Nicolai Continues to Push the Geometry Envelope - Eurobike 2016

Aug 31, 2016 at 7:51
by Mike Kazimer  
Eurobike 2016

Nicolai 2017
The Nicolai Ion-G19

When it comes to modern mountain bike geometry, it seems like certain companies have entered into an informal race to see who can create the longest and slackest bike possible. Mondraker deserve credit for being at the forefront of this trend, as does Kona, but Nicolai have pushed the envelope even further over the last two years with their GeoMetron geometry.

Originally developed in conjunction with Chris Porter of Mojo Suspension, Nicolai have now applied those extra-long numbers to an entire line of bikes, one that includes everything from a World Cup proven downhill rig to a 27.5+ compatible hardtail. The radical geometry isn't going to be for everyone, but it is refreshing to see a company truly trying to find the limits of bike design rather than cautiously slackening the head angles of their bikes by a half-degree every season.


Nicolai 2017
Two settings allow the Ion-G19 to be set up with either a 62.2 or 61.5-degree head angle.
Nicolai 2017
Nicolai's bikes are designed, machined, and welded in Germany.


The Ion-G19 is quite possible the longest and slackest downhill bike in existence, with a reach of 495mm for the XL, and a head angle of 61.5-degrees in the low setting. Toss in 452mm of chainstays and you get a bike with a 1347mm wheelbase; in other words, it's slightly shorter than an eighteen-wheeler. The idea is that the extra length creates more stability, especially at the higher speeds that go hand in hand with downhill racing. The aluminum frame is handmade in Germany, and uses a Horst Link suspension layout for its 193mm of rear travel. If you're looking to have the longest bike on the block, the frame only (without a shock) goes for 2499 €.


Nicolai 2017
The Argon-GLF.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from a cushy DH bike is Nicolai's new Argon-GLF hardtail. It too pushes the geometry boundaries, with a 63-degree head angle (when run with a 160mm fork), and a reach of 495mm for an XL. Adjustable dropouts allow the chainstay length to be set between 430 - 455mm, and for the use of up to a 27.5 x 2.8” tire. It's even possible to run the bike with a belt drive thanks to a split in the driveside seatstay. Although Nicolai does employ some extra machining underneath the seatstay yoke to trim off unnecessary material, with a claimed weight of 2650 grams (5.84 lb), the Argon clearly isn't aimed at the weight weenies out there. MSRP for the frame alone is 1449 €.


Nicolai 2017
There's clearance for up to a 2.8" tire.
Nicolai 2017
It's belt drive compatible, with adjustable dropouts that alter the chainstay length between 430 - 455mm.



134 Comments

  • + 189
 Carbon is great and all but come on, machined aluminum is just beautiful.
  • + 20
 Carbon has its benefits and I can see why manufacturers use it and customers choose to ride carbon bikes but for me I am the same - Alloy or Steel all the way.

I love the Nicolai bikes but cant imagine shifting the big rig around at our local DH - A 'normal' DH bike is on the edge of being too much bike. Big gnarly stuff or 'real' DH tracks though I bet it could be amazing under the right rider.

Is Chris Porter getting royalties for these bikes ;-)
  • + 18
 MMMM metal.
  • - 5
flag Mattin (Aug 31, 2016 at 8:42) (Below Threshold)
 Machined aluminum is indeed beautiful. But only with straight tubes, not when hydroformed.
  • + 6
 @Mattin: straight tubes all the way. I am also not a fan of hydroforming.
  • + 3
 @Racer951: get the 160 bike then

probably, as it is co design he must have a smal percentage by frame, i once spoke to a guy who had one enduro geomatron, and he said that you could only get a "normal" one true mojo, from nicolai only with gearbox

as for the nicolai frames, they are work's of art, very high quality frames, at least from the ones i saw, would love to have one , but i think that this geometry is to much, at least i would have to test one
  • + 1
 @Racer951: I find my V10C too much bike for almost all my local riding. It needs speeds, steeps, chunder and sweet jumps.
A 6" bike is much better for daily riding. I wonder if these 6" Mojos would be the ticket to a lil bigger bike
  • + 6
 And those welds. We all have heard the saying stack of dimes. Those are half dollar bits there. Nice.
  • + 2
 @therealtylerdurden: Thanks for that, I feel enlightened. Maybe you would like to explain (with words) why hydroforming is so great?

@Mattin We are getting a lot of flak over our dislike of hydroforming as a method of construction. Hydroforming can look good but you don't have the same degree of control over the material thickness as you do with straight tubing. Give me straight thin Cro-mo tubes anyday.
  • + 1
 sorry, double post
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: What? My post was a response to you posting "mmmmm metal". \,,/ = the rock on/metal hand gesture.
  • + 1
 @therealtylerdurden: Sorry thought it was a vagina. My bad. Agreed metal is good in all forms.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Totally !!!
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: Hahahaha awesome, no worries Smile
  • + 59
 Pretty stoked to see the tandem version of this!!!
  • + 77
 Looking forward to knocking over ever pedestrian with this sticking out 4ft either side of my car when it's on the bike rack.
  • + 4
 @bigtim: I assume when you buy a tandem that you get a 'wide load' banner as well to put on the car.
  • + 37
 No frame adjustments needed, just slap an extra seat and bars on, there's plenty of space
  • + 3
 @hbar314: that for the bike or the girl you put on the back?
  • + 4
 @bikeaddict123: Her jersey has it printed on
  • + 6
 Is there an option to spec these with optional clown feet.
  • + 1
 The only person to get exited at how long it is was the wife.
  • + 38
 Have we all forgotten how fun it is to go around turns???
  • - 5
flag SintraFreeride (Aug 31, 2016 at 12:03) (Below Threshold)
 You can go around turns just fine with a long bike. My bike has a 1340mm wheelbase and I have no problems with it anywhere.
  • + 9
 remember your passport, as you end up in a different country when you turn this beauty
  • + 22
 The sensible me is saying that the G19 is ridiculous
The 6'7" me is saying WANT WANT WANT
  • + 8
 I hope this is the way of the future because I'm 6'5" and want one dirty bad but don't want to spend $5000 on a frame!
  • + 3
 I am 6' 2" and the LG MegaTrail with 35mm stem fit me well. I assume this XL would fit you as it should. Nobody make an XL DH bike for you......
  • + 1
 I am 6´7´´ riding 470 reach which is comfy...... but want want want too
  • + 1
 @ashtarsharan: the LG Mega is 475 man you need something 500+ for sure. I ran a 35mm stem BTW,
  • + 20
 Sorry. Its getting to the stage now that these bikes are looking like a joke!,
  • + 0
 German Technology (tm)
  • + 12
 That argon glf is designed for your buddy who wants to piggyback ride on your top tube. Your friend handles steering while you do the pedaling.
  • + 8
 I don't know how a person could ride such a bike. I like my trail bike because it has almost the same geo as my dirt jumper.
  • + 2
 You get used to it. Besides it's about the same size as a Mototrials bike.
  • + 8
 So where are all the complaints about the $3200 usd ALLOY frame?! If this were a Specialized/Intense/Santa Cruz carbon frame the comments section would be full of whiners.
  • + 11
 Uh, it's progressive...you don't understand. *said while looking at the ceiling using a condescending tone
  • + 29
 Cost isn't an issue for an addressable market of zero people.
  • + 16
 Nicolai is not a mass market outfit. It is a hand made in Germany, customizable boutique brand. It is when somebody sells me a run of the mill Asian plastic they did not even design but for logos and glossy marketing brochure - then it is annoying. When you know how much it actually costs straight from manufacturer. With Nicolai I know who welded and straightened my frame. And it is a quality piece of kit.
  • + 8
 Because most people understand the difference between hand crafted and made in a factory in Asian.
  • - 3
 @Axxe: What you are really saying in the general sense is that the people who complain about a $3200 carbon frame the second they hear the price are just ignorant. And that is correct.

Pinkbike doesn't often review "run of the mill Asian plastic", and when they do, it is often considerably cheaper and doesn't get heat anyway (see YT, Canyon, Rose...etc). The instances that I am referring to however are the daily ones where frames designed in America and built by the best carbon molders in the world (yes, in Asia) are reviewed and then completely panned in the comments because of their $3k pricetags.

Or how about a company like Intense, who hand crafts their alloy frames in California and sells them for around $2k? With Intense you know exactly who welded and straightened your frame.
  • + 2
 @TheRaven: Do not believe the hype. For many high end brands actual molds and a tooling and everything is done on the same floor in China. California headquarters would pick geometry and build kit. If that. Started with Specialized stealing designs and building them in Taiwan (where they actually do know how to build stuff, no issues there). Which is fine, it is a business. But it is not the same business as Nicolai's.
  • + 0
 @Axxe: "the hype" has nothing to do with this. I'm simply telling you how it's done. Intense contracted SEED engineering to design their frames. These are some of the top carbon product designers in the world. Intense designs a frame in california, then SEED takes over and makes it Carbon-able (i.e. hey Intense, this curve can't be done, how about we do this instead, and this corner here will need to be reinforced...here how about this design instead...etc). When that's done, it goes to the molders to be built. Specialized does all this in-house in Morgan Hill, and then sends the design to be molded. There certainly are bike "manufacturers" out there who call up Yishun and ask "how much to slap our stickers on your Trail Mountain Bike frame", but they aren't the ones charging $3k for a frame, and ironically are not the ones being called out.

So yeah, these frames aren't hand crafted, but just like the above is not an excuse for a carbon frame to cost $3k+, there is NO EXCUSE AT ALL for an alloy frame to cost that much.
  • + 0
 @TheRaven: Oh, thank you the wise one for enlightening me. Now, that would have been an even better enlightenment if you actually said something of substance.
  • + 5
 @TheRaven: "Or how about a company like Intense, who hand crafts their alloy frames in California and sells them for around $2k? With Intense you know exactly who welded and straightened your frame." I can tell you who straightened my Intense, no-one! That thing is as bent as a nine pound note.
  • + 2
 I'm sure it wouldn't if Specialized/Intense/Santa Cruz frames were made in Germany.
Nicolai is like Leica, it's not for those who need to look at the price, it's for those who are willing to spend extra money to have something different.
  • + 1
 @Extremmist: he also does not know how much they actually cost. Subtract 20% Vat, and with current euro exchange they are quite competitive in any color you want.

By far the most precise and well finished frame. Not even close to mass brands.
  • + 3
 @Extremmist, @Axxe: You have forgotten my original point. My commentary had nothing to do with Nicolai and it's frames. I was pointing out that this is proof that the whiners are simply ignorant. Companies like Intense, Pivot, Devinci...etc are NOT mass market brands. These are "boutique" builders that design and build for the enthusiast. Bigger brands like Specialized sell a ton more bikes, but produce some of the finest carbon frames in the business (example - how many threads do you see about broken Spec carbon frames? Now compare that to Intense, SC, Devinci, Pivot...etc, where virtually every other thread is about a broken frame). Now that's not to say that the boutique builders don't build quality frames, just that they don't have the R&D resources that a company like Specialized can afford in order to build a frame that can handle literally anything. Same goes for Nicolai...I know their frames are beautiful, just like Intense's hand built alloy frames, but I wasn't talking about guys who "know" I was talking about guys who whine.
  • + 2
 @STATO: If you got a mis-aligned frame, and didn't notify your dealer, that's your own fault. Buyers who got mis-aligned frames were very handsomely rewarded for their troubles.
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: I see just as many threads of broke Special Ed frames as any other.
  • + 2
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: You certainly could, but that's not indicative of what's out there.
  • + 0
 @STATO: Same here!
  • + 1
 @TheRaven: I'm sure you have the plus and an insider at each manufacturer feeding you numbers.

It's funny how you use the 'number' of posts you see as some validation, when it's pointed out there just as many post to the contrary, it's not indicative of anything.

Nice spin.
  • + 0
 @TheOriginalTwoTone: "It's funny how you use the 'number' of posts you see as some validation"

Explain how it's not. Explain how, when you go to the Intense/Pivot/Santa Cruz...etc sections in here, you see 1 out of every 5 threads is about a broken frame and horrible warranty experience...then you head on over to the Specialized or Trek sections and can go pages without seeing a single one. I want to hear how you "spin" it.

Even better - go to Google, type in "Santa Cruz cracked frame"...note the number of hits. Now try "Specialized cracked frame". Note the number of hits and remember that specialized sells more than 10x the number of bikes that Santa Cruz does. That's not spin, that's just reality.
  • - 1
 @TheRaven: reality is that Specialized is a crap company, started by stealing and going on by suing. f*ck them and friends don't let friends buy Specialized. Faceless corporate crap.
  • + 2
 @Axxe: Well thats disappointing. You could have just walked away from the discussion with your dignity and some respect. But instead you decided to prove beyond all doubt what everyone was already thinking - that you're a nothing more than a hater. Exactly the type of whiner I was talking about in my original post.

Enjoy your ignorance, it sure has been entertaining for me.
  • - 2
 @TheRaven: There was no discussion. There was a fanboy -you - blabbing about things you do not know about and do not understand. I called you out. Wipe it and get on you way.
  • + 1
 @Axxe: Aw so you missed it. Shame...had you been paying attention, you could have learned something.

Oh and that was your mom you were calling btw.
  • - 1
 @TheRaven: no. I did not miss you using Spec Ed logo for your avatar. Worst kind of a clueless fanboy.
Oh, really, their shit does not break? I laugh in your general direction. You highjacking unrelated thread with your fanboy bullshit, and now act like you above it? Smug idiot. Just go away.
  • + 1
 @Axxe: Get over yourself dude. Fanboy - because of an avatar I put up years ago (when I rode an Enduro) and haven't been able to change since...hilarious. The only reason we are still talking about Specialized is because of you. I used the brand as an example (along with three other brands) and you can't stop talking about it. You haven't even bothered to ask me how I feel about the brand, you just ran out of actual argument and had to resort to something, and hate is what you picked. You're a hater, plain and simple. Wipe it and get on your way.

But I am going to try to change that damn avatar again, so you haters and whiners can stop wasting my time.
  • + 6
 Can't imagine how to ride steep technical terrain with this bikes!
  • + 4
 With a lot of weight on your very sore hands.
  • + 4
 Steep technical terrain is easier with long bikes. More traction and more stability plus less likely to go over the bars.
  • - 1
 @SintraFreeride: I disagree. However, your definition of steep and technical may differ from mine.
  • + 2
 Can't imagine riding twisty forest trails with this!
  • + 5
 @panaphonic: You may disagree but have you tried one of these bikes? I have a Pole Evolink 176 with 1340mm wheelbase and I can ride it everywhere I could with my previous bike which was 1235mm long. It is actually easier to ride technical terrain and I can practically trackstand on steep terrain seeing as the traction is insane!
  • + 1
 @blackthorne: As long as you look ahead, chose the right line and weight the bike properly the bike will riding twisty stuff just as well as shorter bikes.
  • + 2
 @SintraFreeride: Yes I owned one for 3 months until I could no longer stand the nervous handling with all of the weight that was on my hands on steep descents. I also went over the bars a few times with it which was very unlike me.

It may work for you but it definitely didn't work for me.
  • + 2
 @panaphonic: fair enough.
  • + 7
 Nice welds!
  • + 2
 Awesome that Nicolai have stepped on board. The new bikes look sick! I hope they'll make a geometron roadbike as well!!!
For the record though the Longest DH bike is the Pole Evo Link 176 with a wheelbase of 1355mm, headangle of 62º, 455mm Chainstays and 510mm reach.
  • + 3
 I'm getting back ache just looking at it. Stretched out like a torture rack , straining to lift the front wheel . Goods news for the chewbacas tho
  • + 6
 Pedestrian harvester.
  • + 5
 Looks like a tent frame with wheels..
  • + 1
 The XL is only 25mm longer in reach than my canfield jedi with not much longer wheelbase. Lack of rearward axle path however means it won't get long-er in corners like the jedi. And yes there are times when I feel my bike could be longer especially in super fast big open jumping and G out sections that often come before plowing into rowdier wooded sections. When you're over 6' tall that stuff feels crazy. Nice when you can tuck into the bike and not be too far back over that rear wheel. In my experience, though...nothing is steep enough for 62.5 HA let alone 61.5 HA. At these angles, maintaining cornering grip on that front wheels is quite tricky.
  • + 1
 I agree you can ride most stuff with a headangle of 63º but if you want a bike JUST for mega steep stuff like Champery then those angles are ok.
  • + 1
 There's definitely something to these bikes. Maybe not for everyone and need different sort of technique to ride, but the really long, really slack thing seems to work. Check out Seb Stott's articles on the Geometron and fork offset testing and what not. There's also an interesting thread on singletrackworld about the Geometron and a few other prototypes that apparently are the dogs bollocks.
  • + 6
 Why tho?
  • + 4
 Cuz brawndo has electrolytes it's what plants crave
  • + 5
 That is one ugly hardtail
  • - 4
flag Axxe (Aug 31, 2016 at 10:21) (Below Threshold)
 Reminds me of your mother.
  • + 15
 @Axxe: 1991 called. They want their bike and insult back
  • - 12
flag Axxe (Aug 31, 2016 at 12:26) (Below Threshold)
 91'? Is she that young?

On a more serious note though, you are clueless about bikes if you do not like appearance of this hardtail. It is awesome.
  • + 1
 I rode a german friend nicolai once, i did not have the guts to tell him my true opinion. Very limited. Not sure what envelope they are pushing since it is the same geo as bikes from 100+ years ago
  • + 25
 You rode your german friend? Called Nicolai?
  • + 2
 @supa8:
Look it's a man! But it is dressed like a woman!
English humor at its finest.
An amBIvalent population.
  • + 3
 so was he any good?
  • + 4
 @harryhood: just as good as in your fantasies
  • + 1
 @RedRedRe: I do indeed have have mixed feelings about such things. I think it was all those years watching Benny Hill. We do self-deprecation also Smile
  • + 2
 what happens if you have to turn? I mean i like cutties, but that has to be the only way you'd get that thing around a tight turn.
  • + 1
 Skids?
  • + 2
 rode an rocky RMX one year, was tough to turn in the twisties, I wouldn't want to try this except for WCDH racing, which i do not do...
  • + 2
 I wish Pinkbike would stop called long and slack geometry revolutionary like it's something nunheard of, fair play these angles havent been done before
  • + 4
 There's not even an XXL version??
  • + 3
 what has been seen cannot be unseen
  • + 3
 Sign my ass up for that Dh rig! 61.5 HA holy shiii! I'll give her a try!
  • + 3
 As the owner of a Geometron, I'm now desperate for that hardtail. In a 29.
  • + 1
 It might fit 29er wheels, aren't they a similar diameter to 27.5+
  • + 2
 @j12j: They are all custom anyway, so if anyone wanted a 29, then they could do it.
  • + 1
 These are big bikes, I have an ion-20 size L and I'm not sure how much bigger I would want to go. Granted, iv'e yet to ride one of these.
  • + 2
 It probably looks cool on either side of your Car when in horizontal bike rack!
  • + 1
 The old adage "if it looks right, it probably is" these just don't look right. No use being different for the sake of it. Waste of time and money in my opinion.
  • + 3
 There's certainly some value to the adage, but I don't think it's likely to produce an innovative product. Innovations involve a departure from the norm by definition. Whether this is truly an improvement over "standard" geometry is unknown to me since I haven't ridden the bike. I wouldn't dismiss it just for being different.
  • + 2
 anybody else seeing how perfect these welds are???
  • + 1
 Remember that pinkbike guilty pleasure poll a few months ago?

That hardtail is now top of my list.
  • + 1
 I heard that Marl Pagan lost a DH race to hillary wank because his hardtail was too long
  • + 2
 @makripper: He was so angry that he grabbed her butt, there is photographical evidence here.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/13889954
  • + 1
 @fercho25: You should be a regular pinkbike contributer. Now this is news!!
  • + 2
 Would they pass the Marshy test?
  • + 2
 Video please for the longest,slackest,lowest dh bike ever....
  • + 3
 Those welds. Beautiful.
  • + 3
 Limousine on 2 wheels
  • + 1
 Will my arms be long enough for this bike?
  • + 0
 Thats loooooong - must be Saddle+ compatible - stick another saddle on and you've got a tandom!
  • + 1
 Incredible!!! What is the size of these wheels??!!
  • + 2
 Ridiculous
  • + 1
 Just need a set of ape hangers on 'ere.
  • + 1
 Urgh. They look like bikes for friendless tandem enthusiasts.
  • + 0
 Reminds me of something I woulda drooled on in 2002.
  • + 0
 Oooo a Nicolai hardtail, nice!
  • + 0
 News FLASH:: Long and low existed in the late 90's. Nothing new here.
  • + 1
 so much want.
  • + 1
 awesome!!!
  • + 1
 Looks like a limousine !
  • + 1
 Nicolai Geometlong
  • - 1
 I'm sure I've seen a photo of that Hardtail on one of the April-Fools posts?. that thing is crazy looking!
  • + 4
 Most people don't read Waki designs articles for tips.
  • + 0
 GEOMETRON!!!!!!
  • - 1
 Those germans are good with cars, but with bikes....
  • + 0
 GeoMetWrong
  • - 1
 Aluminum is dead! Looks flexy!
  • - 2
 They should have called that hardtail the argon WTF LOL

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