 'discover' the durability and feel of steel in about 10 years time.)
Fooled around on 6 inch kona, plush, but not much terrain in Oz to justify that kind of steed.
Bike Setup: Coil bombers, thompson, XTR discs, XT ders and hubs. 959 spd's., new-fangled XT cranks, profile bar ends!
Weaknesses: I am not aware of any that can't be adjusted away. Python tires are weak performers in sugar sand.
For the first time on the rooty trails I must ride here in the Tampa Bay area I was able to fly. No more catapulting off the seat. At the same time, the bike was fast and climbed very well in my "work out" area (embankment by parking lot and hill up to the levee). The bike also descended wonderfully. I only wish I had this bike on my one trip to Alafia River and my last journey to Tsali. Buying this used put my in a price range I could afford, because my research told me I needed a cross country FS.
Similar Products Used: Only hardtails, Specialized Stumpjumper, Schwinn Homegrown, Kona Cinder Cone.
Bike Setup: All stock setup.
Date Reviewed: October 16, 2005
Strengths: could climb a tree i meen this thing is fast and it can go over anything like logs i havent found anything i cant get over. and it decends like a down hill bike i can hall ass and i am fasetr than peole with all mountain bikes with 5 in of travle i cant say enough good stuf about this bike
Weaknesses: kinda hurts my back i will get a shorter stem and the python tires are crap i riped them both in half and but some role-x's s-works on it and couldent be better
awosme bike for the money you should buy it if you like to go fast anaware you go and its real light and you can make it lighter
Looking to get my first full suspension bike, I have a cannondale chase 1 that just doesn't cut it On the trail. I found a 2002 Giant NRS 2 for $500, just wondering if that's a good price. Bike seems to be in great condition, person didn't really ride it alot and it was stored inside. Hes considerin ... Read More »
I have a 2004 NRS2. I have seen other references to NRS, NRS3, NRS Air. I don't think it is dependent on the year made, so what makes one bike a NRS3 as opposed to a NRS2? Is it the level of original components, or something different in frame design?Read More »
I have a dark red/white NRS2 frame that I bought from ebay. A friend bought one similar, but it is a lighter red color, more orangish. Does this indicate a different year? I had thought mine might be 2004, but could be 2003? Is there any specific ways to identify a year on a frame?Read More »
Hello all, I have a friend at work who wants to get back into riding. He has a 2002 XtC NRS 2 and he wants to replace the rear shock with a new one. Does anybody know what size it is? I searched on the internet and couldn't find him an answer. Any help would be appreiciated, thanks.Read More »
The older Giant NRS/XTC uses a "no sag" setup, does the leverage ratio consideration change when selecting a rear shock?? Do things change because there is no sag and NRS frame design?
The suspension travel is rated at 3.75". The 165mm shock has ~1.5" travel. The calculated leverage ratio is 2.5. ... Read More »