The 18 min video below explains the features and benefits.
I won’t explain all the benefits and why I went for this bike, but the video below says it all.
Handling and steering.
Great turning, more direct steering but stable.
The chainstay is 455 which is the about what the Fuel Ex has, I liked the long chain stays, I like it here too, its agile enough, not and issue, it actually fits this size, the long front end and the weight means I have to get more to the front to lift the front up but I like that, this keeps the bike mot planted anyway.
I tried wheelies the first ride, it was not problem just had to lean more forward to initiate the wheelie, but once it lifted it was easy to control, and balance one got it at nice height I could even get it further in a steeper angle, it was easy to keep it there or to adjust the position it was much more stable than on the 2014 fuel ex. I got used to it on day one, but I was already had mastered wheelies, I had years of experience.
The Bike is stiff, great symmetric chainstay design the bike is stiff, I can’t get the tyre to flex into the chainstay, or get the chainstay to hit the tyre, the frame does not sway side to side like the Fuel Ex did.
The drivetrain performed as it should no change from first meters to after several hours of riding, hanger was straight, smooth shifts. Problem free how it should be, but then again frame does not sway/flex too much.
The only time I managed to get the hanger out of true was when I had a had to bail once when doing side hops down a stair case, bike went to the ground rear derailleur got hit, so I checked the hanger, I did tiny adjustment, which took few seconds. So I won’t have any issues with bending hanger like I did on my previous bike.
I of course ride with a spare hanger/dropout in my bike pack.
The Bike climbed well, cornered great, climbed up steep trails well.
Wonderful no matter what I do,
climbs steep to climbs, and turn at steep climbs,it climbs well, stable steering, far from wobbly,
The bike is planted, I don’t have to lean forward as much, and give such an effort and movements to stay in balance on steep climbs with sharp turns, and don’t have to pivot as much to have grip on medium steep technical climbs
The slack steering angle of about 62 degrees (this is how my bike is set up with 170 mm Fox 36 44 offset and Chris King Inset2 headset)and long reach of 515mm, wheelbase, and long chainstay, steep seat tube, ensures good sitting position, well balanced bike, like handles everything you want, very stable, and glued to the ground, but with a little bit of getting used to being able to get it off the ground, don’t let yourself be fooled by to little time on such a bike.
I don’t mind the weight, it’s 17.80 kg with High Roller 2 2.30
18.70 kg with lights, Schwalbe Ice Spiker Lite skin 2.25, as it outweighs the benefits, the frame frame is stiff enough, tougher than my previous, has the right reach for me, I have coil front & back which eliminates having to adjust air pressure, it is more consistent.
After some days on the bike I eventually managed to do everything I did on the previous bike. Don’t let one test ride fool you into thinking a modern enduro bike
The frame set included the EXT Storia LOK V3 coil shock. I have mine setup with 400 pund spring.
Links to reviews of the shock:
Gee Milner made a nice video showing the tuning process.
The shock has Low & high speed compression, rebound damping, Hydraulic Bottom-out Control, you can read more about it on the the product page.
Somehow EXT managed to make a climb switch that has a very light feel to it, easy to move, but yet it so far it does not shift to locked position with rough riding.
Non-boost 32T chainring 73mm Chris King Thread Fit 30 BB, 175mm Race Face Atlas crank set.
The location of the chainstay pivot might make you conserved about not being able to access it, I can’t access it with tools I have, at least not with non-boost chainring, but I have done a lot of hard trail riding, and it not get lose so far.
but the other bots are easily accessible, I haven’t had issues with those either.
but first rides I noticed the bolt on left side of the Mutator got bit loose, but I applied Loctite 243 and tightened it and it did not happen again, I am not sure why it happen. If I discover more about this will update you on this. but things like this happen, maybe I just pushed the bike so hard that bolt got bit loose, it was by no means dangerously loose, just enough for me to turn it with a hex key, but it only happen once.
Great cable routing.
it might be the best cable routing on the market.
Component choices for Mk1 build:
Bike Yoke Divine 185 mm dropper post:
I the time of writing this post, I did not have a review of this dropper post, so here is what I can say so far.
The dropper stays pretty clean.
I have installed the wire in reverse with wire head at the post.
I had had issue with the bolts loosening in the winter after 3 rides, I think it’s rapid temp changes, maybe material contributed to it, but I think temp changes might be a contributor, I don’t want that again so that’s why I did this, but other than this I have no complaints and recommend this dropper post, and it seems to be easy to service and reduce travel, maybe a barrel that only takes the wire though it with head of wire. I think I understand why there is a barrel there, so I understand That I did is not optimal, but I just can’t risk potential issues I experienced.
But Bikeyoke strictly advice against it in a comment on a review from vital mtb on YouTube
The remote was too slippery I had to add grip tape.
which are great but the barrel adjuster is fragile & Spyke ML800 brake levers, I knew it would work quite well, but they are not perfect. I am done with leaking Shimano brakes, so far it’s the most reliable option I have tried. But at the time of building this bike I did not try any high end less common brake options.
I went for Chris King headset, becuase I wanted high precision headset.
The installation went smoothly as you can see in the video below, I wanted to had to get the bike built up fast, so no I did not make build video.
Chris King ThreadFit 30 BB
I already had a Chris King Threadfit 30 BB, cus I knew which bike I wanted I already bought it long before I got to do the rest, which I installed, it went smoothly.
Fox 36 Factory GRIP2 170mm with Vorsprung Smashpot Coil conversion
I got a fork offered to me from Ole from Oslo Sykkelcompagniet AS, So I went for it, correct spring was ordered, I am 68kg with all gear on, which worked out nicely. Also frame was imported via Oslo Sykkelcompagniet, and I got both frame & fork, spare stanchion with air spring, so all was in one box easy fast, fork was on a Geometron frame before, so it did not need to be cut, everything was ready to go, only had to wait for the headset I ordered from Merlin cycles, I went for black, I think it suits the rest of the build.
Continuing with the trusted Stem choice, Renthal Apex
Because I was satisfied with the performance, security of the Renthal Apex 35 stem I went for it but in 33mm length, I found one for a nice price second hand, so I went for it.
11-50T sun race, Sun Race cassette is a cheaper option. It was the cheapest, fastest, easiest option for me at the time, but I might try other options later.
BOX One X-Wide:
The bushings can be replaced, by taking the Rd apart, so in theory you could run it for decades, if you replaced the bushings.
32T Absolutte Black Oval:
For me the oval chainring makes a huge difference on my knees, I can last much longer, and don’t get unbearable pain as fast, So I can ride much longer, much more demanding stuff for longer, and my knees don’t get tire out before everything else. 32T gives me enough both on low and high gear.
Absolute Black chain guide, and got a second hand unused 32T chainring, non boost, which worked well with Hope Pro 4 hubs which I converted to boost with the Hope Tech boost kit, I used two rotor spacers, and did not use a spacer on the driveside.
Archer D1X Trail electronic shifting system:
Eliminates thumb fatigue & pain, that needle thumb tip feeling, no extreme movements, just simple buttons to push. and it allows me to shift without getting pain, when my thumb gets joint misalignment, which can hurt if I shift and it happens during actuating the shifter lever, especially with clutch, but with archer it’s not an issue, its buttons with very light action.
all of this meant I had to add 7 links to the chain, so I will need a 122 link chain, cus I had to get it to be 121 link and 2 of the links were of course missing links/quick links. 121 link chain does not exit, but 122 link chain exist, so that’s what I will get, that extra one link won’t matter much performance wise, So I won’t have to cut the chain or make chain longer if I get 122 link chain.
there is no other choice for pedals for me, the big platform supporting the arch, there is no other pedal that would fit me and do this. There are several reviews on YouTube, and I have a review of them here, I linked few of the reviews on YouTube in my review.
Bike Yoke Squeezy seat post clamp
I wanted to try something different than the Hope clamp, and feedback I got on this seat post clamp was good & I could easily get one, so I did. it’s very minimalistic, no unnecessary material at the top. the Fit was excellent.
Mudhugger Front & rear.
For me mudguards are a must, but I am not afraid of getting little bit dirt.
But the rear guard protects against spray from te rear tyre, it greatly reduces the dirt at the dropper post, thus putting less wear, and protecting it from scrapes from rocks, that the tyre could shoot up at it, and my the riding shorts, reduces the wear off saddle by not having as dirty shorts, I can ride through wet trails, and not get wet butt, no waterproof shorts needed, so on cold days I don’t feel too cold due to being wet.
The front guard reduces the spray on the goggles, I think Ben Cathro’s video showcasing the difference it can make, is great, he recorded the goggles, how much spray the goggles got, it makes a big difference, but tyre can still shoot up rocks on someone infront of me if riding on gravel, the big gravel/stones can shoot up from the tyre, so goggles is a must.
Improvements of the first build I want do:
- But I would like a hub with better engagement, so far most promising seems to be Onyx Vesper, which Oslo Sykkelcompagniet is distributor of, Ole has confirmed he sell them, so I know who to contact if I decide to i.
- Strong barrel adjusters for the TRP Spyke calipers, cus they are way too weak, just hitting them with your hand, can snap them off, and the rear suspension will ruin the threads, so I decided to try not using them just having it turned all the way in, I will see how that goes. I haven’t tried a perfect brake yet, and hydraulic brakes that did not leak would be nice, but I am gonna stick with with mechanical for a while. but Trick Stuff brakes seem to have a good reputation. I have also been recommended Magura, I haven’t tried any of those. But I am done with Shimano brakes, I can’t take the evil circle of leaking brakes any longer. So if I got better barrel adjusters for TRP Spyke caliper I think it would bee a great caliper for me, but so far I haven’t found the perfect lever, but ML800 works fine, but it’s not perfect.
Nicolai bikes, is the manufacturer https://www.nicolai-bicycles.com/
Flickr Album: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmJErnsU
Chain wear, is definitely not as bad os the previous on the 2014 Trek Fuel EX, which wore chain to 0.40 at about 80km.
Chain wear was about 0.30 at 144.0km, so a still had plenty life left in it.
I put on a new chain, and I was swapped wheels with summer setup, with fresh cassette, I can also notice it performing better, So I think this is some thing I should continue to do even on this bike.
swapping between multiple chains will make swapping between wheels perform better, and will wear the drivetrain less.
other peoples builds: