This bike is truly amazing. A great example of what can be accomplished in the enduro or all mountain category. Of course, since I am in Texas, I used it as more of a cross country bike. I can’t really say much for how it would do as a downhill bike we just don’t have any “hills” that big around here. Most of the bikes I ride here are more in the cross country genre so I was excited to ride a bike with more suspension.
It was quite easy to set the sag, the settings suggested for the starting point on the Magura Fork were very close to accurate and a coil over shock is a real snap to adjust. One of the cool things about a coil over shock is that changing the spring preload does not necessarily change any other settings like you might expect on an air shock. I understand it’s a little heavier… but I really like the ride provided by the coil over shock as opposed to air shocks. The Nicolai shows absolutely no sign of pedal bob and the suspension allowed the bike to maintain traction even under heavy braking or extreme lean angles.
Most of the cycling industry is trying to convince us that the future of mountain biking is a 29 inch wheel. Well, there is nothing wrong with that, I agree the 29er has some inherent advantages but changing the size of the wheels is a little short of a technological revolution that many seem to think it is.
The real future of mountain biking no doubt involves changing the antiquated gear shifting that most of us use. Moving an exposed chain from sprocket to sprocket with derailleur is pretty “old school”. The disadvantages are obvious to anyone who has ridden a mountain bike more than once. First, you are dragging your gears and chain through the elements, mud and grime. Your expensive and fragile shifting system is exposed to damage because it extends past the frame on the side of the bike. The slightest mis-adjustment allows your chain to fall off of the front sprocket… I could go on. But all of you know this stuff.
So, what is the alternative? Here is one, the Rohloff 500/14 Speedhub. This is probably not the final solution but is a huge step in the right direction.
If you have not had the opportunity to ride the Speedhub, jump on it! It takes a few minutes to get used to it but once you do you are spoiled for life. You have to use a little different technique. A slight pause in your pedaling is necessary to make a big change like going from 7th gear to first gear. But this happens so fast you will be shocked. All 14 gears are perfectly linear steps from 1 to 14.
This Nicolai is top of the line, every detail. The Magura MT140M fork, The Magura MT8 Brakes, Elka coil over shock, E-Thirteen cranks, Chris King 20mm through hub in the front and, of course, the Roloff Speed Hub out back. If you don’t want to take this out and try it, you are not really a mountain biker. If you do, call Goodbye Cycle. Maybe we could work out a trade… for your used ride? What do you have? We have the only one like this you will find anywhere on this side of the pond.