Now THAT Was A Bike: Nico Vouilloz's Sunn Radical+

Jun 30, 2020
by Matt Wragg  



For bike nerds, there is one bike that separates the early days of downhill from the modern era. That bike is Nico Vouilloz's Sunn Radical+, designed by Olivier Bossard. It marks the change from the wild experimentation as the sport found its feet to bikes really working in a way that we would still appreciate today.

There is so much on this bike that we almost take for granted today - things like adjustable chainstays, high and low speed compression adjustment, an angleset or offset frame layout - yet in the late 1990s this was the highest end of World Cup exotica. Part of the explanation for this is the approach they took - they tested, timed and tweaked with a focus on outright performance. There were no focus groups, no marketing people to appease, the only thing that mattered is how well it performed on track.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Details
Height 5'10" / 176m
Weight 155 lb / 70kg
Hometown Peille, France
Model Sunn Radical+
Frame Size Medium
Wheel Size 26"
Suspension Bos Obsyss
Drivetrain Custom
Brakes Formula
Cockpit Race Face
Wheels & Rubber Mavic rims and team-only hubs, Michelin tires

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Details
Fork travel 170mm
Rear travel 180mm
Head angle 67.5 degrees
Front centre 700mm
Chainstays 450mm
Wheelbase 1145mm
BB height 360mm
Weight 41.6 lbs / 18.9kg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
You can just see the head angle adjustment sleeve beneath the headset cups. At the rear axle, the chainstay adjustment is a more open design than you'll find on production bikes these days - as making sure you line the axle up perfectly on both sides is considered too much of a hassle to pass on to consumers. At the headtube is Bossard's take on an integrated bump stop - only he decided to mount it in front of the headtube rather than in the mainframe itself.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Out front the Bos Obsyss fork offered 170mm of travel - you need to remember that in this era its main competition, the Rockshox Boxxer, only sported 151mm. From above you can also see how the split top tube design is offset.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
It's hard to get a clear shot of the shock as it's so hidden within the frame. At the lower end it joins onto the linkage via an eyelet bearing mounted on a strut to help it move more freely under directional loads. At the base there is a high and low-speed rebound adjust, high and low-speed compression adjust at the head, plus an air valve to alter pressure in the piggyback. Nico isn't too sure about exact settings, he thinks it was at around 40% sag, but what is sure that more than twenty years later the bike still sags under its own weight.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
When it came to the drivetrain, he ran nothing as boring as AXS or Di2. Nico ditched the mainstream brands for an EGS Up Cage derailleur mated to a Raceface crank.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
It may seem like a small detail, but this freehub may be the most out-there component for the time on what is already a very out there bike. There are no pawls or ratchets in the body, instead these team-issue only hubs were designed around a one-way bearing. For the most part it works exactly like a regular hub, the only difference is the engagement - it is instant. And when I write instant, I don't mean Industry 9/Chris King/DT Swiss freehub quick, I mean fixed gear track bike quick. Onyx uses a similar design in their hubs today.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
With Mavic going through some tough times at the moment, these D521 rims are timely reminder of just how dominant the French wheel maker once was - for a long period of time was there even any other rim worth using? Those rims are shod in another reminder of a great French company who are working to retain their reputation - Michelin's Comp 16, 24 and 32 tires set the standard for downhill tires until the early 2000s when they were surpassed by Maxxis as the benchmark.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico is well-known in mechanics' circles for how particular he was about his spoke tension, so your first guess might be that these cable ties are to help increase wheel tension. You'd be wrong. It's a popular moto trick to join spokes with solder to increase stiffness, but Nico was more often found hunting for compliance, so these cable ties are to hold the spokes together in case one breaks - leaving it tied to its partner for the rest of the run, rather than coming free to cause chaos.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Formula's role in the development of the mountain bike disc brake is often overlooked, especially in favour of cross-Atlantic alternatives that shout a lot louder about their achievements, but in 1997 when Vouilloz wanted to slow down in a hurry, he turned to the Prato-based company.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
ODI's Ruffian grips - they are unchanged today. Direct mount stems were not yet a thing, so this Race Face numebr had to suffice. At a guess we'd put the length at around 70-80mm. Shimano's DX pedals - another mainstay that has only recent been surpassed by more modern designs. A standard Shimano XTR shifter was paired with his EGS derailleur.

Nico Vouilloz s bikes. Berre-les-alpes France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Signed and dated.



137 Comments

  • 49 1
 Funny how the Michelin logo hasn't changed at all, it's so good it won't look outdated in 50 years
  • 5 0
 "Nunc est bibendum" - still unsurpassed as an advertising slogan and a general statement of reality.
  • 3 2
 I'm actually very bothered by how horribly off center from each other the opposing logos are. How the hell did I never notice that on mine?
  • 16 0
 You guys should do a piece on the VProcess NV00, Curious to know why Nico only rode to for 1 year apparently there was only 2 frames every made and it was a high pivot idler fully bike back in 2000 which is exactly what Max (Commencal) has been doing the last few years and everyone else is following. It was clearly ahead of its time but there are hardly any good pics of it (Not HiRes anyways) getting around and the info on that bike ive never seen anywhere geo, weight, travel, secrets ? Come on Pinkbike make it happen.
  • 3 6
 @heavyp: errr, Canfield did and Commençal followed
  • 6 0
 @ismasan: Yeah but im not talking about Canfield, I'm talking about the NV00 built by Max back in 00 and then himself using that same design 17 years later and from nowhere Amaury Pierron blasted onto the scene.

Im pretty sure Canfield had to do it back in 1999 on the big fatty fat or whatever it was called due to the massive amounts of travel, I thought the didnt start using a idler fully on the DH bike till 2002
  • 3 0
 @heavyp: Balfa was doing that in the 90's
  • 1 2
 Canfield copied Brooklyn machine works

@heavyp:
  • 6 0
 @Bottleride: Im surprised there are people on here who rode in the 90's with how many times I see everyone saying certain bikes look like a session which was a horrible looking bike when it came out in 07 and was just a copy of a lot of other bikes but mainly the turner after burner.

Anyways back to idler pulleys I didnt say Max invented it I am just stating he build a very good rare bike for Nico to ride in 2000 and it was never seen again and there is no info out there about what I feel Is a very special bike.

If this was about ugly looking bikes that weighed the same as a small car and were only built for dropping off mountains I would get it but im talking about DH racing on the World Cup stage.
  • 2 0
 @heavyp: 1:47 in this video. Not very high res but that's the bike.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=toncHR99a30
  • 2 0
 Actually the Michelin logo has changed, Bibendum has lost weight, really.
  • 2 0
 @Bottleride: I have a Brooklyn Race Link and a Canfield Jedi and there's no way Canfield copied the Brooklyn design, completely different approach, like opposite..

The Jedi is good, but nothing, and i mean nothing beats the Brooklyn design, nothing before or since has come close, geometry is terrible though Smile
  • 2 0
 @heavyp: remember, in the 90s most pros rode an intense with their factory sponsor logos on them... Haro, iron horse, mongoose, etc...
Corrine had sick frames way ahead of their time
  • 2 0
 Cortina frames
  • 1 0
 @heavyp: Correct me if I'm wrong, the NV wad dessigned by nico and bossard. And it was built in Spain by EDR which is a frame builder. Max commencal was prety much out of the scene by then since he had been recently been forced to leave sunn. Love that era of mtbking
  • 28 0
 Interesting thing that everyone probably missed, but that lower Race Face headset cup is the stainless 'DH' set. I worked for RF during this time and we would all poach the lower cups and put them upside down on the top because the lower cup had a taller flange to make it stronger. So we all had 2 lower cups on our bikes and you could tell because the the 'RACE FACE' would be upside down on the top cup. Now on Nicos bike the lower cup is upside down which means its a shorter top cup. I wonder why they did that? I wonder if they got shipped 2 lower cups because we poached all the top cups? loI
  • 2 0
 Might be due to the bumbstop that would prevent a full length cup? But nice trick nonetheless. Reminds me of the RaceFace DH bottom brackets that were a lot deeper than the regular ones, and would save some frames with a few damaged threads.
  • 2 0
 I remember all those rf dh headsets and running 2 lower cups when I worked for Deep Cove. The cups were steel and we started to notice that head tubes were ovalizing as the steel was not ridgid enough. RF claimed it was our head tubes but it never happened with the alloy cups... RF stopped production the next year. It was tough to fit those long cups in a lot of frames, the head tube had to be reamed out first. That's probably why the Sunn didnt have one.
  • 17 2
 @Matt Wrag this is not the bike from Chateau d'Oex, I'm sure of it as I still have a vivid memory of Nico's Sunn from that race. In 97 at the worlds he was on a one shot carbon frame made for this race only. The bike was black and blue.

In 97 the perimetric frame design from Sunn made its debut at the worlds with Mickael Pascal. The bike from your pictures look like it's from 1999.
  • 13 1
 Fantasy Trivia winner right here.
  • 3 1
 We can be friends.
  • 3 0
 that XTR shifter is (I think) 98-onwards as well as it has the little push-outs for attaching the bar-end shifter
  • 2 0
 @Loche: I was there as a spectator lol
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: we're old lol
  • 1 0
 That's exactly what my thoughts were. The Chateau d'Oex bike was very different. The white bikes came in the UN '99 season, whereas ”UN” stood for ”unsponsored”. Sunn had major deals with fashion label Chipie and with Nike before that. It was the swansong for Max Commencal behind Sunn.
  • 7 0
 I love these stories on older DH racing works bikes! Please keep them coming if possible. Also, back in the day when I first started racing DH. I rode a 2005 Giant Team DH. And I rode on a mix of all the Michelin DH 16, 24 and 32's. Those Michelin tires were amazing! Stoked to see Michelin is back in the DH tire seen.
  • 8 0
 Oh mama. Looked amazing at the time. Crazy how a steep HA and long stem can totally ruin its looks when seen with 2020 vision. But wasn't the 97 one blue?
  • 1 0
 And carbon
  • 7 0
 HA! 2020 vision... nice
  • 6 0
 @Matt Wragg The Mavic D521 or, how it is called today, EX721 is the most succesful DH rim of all time, thank you for mentioning that. It started its career in 1998, as a worthy successor to the mighty 121, and stood strong until 2013, when the 26” wheel was still a thing and pro's in the World Cup were still running it. It was the go-to rim even for Mavic-sponsored teams who normally would run DeeMaxes. But the first DeeMax was built around the heavier D321 (EX729 today), so many ran the lighter rims which were burly enough. How burly were they? Well, the Maxtal alloy was special and harder than normal aluminium alloys and even if it cracked it could be welded. Mavic probably wouldn't recommend it, but us poor twats here did it and rims ran strong afterwards too. I remember a particular one, welded in 3 places, used in trials, still going strong after many years. The Arai Global team had stacks of these rims, just painted yellow to mock the DeeMax. I still have a plethora of them, used on most of my bikes. Only had to ditch them when things moved to 27.5” and 29”, but they were excellent in DH, dirt/street and even old enduro bikes.

Michelin is also underrated. Maxxis owes them pretty much ALL their initial designs that sold like hot cakes. I like Colin Bailey a lot, I also dig his story, but the DHF just resembles the Comp 32 too well. And when the Mobster, Minion DHR and High Roller also look like C16, C24/Transalp/Hot S and DH Soft, you stop believing in coincidences... Wink

Cheers!
  • 5 0
 I'm here kicking myself for not remembering the EGS derailleur.
Anyway, it's safe to say that the biggest game changer was the 1st gen Radical+,around 1994. Nico was still a junior (and rode for GT) and François Gachet was the man to beat.
  • 9 1
 This is very obviously his 1999 bike.
  • 6 0
 I totally agree, in 1997, Vouilloz rode a carbon prototype. White is the 1999 color for Sunn.
See this blog at the very bottom: www.melivelo.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=413
  • 7 0
 why would he have signed it in 1997?
  • 4 0
 I don't recall the Sunn team ever being on MORE suspension travel than the rest of the pack either. IIRC it was usually less (4" when the first Boxxers came out, then 6" when Boxxers went to 8").
The number plate was signed in 1997, but the Number plate isn't the bike...
  • 2 0
 @gtill9000: No indication that was written or signed off in 1997.

It's just the race info, could have been written recently.

Maybe it was the '97 bike, the mystery is yet to be solved.

Pictures of him from that race he is on a different carbon prototype bike is where the questions are coming from.
  • 2 0
 @mobiller: only Nico knows!!
  • 2 0
 @gtill9000: he clearly rode faster than 85 mph, and traveled back to 1997 to sign the bike. By 1999 he knew it would be priceless in the 21st century.
  • 4 0
 I was looking at reviews for the Yamaha Tenere 700 motorbike the other day and I noticed that the rear shock linkage on this 1997 Sunn Radical is pretty much exactly the same system/type as the Tenere (Google it, look at the lower shock linkage and swingarm pivot point, and then compare it to the images above to see what I mean - www.advpulse.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Yamaha-Tenere-700-specs-h.jpg ). It really does go to show how ahead of it's time this bike was really.
  • 3 0
 i was thinking the same! i saw the rear suspension and instantly thinking, "wait, that looks like Yamaha or honda's motocross linkage!"
  • 2 0
 @KemalKooster:
Honda is reversed with the pull rods attached to the frame and the knucle attached to the swingarm, always has been
Old kawasakis and and some Yamaha are this way with pull rods to swing arm knuckle on frame.
They can be made to (and generally do) work the same
  • 3 0
 It’s similar to the Ancillotti design that was patented in the ’80’s
  • 4 0
 Pull rods are a smart way of getting a very predictible flex from the linkages, as they're working under tension. Under compresion, flex at the frame or (mostly) shock can induce quite unpredictable flex at the linkages which the results in altered leverage rates, stinction, etc. Acelloti claims to be the first to use this kind of pull rod linkage on motorbikes and allegedly the Japanese came later in late ´70's. Don't know how true that is, though.

By the way, if my sources are correct this frame (as most if not all Sunn DH racing frames) is made in Italy out of Columbus Cr-Mo tubing.
  • 1 0
 @PB-J: they all rush to the patent office, to discover that their new awesome suspension design already existed 50 years ago.
  • 1 0
 @zoobab2: Enter Specialized's FSR. They could never defend their "innovation" in Europe.
  • 5 1
 Man. No wonder he was destroying everyone, he was on a bike that was, in many ways, 20 years ahead of everyone else. Minus some tweaks to geo and bigger wheels/travel of course, but not that drastic compared to what he was competing against.
  • 10 0
 That, and the fact that Nico trained his ass off and slept during the nights. Where as a lot of other racers smoked weed and partied and some times even found time to go and race, with various results. Nico showed up and won EVERYTHING (almost).
  • 2 0
 @chaserider: True that. I course walked with him once at a NORBA National (Don't tell @heavyp I rode in the 90's and never say anything about a Session). He stood in places no one else did to get perspective. It was awesome to watch.
  • 4 0
 Can Nico or anyone else comment on Le System, the double tube air system in the tires at the time? Flats were such a massive issue back then. As a pro at the time, I and many others were running moped innertubes in our primitive tires. They were hard to find in the right sizes. Nico's Michelin setup was a long way ahead of the rest of us. He never seemed to go out with a flat and his team kept the tires and the tube setup under tight cover and it remained a secret as far as I know.
  • 2 0
 A flat cost him the Worlds in 2000.
  • 1 0
 Did notice no valve in one pic but, no mention of it?
  • 1 0
 Just saw the shcreader valves in another pic Smile
  • 2 0
 I asked this in the forum some time ago and it got into one of those "pinkbike answers" articles. Paul Aston said it's still a secret and it was never reveiled to anyone.
  • 1 0
 What I remember from my early days of riding bikes in early 2000's people were talking that racers drilled extra holes into the rims and ran a couple of road tubes, idea was that it is more likely you will puncture one and the rest would allow you to finish your run. Weight was also not such an issue back then Smile
  • 1 0
 I once installed some green michelin tubes on my XC bike, the tyre died before the tube. I found out that it was a DH tube :-)
  • 1 0
 @nouseforaname: That was a double flat actually.

@Speeder01 - I'd also like to know about 'le systeme', surely enough time has passed now?
  • 3 0
 This is definitely one of the few bikes from that era I would like to throw a leg over today to see how it rides. So iconic. He won so many races and retired at such a young age. Just an amazing rider on a bike built more or less specifically for him.
  • 6 0
 Schraeder valves!! Please next bike the VPROCESZ made by spanish EDR!!
  • 2 0
 Vprocess and the high pivot + pulley for the win !

I would also like to see an article on the very first vario (with the adjustable saddle and elastomer supsension)
  • 2 0
 Oh man i dreamt about this bike so bad!
One day i had a chance to try a Radical+ at the local DH track and hell yeah it fell like a freaking Dirt Bike! i was 14yo at that time and will never forget this run on this dream machine!
Merci Nico pour toute cette inspiration, me voila maintenant a Whistler!!!

CHEEEEERS
  • 5 0
 No one is gonna mention the inverted cage derailleur?? genius!
bring it back, please!
  • 3 0
 Yeah, looks smart. Would this work with modern large range cassettes as well though?
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I hope so. Anything to reduce the chance of smacking a rock. And cages have become ridiculously long, and not offset by the relatively puny increase in wheel diameter.
  • 3 0
 Still have a brand new one in its box, it's now a collector. That thing was great, everything was CNCed in France. They also had a synchronized shifter, dealing with both front and rear mech!

But it was really expensive to make, Shimano bought all the patents from EGS at an auction in France. Few years later they came with the shadow design Wink
  • 3 0
 No chance, Shimano bought the patent from EGS. Buried ever since. True that is probably about to expire, but then what competition is left in MTB derailleurs?
  • 1 0
 @Vindiu: if this was being raced in public in 1999 then the patent would have expired last year at the latest.
  • 3 0
 I had those formula brakes on my first DH bike. If you laid your bike down on the ground on its side you could guarantee air would enter somewhere and the brake ever would go to the handlebar. Good times.
  • 2 0
 For the aficionados of the great Sunn era (90s mostly, chromed frames with Zoobab decals), you can join the Facebook group:

www.facebook.com/groups/sitoiaussituroulaisensunn

I believe Miguel Martinez and Nico's brother are on there...
  • 2 0
 I had a '98-'99 Radical+ bought new from a bike shop in Aigle, Switzerland (in the valley below Portes du Soleil - Chatel, Morzine, Les Gets etc.) in 2000 for a screaming deal cause it was last year's model. It was the same as this: www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=382485, so the comments earlier that Nico's bike in this article is from '99 are dead wrong! Nico's bike is definitely pre '98. BTW it was a great bike for the day, except for the Formula brakes which were absolute garbage and would overheat and seize every run. I spent a lot of time waiting around for those things to cool down! Swapped them out for Hopes which weren't much better - the joys of disc brakes in the early days.The Obsys suspension was very plush though, way better than anything else at the time.
  • 6 0
 And its STEEL
  • 3 0
 It may be real..
  • 2 0
 Columbus tubing actually. And most probably welded together in Italy, if I'm correct.
  • 3 0
 It was so amazing watching him quietly slay the tracks over and over no one could touch him. A quiet cool guy we all were following in awe. I would love to ride with the cat
  • 2 0
 Sick bike...not from '97 as others have mentioned. cruise around this site, he was on the carbon monocoque proto in '97.
www.mountainzone.com/mtbiking/worldcup/worldchamps/dh.html

Perhaps its a conspiracy
PIZZAGATE!
  • 1 0
 I use to have pictures of Sunn DH bikes stuck to my wall, alongside record covers, Hot Wheels and 2000AD poster art when I was 20 something. Potential girlfriends would say "Why have you got pictures of a funny looking bike on your wall?!"

Eventually that one chick said "f*ck that's a cool looking bike!"
  • 1 0
 Oh souvenir souvenir! I had a Sunn Radical + 1998 for my first DH bike! a 44 Chainring, too many settings on the shock, a SAG close to 40%..It wasn;t possible to pedal up that thing in my local spot. How many times did I push it, I don't know but
I loved it and wish I could have kept it! I don't regret the 20kgs +
  • 1 0
 Iv got an old video that came with a copy of mbr back in 1997, one section of the video is about nico winning the world champs at lesgets. he comes flying out of some foggy muddy Woods pulls a tare off his goggles two wheel sliding round a corner over offcamber rocks with the commentary saying he's 7 times world junior campion, 7 times senior champion, from that moment I was obsessed with downhill mountain biking, I went and brought a pace 52t ring for my ddg bouncer lol I needed the biggest ring I can get lol... nico inspired a generation of riders, peaty..vs nico .. The golden years.. Anybody remember Michael pascal he was pretty nuts tbh..
  • 1 0
 Would be stoked to know the complete history of the Intense M1 . That bike was sinister looking and beautiful ! I remember seeing many pro racers with blacked out versions as the M1 worked as well as it looked. This Sunn bike is loaded full of features that we take for granted on modern bikes. Those Race Face cranks started off as a near net forging of 7075 Al. and was then milled to give it the good looks. Geometry was still being sorted out but parts were getting much better. The early Formula brakes were a bit stronger than the Hopes that were out as well. Both suffered from five inch rotors when they were first introduced.
  • 1 0
 Some brake details not mentioned in the article. The Formula rotor had this "floating disc" system. You can see in the pics the mount and the disc are 2 separate pieces. There was play in the rings that held the rotor and mount plate together, which I guess was a predecessor to brake modulation - cause these had none!
  • 4 0
 He would destroy all of us with that thing
  • 3 0
 My life and bikes are so much better now, but I still get nostalgic looking back...

#goldeneramtb
  • 1 0
 Rear hub is interesting. George French (G-Sport BMX founder) prototyped a similar one-way bearing design and hated it. Article here: www.gsportbmx.co.uk/support/rideuktech/click_click.html
  • 1 1
 If they did tons of testing etc...why settle on a XC bike HTA? Did no one ever ride a dirt bike? You'd think it'd be easy to come up with a ridiculously slacker HTA idea (aka 64d) and test it out with a few different front triangles. Hell PB is doing it with the Grimm Donut (aka Horton's Reaper).
  • 3 0
 Still looks rad - even without the bottle and 29” hoops
  • 3 0
 More twin top tubes please!
  • 1 0
 I remember watching Nico three-tap Barney Rubble in at the Derr Valley NORBA back in 98. Damn. I still have that on repeat in my head!
  • 1 0
 When I rode Barney Rubble in 2001, it was an all new section. Reroute maybe?
Didn't realize it was there in '98.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: The 2001 course is still at deer valley on the lower mountain. Still gnarly
  • 2 0
 This was F1 level tech back when it was one course. Digging these look back articles
  • 1 0
 1999 bike with number plate signed from from '97? When you've won as many times as Nico you can be excused for losing track.
  • 1 0
 The Antidote Carbonjack frame looks to have a similar rear suspension design.

antidotebikes.com/product/carbonjack-29/?v=7516fd43adaa
  • 2 0
 What bolts to the top tubes?
  • 1 2
 A seat stay that is integrated w/ the suspension, looks like.
  • 7 0
 I think it was to put the telemetry system !
  • 4 0
 Top tube mount for TRI bag for snacks etc... Also you will note no water bottle mounts.
  • 13 1
 A basket for your baguette and wine
  • 1 0
 telemetry datalogger
  • 3 1
 @machaut: You mean le basquet?
  • 1 0
 @machaut: seek to 1:02 for the french baguette in this video about the 1994 Downhill world cup in Cap d'Ail (there is an interview of Nico further in the video at 1:32): www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ0fsxv-KNw
  • 3 1
 how is that hub different from an Onyx product?
  • 2 0
 Onyx uses sprags (kidney shaped thingamabobs). This hub uses one way roller bearings.
  • 5 0
 To me, the hub clutch/bearing looks more like a True Precision/Stealth hub than it does an Onyx.
  • 2 0
 @dadunc205x: that's what I was thinking of, True Precisions, not Onyx. Thank you for clarifying.
BTW, Box Components bought True Precision last fall. hopefully we'll see more from them soon.
  • 3 1
 How would the rear hub compare to Onyx as far as engagement?
  • 2 1
 they would have to be more similar than not. as far as actual engagement, its technically infinite, but in practice i hear there is a delay, and not a small one.
  • 1 0
 @englertracing: are you talking about Onyx or the hub featured in this article?
  • 1 0
 @Lanebobane: onyx, but sprag hubs in general
  • 2 0
 @englertracing: there is a delay, but I would say a very small one. More interestingly they feel soft and kind of springy.
  • 2 1
 I love that those grips haven't changed at all. Still the best, I run them on all my bikes
  • 3 1
 Funny how that Michelin tread looks like a DHF, wonder which cane first?
  • 4 0
 Michelin for many years. Comp 32 2.8" tire. My first National in 1997, GT & Eric Carter were shaving knobs down on them and cutting them like crazy with electric tire cutters & there were nubs all over the ground.

Maxxis first DH tire was a 2.35" front and rear specific combo with an orange stripe that they showed up at 1995 Nationals with and handed out to amateurs like they were sticks of gum! Resembled a Tioga Pyscho, but were a big upgrade from the hot turd Panaracers everyone had to use.
  • 1 0
 Love these old school bike checks! Reminds me of cutting out articles in the old uci ranking mags back in the day.????
  • 1 0
 I don't think that xtr shifter is "standard", looks like the upshift lever is not the normal one...
  • 1 0
 This is truly an amazing, ahead of its time, full factory coolness. Vouilloz and his rides were something special.
  • 1 0
 Magic D521. Still crying that I sold my wheel set with the XTR hubs and the D521...
  • 1 0
 Damn, I have some of those components on my bike to this day, tyres, cranks, shifter.
  • 1 0
 I like the dents on the underside of the downtube.. but what are the 4 allen bolts on the split toptubes for?
  • 1 0
 The freewheel is the same design as most light and intermediate bell helicopter freewheels they use in case of autorotation.
  • 1 0
 2000 Sunn Radical+: Head angle 67.5 degrees
2021 Specialized Epic: Head angle 67.5 degrees Wink
  • 2 0
 Genius brake mounts.
  • 2 0
 DH history right there!
  • 1 0
 This bike looks like the inspiration for the Dirtworks Piranha.
  • 2 3
 How did a normal head angle for a 2020 XC bike ever make its way onto the front of a WC DH bike? Did they not do prototyping and testing? I don't get it.
  • 1 0
 Do a bike check on the V process, that's what the Nico fans wanna see.
  • 1 0
 Not that this isn't cool though.
  • 1 0
 Booom! that's what we like
  • 1 0
 Looks a lot like a Keewee Cromo8 from round about the same time.
  • 1 1
 Slightly odd decision to go for D521 rims instead of D321's. Perhaps he preferred the narrower profile of the 521?
  • 3 0
 321’s were just too heavy. Almost everyone ran 521.
  • 1 0
 Nothing odd here. Nobody cared about IW in those days and the D521 was just strong enough. Actually a lot of pro's swapped the D321 on the first generation DeeMax with D521's painted yellow.
  • 1 0
 this thing is sooooo sweet
  • 1 0
 What about the floating rotors?
  • 1 4
 So its basically a 650b giant reign, geometry and travel pretty much the same lol

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