NS Bikes made its name thanks to a long association with FMB rider Sam Pilgrim, and while NS may have started in the wild world of freestyle and dirt jumping, the brand now offers hardcore hardtail, DH and full sus machines alongside its classic Movement jump bikes.
Based on the outskirts of Gdansk, Poland, I popped along to NS Bikes’ HQ to get a sneak peek of what’s coming in 2018.
Crème of the crop
The Crème range is the NS’s take on stylish urban and commuter bikes. All of the bikes are based around steel frames and the premium offerings use high-grade Tange steel at the heart of their designs.
I've picked three standout bikes from the Crème line-up: the Cafe Racer Heritage LTD, Ristretto Thunder and Crème.
Caferacer Heritage LTD
This is the classic Caferacer, but in a rather special Heritage LTD spec. The laid-back steel frameset is painted to a seriously high level by Crème’s own paintworks in Poland, which also extends to the accessories to give the LTD a bespoke look for off-the-peg money.
I like the detail that Crème has afforded the Heritage, with its classically styled cold-forged cranks, colour matched guards and chrome porter rack — off of which hangs a retro Union light with battery powered LED internals.
There’s also a stainless bottle and cage, a neat, wooden handled, frame-fitting mini pump and colour coordinated Brooks Cambium saddle and grips, which finish off what is a very stylish looking bike for cruising into work or down to the cafe.
The bike is priced at £1,149.99 / €1,599. International pricing is TBC.
If you prefer your urban kicks to be a little speedier, then the Ristretto Thunder may be more up your street.
This one sees a sportier geometry and a lower cockpit with a more swept back bar. The drivetrain is based around a low-maintenance, oil-free belt drive, while stopping duties come courtesy of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
Like the Heritage, the Thunder has a full complement of accessories including a powerful Supernova Pure E3 front light and matching fender-fitting rear Spanninga Pixeo light, which are all powered by a Shutter Precision PL-8 dynamo front hub.
The Ristretto also gets Brook’s highly regarded Cambium saddle.
The Ristretto Thunder is set to be priced at £1,549.99. International pricing is TBC.
Crème Echo Solo
The Crème is an addition to the retro-race inspired Echo line. The Echo Solo is the entry point and is based around a lugged chromoly steel frame with an understated pearl white paint finish.
This down tube shifter equipped racer comes with a 16-speed Claris drivetrain and retro box section rimmed wheels — just the thing for events like L’Eroica if you don’t want the hassle, time and expense of restoring a classic road bike.
The cost of this slice of retro-inspired speedster is a pretty reasonable £749.99. International pricing is TBC.
NS’s first bike was a hefty cro-mo hardtail with massive plate steel dropouts that could take pegs for BMX style grind work. While NS still has a cro-mo jump bike, the Metropolis, for those looking for a bit less weight to haul the company has the alloy Movement.
Although little has changed on the Movement for 2018, I really like the upgrade to a RaceFace crank and the new (back to the nineties) splatter paint finish.
The 2018 Movement is priced at £1,149.99. International pricing is TBC.
The enduro flavoured Snabb range sees some big changes for 2018, and the biggest is a switch to Fox suspension front and rear on all its bikes — apart from the cheapest model.
All of the 27.5 Snabbs have been revised to provide 170mm of travel up front, and as a result have a slacker head angle to boot.
NS has also introduced an all-new Snabb 29er with more travel than before.
The Snabb 160 1 is priced at £3,599.99 while the Snabb 160c 1 is priced at £4,499.99 and the Snabb 160 2 at £2,799.99. International pricing is TBC.
The newly revised Eccentric 29er hardtail looks like the ideal UK bike, with a new longer front and slacker — what NS is calling New Progressive — geometry. Its NS’s take on an aggressive hardtail.
NS has also introduced a few lower priced models called the Eccentric Lite, which start at £899 for the Deore equipped Lite2.
The standard Eccentric is priced at £1,399 and comes with SRAM NX and Level brakes, RockShox Recon forks and a cool, understated look that coordinates the saddle and grips with the WTB Trail Boss’ tan wall tyres.
For little rippers, the new Clash 2 looks pretty sweet and is priced at £499.99. International pricing is TBC.
NS founder Szymon Kobyliñski tells us about his inspiration for the bike: “I have a son, and when I was looking to get him a bike we just found that most from the major brands were so heavy, and also expensive for the cheap cost of the parts fitted. So, I decided we should make our own, and I’m really proud of it."
The geometry of the bike is a bit longer at the front, which Kobyliñski says is “so your kid can get into a better more aggressive ride position and it also helps them develop their skills.”
The team also made the bike as low as possible while maintaining proper ground clearance and specced lightweight tyres and inner tubes. Kobyliñski tells us that NS “made sure the suspension was good and soft. So we think we have made a strong, light and fun bike. My son certainly thinks so.”
The final bike I got a look at, and isn’t even built yet, was the Fuzz, NS's newly revised DH rig.
For 2018, the bike has evolved significantly with the Swiss based NS Factory team providing lots of feedback and ideas around the updates.
The Fuzz will be available in two sizes, with a new 1.5-inch head tube designed to take reach-adjustable offset cups (+8mm, -8mm).
The geometry has also been revised with the new Fuzz designed to be slacker, longer and lower than before. Interestingly, the chainstay lengths are now specific to the frame size, so proportionally the two sizes should ride with the same balance.
I asked Kobyliñski if NS has any plans to introduce a 29er version and he told me that there has been a lot of testing under the Factory team and that on some courses “the 29er is proving faster, but not all. We could possibly see a 29er version as an option if the full extent of our testing proves an advantage more of the time than not.”