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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Folks, local shop just got in some new carbon Opus Nelson AM bikes with 27.5 wheels - Opus » Bikes » All-Mountain. They admittedly look sharp - I could only take for a short spin around nearby pavement and it rode as good as you'd expect. The base 3.0 version starts about $3500, while it seemed that the 2.0 had a few fork, brake and BB upgrades that might be worth a $4100 sticker. Either way will need to add a dropper post, no question.

However, I can't find much in the way of online reviews, other than this very positive one - 2014 Opus Nelson 1 27.5? Review
OPUS apparently make a lot of road bikes and some XC - they got out of the AM line a couple years ago, and this is their redesigned 27.5 return model so I guess they haven't got much rise out of the review mags. However, the store guys have ridden it and claim it's a fantastic kit, and they do know their stuff. Around here it's all twisty, technical east coast riding - heavy on rocks, roots and bumps, generally nowhere near top speed, with the occasional steep climb or hike, and some descents that could merit a DH bike if you'd been able to drag it up the rest of the slop. AM/enduro style bikes like Intense Tracer/Carbine, Giant Tracer, etc. are popular.

Anyone ridden this bike on a trail or have comments on what I'm getting for the price? The Nelson 2.0 model looks to be at the Norco Range 7.2 price range, which means excellent value for a carbon ride, except that the Range is MIA right now and does not look like local shops are getting extras in my size. I've also heard great things about Kona Process but it is a few pounds heavier from the get-go. At my maximum $3-4 thousand range, I'm below base price on carbon AM bikes from Santa Cruz/Pivot/Specialized, so was hoping the OPUS was a cheaper but still great alternative.

Thoughts? It is a clean looker of a ride, no doubt. :rolleyes:

image.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This bike seems to be completely unknown, eh? I asked a couple buddies out west and around a couple places online.......not a single response. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well I'm probably talking to myself, but in that case might as well finish the conversation... :D

After some research and a couple non-trail spins on a few different bikes (Norco Sight, Trek Remedy, Giant Trance, Intense T275), I pulled the trigger on the Opus Nelson 2.0. Price including add-on Reverb dropper post was identical to the best non-MSRP price I could get on a Norco Range 7.2 (which is completely sold out in my size) - about $50 more than the Sight 7.2. Seemed like a very solid price for a good 150mm travel all-mountain ride. Have run into a few different people who had the bike out for trail riding and everyone recommended it

Build might arguably be slightly better spec'd than the base Norcos, although it's relatively similar - full Shimano SLX, 2x10, Rock Shox Revelation up front and Monarch RT rear, Maxxis Crossride with Ardents. Rear shock is sort of tucked away behind a "cup" in the frame but it's easy to access from the top or back. Overall frame construction is fairly straight and angular looking - does not have the rounded and flowing effect that some other manufacturers are using. I really don't have a preference either way to be honest.

Weight with the dropper post and pedals is 30.1 pounds. So a few carbon add-ons and switch to 1x down the road should get me down below 29 pounds. Apparently throwing top-end carbon everything specs will get you to around low 27 pounds according to one Montreal dealer I spoke to. That's not top-end Bronson/Mach6/etc. territory, but for comparison that should probably cost between 6 and 7 grand for the Nelson, so that would leave you a substantial chunk of change for, you know, hookers and blow.

Opus does not offer internal cable routing on the Nelson so cabling is a bit messier, especially with the drop post run along the top tube - but they do have the three rear cables routed on the front of the down tube, underneath a thin metal protector that has cable grooves, which I assume might also be useful to avoid the odd rock strike and scratches from car racks - it also looks visually cleaner than running along the top of the down tube.

Graphics are pretty understated and simple and consist only of white text over a black frame, mostly of the brand name or web site. Some small colour accents for each model variant - for the 2.0 it's orange. Overall it's a pretty stealthy look.

As you can see, in non-direct light (not sunlight) the bike looks jet black up until very close, about 2 feet away - when it looks slightly dusty and you try to give it a wipe. :D But when you bend down to look at it closely, you find that's an effect from some sort of 3D lava paint job - it actually looks like the frame has been "poured", almost like a Damascus steel ripple effect you see on fancy Japanese kitchen knives. It's very subtle indoors or in cloudy conditions and you can't notice it until you're about 12 inches away, but under direct sunlight or camera flash it really pops, as you can see in the picture below and the two head tube shots already posted. I don't really care too much either way about bike graphics to be honest, but will admit that it is pretty cool and adds to the overall understated look.

Trails are not dried out yet up here in my area of Canada, so maybe I'll give a short update on ride in a month or so. Feels great on pavement, but what doesn't?
 

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That's pretty sweet. It looks like quilted maple, at least he last picture does. Have fun once the dry out happens. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Haha what?

That's pretty sweet. It looks like quilted maple, at least he last picture does. Have fun once the dry out happens. Thanks for sharing.
You're right - I should have thought of that, have some quilted maple finishes in the house too. In some places it has the ripple effect of quilted maple, in others (like the first pic I posted) it's less rippled and more of a Jackson Pollock effect. :D Either way, it does trick you into thinking it's a textured material until you touch it.
 

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Haha what?


You're right - I should have thought of that, have some quilted maple finishes in the house too. In some places it has the ripple effect of quilted maple, in others (like the first pic I posted) it's less rippled and more of a Jackson Pollock effect. :D Either way, it does trick you into thinking it's a textured material until you touch it.
I was posting to "sub"scribe for updates :) bike looks nice so I'd like to continue to read this thread.
 

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I like the cloudy look of the black frame. Seems pretty cool. Hope the bike rides as great as you believe it will. For some reason its really cool to find something that is perfect for you that no one else has. Makes you feel like you beat the game.

Keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was posting to "sub"scribe for updates :) bike looks nice so I'd like to continue to read this thread.
Hah got it - I'm slow
I like the cloudy look of the black frame. Seems pretty cool. Hope the bike rides as great as you believe it will. For some reason its really cool to find something that is perfect for you that no one else has. Makes you feel like you beat the game.

Keep us updated.
Thanks - to be honest I started looking for the standard big-name brands and just stumbled onto Opus because it was in my "real" price range. But everyone I talked to who had ridden the bike said it was a great ride and highly recommended. Some of these guys have raced nationally and all are far better riders than I will ever be, so I don't think there's any question that I'll be holding back this ride and not the other way 'round.

There's just not much available about the Nelson online - Opus is a pretty small bike company and apparently self-promotion is not their strong suit. And for people willing to spend $4-5 grand on a mountain bike, taking a risk on an unknown commodity doesn't make sense when the products from larger companies are legitimately awesome. Hopefully they're able to get some press and, hopefully, it's positive. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Also for what it's worth, turns out I'm glad to get some street riding in for a couple weeks, because it's going to take me forever to get used to all the cockpit levers! I came from a 1x drivetrain with no dropper, so suddenly I feel stressed and wildly confused every time I think about switching gears and/or moving the saddle. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Was in a hurry last time - but so far extremely happy with this bike after 4 short trail rides. Going up is a ~500 foot climb over a mile or so, mostly loose gravel fireroad and some steep and rocky singletrack; the downhill loop is another mile of singletrack, mostly granite bedrock or hard soil (pic above).

Coming from a beefy 8" Norco DH bike, I'm really impressed at how this bike handles at speed. Obviously it doesn't have the same cushiony feel but that's really only a big benefit when soaking up hard hits; otherwise this bike stays much more in control on the ground, tracks better, and is much lighter and easier to throw around during my panicked adjustments. That includes braking and shifting too - SLX setup works much better than the Avid gear I had before. By my third run my confidence was high enough to tackle a very steep rock section that I had always taken bit-by-bit before. The bike also stays super stable at speed - this is definitely not a twitchy bike and perfect if you like to fly over obstacles.

I found the front end tougher to get in the air than the new Norco Sight 7.2, which I borrowed for about a 10-minute comparison. It's not difficult by any means, but possibly because of the 17.4 inch chainstays it could be a tradeoff for being so stable on the ground. If you like to manual over everything and ride nimbly-bimbly trails, then shorter chainstays might be more fun.

The Nelson climbs very well - the Sight was more efficient and nimble with lines but you'd expect that from a more trail-oriented bike. There's absolutely no issues with front wheel lift when climbing and it doesn't punish you too much for cheating a little on form. I found that locking out the rear shock was pretty helpful on long climbs but I just left it open afterwards. Obviously I'm in heaven compared to the DH bike so it's tough to say anything other than it's amazing being able to easily ride up without seeming to give much of anything up on the downhill.

This ride was slightly cheaper than the non-existent/unobtainium Norco Range 7.2 and has a slightly better spec'd kit. I wasn't allowed :)p) to spend any more than the $4400 CDN I paid and my options were pretty limited for a 150mm carbon all-mountain frame at that range....so far I'm damn satisfied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
We do have some great trails with epic scenery. But we also have a large rocky land mass, low population, and a long winter, so mountain biking is a pretty small sport and there are not a lot of biking-specific trails.

You can see some of the local trails (within ~10 minute drive of home/work) in this video (skip the intro and get to the biking, haha).

St John's Canada1 on Vimeo

 

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Very nice review, and man, Newfoundland looks gorgeous! I hope you started your 2015 season.

I am looking very seriously for a Nelson 1. I use to ride a 2012 Devinci Dexter (XC). The only doubt I have about this bike is if I am going to like it as much riding "blue" trails, especially when climbing. Do you think the trade-off is big vs a XC bike?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
image.jpg

Yep, season just started! Did a few upgrades to 1x and now down to 28.8 pounds including pedals - still running the burly SLX cranks and tubes on the Stans Flows so could easily get into 27 pound range, but it's not really worth it to me to spend a lot more at this point.

If you're racing and times are important on XC trails, especially with tough climbs, then you are probably going to be faster on an XC bike period. On the other hand I've spent a few days on a carbon 27.5 Pivot Les hardtail this year and while it was fun to flick around and skid every other corner on dirt - and damn it climbs like a goat, just silly - I missed being able to cruise through most DH sections while having a blast. I would personally rather pedal 150mm of travel up an XC trail and be able to sail over dirty roots and DH sections rather than have a purpose built XC bike and grimace at every hard smack or awkward DH. The Opus is actually not a really slack bike at 67.5 but I added a 1 degree angled headset to get it a bit more DH friendly.

It all depends on what you have for trails - there's lots of 4 to 5 inch bikes that are friendlier than hardtails but would be a little more efficient to pedal than the Opus... but again probably giving up a little on the rough stuff. Opus makes one called the Prime and I hear it's great. Depends on what you ride and what you enjoy riding, man!
 
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