German manufacturer Nicolai’s Helius range of bikes covers most spheres of riding style from XC through to Freeride but the company felt there was a gap between the current CC and AM bikes, and has plugged said gap with the AC.

Bikemagic tested the 4-5in (88 to 129mm) CC some time back and found it be one of the "most inspiring bikes we’ve ridden for ages." The AC expands on the four-bar rear suspension platform but travel has been ramped up to 5.7in (146mm) to make it suitable for more demanding riding.

The hand built frame is finished to Nicolai’s usual impeccably high standard. Geometry has been tweaked to cope with a 150mm travel fork up front, with a quoted 67-68 degree head angle seeming to be about on the money for this sort of bike.

Small weight savings come via machined braces and new ceramic axles saving 85g. The rear stays offer clearance for up to 2.4in tyres, and an all-new integrated cable guide/chain stay protector is a novel addition that should make wrapping neoprene or other covers around the chainstay redundant.

Availability is expected some time in the summer, but we’ll keep you updated when it hits shops. Nicolai will offer plenty of build options, including ConeHead steerer, HammerSchmidt mounts, custom geometry, thru axle and more.

More at www.nicolai-uk.com