Blending the burly descending prowess of their G13 with the lightweight climbing efficiency of the Saturn 11, Nicolai created a new trail bike that promises the best of both worlds. The new all-mountain Saturn 14 is a light, mid-travel 130/138mm alloy trail bike that delivers on Nicolai’s signature adaptability, letting the rider chose travel or wheelsize to suit their riding style.
Nicolai Saturn 14 modern alloy trail bike
After the major overhaul of their lightweight four-bar Saturn platform a year and a half ago into the more capable Saturn 11 XC bike, Nicolai says their customers started begging for a lightweight trail bike version too. So working with geometry and tech details from their more burly Geolution G-series of all-mountain & enduro bikes, they created the new 140mm Saturn 14.
The idea was to lengthen out the shorter travel bike, combining modern trail geometry with adjustable geometry & adjustable travel, adaptable to either 27.5″ or 29″ wheel sizes. The result is that you can pick the Saturn 14, then adapt it to your own riding style.
Geometry & Geolution details
Geolution is the long, low & slack modern mountain bike geometry we have been hearing about for years. Nicolai working for the last three years with Chris Porter to develop their concept of longer frame reach & slack 65.6° head angles for front tire grip and stability at high-speed stability. Plus, a long wheelbase & steep seat angle for easier, more capable climbing and an overall stable ride when riders shift their weight back. This Geolution Trail iteration is less extreme than found on Nicolai’s enduro bikes, but still a big step away from what we think from a short-travel XC bike.
But Nicolai isn’t one to pick a single geometry and leave it at that. With those little black Mutator chips located on the top of seatstays (first developed on the G1), the rider can alter rear end height together with different lower headset cups to allow a single frame to be set up for either 27.5″ or 29″ wheels, then swap again in the future if needed. The way the Mutators work is they bolt securely onto the end of stays, and are available in multiple lengths to modify ride height.
This lets riders really adapt their setup or even change travel over time. The Saturn 14 uses metric shock sizing, where one shock overall length can even deliver two travel options on a 27.5 setup. Swapping between 210x55mm and 210x50mm shocks changes rear wheel travel from 138mm to 130mm. If you opt for the larger 29er build, frame tire clearance limits to the shorter throw shock and 130mm of travel.
Looking back at that geometry chart shows the baseline factory settings, but Nicolai is all about customization so even that standard five size (S-XXL) range is really just a starting point. They offer the possibility to build individually customized geometry, and then with the Mutators there is more endless opportunity for customization, even after you are already riding your bike.
Looking a bit closer at the actual layout of the Horst-link, four-bar suspension, a big part of the Saturn design is about creating an open front triangle. (There’s room for a full size bottle in there.)
But the Saturn family also includes the curious little precision machined Tension Bar link tucked behind the shock. This extra connection between the lower shock bolt and the rocker link pivot is said to reinforce the seattube when the bike completely bottoms out, keeping the maximum force in compression under control and allowing Nicolai to use much lighter tubing overall.
The Saturn 14 uses Nicolai’s RADO rear aligning drop-outs which are designed to eliminate any room for error out of precision frame & dropout alignment. Since alloys move a bit in the welding process, this allows Nicolai to prevent any extra strain from being applied to the frame to ensure final alignment, and then doubles as allowing for easily replacing a damaged dropout.
Beside room for a bottle (Nicolai seems to like to use a Fidlock magnetic cage-less bottle), the Saturn 14 gets ISCG tabs around the standard BSA threaded bottom bracket, a tapered & gussetted headtube for a ZS 44/56 internal headset, and mostly all external cable routing, plus a port for internal dropper routing.
The 1x-specific bike features angular contact bearings at the main pivots, titanium bolt hardware throughout, a 180mm post mount rear brake, and Boost rear spacing with clearance for 2.4″ tires no matter the wheelsize.
Pricing & availability
The 2500€ Saturn 14 frame uses Nicolai’s signature 7020-T6 aluminum alloy for better strength than traditional 6061, and is made entirely in-house by Nicolai in Germany.
The 2950g frame is available now, in pretty much any color you want. Although if you are buying a Nicolai, you probably want to keep those alloy tubes clear so you can see all the precision machining & welding work that goes into creating their bikes.
Complete bikes are also available, starting from around 6500€ including top shelf components from Fox, Hope, Magura, Tune, and SRAM.