Nicolai Debuts 130mm Helius TB Trail Mountain Bike

The holy grail of trail bikes is something that climbs as well as it descends, and Nicolai’s latest claims to handle downhills like a 150mm gravity bike but climb like a goat.

In addition to a very forward rear pivot and extended dropout section, the bike also has an unusual travel number for the trail category. While 130mm might be a lot on a 29er, for 26″ bikes it’s on the short side. Nicolai says the kinematics make all the difference. Well, that and the combination of a fairly steep seat angle (73.5º) and fairly slack head angle (67.5º).

Video and specs below…

Specs:

  • Travel: 130 mm (130mm fork recommended)
  • Weight 2.6 kg (Size M, Black Anodized, without shock)
  • 1999€ (price for Germany only, 2389€ w/ ROckshox Monarch RT3)
  • color: black / gold anodized
  • Warranty: 5 years

Comments

Lancelotlink17 - 03/30/13 - 2:00pm

That thing looks kinda retro cool.

Sevo - 03/30/13 - 2:44pm

Santa Cruz nailed it with the TRc….similar in many ways. Nice to see others do similar bikes.

Rich - 03/30/13 - 3:08pm

135×12 through axle?

Tinsloth - 03/30/13 - 3:10pm

130mm trail bikes have been around for years, that amount of travel isn’t by any means “unusual”. Intense, Pivot, Yeti, Santa Cruz, and Turner along with probably a few others are making bikes in the 5 inch travel category. All with very similar geometry and ride characteristics.

Matt - 03/30/13 - 5:00pm

“Yawn…”

Seitenryu - 03/30/13 - 8:38pm

Quick, everyone act excited! I’d say this wouldn’t be a bike that very many seasoned riders would choose unless they wanted an upgrade in pure quality. It would be a very awesome first bike for a rider that wants the best. Nicolai doesn’t f**K around–just business through and through. They’re most similar to Turner, but significantly more advanced.

Sevo - 03/30/13 - 8:42pm

Tinsloth-130 bikes have been around, but not with those numbers. Not in Yeti or Pivot or Turner. Headtubes all at least a degree steeper or more.

MMyers - 03/30/13 - 8:47pm

I’m curious as to how Nicolai is “significantly” more advanced than Turner.

I realize that they can do custom geometry , while Turner doesn’t, but aside from that, whatcha got?

Not a Turner fanboi, just wondering.

Greg - 03/30/13 - 9:11pm

everything on a nicolai is perfectly aligned. as i remember, bb shell, all pivot bearing bores, dropouts, brake tabs are machined for alignment AFTER the frame is welded up, so there is no post-weld distortion. there are other reasons they are generally superior in craftsmanship, but this is a big one.

Justin - 03/30/13 - 9:16pm

The geo is actually not too different from the current generation of Trek Fuel EX bikes, which also have 130mm travel.

Fuel EX Head Angle: 68 deg
Fuel EX Seat Tube Angle: 68.5 deg
Trek Warranty: Lifetime

Justin - 03/30/13 - 9:18pm

Whoops, meant to put Fuel EX Seat Tube Angle as 73 degrees!

Justin - 03/30/13 - 9:19pm

And Head Tube Angle as 68.5 degrees…God why can’t I edit that…

Justin - 03/30/13 - 9:20pm

OR THAT

Please just delete all of the above.

bin judgin - 03/31/13 - 12:14am

except trek constantly flip flops their frames, replaces frames with different models, jumps wheel sizes, has awful BB90/95 crap, and has nonremoveable bearing cups for MTBs, and crap proprietary shocks. and all their chainstays break.

Mindless - 03/31/13 - 12:58am

It has been on their website for quite a while.

Mindless - 03/31/13 - 12:59am

@Justin: Comparing Nicolai to Trek? I chuckled in your direction.

Mindless - 03/31/13 - 1:00am

@Rich: Yes 135×12. Works perfectly fine. The did 142 on the new Ion16.

Mindless - 03/31/13 - 1:01am

Silly to list color in the spec – it comes in any color you order.

Mindless - 03/31/13 - 1:02am

..and subtract 20% VAT if ordering from US.

Tinsloth - 03/31/13 - 3:09am

Sevo, no offense, but you’re just wrong about the head tube angles. Take a look at the geometries listed on the brands’ websites. HT angle for the ASR5= 68 with 120mm fork, 67 with 140mm fork (based on Fox Float). SC Blur TRc= 68 w/ 501mm axle to crown. Turner 5spot HT angle=67.7…All the same or slacker than the TRc, but all within the sweet spot. Top tube measurements are all within an inch, seat tube angles within half a degree, BB height within half an inch, chainstay lengths identical. Pivot no longer makes the mach 5 and it had a 69 degree head angle, so I was wrong about that.

I’m not knocking the TRc, I’d have one if I didn’t already own something that does exactly the same thing, fits me well, and is pretty much the bee’s knees to me. I was just pointing out that it wasn’t the first bike to be built with that type of riding and handling in mind. In the end, I think with any bike, it comes down to what a person can afford, and what brands they prefer. If you break down the bikes by travel and “market type” i.e. all mountain, trail, XC, DH, etc, most of the bikes in any given category are going to behave similarly. There will always be a company or two that push the envelope and come out with new designs that actually do change the way the bike rides (Mondraker comes to mind at the moment, even though they are hideous to look at).

I’m not going to enjoy the trail any more or any less on a Specialized, a Santa Cruz, a Turner, or a Yeti. It’s all dirt, and it’s all awesome. In the end, I support the brands whose image and projected ideals I identify with the most.

(yes I have too much time on my hands at the moment)

nobby nic - 03/31/13 - 10:17am

We’ve had a much cheaper version of this bike for 5 years. It’s called the awesome Yeti Asr5.

Dr Foes - 03/31/13 - 12:47pm

Nice video, but, for the geometry, I expect more technical trails and some serious air time.

truman - 03/31/13 - 6:43pm

Drool. Nicolai has some stellar products. The craftmanship is superb on all of their products. To compare them to trek, specialized, gant, even santa cruz is a joke.

Mr Bojangles - 04/01/13 - 3:26am

actually its not a joke. Is the craftsmanship of Nicolai top notch? Sure. So I am not saying the quality of Nicolai frames is not better, but we are speaking to details that will typically only matter aesthetically. In the past this may have not been the case, but with how manufacturing technology has progressed, its the truth.

The quality model offerings from Trek, Specialized, Giant and Santa Cruz all use superior Taiwanese factories that have world renown QC and lead innovation in their body of work. These factories have been building products since the what, 70s? To discredit their work just because these companies are not some niche boutique-built in a machine shop brand is pure anti-establishment BS.

So to say its a ‘joke’ is simply your typical cyclist rhetoric. I encourage you to support the small companies (I do), but lets not separate reality from truth here. I have put countless years of trail abuse on many bikes from the companies you listed when I couldn’t afford a boutique brand, and they held up beautifully.

Ripnshread - 04/01/13 - 1:15pm

Is this even available in the US? Looks to be a straight up Specialized FSR (Horst) patented four bar linkage. ???

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