Words and photos: Dave Arthur
Mojo Supension’s Chris Porter is a man who has some strong views on mountain bike suspension setup and design, and nowhere is this better expressed than in his custom Nicolai which features an astonishingly long, low and slack geometry.
Mountain bike geometry is evolving, and has picked up pace in recent years with a definite movement towards longer, lower and slacker geometry. Many are now sizing up purely to get the length and bringing the bars back with extremely short stems. 50mm stems used to be popular, now it’s all about 35mm on a larger size frame.
The Mondraker Forward Geometry is on a way the natural evolution of this trend, and points to a new direction in mountain bike design. Put more length in the wheelbase and front centre and fit a really short 10mm stem. Mojo’s Chris Porter had been riding a Mondraker Foxy XR, he gave Steve Jones the full lowdown in this video a while back and it’s clear this bike has informed his thinking on bicycle design. But this custom Nicolai is an even more extreme interpretation of the latest thinking in mountain bike geometry.
This custom Nicolai is based on the German company’s regular Ion 16, a 160mm four-bar suspension bike, but there the similarities with the stock bike end. It’s pretty obvious from looking at the pics the bike has a massively stretched wheelbase, and at a hugomouns 1,3232mm it’s longer than just about anything else out there. The reach is 520mm and stack is 597mm.
The top tube is similar stretched at 690mm, the bottom bracket is 330mm, chainstays 460mm and the head angle can be adjusted between 62.6 and 63.1 degrees. Keeping with short theme is a tiddly 10mm stem borrowed from the Mondraker Foxy that inspired this creation.
The bike is pretty tricked out and the neatest component is the digital timing device on the handlebars. It you’re going to make such radical changes than you the only way to see if they provide an improvement in performance is to do back-to-back timed runs. The clock doesn’t lie.
Chris has got his bike built up with a Shimano XTR groupset with a single ring and chain device, Float X shock and Fox 36 fork with Kashima coating and Mavic Deemax wheels wrapped in Maxxis rubber. Up front is a Powa Defender moto-style mudguard. An naturally he uses a Fox DOSS dropper post. Complete is a claimed 14.4kg.
It’s an extreme looking bike. Is Chris simply ahead of the curve and does this creation point to the future of trail and enduro mountain bikes? Only time will tell. We’d certainly love a go on it to see just how it rides.