HomeMountain BikeUnique first experience assessment: new NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022 – A dream...

Unique first experience assessment: new NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022 – A dream bike for individualists? #CNCporn

The brand new NICOLAI SATURN 16 is supposed to bridge the hole between the SATURN 14 path bike and G1 enduro racer. It’s accessible in three totally different wheel sizes and, like all NICOLAI bikes, permits for numerous customization choices. Is the brand new SATURN 16 only a very beautiful and unique piece of engineering or can it crank up the warmth on the path?

NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022 | 160/160 mm (f/r) | 15.44 kg in measurement M | €7,549 | manufacture web site

NICOLAI have lengthy established themselves as a model for true bike connoisseurs, providing a variety of unique-looking alloy bikes with machined elements and a placing industrial look – and naturally, all made in Germany! The small producer has been constructing mountain bikes and small elements corresponding to suspension hyperlinks and cable holders at their headquarters in Decrease Saxony since 1995. All manufacturing steps, from prototype improvement to border welding and the ultimate bike meeting, are carried out in-house by NICOLAI. That is additionally the case with the brand new SATURN 16, which is out there in three wheel sizes, as a 27.5″, MX or 29″ model. Relying on the wheel configuration, the NICOLAI generates 150 mm or 160 mm journey, each entrance and rear. Retail value is €2,799 for the body with out shock whereas the whole bike on this take a look at prices €7,549. In typical NICOLAI style, the spec of the SATURN 16 will be customised right down to the smallest element.

Our man Simon has already noticed the touchdown.

The NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022 intimately

While you see the brand new NICOLAI SATURN 16 for the primary time, you’ll be struggling to include your pleasure: simply WOW! The body simply exudes love for element and clearly distinguishes itself from most trendy carbon and hydroformed alloy frames. Sanding off the weld seams and hiding them beneath a thick coat of paint? Not at NICOLAI, the place welding is an artwork in itself! The SATURN 16 unites supposed opposites: it’s swish but imposing and combines utter class with a uncooked industrial look. All machined elements, just like the body reinforcements, backside bracket space and rocker hyperlink, are fantastically processed and look extremely good. The distinctive body silhouette is a swish ensemble of straight strains, with the spherical tubes of the principle body standing in sharp distinction with the square-edged swingarm. On our take a look at bike, the body color is completely matched to the decals on the EXT suspension.

NICOLAI’s on-line configurator permits for numerous customisation choices, making each SATURN is 16 certainly one of a form. We’ve labored out that there are a minimum of 6,473,291 potential combos 😉 Yeah, that sounds loopy, but it surely’s potential because of all of the totally different wheel sizes, geometries, body colors and part choices you may choose and blend utilizing the configurator.
The geometry of SATURN will be adjusted utilizing NICOLAI’s Mutators, a intelligent proprietary system of screw-in parts that permits you to change the seat and chainstay size of your bike. Eloxal-junkees can get their repair with the large number of anodised Hope elements.

By changing the Mutators on the seatstay and chainstays you may change the geometry of the SATURN.

The suspension kinematics of the NICOLAI SATURN 16 agree with each air and coil shocks. Whereas many producers already provide their bikes with each shock choices, not all of them handle to match the suspension kinematics to the totally different traits of the shocks. For sure, this may have an effect on and even compromise the general efficiency of the bike – however that’s undoubtedly not the case with NICOLAI! To play it secure, the Germans make use of two totally different shock mounts to alter the development and thus guarantee optimum efficiency with each varieties of shock.

Sustainability is the good company problem of the twenty first century and NICOLAI’s manufacturing philosophy already displays what was outlined in our “Sustainability megatrend” story, which was launched as a part of the 2022 Design & Innovation Award. The body of the SATURN 16 is designed for max sturdiness, longevity and reparability, that includes a strengthened head tube, replaceable ISCG mount and aluminium inserts in addition to double-sealed ball bearings. To ensure you can hit your line in all confidence, all frames are fitted with a form-fit sliding, exchangeable dropout for observe and camber adjustment. Sadly, NICOLAI don’t depend on a UDH mech hanger, which makes it tougher to discover a substitute in case of injury. The chainstay guard may be very skinny and secured solely by way of zip-ties. Whereas this will not be essentially the most elegant resolution, it really works effectively and matches the economic look of the bike whereas making certain a quiet experience on the path.

The brake strains and shifting cable (if relevant) are routed externally and neatly clamped to the body, making certain a clear look and quiet experience. Two of the clamps additionally perform as a bottle cage mount. In good-old steampunk style, the Saturn 16 doesn’t have a downtube protector. Nonetheless, NICOLAI guarantee that their bikes don’t want safety, as a result of the body is made fully of strong 7020 alloy, which has a better tensile power and reveals a better fatigue power than 6000-series alloys. However, the 7020 alloy is costlier and harder to course of, which is why producers favor utilizing lower-grade aluminium. If you wish to know all of the info, half-truths and myths about bike supplies and discover out the professionals and cons of alloy and carbon, you need to learn our “Carbon myths” story.

NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022 – specs and fashions

Relying on the wheel measurement, the rear suspension of the brand new NICOLAI SATURN 16 generates totally different quantities of journey, with the 29” model providing 150 mm and the 27.5” and MX fashions 160 mm. All three variations can be utilized with both a 150 mm or 160 mm fork. As talked about earlier than, the spec of the Saturn will be customised right down to the smallest element. In NICOLAI’s configurator, you’ll discover elements from unique and uncommon manufacturers that completely match the character and supposed use of the bike. For the suspension, you may select between EXT, FOX, System, Marzocchi and Intend. MAGURA and HOPE provide the brakes whereas Continental, Schwalbe and Wolfpack handle the tires. Furthermore, you may select a distinct color for the body, seatstays, chainstays and decals and unleash your artistic beast with the numerous color choices of the Hope elements.

The spec of our NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022 take a look at bike

Our NICOLAI SATURN 16 take a look at bike in measurement M prices € 7,549, tilts the scales at 15.5 kg and depends on a MX wheel setup with a 29” entrance wheel and smaller 27.5” wheel on the rear. Italian suspension producer EXT provides the ERA V2 fork and STORIA LOK V3 coil shock, which each management 160 mm journey. The shock mounts depend on ball bearings as an alternative of bushings, stopping the STORIA LOK V3 from flexing laterally.

The colours of the body and shock are completely matched.
The EXT ERA V2 fork employs two constructive air chambers.

Shifting is taken care of by a wi-fi SRAM GX AXS drivetrain, which NICOLAI mix with a smaller 50t cassette as an alternative of the 52t mannequin typical of this drivetrain. Together with the smaller 27,5″ rear wheel of the MX mannequin, the smaller cassette will get you on the high of each climb. Hope Tech 3 V4 brakes with a 203 mm rotor on the entrance and smaller 180 mm disc on the rear do stopping duties. With lighter riders like our editor Simon (75 kg), the brakes guarantee highly effective and dependable deceleration even on lengthy, steep descents – the one disadvantage is the annoying squeaking noise! Heavier riders ought to run massive 203 mm rotors entrance and rear.

Wi-fi shifting with SRAM’s GX AXS drivetrain.
The folks at Hope additionally know the right way to use their CNC machines – the Tech 3 V4 brake callipers are proof of it!

Our SATURN 16 rolls on Hope Fortus 30 SC wheels, that are the lighter model of Hope’s super-robust Fortus 30 DH wheel. Like all Hope elements, the wheels can be found in numerous colors and will be colour-matched to the remainder of the bike. With its open tread sample, the two.4″ Continental The Baron tires with Safety Apex casing and BlackChili rubber compound have barely much less rolling resistance than different enduro tires, like Maxxis’s confirmed DHF/DHR II tire-combo, for instance. They generate glorious grip on free forest trails however have a tendency to interrupt off simply in hardpack corners.

When you spend numerous time on hardpack trails, we advocate a distinct tyre alternative.
Our Hope Fortus 30 SC wheelset has a discrete black-on-black decal.

The cockpit consists of 780 mm Renthal FatBar alloy handlebars and 40 mm Hope AM/Freeride stem whereas a 185 mm BikeYoke DIVINE dropper put up ensures adequate freedom of motion downhill.

With 185 mm journey, the dropper put up presents a really first rate drop and ensures loads of freedom of motion.
The machined Nicolai headtube badge is a belter!


Fork EXT ERA V2 160 mm
Rear Shock EXT STORIA LOK V3 160 mm
Seatpost BikeYoke Divine 185 mm
Brakes Hope Tech 3 V4 203/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX AXS 1×12
Stem Hope AM/Freeride 40 mm
Handlebar Renthal FatBar 780 mm
Wheelset Hope Fortus 30 SC 29″/27.5″
Tires Continental Der Baron BlackChili ProTection Apex 2.4″

Technical Information

Measurement S M L XL XXL

Particular Options

on-line configurator

The Geometry of the NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022

Most bike geo tables have round 4 to six columns for body sizes. After all, that’s additionally the case with the SATURN, solely that the adjustable seat and chainstays make for a whopping 288 geometry variants. However don’t fear, with each NICOLAI comes a really clear set of suggestions and pointers, which come in useful even for seasoned geo-nerds. That signifies that each bike is shipped in a normal configuration, when you don’t select in any other case. However even on this customary setting, the chainstays of the SATURN develop with the body measurement – superior! The Saturn is out there in a complete of 6 sizes, S to XXXL, providing an acceptable choice for riders between 164 cm and 210 cm tall. All body sizes can be found in all three wheel configurations. The desk beneath reveals the geometry of the MX bike.

measurement S M L XL XXL XXXL
High tube 593 mm 620 mm 647 mm 671 mm 695 mm 713 mm
Seat tube 405 mm 440 mm 455 mm 475 mm 520 mm 550 mm
Head tube 110 mm 110 mm 130 mm 150 mm 170 mm 190 mm
Head angle 64° 64° 64° 64° 64° 64°
Seat angle 78.25° 78.25° 78.25° 78.25° 78.25° 78.25°
BB Drop 22 mm 22 mm 22 mm 22 mm 22 mm 22 mm
Chainstay 438 mm 438 mm 447 mm 447 mm 447 mm 453 mm
Wheelbase 1239 mm 1265 mm 1306 mm 1334 mm 1363 mm 1391 mm
Attain 465 mm 490 mm 515 mm 535 mm 555 mm 570 mm
Stack 618 mm 618 mm 635 mm 654 mm 672 mm 690 mm

Lengthy, longer, NICOLAI: even the smallest S measurement has a somewhat lengthy 465 mm attain, whereas the XXXL sports activities a mighty 570 mm! within the desk you’ll discover the geometry of our MX take a look at bike in measurement M. The one distinction is that our take a look at bike has 447 mm chainstays, that are the identical you get with the 29er bike.

Helmet Troy Lee Designs A2 | Glasses 100% Speedcraft | Jersey Troy Lee Designs Dash Extremely | Shorts Troy Lee Designs Flowline | Kneepad Troy Lee Designs Stage | Sneakers 5 Ten Freerider Professional Primeblue | Socks Stance

The NICOLAI SATURN 16 2022 on the path

Initially, the NICOLAI SATURN 16 doesn’t really feel completely proper from the get go and takes some getting used to – and that’s even if we didn’t fiddle round with the Mutators to alter the geometry settings throughout this take a look at.

The EXT suspension alone requires a good quantity of tinkering for a primary setup. Furthermore, with EXT’s beneficial settings, our suspension was far too stiff and we ended up utilizing simply half of the accessible journey on the fork. To avoid wasting time, we advocate utilizing barely much less air than beneficial by EXT and in our case, utilizing the setting beneficial for riders 5 kg lighter than us did the trick.

On stage floor, the using place is compact regardless of the beneficiant attain. The steep 78° seat tube angle positions you on high of the bike somewhat than integrating you into the bike, making certain a sporty and barely front-heavy pedalling place – there are undoubtedly extra snug bikes for lengthy rides on the market! As quickly because the path factors uphill, the place feels pleasantly snug and the entrance wheel at all times stays planted, irrespective of how steep the incline. When pedalling, the rear suspension of the Saturn doesn’t wallow, making the climb change superfluous.

Downhill, the SATURN 16 feels good and roomy and but the using place doesn’t really feel overly stretched. The dealing with is direct and the load evenly distributed between the entrance and rear wheel, making it simple to barter corners, even in tight switchbacks. All in all, the SATURN is a really quiet path companion.

The rear suspension presents glorious small-bump sensitivity and good development, making certain good mid-stroke help and big reserves. On the similar time, it gives a loopy quantity of suggestions from the bottom, which is shocking contemplating we’re working a coil shock. Because of this, the SATURN 16 is something however easy: the rear suspension doesn’t swallow massive hits as willingly as you’d anticipate, making it arduous to regulate the bike on quick rock gardens and nasty root carpets. After contacting NICOLAI about this, they informed us that our take a look at bike got here with a pre-production shock. On the manufacturing bike, the shock tune ought to have tad extra rebound and fewer compression, which ought to clear up the issue. On steep descents, the SATURN 16 generates glorious traction and instills large quantities of confidence. Nonetheless, it is vitally arduous to pop off ledges and pull manuals. Even with a minimal quantity of compression damping on the pre-production shock, the bike gives tons of suggestions from the bottom, requiring an lively and vigilant using type. As soon as you determine its character, the NICOLAI rewards your efforts with tons of velocity and shed-loads of enjoyable. Nonetheless, with our geo setting, passive riders who need the bike to do the work for them, will rapidly develop into passengers onboard the Saturn. The excellent news: because of the numerous geometry settings and suspension choices, you may adapt the character of your SATURN to fit your wants and using type.

The NICOLAI SATURN 16 is certainly not a plug & play bike and requires an skilled rider who has the talents, time and persistence to discover its countless prospects. Like most bikes of the German boutique model, the SATURN 16 is a really particular steed, with the painstaking consideration to element behind the 100% made-in-Germany body, the unique suspension, numerous geo choices and quite a few spec configurations making it a dream come true for all bike individualists! The SATURN 16 involves life with an lively using type and is a trusted using companion, significantly on steep trails. Nonetheless, the lively suspension of the SATURN gives loads of suggestions from the bottom, which makes it really feel somewhat nervous in quick rock gardens and nasty root carpets. That being stated, NICOLAI have promised to enhance the shock tune for the manufacturing bike.


  • On-line configurator and geometry Mutators permit for numerous customisation choices
  • CNC-Porn! Look and Really feel
  • Giant sizes for tall riders
  • suspension with loads of help and suggestions


  • Rear suspension doesn’t swallow massive hits (take a look at bike has a pre-production shock and in line with NICOLAI the shock of the manufacturing bike ought to have much less compression)
  • Hand-heavy pedalling place not appropriate for lengthy rides

For extra details about the brand new NICOLAI SATURN 16, please go to NICOLAI’s web site.

Phrases: Simon Kohler Pictures: Robin Schmitt



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