Nicolai Ion-G16 Frame


If you're considering buying a G16, it's pretty likely that you'll already have read the whole internet about these bikes. They're pretty radical and you don't just pick one up from your LBS.

It's not exactly an impulse decision. 

Well if you haven't managed to ride one yet, the good news is that all the hype is real - and you really should consider testing one before you look at other options. The basic fact is that they're just faster than anything else - and by miles.

Riding a G16 is like listening to a really load and distorted music and being able to just turn down the volume. It just calms everything down and the faster and harder you go, the more noticeable "the calm effect" gets. It's definitely the stand out feature of the bike.

It also climbs really efficiently, which is surprising for a bike with 7" of travel - even out of the saddle pedal stamping doesn't really have a big effect on the suspension. It climbs well sat down too - much better than you might expect - another feature of the bike's enormous front centre. 

Ok so the up and down hill riding hype is true, but there is more to like. There are a ton of small, but nice details, not least of which is the beautiful skill that's gone into it. It's really a work of art. The welds are huge and 100% perfect and symmetrical. The ISCG 05 tabs and the rear brake threads are steel inserts and the BB is standard threaded 73mm. Cables and hoses are mostly external (apart from the stealth dropper post seat tube), although you can't just whip the rear brake on and off - it has to be passed under the rocker which means taking the hose off. The bearings are Enduro Max Angular and in my experience, seem to be lasting well in the wet Peak District.

The small details I don't like are listed above in "The Bad", but there is a bigger and more difficult downside to explain:

This G16 is the Audi RS6 of bikes. It's ridiculously fast and nicely built to boot. There's tons of traction and pretty much nothing can touch it in a street race. But, and here's the big downer - some days you just want a Lotus Elise. A small, dangerous and fun machine that isn't about numbers and a stop watch. Yeah the G16 can be a bit lacking in silliness and pointless excitement. It kinda takes itself a little too seriously sometimes. It's the class swat. 

I tried owning the G16 as my only bike as its 95% as fast as a DH bike on a DH, and 95% as efficient as a trail bike on a trail ride - but I ended up feeling nutrient deficient. Like I wasn't getting enough vitamin D. And the truth is, you can live without silliness for only so long. The G16 will make you faster, of that I am totally convinced, but eventually just leaves you a bit wanting for something silly and naughty, so make sure you also have a silly-fun hardtail in the garage for those days you just want to get daft.