Welcome to the official blog of AttitudeBikes! This is where we feature the bikes that we’ve built, news from the brands that we carry, as well as quite a bit of randomness. So feel free to have a look around and remember to subscribe to us on your RSS feed!
We’re a small team here at AttitudeBikes and we’re all busy trying to serve everyone with the best of our abilities. We sincerely apologise if your enquires might be not be replied to if you comment on the posts. Therefore, to ensure that your enquires are replied to promptly, kindly email us at: email@example.com or give us a call at: +65 6344 4579.
For those of you who have been regularly following our Facebook page, you would have seen a few photos of this Nicolai Helius AM throughout the past few weeks. When we were given the green light to build it for the owner (who resides in China), we were told to spare no expense in creating the perfect All-Mountain bike that we possibly could. We managed to grab a few shots of it before it flew over to it’s new home in China, so that we could give you guys the lowdown.
The cockpit comprises of an ENVE DH bar, bolted to a 50mm Thomson Elite X4 stem.
Stopping power is provided by Magura’s MT6 brakes, which in our opinion, have got a really comfortable and easy to adjust lever.
180mm rotors also give it a really nice and balanced amount of modulation or lock when required.
The Helius AM is also built with a 2013 RockShox Lyrik RC2 DH that we reworked once we took it out from the box, complimenting the Vivid Air rear shock extremely well.
While it may not be the lightest rim around, Atomlab’s DHR’s strike a perfect balance between weight and strength. They are laced to DT Swiss 240s hubs with Phil Wood spokes and Atomlab’s oversized Torque Nipples.
We really liked the new KS LEV dropper post with it’s latest design that ensures zero cable movement.
The perfect All-Mountain bike cannot be complete without SRAM’s XX1 drivetrain. We chose to run the trigger over the grip shifters as they gave a more ‘solid’ feel during shifts.
It may look silly with a 10-42T cassette in the rear but it just works so well. We got to test this bike out during our recent trip to China and we were blown away by how good the XX1 drivetrain worked.
Last but not least, we fitted on DMR’s Brendog pedals that provide a really nice and large platform that offers tons of grip/stability, especially when things get rough!
We’ll leave you with more photos of this sub 13kg Nicolai Helius AM. There is no denying that we’re really loving the raw finish as it allows us to appreciate the craftsmanship behind each Nicolai even more.
All photos courtesy of Benjamin Teo/Oh Cheese Visuals for AttitudeBikes.
Although the design of Nicolai’s Helius platform of bikes might share the same ‘DNA’ as it’s older brother, (the legendary Trombone from 1997), it is still one of the perfect examples of ‘not fixing it if it isn’t broken’. Through the years it has retained it’s signature four bar linkage design, and Nicolai has been making subtle improvements to it, eventually evolving to what it is today.
And while Nicolai recently started the production of the all new ION 16, that has identical travel with the Helius AM, there is no other 160mm travel bike in the Nicolai range that rides like a Helius AM does. Thanks to it’s linkage characteristics, it basically soaks up everything in it’s path, which is something that some riders prefer over the stiffer and more responsive ride that the ION gives.
We had no worries about building the Helius AM’s wheels with Atomlab Suprelite rims laced with Pillar titanium spokes, as the owner is one of the smoothest riders we know.
To have the drivetrain running quietly and seamlessly, the owner opted to have his bike spec’ed with a Rohloff Speedub.
This allowed him to run a single chainring in the front, protected by a locally produced bash ring…
…while all 14 gears are protected inside the hub, away from the elements.
Cable routing from the shifter…
…all the way down to the Speedhub was a breeze thanks to the Rohloff specific guides.
Suspension set up on a bike like this is imperative, and it’s potential can definitely be maximised thanks to the BOS Deville fork, and a custom tuned RockShox Vivid Air shock in the rear.
We’re amazed at how brilliant the Helius platform rides 16 years on. It’s truly a timeless classic and we’re excited to see how Nicolai will continue to evolve it.
All photos courtesy of Benjamin Teo/Oh Cheese Visuals for AttitudeBikes.
Nicolai’s Nucleon AM has always been a bit of an ‘acquired taste’ for some people when it comes to the ideal All-Mountain bike. Even though it’s lighter than it’s predecessor, the Nucleon TFR, it still has a bit of a weight penalty that is apparent when climbing.
However, there are those who look beyond that, and what they see is a bloody reliable All-Mountain bike that is built like a tank, capable of performing just as well is it did when it first arrived, despite all that it’s been thrown at.
So when the time came for an upgrade from his Nucleon TFR, it absolutely did not come as a surprise to us when the new owner of this pre-owned Nucleon AM decided to purchase it.
Once sporting a glossy sky blue paintjob, we stripped the paint off the main triangle and chainstay, and sent it to get airbrushed in glossy metallic orange.
The functional cockpit features a bell that is perfect for signaling to that rider in front to ‘kindly move to the side as my bike is faster than yours’.
A RockShox Vivid Air in the rear provides the supple feel of a coil shock, without the added weight.
Some like it, some don’t, but dropper posts like this X Fusion Hilo are quite the norm for All-Mountain bikes.
There’s no doubt that the main feature of this bike has got to be the G-Boxx, a sealed gearbox located at the bottom bracket area, where all of it’s moving components are protected from the elements.
Not to worry, your eyes aren’t playing a trick on you as the driving chain is indeed on the left hand side of the bike. It is designed as such in order for the heavily-modified Rohloff system to work.
Nicolai has spec’ed all of it’s G-Boxx frames with the patented Compound Rear Hub to not only enable easy removal of the rear wheel…
… it also gives the bike an optimum chainline.
This, just like all other Nucleon AM’s, may not be the fastest nor the lightest All-Mountain bikes in the market, but theres no denying that it’s owner can’t wait to hit the trails with it again.
All photos courtesy of Benjamin Teo/Oh Cheese Visuals for AttitudeBikes.
Followers on our Facebook page would instantly recognise this particular Nicolai Helius AM on the left. Inspired by the gold anodised finish on his brother’s ION 20 (right), and loving the anodised purple finish that Nicolai offered, it led the owner to ordering his Helius AM in an anodised purple/gold finish. It wasn’t all about aesthetics though, as the anodised finish also provided practical advantages, such as a reduction in the overall weight and maintenance.
Now that the photos have finally been released, let’s check out some shots of this really sick build!
We were glad that we were able to source for anodised purple components that suited the rest of bike perfectly, such as Deity’s Dirty 30 bar and the DMR’s Vault pedals.
All 6+ inches of rear travel on the Cane Creek Double Barrel rear shock sure didn’t look out of place on the Helius AM at all.
Sure, the saddle isn’t anodised, but the purple and yellow colourway suited the rest of the bike perfectly!
The Nicolai HammerSchmidt Pimp Kit was spec’ed not just because of it’s anodised gold finish, but it also has technical improvements. It gets machined thinner towards the outer circle to provide more clearance for the rider’s ankles, and it also features optimised cable routing.
Judging from the number of ‘likes’ that the earlier photos of this bike have been receiving on our Facebook page, we guess everyone loves it just as much as we do. Now this is what we call “Anodised Perfection”.
All photos courtesy of Yan Rahardjo.
(Thinking of getting a new bike with a crazier anodised finish than this Helius AM? Well, look no further as Nicolai offers 9 different anodised colours for their entire range of frames. Call us at: +65 63444579, or drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org for enquires and more information.)
In Part 1 of the article, we showed you guys how this standard Surly Karate Monkey was modified in order to run a Gates Carbon belt.
Now let’s have a look at rest of the build to see what else we did to create a functional, clean, reliable and service-free commuting bike that the owner required.
Expect to see a lot of quality components in this build that was selected carefully by the owner. A very good example are the linear-pull brakes by Paul Components.
Since we removed all lugs and cable guides, we drilled the top tube so that internal routing was possible for the rear brake cable. It really helped to make this Karate Monkey look even cleaner.
Now to the drivetrain, a huge 60T Gates Phil Wood front sprocket (bolted on to White Industries cranks) was required in order to fulfill the owner’s desired commuting gear ratio.
In the back, a 24T Phil Wood rear cog was mounted onto a White Industries freewheel. It might have been a tight fit, but it was a good fit nonetheless.
After much trial and error, a special 135mm bottom bracket from Phil Wood was fitted to ensure a good chain line and clearance for the front sprocket!
Last but not least, we specially mounted the rear rack via the same bolt that goes through the frame lug.
A lot of time was spent in order to build the perfect commuting bike for the owner, but it was all worth it. It’s just one the many ways that we meet the individual requirements of our customers down to the finest detail.
If you require an unconventional solution to your bike such as what was done in this build, feel free to contact us via email at: email@example.com, or call us at: (+65)63444579! We’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Followers on our Facebook page would have seen photos of this Surly Karate Monkey (edit: previously mistaken as a Surly Cross-Check thanks to the modifications that we did -_-” . Thank you Lynten for pointing it out to us promptly!) undergoing a Gates Carbon Drive conversion a couple of weeks ago. Well the project was completed recently; and it being one of the most memorable bikes that we have worked on, meant that we definitely had to give you guys an insight into how it was done.
To be honest we didn’t expect the work to be as extensive as it did, the owner of the bike originally came to us to have his beloved Karate Monkey ‘simplified’ by grinding off unnecessary cable guides as he would be running it single speed. However, with his concerns that he was sick and tired of getting chain lube on his pants when he rode to work everyday, it was inevitable that driving the bike with a Gates Carbon belt would be ideal!
But how on earth do you run a Gates Carbon belt on a frame that was not designed for it? How is the belt even going to fit through the frame you might ask? Well thanks to our experience in working with Gates Carbon Drive ready frames since 2009, we made it work. Read on to find out more!
Firstly the paint was removed to prep it for welding (it required a new paint job anyway), and we had a piece of the frame cut off at the seatstay.
Next a 4130 chromoly lug was machined. It had to be precisely measured to ensure that it would fit into the area that was cut out.
The lug is then drilled and tapped with an M5 bolt.
The two ends of the lugs were ground down as the seat stay is tapered and it had to fit REALLY snugly into the tubing!
We were extremely glad that the frame was made out of 4130 chromoly as it was really easy to work with.
Soon enough it was sent to the paint shop for a new coat of airbrushed metallic gloss black paint!
Not too shabby at all yeah?
Ever since we rode our first G-Boxx equipped Nicolai, we have always loved the fact that it was possible that we did not have to worry about our derailluers getting clipped on rocks during a ride, or getting the derailluer hanger bent just because of a little crash. There are so many ways that a conventional derailluer just isn’t the ideal option for mountain biking as it is relatively fragile and susceptible to a lot of problems when exposed to harsh elements.
There’s no doubt that Nicolai’s G-Boxx and Pinion equipped bikes work GREAT, but the disadvantage is that the frame has to be specifically designed to fit them, and it doesn’t come cheap. That led us to mounting a Rohloff Speedhub on a couple of bikes over the past few years. However, they required special mounts and in the case of the Nicolais that we have converted, new seatstays had to be ordered in order to accommodate them.
We were fortunate to discover about Fallbrook Technologies Inc’s NuVinci N360 continuously variable planetary (CVP) hub, and we were glad to learn that it could be mounted on any bike with a 135mm dropout width. To be honest we only intended to use it on a commuting bike, but since the N360 hub was designed for all types of bikes including MTB’s, we immediately jumped on the chance to mount one on our very own 2013 race bike, a Nicolai Helius AM (that was once equipped with the Rohloff Speedhub).
For those who are unfamiliar with how the N360 CVP hub works, it “uses a set of rotating and tilting balls positioned between the input component (coming from the chain) and the output component (going to the wheel) of the transmission. Tilting the balls by twisting the shifter on the handlebar changes their contact diameters and varies the speed ratio of the drivetrain resulting in a seamless and continuous transition to any ratio within its range.“. It may seem a little confusing at first (even for us), but NuVinci has got a really informative site where you can learn more about the N360 hub.
We immediately fell in love with how great the NuVinci N360 works! Even if we were riding on pavement or in the trails, we could always find that perfect gear ratio thanks to the CVP technology. Gone were the days of being ‘stuck in limbo’ with a gear that was too light because the next highest gear was just too heavy for that current situation (something that we have experienced many times).
Over the past few months, we heavily tested the NuVinci driven Nicolai Helius AM on our local trails and even brought it over to Batam, Indonesia to compete in what was one of the muddiest downhill races we have ever been to, and we’re proud to say that the N360 worked flawlessly over the entire race weekend despite the conditions. Honestly, the only problem that we had during this testing period was the chain tensioner that kept causing the gears to skip under heavy load. But it was soon sorted out when we replaced the tensioner, and it was smooth sailing afterwards.
We can’t deny that we’re fans of unconventionally driven bikes such as our very own NuVinci driven Nicolai Helius AM. Sure, running a NuVinci N360 does have disadvantages in terms of weight distribution, but knowing that your drivetrain is protected from the elements and being able to find that ‘perfect gear’ with it’s CVP technology, we can’t see why it is a great investment.
Feel free to drop us a ring at: 63444579 to arrange for a ride on our NuVinci driven Helius AM!