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Nicolai Saturn 11 alloy mountain bike pairs XC travel frame with trail ready geometry

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Nicolai Saturn11 aluminum alloy 105mm XC XCM cross-country trail mountain bike Raceline complete

German alloy mountain bike maker Nicolai’s catalog in filled mostly with aggressive trail and gravity bikes. So it’s probably no surprise that when they wanted to build a new full-suspension cross-country bike, they would lean towards trail riding as well. The new Nicolai Saturn 11 XC bike then matches a 105mm travel Horst link frame with 120mm travel forks and accompanying modern trail geometry. That means a bike ready to race XC and marathons, but just as happy to serve as your all day ride for all around trail mountain biking…

Nicolai Saturn11 aluminum alloy 105mm XC XCM cross-country trail mountain bike Raceline rear end

The 29er Saturn 11 opts for a classic Horst link 4-bar suspension design for the butted aluminum frame with its machined rocker, chainstay yoke & dropouts. Designed for mountain bikers that want to hit the trails fast, but aren’t really into the Enduro thing, the new Saturn is a bit of an XC racers do-it-all trail bike. Nicolai calls it the perfect blend of the “efficiency of a marathon race bike and the aggression of the modern trail bike”.

Nicolai Saturn11 aluminum alloy 105mm XC XCM cross-country trail mountain bike Raceline rocker arm Nicolai Saturn11 aluminum alloy 105mm XC XCM cross-country trail mountain bike Raceline rocker arm

It gets 105mm or rear wheel travel designed to mate well with the slack head angle, steep seat angle, and low bb. The Saturn still fits a bottle in the main triangle, and tacks on another set of bosses under the downtube for riders looking to ditch the Camelbak. The bike gets a Boost spaced rear end, states a max 2.3″ tire, and while the stock bikes don’t get spec’d with dropper seatposts, stealth routing is available. Cable routing is for the most part external with full length housing along modular clamps inside of the main triangle.

Nicolai Saturn11 aluminum alloy 105mm XC XCM cross-country trail mountain bike Raceline frameset

The Saturn 11 is available as a 2.75kg (including a Fox DPS rear shock) frame without a shock for 2500€, with frame, shock & fork options or in one of two complete builds.

Nicolai Saturn11 aluminum alloy 105mm XC XCM cross-country trail mountain bike Raceline rear end

The top Raceline build will set you back 6500€ at a claimed 10.6kg complete weight and comes kitted out with a premium build. That includes a Fox Factory 32 Float 120mm fork and 3-position Float DPS shock, plus a X01 Eagle drivetrain, Magura MT8 Carbon brakes, and a full super light Tune cockpit and wheelset built with Stan’s Crest rims.

For a more reasonable 4800€ you get the same frame in a Techline build, going with a 120mm RockShox Reba RL fork and Monarch RT3 rear shock. The 12.6kg Techline bike gets a Shimano SLX double drivetrain, MT4 brakes, and Hope Tech XC wheels.

Nicolai Saturn11 aluminum alloy 105mm XC XCM cross-country trail mountain bike Raceline geometry

The Saturn 11 is a stock production bike that comes in five frame sizes from S to XXL. The standard butted tubeset frame (as well as the light weight Raceline complete build) has a rider+gear weight limit of 100kg, but they can build a straight gauge frame for bigger riders. Nicolai can also do a bit more customization and will even build one for you with a heavier front triangle for those looking to build one up with a Lefty fork. They also let you pick and choose how you want your cable routing set up. Colors on offer are almost entirely up to the buyer, even down to different colors for front, rear & rocker. There are almost 30 stock colors available in either matte or glossy, plus a couple of anodized colors for no upcharge. Or you can get a premium camo or totally custom color, or their Extra Love anodized hardware for a bit more.

Nicolai-bicycles.com

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Dustytires
5 years ago

freakin stunning work from Karl and the Krew, and that rocker is a work of art.

Matt
Matt
5 years ago

I really like Nicolai. As far as aluminum bikes go they’d be my first choice. I also own one. 🙂

Greg
Greg
5 years ago

High end XC Bike with flats, but no dropper – ok.

JBikes
JBikes
5 years ago
Reply to  Cory Benson

Not fair – everyone knows pedals and seatpost can not be changed to suit users demand. What comes with a bike must forever be used.

Chader
Chader
5 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

He shoots… he scores!!!

brettrobinson
5 years ago

Good Lordt this is beautiful.

BikeDave
BikeDave
5 years ago

This may be a complete newb question, but what are the little bolt on braces at the bottom of the seat tube? Are they there for strength, or as attachment points for a tube? They’ve routed the cables outside of them, are they there to keep the cables away from the shock? Bike looks great, but I don’t see why they bothered machining two braces, and 4 threaded holes.

1158156
1158156
5 years ago
Reply to  BikeDave

I can’t see any reason either except for strength. Anyone know?

Andrew
Andrew
5 years ago

I believe I read in another article that Nicolai added those to provide additional strength to the main Rocker’s pivot in the event of shock bottom-out (in which case I assume the rear wheel would be exerting an upward force on the rocker pivot. I’m not sure why they would address that this way, but I’m pretty sure thats what I read?

TheKaiser
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Yeah, I read that too. They supposedly bear the forces that would otherwise try to tear the seat tube in 2 when the shock bottoms. Realistically not sure how the use of material compares to simply using a thicker tube or whatnot, but perhaps they had some other constraint that made this the better choice.

jon
jon
5 years ago
Reply to  TheKaiser

Perfectly sensible solution to a real problem. They bolted two members loaded only in tension. Thus, single shear mounts, and a single bolt on each side. The rods are optimized for tension loads, and do not actually reinforce the seat tube torsionally or in bending, only from being pulled apart by the shock mounts (tension).

The only way they could make it better is by bolting the tension rods directly to the mounting points for the rockers. But, they would probably have to use rod ends to do it properly and it would cost more.

JBikes
JBikes
5 years ago
Reply to  jon

Its not “perfectly sensible” since there is no apparent need to ensure torsional or bending stiffness is not increased. It seems more like a cheap solution to take advantage of the existing reinforcement pads for the shock mounts instead of a frame redesign or more welding. A more elegant solution would be the use of a hydroformed ST of greater wall thickness where needed or a welded gusset.

Bolted reinforcements are never as inherently stiff. They loosen and move and clearances open up. What I see is a cheap solution to an issue that is better addressed with better initial frame design. That doesn’t make the bike bad or the solution ineffective, its just a cheaper way out. I’d be surprised if these stayed on subsequent versions of the frame.

Penn Teller
Penn Teller
5 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

JBikes is right about this being an ad-hoc reinforcement. It makes no sense from an engineering perspective. Bolted joints like this require a nontrivial amount of preload before they take useful loads in tension. I see no way to pre-tension the rods. If there is no way to do that, the seat tube would likely yield before those rods took any real tension.

Hkitty
Hkitty
5 years ago
contrarian
contrarian
5 years ago

2.3 max tire size? Come’on.

Dockboy
Dockboy
5 years ago
Reply to  contrarian

Yeah, what is this, a gravel bike?

Eggs Benedict a.k.a Darth Baller
Eggs Benedict a.k.a Darth Baller
5 years ago

The first thing that jump out at me in the top photo was that the saddle was slammed forward all the way, and the nose was pointed down. Which to me indicates that the bars are too far away. This is most likely due to the top tube being too long. Or the stem being too long. But in this case it’s most definitely the top tube being too long. Since there’s no stem length to speak of. But luckily for the rider of this modern geometry bike this problem can be solved by purchasing a new frame with a shorter top tube.

Billy Conley
Billy Conley
5 years ago

Steel and brass are also alloys, and titanium can only be used as an alloy. . .are you saying Nicolai makes frames from those materials as well? If not, why not say aluminium?

Penn Teller
Penn Teller
5 years ago
Reply to  Billy Conley

Billy, you’re right that “alloy” technically refers only to an elemental metal with other metals in solution. But “alloy” has been cycling jargon for “aluminum alloy” for decades. I’m not saying it’s right; only that it’s true.

But it’s not true that titanium can only be used as an alloy. Lots of titanium used in industry is Grade 2, aka “CP,” for “commercially pure.” It has roughly the strength of 6061-T6 aluminum, though it’s heavier. Fuji used it for the fork of their 1980s Ti frame, and those forks broke all the time. I believe the original Teledyne Titan may have used CP tubing as well.

Nathan Blackwell
Nathan Blackwell
5 years ago

I dont crave a bike often but this one looks the business.

Mateo Hernandez
Mateo Hernandez
5 years ago

I honestly don’t think an alloy bike is worth as much as Nicolai is asking for. If I’m going to pay that much, it better be a carbon bike

ELEVEN_g
5 years ago

Ho ho ho. The marketing boys have done a fine job on you my friend…

ELEVEN_g
5 years ago

Yup. Stunning as always from Karl. If I was in the market, he’d be my first stop… came close twice already.

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