The Snabb is NS’s first crack at a true do-it-all machine. The range is split into two categories – trail (T) and enduro (E). We took the burlier, longer travel, top-of-the-tree E1 out for an exclusive First Ride to see just what it could handle.
Frame and equipment: robust and built for speed
The slacker, more aggressive E frames not only pump out more travel than the T version – 163mm (6.4in) vs 142mm (5.6in) – but also get a slightly heavier, more robust tubeset. The threaded BB is easier to work on than the press-fit kind, and though the bike comes with internally routed cables, external guides are included too. There’s also internal routing for a ‘stealth’ dropper post. We were a little concerned about rear mud clearance, but it turns out our pre-production frame had shorter than standard chainstays (425mm rather than 430mm) so this shouldn’t be an issue on production bikes.
It’s hard to argue with the inclusion of the formidable RockShox Pike fork and Monarch DebonAir shock, and the X-Fusion Strate post offers a whopping 150mm (5.9in) of adjustment so you can get it well out of the way when descending. The Schwalbe Rock Razor out back offers good rolling speed in the dry but its low tread profile makes it a touch dicey when things are damp, let alone boggy and cloggy.
Ride and handling: sorted geometry – and cruising for a bruising
Hop on to the Snabb and it’s clear NS isn’t messing about when it comes to the angles. The 607mm effective top tube on our medium frame helped sit us in a comfortable climbing position and, when combined with the slack 65.2-degree head angle, gives the bike the sort of surefooted confidence and stability you really need when the trail steepens. And it’s these sort of trails where the E1 thrives.
Its 14kg weight means it’ll never be the nippiest bike on the ups. Fortunately NS has had the foresight to add a 42t sprocket to the cassette. The gaps between gears are apparent on flatter sections, but hit something steep and you’ll really appreciate the crawler cog, which lets you keep riding rather than pushing.
This frame and suspension combo positively begs for hard use
Get to the downs and you’ll be rewarded. The stiff frame and progressive suspension are ready to take an absolute battering. Suspension balance between the Pike fork and Monarch shock is impressive, and you’ll be rewarded if you take the time to play with shock pressures. We ran close to 35 percent sag at the rear, which left the back end feeling sensitive over smaller chatter but plenty progressive enough on the bigger hits. The E1 is just as happy taking on challenging, technical downhill runs on uplift days as it is on tamer trail centre descents, providing you don’t mind taking a more patient approach when it comes to tackling the climbs.