First Look: NS Bikes' Define 170 is a Mullet Metal Monster - Pond Beaver 2021

Apr 7, 2021
by Seb Stott  
NS Define AL 170 1
Photos: Piotr Jurczak


NS Bikes has released a brand new bike. It's called the Define AL 170, it's mullet-only (29" front and 27.5" rear) and has 170mm of rear travel and 180mm up front. The frame is only available in aluminium. NS has also updated the Define 160, which is still their go-to enduro bike, but the Define 170 is designed for those who want a little more confidence and capability. According to NS, "The Define 170 will feel at home on the biggest lines in the bike park. It is the most aggressive bike in the Define range. Enduro, freeride, bike park ripper, call it what you like."
NS Define AL 170 Details

• Wheel size: 29" front, 27.5" rear
• Aluminum frame
• Travel: 180mm front, 170mm rear
• 64-degree head angle
• 76-degree effective seat angle
• 438mm chainstays
• Sizes: S, M,L
• Price: €3399 - €4499
nsbikes.com


NS Define AL 170 1
Photo: Piotr Jurczak
NS Define AL 170 1
Photo: Piotr Jurczak

Freeride with Godziek Brother riding new NS Define bikes
Photo: Wolis Photo

Geometry

NS Define AL 170 geometry chart

The Define 170 sports a 64º head angle and 76º effective seat tube angle. There are three sizes (small, medium and large); the size large has a 490mm reach and 1,284mm wheelbase. All sizes have a 438mm chainstay length and 44mm fork offset.

A flip-chip in the shock changes the bottom bracket height by 5mm and the head and seat tube angles by 0.5º.

Suspension

NS Define AL 170 1

Like its shorter-travel stablemates, the Define 170 uses a Horst-link suspension layout. The leverage curve is progressive until very near the end, where it becomes slightly digressive. This shouldn't be an issue, though, whether used with a naturally progressive air shock, or a coil shock where the digressive section sits within the jurisdiction of the bottom-out bumper. Overall, the linkage has about 12% progression from start to finish, which is not particularly progressive.

NS Define AL 170 Leverage-ratio
NS Define AL 170 Pedal kickback chart

There's around 100% anti-squat at sag in the 21-tooth sprocket, so it should pedal quite well. The anti-squat values drop off quickly through the travel, so the amount of sag will have a pronounced effect on pedaling efficiency. On the other hand, the levels of pedal-kickback are relatively low for a long-travel bike.

NS Define AL 170 Anti-rise
NS Define AL 170 Anti-squat chart


Models

The Define AL 170 is available in two build kits, both using the same alloy frame.

Define AL 170 2
Frame: AL6061-T6/AL6066-T6
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
Fork: RockShox Zeb, 180mm travel
Shock: X-Fusion Vector R
Crankset: Shimano Deore FCMT5101 170mm 34t
Derailleur: Shimano Deore
Brakes: Shimano MT420, 200mm discs
Dropper post: X-Fusion Manic
Tires: Schwalbe Big Betty BikePark 29x2.4"
Schwalbe Big Betty BikePark 27.5x2.4"
MSRP: €3399
Define AL 170 1
Frame: AL6061-T6/AL6066-T6
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
Fork: Fox 38 Performance, 180mm travel
Shock: Fox X2 Performance
Crankset: Truvativ Descendant DUB 6K 170mm 34t
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle
Brakes: SRAM Guide RE, 200mm discs
Dropper post: X-Fusion Manic
Tires: Maxxis High Roller II 29x2.5” WT TR EXO
Maxxis High Roller II 27.5x2.4” TR DH
MSRP: €4499

NS Define AL 170 2
NS Define AL 170 1

New Define AL 160

NS Define AL 160
Photo: Piotr Jurczak

The Define AL 160 has also been updated and now features revised geometry which, according to NS, offers improved pedaling and descending capabilities, plus coil rear suspension courtesy of the X-Fusion H3C shock. It uses an alloy frame with 27.5" wheels front and rear, spec'd with a Shimano Deore drivetrain and non-series brakes plus a RockShox 35 fork (which is basically a Pike with a cheaper damper) helping to keep the cost down.

NS Define AL 160
NS Define AL 160

Spec: Define AL 160
Frame: AL6061-T6/AL6066-T6
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
Fork: RockShox 35 Gold RL, 160mm travel,
Shock: X-Fusion H3C
Crankset: Shimano Deore FCMT5101 170mm 34t
Derailleur: Shimano Deore
Brakes: Shimano MT410, 200/180mm discs
Dropper post: X-Fusion Manic
Tires: Schwalbe Big Betty Bike Park 27.5x2.4"
MSRP: €3299









109 Comments

  • 91 4
 C'mon prices are at least 1k to high
  • 65 0
 Agreed. $5300+ (converted euro to USD) for performance level suspension, NX/GX mix drivetrain, guide brakes, and house brand wheels and cockpit? No thanks.
  • 23 0
 @WY228: Yup, my same thought. Alu frame, mediocre suspension and build kit at best and they are pricing it in the same range as some fully carbon rigs with better builds. Considering they are a semi-direct to consumer as you can buy online, their prices don't reflect that.
  • 29 0
 @WY228: Rocky Mountain, who already have overpriced bikes have their Altitude Alloy 70 with Factory 38 Grip2 and X2, XT (brakes/derailleur/shifter), SLX Cassette for the same $5250usd. So this thing is definitely overpriced.
  • 3 0
 Do those Euro prices include vat, or whatever it's called over there? Not that that would make it a good deal, but less awful.
  • 9 0
 @WY228: even for European standards where we have some very cheap and decent bikes it's overpriced... What were they thinking?
  • 5 0
 fucking bananas. I saw ally frame and mid level suspension and thought it was some more awesome lower priced long travel bikes to make the fun bit of the sport vaguely more affordable. But no, they're mid range bikes with high end price tags.
  • 4 3
 Their website states "Suggested Retail Price". I would feel bad for anyone who pays MSRP for anything.
  • 9 0
 Let’s wait and see on pricing. Everything is going up this year.
  • 4 1
 @shredddr: exactly. This looks like a bad deal now, but when everyone else increases prices by 30% it may look ok.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Thats valid. I am curious to see in a year or two time if the industry is seeing a noticeable reduction in new bike sales due to the massively increased prices. Maybe more folks just upgrade parts on their existing bike since they can't afford new rigs anymore. I generally used to get a new bike every 2-3ish years but if my bike is still in good condition, geo isnt hugely outdated etc. I will definitely consider just putting some new drivetrain parts or suspension on instead of spending huge amounts for a likely "worse" bike.
  • 5 2
 Sponsoring the UR team doesn’t come cheap it seems.
  • 7 0
 @GTJosh: obviously not tried to buy a bike recently then? not a lot of deals floating about.
  • 2 0
 @theoskar57: I'm guessing its price hikes due to shortages of components and parts but still... you have to price the bike within reason. Only a fool would pay that much for this build.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Even with Commencal's updated prices it's still quite a bit more expensive and Commencal wasn't the best value between all DTCs.
  • 2 0
 They look clean as hell tho. But yeah agreed
  • 2 0
 @dark-o I think you mean too. ‘1k to high’ would mean 1k to some other (undefined) number
  • 1 0
 @WY228: man you're right!
  • 2 0
 In Europe you have to add 23/22% VAT to the RRP. And now all these prices are comparable to the similar specced bikes from mainstream brands. 2021 price increases kicked all our asses....
  • 3 0
 @GTJosh: There are similarly specced bikes with lower "Suggested Retail Prices". If we assume these here will be discounted, we have to assume the others will be too. The difference remains and leaves NS still too expensive for what they are.

And I really wanted to be excited about them. I like them as a brand, I like the frames, geo, etc. but a 35 gold on a 3.3k EUR MSRP bike is shocking. That Define 160 out of the box needs a different fork, brakes and tyres. Even after selling OEMs, that will make for a pretty poor value bike.
  • 1 0
 as in... all bikes lately?
is this the ebike factor... "it's only 1000/1500$ more?"
  • 1 0
 I have had NS rims on my DH bike for the last 6 or so years laced to Hope hubs and they rip. Never skipped a beat, they're awesome, no dents no wobbles no nothing.

That being said, I agree the prices don't make sense. Putting together a Commencal Meta AM right now with a Kitsuma Air, ZEB Ultimate, XTR drivetrain, Hope V4 brakes, DT/Hope wheels, and then the rest of the other shit you'd need to build up a bike, I'm coming in around the same price of that Performance one, but literally every component is better down to the tires and headset even. Its like at least a level or 2 up on every single component for the same price... doesn't make sense. I HAVE always liked the stuff this company puts out, the colorways, quality, etc... but its puzzling.
  • 2 0
 @Sweatypants: NS rims are manufactured by Fratelli (Spank’s extrusion arm) that’s why they are awesome!
  • 1 0
 @jaame: that's cool to know thanks. I never bothered to look it up. I got Spank shit on my bikes too and that's always good. Nice all around.
  • 48 0
 What in the kurwa happened with the prices?
  • 1 0
 I guess you somehow got to pay the bills of the UR Team?
  • 43 0
 100% anti squat in the 21 tooth sprocket but... what is anti squat in 50 or 42 tooth... no ones pedaling uphill in a 21t cog.
  • 6 0
 I can’t upvote this enough.
  • 3 0
 Bobby bob
  • 29 0
 I would say that the Banshee modular dropout system is better than having a mullet all the time, Why do all these companies make it so you have to have it one way or another? I want my cake and I will eat it too.
  • 11 0
 And the Process X. Give me adjustable chainstays too! For bike park season I want long and stable, for winter trail riding season I want short and playful.
  • 7 0
 @coletrane-mtb: The only problem with the Process X is how dry the colors are, (and the price)
  • 2 0
 I'd prefer that a company design and perfect a single setup instead of have after thought options*. When a company has a single bike that has multiple wheels setups it seems like 1 or more of those options are going to be less than ideal. If the company takes the time to design new dropouts/linkage to accommodate the wheel change and it has gone through the whole design process thats great.

*I am not suggesting Banshee hasnt given thought to all their options and hasnt designed it appropriately.
  • 8 0
 @mtmc99: well, the difference between Banshee and the other companies hopping on the mixed wheel train is that Banshees entire branding is letting people run the bikes how they want. I do agree that bigger brands need to make more specifically focused bikes. Banshee is indeed a very boutique brand.
  • 25 0
 Not even a Yari for 3300€ is really bad. The Rock Shox Gold belongs to bikes way cheaper
  • 21 1
 "plus a RockShox 35 fork (which is basically a Pike with a cheaper damper) " Worth noting you can't upgrade the damper to a charger on a 35 as the bore of the upper is different.
  • 11 0
 Indeed so it isn’t at all a Pike with a cheaper damper.
  • 2 0
 Also the top bushings in the lower legs are shorter in the 35 vs. a pike fork. And the air spring is different as well, more plasticky in construction. I guess that this spec is the best they could've gotten in a reasonable amount of time at this price, even if it's more expensive than the years of past. This pandemic really has messed up the bike industry in more ways than one.. :/
  • 8 0
 Revolution is basically a pike, not 35. 35 is cheap crap
  • 4 0
 Yeah, a 35 is basically an overgrown Recon, not a budget Pike.
  • 24 5
 NS has always been the king of making really cheap things look like they're really expensive things
  • 8 0
 Except lately they've been kings of making expensive thinks looking like expensive things. Not to mention what could be the most confusing model range ever
  • 3 0
 But nothing about these bikes are really cheap... IMO they're more expensive than they look.
  • 9 0
 @Arierep: and the best part is their expensive things are just cheap things with the prices cranked way up
  • 1 0
 @TannerValhouli: Yeah dude their base level 160 bike is like 4000 usd. Insane, but bike do be looking sick tho.
  • 1 3
 @skisean140: I think the wale hump is repulsive on these bikes. ew.
  • 16 2
 The most “meh” bike release I’ve seen in a hot minute.
  • 9 0
 NS Bikes aggressively pushing the envelope in the bike industry's drive to make $10k alloy bikes a reality
  • 7 0
 35 is not compatible with better damper (charger, diferent inner diameter of upper legs)
  • 9 1
 nice looking bike
  • 5 1
 Effective seat tube.... bobbins. Its the unweighted BB to top of seat collar angle. Stick a post in there and its much slacker. Have long legs and its slacker again. An offset and angle would be more appropriate.
  • 4 0
 Yeah, measuring to the seatpost collar is definitely NOT the standard. I'm not real good at maths, but I bet the effective STA, measured to where a saddle would be, is closer to 73*.
  • 2 3
 @betsie - the issue is that if we go to google and type in average male height worldwide you will see that majority of first world countries where most MTBers are oscilates around 175-178cm. This puts the seat just above the top of the headtube. Just like with other numbers on geometry charts, tallest people (like Chris Porter or Leo Kokkonen) shout loudest. I am personally quite a lot into owning an M sized G1 but quite frankly... I know it’s just a fab and I won’t go any faster on it. Steep seat angles are to blame for longer reach development, with each degree of the seat tube angle above 74 the effective TT goes down exponentially leaving you with choice to either get some sweet steep angle for steep climbs or reach that starts to limit your range of movement.

Having said that I see no issues with L, XL and XXL bikes getting steeper angles to compensate for seat tubes getting out of the way of rear wheels of long travel bikes. Some tall zealots kind of engineers themselves could argue that if we had 470 chainstays seat tubes could be straighter. But then... sooner or later they will get 32” wheels... and it will start all over again Wink
  • 2 2
 From engineering standpoint I’d worry more about leverage put on dropper post when the actual seat tube angle gets slack. Especially considering the irreversible trend to make them have as much travel from shortest possible insert length which in turn decreases the initial bushing offset. Hopefully industry will move towards 34.9 internal insert diameter as a standard for longer posts. It’s just that this goes against weight weenies so there will be resistance to this. At least that’s the way I see it Smile
  • 2 0
 @justwaki: have a look at the geometry pic, the effective seat angle and ETT are from different reference angles which is simply just wrong.
If the ETT is defined to a point in imaginary space then the EST should be defined to the same space at least.
But... that is also bobbins, offset and angle are more important as the size range will be for people with shorter to longer legs.
Maybe worth doing the CAD to see what the difference in the actual angle is over the claimed angle.

Unless you climb with your saddle down then the 76 degrees shown is useless for climbing, flat... all apart from the saddle slammed.... oh wait, there is a dropper post collar in the way, so its useless for that too.

Smells of marketing to me.
  • 1 2
 @betsie: Ok I see how this is confusing. I thought you meant the general issue. They messed it up here indeed. They even marked it with dashed lines in the right way but blue line is totally off.
  • 2 1
 @betsie @stevemokan

That geo drawing is misleading. They didn't measure STA to the seat collar. They measured to the same point in space as the ETT and reach, as is the standard. It's just the drawing that they got wrong.

I've just checked it and measured to the seat collar it is 78 degrees. Measured to the ETT/reach point it's the claimed 76 degrees.
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: Hopefully they will revise the drawing then and update the article with the correct drawing.
The mech eng from their engineering team, checker, approver, QA approver then copy clearance (dont think they will have copy clearance) who has a press released drawing wrong...
  • 1 0
 @betsie: I am pretty sure I spoke with the guy on a number of occasions. I shall make him stand corrected! It may be that his wrists are wasted from years of BMX street riding so he missed the snap point in illustrator. He's a great dude.
  • 1 0
 @betsie: Yeah I didn't think the error was that big of a deal but now I see some more comments about it so they should probably make sure they're doing their own products justice.

As it is, 76 deg at more or less stack height would be steep enough for me, but I'm 5'9". I can sympathise with tall people's problems.


Side note, I love how some muppet actually downvoted me for using a protractor and posting the result Big Grin Jesus, there's no making some people happy.
  • 1 0
 @bananowy: I hope it was a calibrated protractor. Haha.

We have to use a calibrated meter stick for drop testing our products. Cracks up but it is what it is. Then I drop them from up.the stairs and see what breaks first from what height, that's far more fun. As it sticking them in a vice and crushing them, that beats using a Lloyd's tester.
  • 7 0
 These look really really cool.
  • 7 1
 Mullet.
Metal.
Monster.

Iron Maiden’s original founding checklist revealed at last.
  • 4 0
 interesting that AL160 with "non-series brakes plus a RockShox 35 fork (...) helping to keep the cost down" is actually only 100EUR cheaper than AL170 with Rockshox ZEB and better brakes...
  • 8 2
 who the hell is going to pay 3300 for a bike with non series brakes.
  • 1 0
 me on my shore with shimano mt520's hehe
  • 2 0
 Interesting to see the Big Betty front and rear. I haven't seen much feedback on the Big Betty as a front tire. My understanding was that it was primarily designed as a rear tire to pair with something like the Magic Mary. Does anyone have experience with the new Big Betty on the front?
  • 5 0
 Damn that girl is sexy.!!!
  • 1 0
 Stack is tall but not crazy, but it sure looks crazy tall and isn't helped with that top tube kink. Slightly surprised no one has shown, or even talked about, any analysis that could explain why the kink is needed. They have to know it's going be a divisive feature, you'd think they'd want to justify the function over form aspect of it. Unless there is no function and it's purely for looks... in which case, it's fugly.
  • 3 1
 That leverage curve is awful. Seriously? Relying on the shock to compensate for crappy engineering? This is exactly the spot you want it to be highly progressive. What world are they living in?
  • 1 0
 Not sure what world it is, but I can assure all of their CAD file names end in "_Rev1".
  • 2 0
 @erikvehmeyer: Or XXXX_final.*
  • 2 0
 Not exactly. A ton of great frames you probably like have similar end of travel leverage. Iron Horse Sunday, Banshee Legend, probably a ton of other DW link frames. Also the small change at the end won't make the bike bottom out easily. So don't worry. That leverage curve will feel linear.
  • 2 0
 Looks amazing. I am currently waiting to ride my Define 150 AL for the first time, since the frame came with a defective seat stay :-/ Now I kinda wish I saved my money for this...
  • 4 0
 Exo on the front, DH on the rear. All the exo+ and DD's sold out then?
  • 2 2
 No mention about weight of these bikes or the frames alone. For the money they are asking, one would think they would be boasting of light weight but looking at their down tube with Groove Tube cable routing and the lower shock mount, its safe to assume these are porky pigs
  • 1 1
 Found your comment by searching for 'weight'. I think the same thing though...if you don't mention weight then you know its compromising on climbing and on the heavier side.
  • 5 2
 One could say this is defined as an inflated bike price.
  • 2 0
 Gosh, that lose band around the hub reminds me of my early dirt jump days...
  • 2 0
 what is the band for?
  • 5 0
 @jmtbf: they keep your hubs clean as you ride, silly I know, but kinda cool.
  • 1 0
 Why do bike reviews at all? Feels silly. We seem to be in the biggest bike shortage in history. Our LBSs are taking deposits for delivery in 2022, maybe later than that.
  • 1 1
 Nice to see trunion specific shocks vanishing. Cute idea, but not that great out in the field. Great parts spec at the price point...if you want a piece of crap and an empty bank account.
  • 1 0
 Their effective seat tube angle measurement is even worse than the rest of the industry if it's truly only to the top of the seat tube.
  • 2 0
 It's not. The drawing is wrong. 76 deg is measured to the same spot they measure ETT and reach from.
  • 1 0
 Cant believe all those in the good ol USA complain about bike prices. The rest of us have had to deal with 10k plus bikes prices for many years.
  • 2 0
 What is with the thing on the hub?
  • 1 0
 Supposed to keep the hubs clean. Idk if it works. But a lot of people have them on their dirt jumpers
  • 1 0
 @DCF: oh
  • 1 0
 Got them on my 2019 Fuzz and they sort of work but if you want clean looking hubs then they don't work because all you can see if the rubber band thing which distracts you from the hub.
  • 2 0
 We need more production mullet bikes!
  • 1 0
 Wow. Pricing is unbelievable. I just bought a 2020 commencal supreme team for the same price as the performance build
  • 1 0
 You shouldn't do it, put your brain into it.
  • 1 0
 no mention of wheelset used?
  • 1 0
 Frames with TTs that curve at the HT are almost always ugly.
  • 1 0
 I like it long travel do it all bike perfect
  • 1 1
 could I put my 26 on the back?
  • 5 7
 such an ugly frame. unnecessary humps in the top tube look like an after thought, or a shot at looking different at the expense of style. gross.
  • 2 2
 I will upvote you for every neg you get. Minging.
  • 1 1
 @BenPea: thanks bud. Wink
  • 1 2
 I think it looks like a cracking bit of kit. I would even forgive the wrong size wheel that's been fitted to the front!
  • 1 1
 Is that 2 position shock mount on 160?
  • 1 0
 Not with that top tube
  • 7 8
 Looks like a Walmart bike
  • 1 1
 NS Mondraker
  • 2 3
 2023 new bike: NS Joke.
  • 1 4
 Look like a Trek
  • 2 0
 Looks like my next bike

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