Lynskey Pro 650 Custom Build

A titanium full suspension bike you say!

We had the rare pleasure of building up this Lynskey Pro 650 frame and kitting it out with some of the best components available. It has to rank alongside anything we've built up before and the value is north of 6K. 

We've listed the build specification below but it was a treat to work with Shimano's newest groupset, XTR M9000 mechanical. We've already built a few bikes with the en vogue 1x11 set up but this client wanted a greater range of gears than the 11-40 XTR cassette can offer on its' own. 

The bike was set up with Shimano XTR dual ring 36/26 chainset and the new DynaSys II front mech. There are numerous fitting options now to the point where ordering the correct version was a nightmare but I guessed correct first time with a high band multi fit. The layout is like nothing I've seen before on a road or mountain bike but the result is sublime, a shift like no other. The cable runs directly into the mech with no loops round the bottom bracket or a directional converter and this works a treat. It shouldn't be difficult to shift a chain between 2 rings, but few manufacturers have perfected it to this level. 

Gear shifting at the rear is equally as impressive with the new XTR 11 Speed SGS rear mech. 

Another direct cable run and incredibly smooth shift. Shimano have really nailed it with their latest groupset, you can only wonder what the Di2 version works like. 

The client wanted a splash of purple on the bike. To go with the Hope F20 pedals he enquired about purple Chris King disc hubs. It turns out that that it was a Limited Edition colour from 2 years ago and getting hold of them wasn't going to be easy but after some internet searching and a few phone calls we eventually found some.  

 

Build Specification 

Frame 2014 MY Lynskey Pro 650b
Colour Raw Titanium Brushed
Size Large
Rear Shock Fox Float 
Fork Fox 34 Stealth Series
Headset Cane Creek 110 Series 42/52
Stem Thomson X4 70mm
Handlebar Thomson Titanium Riser
Grips Renthal Lock On
Seatpost Lynskey Titanium with Enve Clamp (not fitted on photo)
Clamp Lynskey
Shifters Shimano XTR M9000 I-spec2
Rear Mech Shimano XTR M9000 SGS
Cassette Shimano XTR M9000 11-40 11 Speed
Chain Shimano XTR
Bottom Bracket Wheels Manufacturing PF30 Ceramic
Crank Shimano XTR 36/26
Brakes Shimano XTR 203F/203R
Wheels Moonglu Custom Chris King Purple on Stans Flow EX 650b Purple Edition
Tyres Continental Mountain King 2.2 Puregrip Folding

 

 

Moonglu | Blog | Lynskey Titanium | Lynskey Pro 650 

February 21, 2015 by Neil Dunkley

2015 Nicolai Helius AC 650b

I fell in love straight away

This bike is our first 2015 model year Helius AC 650b frame. I visited the Nicolai factory in Germany for the first time in March 2014 and I'd been in there for only a few minutes when I spotted this bright yellow colour in a welding booth. I'd never seen a Nicolai this colour and it turned out to be an experimental finish they'd been playing with. They call it semi permeable glaze, it's available in green, yellow, red and orange and in the daylight it's a really vibrant colour. The best bit is the transparency, you can see through it into the welded frame, the workmanship in these hand built aluminium frames still visible. 

I already had one of the first 650b versions of the Helius AC, this arrived in autumn 2013 and having been a longstanding Nicolai dealer I've had a few of their bikes over the years, mainly Argon hardtails and an early Helius CC and 26 inch wheels Helius AC. The 650b bike was something else, I'd always stayed away from 29ers as the geometry always felt like a compromise on suspension bikes. I realised that 650b was here to stay, so getting another 26" wheel bike would be a narrow minded step. I was disappointed, my worries about the geometry, bigger wheels and lack of manoeuvrability vanished straight away, the bike felt fast, nimble and just what I wanted.  

When I visited the factory in 2014, we had a meeting to discuss the 2015 range, what they were happy with and where they felt changes were needed. Nicolai had done significant development work on their new suspension platform, the Ion, particularly the Ion 16 which they released at Eurobike in 2013. Although similar to the existing Ion 18 and 20 in suspension linkage design, they decided that the Ion 16 would be a new dawn in their pivot design. Since they started they'd always used a adjustable needle roller bearing or bush design on all their pivots. This has always worked efficiently but was prone to wear due to lack of maintenance and general abuse. 

For the Ion 16 they redesigned the shock links and main pivot bearing to be fitted with double sealed angular contact bearings. They also brought the  frames up to current standards with a ZS44/56 head tube, post mount 180mm rear disc mounts and internal cable routing for stealth/covert style dropper seatposts. In 2014 Nicolai upgraded the Helius TB to include these same features, leaving the AC as the last to feature the old pivot design. 

In the meeting we agreed on some small changes to the AC. Although the TB and Ion 16 were bigger sellers in Germany, it was my feeling that the AC 650b was perfect for UK trail riding, light enough to ride all day but with enough travel to tackle Gravity Enduro events. So the 2015 AC came with 140mm rear travel, upgraded pivot bearings and a main pivot position optimised for single chainring use. 

Build Specification 

Frame 2015 MY Helius AC 650b
Colour Semi Permeable Yellow Glaze
Size Large
Rear Shock Fox Float X
Fork Fox 34 Stealth Series
Headset Chris King Inset 2
Stem Thomson X4 70mm
Handlebar Easton Haven Carbon
Grips Hope Lock On
Seatpost Thomson Covert dropper
Clamp Thomson
Shifter Shimano XTR M9000 Right Hand
Rear Mech Shimano XTR M9000 GS
Cassette Shimano XTR M9000 11-40 11 Speed
Chain Shimano XTR
Bottom Bracket Hope Stainless
Crank Shimano XT with Works Components 34 narrow wide chainring
Brakes Hope Tech 3 E4 183F/183R
Wheels Moonglu Custom Hope Pro 2 Evo 28h / Arch EX 650b / CX Ray Spokes
Tyres Continental Mountain King / X King 2.4 Protection Tubeless

 

The XT crank will be upgraded to Hope Technology's new crankset once it becomes widely available. 

For anyone that would like to see a Nicolai in the flesh, this bike is on display in the shop most of the time. Please call in at any time to have a look, we're happy to talk Nicolai.  

Moonglu | Blog | Nicolai Bikes | Helius AC 650b 

February 02, 2015 by Neil Dunkley

Nicolai Helius AC 650b custom bike

Nicolai Helius AC 650b

We've had our first 2013 spec Nicolai frame delivered, a Helius AC 650b" and it has some great new features. Nicolai have finally updated the head tube on their frames.

For 2013, most of the suspension frames and some of the hardtail frames come as standard with the ZS44/56 flared headtube. This makes the bike compatible with both 1 1/8" standard fork steerers and the increasingly common tapered 1 1/8" to 1.5". A tapered fork can be used with a Zero Stack headset to keep the front end of the bike low, it reduces the stack height of a conventional headset by 15-20mm and is a much neater solution. We have chosen a Chris King Inset 2 for this Helius AC.

Nicolai are gradually revamping their frames. 2013 has seen some significant changes and the addition of Rock Shox Reverb Stealth compatibility keeps their frames bang up to date. The exit hole can be seen on this frame beneath the front mech band. Nicolai supply a rubber gromit to keep this hole sealed if a Reverb is not in use. There is also compatibility for non Stealth dropper posts with cable/hose guides beneath the top tube. There are also updates to the shock linkage for 2013. The 4 travel settings have now gone on the Helius AC in favour of 2 defined travel settings, 150mm (top hole) and 140mm. The frame still uses a 200 x 57mm stroke shock, we have used a 2013 spec Fox Float CTD with adjustable Boost Valve. Nicolai have also chosen to dramatically narrow the shock link, machining a beautiful pair of rockers to create the link. The upshot of this is a shorter bolt, shorter shock mounting hardware and what should be a tighter and stiffer rear end. This particular bike is virtually the ultimate trail bike build.

We have kitted it out with XTR M980 2 x 10 Speed with the new XTR Shadow+ clutch style rear mech. The gear ratios on this bike are 40/28 up front and an 11-36 cassette, this should provide ample gears for almost any terrains. The cables and hoses on the most recent Nicolai's are much tidier and there's virtually no rub points during suspension movement. The rear mech cable slots neatly through the guide ontop of the driveside chainstay. Chris King ISO Disc hubs built onto Stans Arch rims, these wheels suit the bike perfectly, a great balance between strength and lightweight.

The rear dropouts on the Helius AC are 135 x 12mm thru axle, we have equipped the bike with a SRAM Maxle but the frame does come equipped with a simple bolt as standard. To keep the weight sensible but maintain power, we have chosen Hope Race M4 brakes in the new Stealth black finish, but upgraded the hoses to black Goodridge. In my opinion, this bike is close to the ultimate trail bike, light enough for all day rides, capable enough for gravity enduro racing and tough enough to last. The German engineering in these Nicolai's may not be everyones cup of tea, but with a 5 year warranty you can bet they'll outlast almost any other suspension bike out there. These latest bikes with the machined shock link and greater standover clearance certainly 'sit' much better than the older frames.

Final Specification

    • Frame: Nicolai Helius AC 650b
    • Fork: 2013 Fox 34 Float CTD 650b
    • Shock: 2013 Fox Float CTD with adjustable Boost Valve
    • Headset: Chris King Inset 2
    • Stem: Thomson X4
    • Handlebar: Easton Haven Carbon
    • Grips: Hope Lock On
    • Seatpost: Easton Haven
    • Seatclamp: Hope QR
    • Saddle: Fizi:k Gobi
    • Gear Shifters: Shimano XTR 10 Speed
    • Rear Mech: Shimano XTR Shadow+ GS
    • Bottom Bracket: Hope Stainless
    • Chainset: Shimano XT with 34T ring
    • Cassette: Shimano XT 11-36
    • Chain:  KMC 10 Speed
    • Brakes: Hope Race M4 Stealth with Floating Rotors 183F/183R
    • Wheels: Hope Pro 2 Evo on Stans Arch EX 650b

 

May 16, 2014 by Neil Dunkley
Tags: Nicolai