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wuss
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2,380 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's time for me to change my 2007 Transition Preston to a different frame. I don't have a lot available, and even with these I won't be able to test ride them. Looking at the frames on paper they seem fairly similar, Helius is heavier and has a bit more travel still weighing about the same as my current frame.

I mainly ride rooty and rocky trails with short steep climbs and decents. I would like the bike to climb well, and ofcourse in that regard I would imagine the XCL has an advantage... I might do some small drops, but nothing bigger then 3ft to flat. For some reason the Nicolai is calling me. I don't know if these is any reason behind this, or if it's just a stupid urge (as originally the XCL seemed perfect for me).

I would be transfering most parts from my Preston to the new frame, just adding a front derailleur. My current fork is a Pike 454 U-turn with a ventana 7mm crown race to fit the Preston geo better (simulate a larger frame).

The price difference between the frames is about 10%, but the Nicolai is without a shock... Still it feels like quite a deal for a Nicolai.

Has anyone had the luxury to try both frames? How capable is the Helius compared to the XCL in climbing / trail riding?
 

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wuss
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2,380 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, I know the shock won't come cheap. I have an extra Roco Air that would fit the Nicolai though (according to the dealer).

I prefer the Chumba vendor, he must be the coolest dealer I know. He's faced the bottom bracket on all my frames and never taken any money for it. Any time I need anything I got it, and only ever payed if I actually purchased or used up something. This even though I never purchased anything bigger then a saddle or chainguide from him! I think he's just a really cool guy.
The Nicolai dealer on the other hand is a pretty busy and bigger shop. The people working there seem to be nice, but nothing like the other guy. I never felt fully comfortable there, maby because they are always so busy that I don't feel relaxed chatting around. They are still very professional, and I don't have anything bad to say about them.

I live pretty close to germany, so in case there would be any warrenty issues Nicolai could be faster. So I figure Chumba wins because of the shop, Nicolai because support might be faster.
 

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ride hard take risks
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25,423 Posts
dropadrop said:
I live pretty close to germany, so in case there would be any warrenty issues Nicolai could be faster. So I figure Chumba wins because of the shop, Nicolai because support might be faster.
Thats why I asked they are both great but the one that is going to work with you is the way to go you know what to expect every time you walk in the door. :rockon:
 

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783 Posts
I have the XCL, havent ridden the Helius, tho. From the pictures I've seen, the Horst Link on the Helius is a bit different, more like an ICT type. The XCL's is more classic
HL. How that would afect the ride I can't really say, but there will be some difference
 

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lazy piston
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373 Posts
I own an 07 Helius FR (have over 5000 kms on it in less than a year already) and I test rode an XCL once (just a couple of minutes to get a feeling of it). It's obvious that I have got used to my Helius, while on the other hand the XCL was set up quite differently from what I prefer. So there's no direct comparison between the two bikes.

For the type of riding you're talking about, I think you'll be better off with the Chumba. I think it's burly enough to take anything you throw at it and still it can be built quite a bunch lighter than the Helius. The XCL seems to be perfect with a 140 mm fork like a Pike or something Fox with 32 mm stanchions, while the Helius is more friendly to 150-160 mm forks which are usually heavier. Also, the '07 Helius FR with stock swing-ling (one with a hole in the middle) was designed to take coil shock and probably won't offer the same performance with an air shock.

Having said that, I for one would not trade my Nicolai for an XCL even if I don't ride any harder than you. The burliness, the industrial look of this German frame, the welds and the gussets have grown on me so much that I don't see myself parting with this frame. I do definitely feel the extra weight of my bike (I'm running coils both front and rear) but I just cope with it and pedal on.



I'm going to send a link to this thread to the owner of the XCL I rode, he rode my Helius a couple of times and maybe he'll chime in.
 

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wuss
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2,380 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks a lot. I've seen pics of your Helius before, I think it's one of the nicest ones around. The one I'd have a chance to get is also anodized black, but it has Nicolai and Easton markings (I'd prefer without like yours).

If I would get the Nicolai I would probably switch the shock at some point. The Roco Air is a decent shock, but the stroke is 50mm while the frame would really need something with a 57mm stroke (both would work aparently).
 

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wuss
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2,380 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Slight update... I was just called from the Nicolai dealer, he had fetched the frame from the storage to ensure the Roco Air would fit it.

It's actually an 06 model (shorter chainstays). As he noticed it's older he was ready to drop the price a bit more, now he would sell it for the same amount as the Chumba XCL costs in the other shop!
 

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lazy piston
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373 Posts
So the owner of the XCL has read the topic and said he agreed with what I said here :)

As for the labels, probably there's some way to safely remove them from the frame, anyway even if there isn't, it's not a big deal.

Now that the price of the Nicolai you've been offered has dropped, your choice has become even more difficult ;) I don't think you'll regret getting either frame. The XCL will be definitely lighter and faster, the Helius will be stiffer and more heavy duty. You'll enjoy going up on the XCL more while the Helius may be ahead on the downs, on the jumps and large rocks and stuff.
 

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wuss
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2,380 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The Vendor said the stickers are just put on the anodized surface, no clearcoat on top. They also have extra stickers in case the placement needs to be changed.
 

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ride hard take risks
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25,423 Posts
dropadrop said:
Slight update... I was just called from the Nicolai dealer, he had fetched the frame from the storage to ensure the Roco Air would fit it.

It's actually an 06 model (shorter chainstays). As he noticed it's older he was ready to drop the price a bit more, now he would sell it for the same amount as the Chumba XCL costs in the other shop!
10% depreciation per year might be fair for you that would mean another 10% off!!:thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

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wuss
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2,380 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dogonfr said:
10% depreciation per year might be fair for you that would mean another 10% off!!:thumbsup::thumbsup:
It's about half price now, I don't think I can push it further... Nicolais tend to keep their value fairly well from what I have noticed. :p
 

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wuss
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2,380 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had both frames weighed and the difference was suprisingly small.. The Chumba with the DHX 5.0 Air is exactly 3.5KG, and the Nicolai without a shock (but a small piece of wood at it's place and all the bolts stuck to the frame) was 3.28KG. According to google the shock weighs about 450g, so they are within 200g of each other.

Makes the choice even harder...
 

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Smith said:
So the owner of the XCL has read the topic and said he agreed with what I said here :)

As for the labels, probably there's some way to safely remove them from the frame, anyway even if there isn't, it's not a big deal.

Now that the price of the Nicolai you've been offered has dropped, your choice has become even more difficult ;) I don't think you'll regret getting either frame. The XCL will be definitely lighter and faster, the Helius will be stiffer and more heavy duty. You'll enjoy going up on the XCL more while the Helius may be ahead on the downs, on the jumps and large rocks and stuff.
Hi, I am an owner of that XCL from Russia. :) I agree with Smith, except one thing: lateral rigidity of both frames close to equal values, differences are hardly noticeable. )
 
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