If you've ever cruised our Bike Check section, the largest collection of badass bike builds on the internet, you know that Vital members spare no expense when it comes to radifying their rides. Always on the hunt for a backstory, we reached out to the owners of these four fine builds to find out what went into each project. With their long and slack geometry and hard-hitting builds, these rowdy rigs all have one thing in common: they were made to go hard. What do their owners have to say about them?
About the (Nicolai) Geometron
The Geometron is the result of a collaboration between Chris Porter of Mojo Suspension UK fame and German bike brand Nicolai. With geometry numbers that are still today considered extreme (even though other brands have begun to embrace similar concepts now), these unique aluminum frames are certainly not your average, run-of-the-mill enduro bikes. From the highly adjustable frame construction to compatibility with technologies like gear boxes from a very early stage, a Geometron is made to measure - and made to shred.
Where do you live? Sydney, Australia
Favorite local trail to ride? Anything in the Manly Dam vicinity. Further afield Thredbo and I’m off to Tasmania after Christmas.
Why did you pick the Geometron? Firstly I’ve always been intrigued by Nicolai bikes which unsurprisingly are not very common in Australia. I’ve also been following what Chris Porter and the Geometron guys have been up to since they first started working with Nicolai. When they launched the G1 I knew I had to have one and seeing as how you only live once I hit the go button this year. Paul at Geometron was super helpful to deal with and made the purchase simple.
Is this Geometron your only bike? No. I have a Turner Czar and a Salsa El Mariachi.
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? Transition Patrol.
Did you find it hard to adapt to the rather unique geo of the Geometron? Good things, bad things? Not really. I love the geometry when you really get it up to speed. It is a big bike but it is super capable! The only thing is I’ve found it really likes to lean into corners so in super tight trails, the ones where you’re only just getting your bars between the trees the slack head angle becomes noticeable. Still I didn’t buy it for those trails. Fast and rough trails and it flies!
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Totally custom, right down to the colour of the bearing covers on the frame.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? It’s just so capable and fast.
What would you change on it? Nothing. It’s a dream build.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? A long time. Is one of the attractions of the Nicolai approach is that you don’t need to keep updating frames as it is at the leading edge of geometry and it seems strong enough to last forever.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? The proper steep seat angle has got me thinking about a new XC/Trail bike to replace the Turner with another Nicolai or an Ibis Ripley.
Where do you live? Squamish, B.C.
Favorite local trail to ride? Vary’s by mood, which can change as often as the wind. More often than not the dusty, rocky stuff is my go to (the dust ain't happening again for another 7 months :( )
Why did you pick the Geometron? Their fit philosophy resonated with me. After time testing bike for various publications, I eventually found myself on a Mondraker Dune. That bike opened Pandora's box. On top of its at the time big sizing it had adjustable chainstays and when they were longer it felt heaps better. I knew they could be bigger and after the review of that bike was finished, I contacted GeoMetron about a G16.
Is this Geometron your only bike? Aside from my dirt jump/jibber, yes.
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? My G1 replaced the G16. Prior to the G16 my personal bike was an extra large Transition Patrol.
Did you find it hard to adapt to the rather unique geo of the Geometron? Good things, bad things? I didn’t. Moving to the G16 felt quite natural to be honest. Setting up the suspension was trickier thanks to the changes in weight distribution from the norm, but otherwise everything felt more comfortable and I was amazed at what I could get away with on the trail. If I had jumped to the XL G1 I’m now on from the Patrol it may have been a different story but there weren’t any teething problems moving to the Longest G16 then upsizing with the G1.
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? The G1 was built with a mix of test products and and stuff I had kicking around.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? It’s a toss-up between a number of things. On the trail, the composure in even the wildest of situations is pretty intoxicating. The shit I can get away with, even when riding poorly, literally makes me laugh aloud while it’s happening. On the bike, the custom EXT Storia and the spherical eyelet bearings made a big difference from the G16. The shock and rear suspension in general are probably the best I’ve ever ridden - they‘re quite incredible. And the adjustability is insane. The Mutator system provides three separate chainstay lengths, there are five seatstay mutator sizes to adjust BB drop, HA and SA, and it can be setup hybrid and keep the stock geo, and suspension travel front and rear.
What would you change on it? I reckon this is the upper end of my reach. The 520mm reach (~560 with a 40mm stem) on my G16 was a tad small once I got used to it but the 535mm reach on this (~570 with a 35mm stem) can feel on the large side at times. I plan to adjust the wheelbase with the mutators and see what effect that has on it before being sure of anything though.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? I honestly hope to keep it for many years to come. The geometry is years ahead of the major manufacturers so it’s unlikely to be dated anytime soon. The raw finish requires next to no maintenance and doesn’t show much wear so I won't need to worry about the finish too much. I dunno, hopefully at least three–five years.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? Something for my wife. She doesn’t “need” it, but it would be nice to update her ride. I’m happy with my steel dirt jumper and alloy trail bike and don’t need more.
Where do you live? Glasgow, Scotland
Favorite local trail to ride? Nipple Tweaker, Campsie Glen.
Why did you pick the Geometron? I've always wanted a bike that had a gearbox, and the Pinion option caught my eye first. When I test rode it with Chris Porter (Geometron pioneer) I started to realise the merits of what he was preaching geometry wise. By the time I went for the second test ride, I was totally on board and have never looked back.
Is this Geometron your only bike? It's my only mountain bike, yes, so it gets worked really hard year-round, but I also have a pumptrack/DJ bike, and a single speed road/city bike too.
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? I had an Orange Five before this. Barely worth mentioning in this context!
Did you find it hard to adapt to the rather unique geo of the Geometron? Good things, bad things? It takes a bit more 'muscle' to make the bike work, but the more you put in, the more it rewards you. It took me only a couple of rides to adapt to the advantages of the gearbox, but a lot longer to find the limits of the bike itself - perhaps a year before I felt that I was really getting the most out of it. Now, after 3 years, I feel I'm finding new limits as the hardware is evolving too. The riding philosophy and understanding of the geometry and suspension kinematics has also evolved how I coach clients too - it's been quite the revelation. The industry is incrementally catching up now, but it's slow, as usual.
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? The original build was entirely custom. The frame and drivetrain are a package really, but I finished it with Hope parts.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? The lack of a daft dangly derailleur! Why build strong bikes for bashing mountains and run such a critical operational component in such a vulnerable position?! I need reliability and durability for all the coaching/guiding, racing and adventuring I do - it needs to take a LOT of abuse in the worst conditions and keep rolling sweet with minimal maintenance, so the gearbox and belt combo is absolutely the way to go.
What would you change on it? That's a tough one! The bike has evolved a lot since the original build, now with 29/275 hybrid wheel setup, Mojo Rising's MORC36 fork paired with the EXT Storia rear shock, and a custom framebag - the latest evolution is also about to happen with the new Pinion shifter being installed, along with matching Ergon grips and saddle. I really don't know what else I would change next, it's a dream machine! Perhaps the gearbox could evolve a little more, I'd love to develop that a bit - stiffer cranks and faster engagement for starters. The latest model Nicolai/Geometron, the G1, has some really sweet updates - I'd really love to have a G1 version with the Pinion gearbox, particularly for the travel adjustment and geo fettling options with the mutator chips. It also has neat external cable routing and improved stiffness in various areas.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? Until my body says otherwise! This bike can evolve. It has been evolving! I know it will evolve further - there's a new air spring for the fork coming soon, with a much larger negative chamber, so looking forward to trying that. The companies involved in all the different aspects of this bike all believe in sustainability, longevity and high quality craftsmanship, so retrofitting upgrades and new parts is always possible. I don't want anything to do with 'boost' axles and other ridiculous (marketing) standards!
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? I could, but I wouldn't...you couldn't offer me any other single bike in the world (that I know of!) that might persuade me to move on from my Geometron!
Age: Recent AARP class
Where do you live? Yewtah
Favorite local trail to ride? The Bobsled
Why did you pick the Geometron? Well, after I folded the downtube on my Sick Death From Above on the first full ride, I was seeking something that could deliver on SBC's ever so failed promises. Hannah at Singletrackworld.com suggested that I speak to Chris Porter because he has an actual business designing and developing mountain bikes (not be confused with road bikes, slack STs; steep HTs; long stems; lightweight air can shocks; carbon fantastic plastic; etc.) designed for off-road riding. Porter did not dismiss me as a lunatic. Deal done.
Is this Geometron your only bike? I have about 2 dozen bicycles.
What bike did this replace / What bike were you on before this? 2018 Santa Cruz Nomad Mullet.
Did you find it hard to adapt to the rather unique geo of the Geometron? Good things, bad things? I am still adapting to how it leaves big lips/kickers. You have to wait for its length to clear it. Good things: It is black, anodized, metal, highly configurable, proper reach, super tight execution, that damn awesome EXT Storia and it attracts lots of attention. Bad things: It's like dating a super model - people think you have lots of money and no talent, everyone wants to take it for a ride, "look at my eyes when you are talking to me."
Did you go for an off-the-shelf build or did you customize the build? Everything was considered. It has several one-off, custom parts: DuraRide Products downtube and fork leg guards, Ti handlebar and, sometimes, custom 20 or 25mm seatstay mutator chips.
What’s your favorite part about the bike? The reach is proper, about the spot where my hands would be if I was making sushi.
What would you change on it? I change things like wheels, cassettes, chainrings, chains, brake pads, derailleurs and tires all of the time, depending on what and where I am riding.
How long do you plan on riding this bike? It's a keeper. I will ride it until it breaks, so it could be a while.
If you could get another new bike (any kind/type) right now, what would you get? A heavy-duty, aluminum 120mm bike with an 80* ST angle, 64* HT angle, 420mm chainstays, 13.5mm BB height, 440mm ST length, 500mm long reach and a 250mm integrated dropper with multi-configurable dropouts (still waiting for the bicycle industry to catch up with me). Or, a black Bowden Spacelander.
Share the stoke of your ride and add your bikes to our Bike Check section.