NS Snabb E1 - Review

Jun 30, 2015
by Paul Aston  
NS Snabb review

NS Bikes may be better known for their hardcore hardtails, piloted by the likes of Sam Pilgrim at freeride events around the globe, but over the last couple of years the Polish brand has been expanding their lineup. Entering the downhill market last year with the well received Fuzz, they have now unleashed a couple of smaller brothers sharing a similar design. The Snabb T is a 140mm trail bike and the E version its enduro conquering, 163mm travel sibling. Despite the 'Enduro' tag, NS seem to be marketing towards riders more interested in shredding and having fun, rather than racers looking for refined race machinery. Keeping up with current trends, the Snabb line boasts roomy cockpits and slack angles, with robust and reliable build kits.
NS Snabb E1 Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Wheel size: 27.5''
• Rear wheel travel: 163mm
• Four bar suspension design
• Full AL6061-T6 + AL6066-T6 frame
• Tapered head tube (44/56mm)
• Internal dropper post routing
• Smooth ‘double pass’ welding in all critical areas
• ISCG 05 chain guide tabs
• Weight: 30lb 6oz (Large Size tested)
• MSRP: $4,500 USD / £3,199

The Snabb's full alloy chassis rolls on 27.5" wheels and a simple suspension design with a Horst-style link. There's 163mm of travel at the rear, via a RockShox Monarch DebonAir, matched to a 160mm RockShox Pike RC at the front. Gearing is via SRAM X7 and X9 components, while the rest of the bike is built with NS own-brand and Octane One pieces. Finishing touches include Schwalbe Hans Dampf and Rock Razor rubber, a Mozarrt top chain guide and a stealth routed 150mm drop X-Fusion Hi/Lo seatpost to perch upon. Our E1 test bike retails at $4500 USD, and the cheaper E2 model comes in at $3500. Snabb's are currently available in 41 countries and there are limited edition versions to look out for in the future, so keep your ear to the ground if you want something a little more exclusive.

Frame Details and Geometry

I'm a big fan of the Snabb's look - it's not racey, there's little marketing propaganda or hype on the frame and a has a winter season vibe. Fluro yellow is always going to stand out, but I think the green and black of the Snabb T1 bike works better than green on white. The frame is full alloy, using AL6061-T6+AL6066-T6 custom formed and butted tubes, and has 'double pass' welding in all critical areas. Cable routing options are fully internal or external.

All the bases are covered with a 15mm front axle, 142mm x 12mm rear, a front derailleur mount and internal dropper post routing. There's a vast amount of room for a full size bottle, you could probably squeeze in a two liter bottle of San Pelligrino if you're riding in Italy. A tapered head tube with an internal FSA sealed bearing headset, and the 73mm threaded bottom bracket is surrounded by ISCG 05 chain guide tabs which are handy if you want to run a full guide or bashguard. The maximum recommend tire size is 2.4", but I'm sure there's space for a 2.5" tire in there.

NS Snabb headtube
Internal cable routing at the headtube, with rubber grommets to keep things quiet and in place.
NS Snabb E1
Internal routing exits near the bottom bracket.
Exit ports for the internal routing, no grommets here, though.

NS Snabb E1
Snabb means 'fast' in Swedish.

NS have pushed the boat out sizing wise - my large sized test bike had a 470mm reach matched with a 50mm stem, which is comparable to many other brands' XL sizes. An XL version of the Snabb would be a monster. The 66 degree head angle is comparable with other enduro machines, along with the fairly short 430mm chainstays and -6mm bottom bracket drop. The steep, 75 degree seat tube angle provides a decent position over the pedals, even with my tall seat height, and this is helped further by the in-line saddle position of the X-Fusion dropper post.

NS Snabb E1 Geos

NS Snabb E1 Geos

The Snabb's Suspension Explained

NS Snabb E1

The bike's 163mm of rear wheel travel is controlled by a four-bar suspension design using a Horst-style link. The main pivot sits well below the chain line of the 34t ring, and all other pivots are clevis-style affairs. There is quite a lot of rotation at the top shock mount on the alloy rocker link, where NS have used a needle roller bearing instead of a standard DU shock bushing to alleviate any extra friction caused by the rotation. The Snabb is built with a Debonair shock, and a Monarch/Debonair Plus will fit, but there is not enough space on the rocker link and lower shock mount to fit FOX dampers with piggy backs.

I asked NS founder, and ex-Polish rockstar Szymon 'Cowboylinksi' Kobylinksi to explain the design:

bigquotesWe're not big fans of over-analysing and building theories... The whole design team and me are engineers and we understand that kinematics are not easy to describe with a simple mathematical model. That's why we don't like to make marketing claims like "this bike is better because it has an "s" shaped curve" or something like that, and that the design does this and that.

I lost some paint from the rocker link after a few weeks of test riding, but this has been removed for production bikes.
bigquotesWe started out with a suspension design that we liked - the Horst Link, built a progressive curve that we liked and started testing. It took us three iterations of prototypes to get to where we are now. From the start we concentrated on the fact that the bike will be only be used with a 1X drivetrain, and this means that it needed to have more anti-squat than it would need if we were to use 2X (eg: check where the chain is relative to the chainstay when climbing with a 32x42 gear and where it is with a 22x28 which is the equivalent ratio). It's simply pulling from a different direction, especially when climbing, so with a suspension that works well with the smaller cogs will squat more with the chain in the bigger cogs.

We think the suspension could be described as lively, it likes to be jumped and will do a good job of handling even big drops to flat. Definitely something for the aggressive rider. We like it a lot with the RS DebonAir, however the characteristics can be adjusted quite a lot with different shocks, tunes etc... so it's really hard to give a very simple definition.

We even built our own DAS (Data Acquisition System) that can measure a lot of parameters of the bike during a ride (compression, acceleration of various parts of the frame etc), however even with that - it's really not that easy to judge which change is really BETTER for the rider...

NS Snabb review
NS Bikes Snabb Specifications
Price $4500
Travel 163mm
Rear Shock Rock Shox Monarch Debonair RT3, 216x63mm
Fork Rock Shox Pike RC w/160mm
Headset FSA sealed
Cassette Sram PG-1020, 10 speed 11-36 with extra 42t climbing cog
Crankarms Sram S1400, 170mm with 34T custom O1 N/W chainring
Chainguide Mozartt S3
Rear Derailleur SRAM X9 Type 2, 10spd
Chain KMC, 10 spd
Shifter Pods SRAM X7 10spd
Handlebar NS Evidence Light 762mm
Stem NS Magneto 31.8, 47mm
Grips O1 bolt-on long
Brakes Sram Guide R, 180mm front & rear
Wheelset NS Enigma Lite
Hubs NS Rotary
Spokes 14G-2.0mm w/ 14mm nipples
Rim NS Enigma Lite
Tires Schwalbe Hans Dampf / Rock Razor
Seat Octane One Rocket w/alloy titanium rail
Seatpost X-Fusion Strate 150mm travel

NS Snabb review


As many of these reviews go, a 163mm travel slacked out bike isn't going to be an XC whippet on the climbs. It's an average climber and the power transfer through the alloy structure isn't as direct as some carbon counterparts, but the Snabb did make it to the top of any climb comfortably. Thanks to the steep seat angle you can still drive power directly down into the pedals as incline increases, but the long frame keeps the riding position spacious and helps to keep weight on the front end despite the short stem, this centralised body position also helped when climbing tight switchbacks by keeping the front end within reach.

The compression adjustment on the Monarch shock offers a solid, almost locked out feel in 'Firm' mode, and 'Mid' compression falls more on the side of Firm than fully open in the 'Min' setting. In 'Min' compression mode the bike still climbed amicably, but with the compression lever within easy reach I was often flicking between modes to help the bike sit higher for climbing. The 34t ring up front was spot on for most of my rides combined with the Octane One 42t extender sprocket which comes as standard. Although this helped for grinding up steep inclines it did come with a slight disadvantage over a 1x11 setup - the fourth sprocket has been removed to make space for the extender sprocket, which means a big jump when shifting. On mellow climbs I often found myself stuck on either side of the jump. Most extended range sprockets lose the 15t and 17t sprockets from lower down the cassette, replacing them with a 16t to prevent this odd gap and create smoother shifts - it would be nice to see this in place on the Snabb.

RIding the NS Snabb E1
  The NS should take you to the top of any climb; the roomy front end meant a relaxed lower back even on super steep inclines.

Descending and Suspension

Once it's time to go downhill, the long frame is stable, and all the angles complement each other. The Snabb held its poise and balance well at all times, and excelled when charging in to rough sections as the suspension responded quickly to fast, repetitive impacts. Big hits were without issue, and there's plenty of support available when landing off drops and and jumps. The same progression that gives these characteristics also helps to generate speed when pumping compressions and features, driving the rear wheel back in to the ground as the suspension extends. The Snabb is bike that loves popping, jumping and general hooning.

RIding the NS Snabb E1
  The Snabb is right at home attacking downhill sections.

On smooth and undulating terrain like the classic trail-centre crests and dips, or on flowing singletrack was where the bike felt foreign. The Debonair shock conveyed a vague feeling where it seemed to float around in the mid-stroke of the shock rather than sitting at its sag point. I played around with volume spacers, and adding more did help the situation, but even with five spacers it still seemed to continuously float up and down when it should have just been sitting there. A progressive linkage and more linear shock combined with my light weight but heavy riding style might have had something to do with this - I often struggle to get the suspension supple enough for small bumps and grip, but with enough progression for pumping and pushing in to turns.

RIding the NS Snabb E1

Technical Report

NS Magneto Stem
Laser etched measurements on the stem, but nothing to line it up with on the handlebar?
NS Magneto Stem
This stem nearly pushed me over the edge.

• NS Snabb stem: This stem nearly drove me to insanity. Even with the instruction book, fitting is nearly impossible for the average human. If you do possess more than C-grade intelligence, you will quickly realize that you can't change the stem height without cutting the steerer accordingly. If you make it past that, the minute, incremental laser etchings have no buddies to match up with on the bar! I survived past this point, just, only to find my handlebar had zero indication of where the center was. Production bars now have a small 'Evidence Light' logo.

• NS Wheelset: The wheelset performed sufficiently, this wasn't my issue. The problem came from the schrader sized drilling in the rim. I had nearly recovered from the stem situation when I saw this and had to go and have a little moment to myself. I know you can get tubeless schrader valves, but nobody should have this misfortune thrust upon them.

Schrader Valves...
The rims that were pre-drilled for schrader valves nearly got thrown in the trash, moments after I had recovered from stem frustrations.
Octane One saddle atop the X-Fuxion Hi Lo dropper post
The Octane One saddle suited me well, an the X-Fusion post ticked the right boxes.

• X-Fusion Hi-Lo Dropper post: The 150mm X-Fusion post was a nice touch on the Large sized frame, and I like the fact it has no layback. Another feature I liked was the multi-directional lever which is intuitive to use and has a light action.

• Octane One step-up sprocket: The added range of the 42t step-up sprocket on the 10 speed drivetrain is a solid upgrade, especially when combined with a single ring up front. Although this came at the expense of consistency between 3rd and 4th gears. These extender sprockets work better when replacing the 15t and 17t sprockets with a 16t lower down the cassette, this avoids big jumps between gears when shifting up or down.

Octane One 42t step up sprocket
The cassette had a few awkward jumps to contend with when climbing.
NS in-house hubs
NS own brand hubs.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Snabb is a solid enduro-ing, jumping, dropping and hooning all-rounder that's not a bank breaker, but is let down by some specification and component choice. All easy fixes, but I do feel it's not something customers should have to contend with in 2015. Apart from these issues, its strengths shine through thanks to the geometry and progressive suspension that really inspire you to get off the brakes and into a charge, and then into the air when the terrain provides. The Snabb will comfortably take you anywhere you want to go, and should please the palate of those who aren't looking for a straight edge race machine. - Paul Aston

Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review

About the Reviewer
The latest addition to the Pinkbike Technical team, Paul Aston is a racer and dirt-jumper at heart. Previously competing in World Cup DH, now he's attacking Enduro and has been since before it was fashionable. Based in the UK, but often found residing in mainland Europe allows him to experience a huge variety of terrains and trails.Stats: Age: 29 • Height: 6'1” • Ape Index: +4" • Weight: 161lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: Rockwell Watches


  • 31 5
 Looks like a specialized pitch. That's a good thing. It costs too much and has too many gimmicky components though, especially since it costs about 1000 more. I'd ride it if I had the money probably. Seems like a real bike thats not too weird or esoterically designed.
  • 14 1
 It costs about $1000 more than the pitch, that hasn't been in production for about four years, and as such has better componentry and is subject to inflation... Sounds about right to me.
Also, are you remembering SRP, or 'whatever online warehouses will discount them to'. That'll easily make up the rest of your $1000.
This is the top spec model too.
  • 5 2
 But what about the dumb stem and wheelset? That's a big problem for somebody who cares about every buck!! The stem maybe is a $45 fix, but wheelsets are no joke.
  • 4 0
 The wheelset can be remedied by getting a stans valve stem that fits both sizes, and getting a rubber reducer that plugs into the inside of the rim to keep it stable.
  • 4 0
 You can get reducer sleeves
  • 1 0
 I'm running standard tubeless valves in the NS rims with no issue. Yes the stem is a bit fiddly, but I've kept the stock height and it just work well.
  • 2 6
flag chyu (Jun 30, 2015 at 22:49) (Below Threshold)
 Too bad I was looking for a 160mm one.
  • 4 0
 That stem is amazing, just rather something I would buy as an upgrade, so I can first find my perfect stem/bar height, and then can buy this amazing looking piece of art to finish off the bike.
  • 1 0
 Do a ghetto tubeless with some Schwalbe bmx inner tubes perhaps? The nut you screw over the air valve has a lip that would fit inside the schraeder drilling to hold the valve stable, and you pay half price!
  • 1 0
 Its called the 'Snabb' for a reason...
  • 1 0
 I was close to buying a magneto stem last month. I think they look rude, just a bit too short for the bike i wanted to put it on.
  • 19 6
 This bike is sexy as f*ck, but the price seems ridiculous for me. We have an alu frame of small polish brand coming with own brand components and we are asked to pay 3200 GBP for that? I wonder how many will pay for that, when you can get Commencal Meta SX or Canyon Torque EX for less? I like Dartmoor bikes and their prices, but NS Bikes are crazy.
  • 2 0
 I agree.
Also, "Exit ports for the internal routing, no grommets here, though." who did the booboo there?
  • 11 4
 NS are only available through dealers, so price comparisons against Direct-Sale brands isn't really fair.
  • 21 3
 Why isn't it fair? Real world innit
  • 2 0
 im sure theyre on CRC so should be cheap on there
  • 1 0
 it costs about $3430 in Poland
  • 15 1
 That seems to be a lot of money for what you get.
  • 11 7
 That's actually not bad at all. A 30lb, 160mm travel bike with top of the line suspension, and a dropper. To compare, the high-end SC Bronson comes in at 29.5 lbs with almost those exact specs, and is over 2k more.
  • 5 3
 I very much disagree every single component in that bike is high quality just because it's NS parts does not mean it's bad value ! All there parts sold on this bike they sell seperately they used to specialise in bike stems, frames, pedals Etc. and for the wheels I have this bike the front rim is only 420g with 23mm internal diameter and rear 580g with 25mm internal diameter . Also the rear hub is sold seperately for £100 and almost as loud as pro2
Please show me if trek/transition offer this. A £2900 transition doesn't even come with a dropper and everyone knows treks bontrager parts are shit. Don't get me started with specializeds £5 stem snd bars
  • 15 3
 I enjoyed the bit about the stem hahahaha, thank you Paul, I always appreciate when someone makes me laugh! Cheers!
  • 9 3
 This design looked retarded to me from the beginning. I guess clean looks were more important than function on this one.
  • 6 4
 The stem is actually an easy install ,just looks or sounds difficult.
  • 2 1
 Easy, maybe. Functional - no.
  • 7 1
 Easy if your steerer tube is cut to the EXACT right length for your stack height wishes. I love NS but god damn that stem is stupid.
  • 1 4
 got to agree. That is a deal breaker
  • 10 1
 Deal breaker.... A 45$ fix on a $4500 bike... Fosh
  • 2 3
 I can see a ham fist buying a new fork or steerer after a wrong cut. YES this is a deal breaker for me. Youy drink the cool aid I'll ride a Santa Cruz or Ibis.
  • 4 0
 So you base your bike buying decisions on the stem? Huh... I'm sure that makes for an interesting market segment.
  • 2 2
 @tsheep that sound like long reach short dic...stem geometry, a lot of people are interested into that Big Grin
  • 2 0
 It's really more of a DJ stem. I have a similar stem on my DJ, & honestly, it's been great, & not having bolts up there to bash your knees against is very nice. Cutting the steerer, or not having the stack absolutely perfect isn't as big a deal on a DJ.

They need to come up with a different stem for their trail bikes.
  • 1 0
 It has a lower stack than most stems and that worked on one of my bikes but I agree it's not for everyone..
  • 2 0
 Funny enough I ride ibis @madmon
  • 11 0
 you get cheap small adaptors to use presta valves in schrader holes. I use them in my wifes wheels tubeless no problem.
  • 9 7
 Or you can go ghetto tubeless wtith some shrader valved 20" tubes,like me. It's just the best option,less air burping (even Graves does it).
  • 3 2
 I completely agree. I do ghetto setups, and the added thickness of the 20" tube makes for a tighter interface between the tire bead and my Mavic UST x3.1 (supposedly same as 819) rims. Without that tube UST or tubeless ready tires will mount and hold air but have a propensity for popping off. Even though I use a new tube every time I change out a tire it's the easiest, most guaranteed way for me to have a reliable tubeless system. If I had wider rims I might be able to get by without the tube, but in my experience ghetto is the only way that works for me.
  • 1 0
 Or duct tape works just fine too- just wrap a couple of layers around the valve stem and voila!- schraeder compatible.
  • 1 0
 I don't know if its easy to find good tubeless schrader valve stems, but I would much rather have schrader than fiddily presta stems.
Why again do we need to use presta?
  • 2 0
 WTF is fiddly about a presta valve?
  • 4 0
 Its nice to see a company try to offer a current build with 1x10, however it'd be nice to at least see the base level 1x11 on the higher end version. By all means, keep the budget build competitive and bring on the converted 1x10 in that model, that's awesome. I'd like to see a little bit more bang for your buck on the higher level model in 2016.
  • 1 0
 Shimano XT cassette?
  • 1 0
 It probably will next year, keep in mind this guy has had this bike in hand long enough to do a review, XT 11 speed & GX probably weren't available yet, even to the industry.
  • 4 0
 Looks like an awesome bike to me. My knowledge is not really at home in enduro, but it seems like a playful bike that has a perfect set up for those with a freeride / freestyle background who want to have fun on the trails, and not the spandex xc strava guy looking to have... ...I don't know.... ...what's the reason they ride bikes?
  • 4 0
 Everyone is complaining about the "poor" build, but can we just stop and applaud the marketing team for NS that straight up doesn't use marketing mumbo jumbo or dumb acronyms?
  • 5 0
 So hows that similar to the fuzz again? Oh thats right it says ns on it I see now lol
  • 4 2
 "The problem came from the schrader sized drilling in the rim."

What problem? I personally hate presta valves because I always broke them.

Options with Schrader: 1) endurorider.pl/2011/07/ghetto-tubeless-manual 2) endurorider.pl/2014/07/uszczelniacz-do-detek-oko-x-treme and you're all right.
  • 9 4
 163mm travel? But I wanted 164mm!

...I'll see myself out.
  • 4 5
 And don't let the door hit you where your d.n.a. split ya
  • 2 0
 I wanted, I wanted.... 164 mm is not enduro specific. End of story.
  • 4 0
 im about to cop an all Black Snabb T1 Frame in a few Month ! Cant wait to ride that Thing
  • 3 0
 really confident inspiring bike, you wont be lett down.
  • 2 0
 bolt-on schrader valves ftw. Much, much easier to live with and work with, plus you can take the core stem out. Also it goes without saying about the ease of using a compressor with schrader valves.
  • 1 0
 Interesting mention and pic of the paint issue - I was browsing frames on CRC and the NS bikes caught my eye with their paintjobs but I saw a few mentions of the paint coming off very easily. Sounds like they need to work on that.
  • 4 0
 that stem would p**s me off
  • 1 0
 Pretty paperweight.
  • 1 0
 very true
  • 3 0
 Its nice to see an honest review, one where the reviewer does not ignore his frustrations!
  • 3 0
 Seems like a great bike to quickly make apple sauce out of any jiggery-pokery that you may encounter on the trail.
  • 5 1
 Buys Commencal and spends money saved on epic Whistler trip.
  • 4 0
 Looks like a mountain bike.
  • 2 0
 I'd like to session it.
  • 2 0
 this is the correct answer.
  • 1 0
 "...will do a good job of handling even big drops to flat." - NS founder, and ex-Polish rockstar Szymon 'Cowboylinksi' Kobylinksi

Now that's a quote worth saving for your warranty claim!
  • 1 0
 I prefer shader valves. No more snapping or unscrewing the weak presta cores when adjusting pressure or topping up stans. I just cut the shrader valve of a old tube and the top of a cap and used it as a lock ring.
  • 2 0
 With so many trail bikes/companies out there it's interesting to see who leads and who follows.
  • 4 1
 looks like a 3500 bike not 4500
  • 3 2
 Right? Alloy frame and no 11 speed? Should be at least carbon OR have 11 speed for that price
  • 5 1
 Its a $1000 paint job.
  • 2 1
 @andnyleswillriot -> "does the bike come with 11 speed?" said no intelligent person in the history of the universe ever. Trust me that 11th gear isn't going to make your ass any better.
  • 3 3
 Sweet looking bike and the geometry looks on point. Shame it's over priced, under spec'd and on the heavy side. Not keen on the paint job either really.........should offer the all black version as an option.
  • 4 0
 Pikes. Everywhere.
  • 3 3
 A lot of the new trail bikes look pretty similar I wonder how many companies pay to have a licensed version of the same suspension...
  • 4 4
 Agreed, this looks alot like the old Specialized Enduro.
  • 12 2
 more like a pitch
  • 8 1
 The specialized FSR patent ran out, so this type of suspension which used to be licensed by specialized is now fair game hence the very similar frames.
  • 3 1
 not giddy up but more gallop
  • 2 2
 NS bikes are solid. One thing though: you could get better components especially with these high prices. Other than that, they're really hardcore and playful.
  • 4 2
 yuuuuu at the price tag... and the color sheme... not my cup of tea Frown
  • 4 3
 4500 retail for an alloy bike and it doesn't even have 11 speed? No thanks.
  • 2 0
 I like the way Mr Snrub thinks
  • 2 0
 These bikes are awesome to ride... do it all well !
  • 2 0
 Can you get it in other colours with that spec?
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure that is a typo. The metric measurement stays the same but the imperial changes between sizes.
  • 1 0
 I will stick with my Giant Advance 2 that I paid less for with a better speck build and carbon! Giant for the win!
  • 9 9
 Yeeesss.Thank you NS a proper metal bike. Looks great and please keep them coming! #metalbikesforlife
  • 1 0
 Pay less for a Patrol, get more, fix nothing.
  • 1 0
 pay less and don't get dropper.
  • 2 0
 My math was slightly off on the P2... Pay $400 more and get basically a better everything.
  • 2 0
 Except that you can't actually get a patrol. Although I do agree haha
  • 1 4
 Stack height is comically low for how long the reach is. Also, error in their chart, stack height is the same number in millimeters for every size.
  • 2 0
 More room for the boys. Also, riser bars are tits.
  • 2 0
 No, stack needs to be low in small and medium sized bikes so riders aren't choppered out. The long reach is modern and IMO NS has done a pretty good job with geometry.
  • 1 3
 I'm talking about the large size... 470 reach with 605 stack is ludicrous. Look at the Stumpjumper, the biggest size has 456 reach and 661 stack. The Enduro has 465 reach 655 stack. Tallboy LT reach 457 stack 649. And on and on. 470 is a LOT of reach and 605 is pretty low for stack. In relation to one another, they are not often that close.
  • 2 0
 so what? Are you really that concerned about the extra leverage on the headset?
  • 1 3
 No I'm concerned with not being hunched over like a f*cking XC racer. Do you even know what stack means?
  • 2 1
 Yeah, it tells you how much of a riser bar to order. Just because they specced the same head tube on all sizes doesn't mean the frame was designed for the same bar height across all sizes. ...or maybe it's a shit design for tall people; can't really tell by looking at 1 measurement.
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