NS’s Fuzz downhill bike has flown under many people’s radar, but it’s been quietly notching up impressive results at some seriously challenging races over the past couple of years.
NS Fuzz 1 specifications
Frame: 6061-T6 and 6066-T6 aluminium, 206mm (8.1in) travel (long setting)
Fork: Fox Float 40 FIT4 Performance Elite, 200mm (7.8in) travel
Shock: Fox DHX2 Factory
Derailleur: SRAM GX DH (1×7)
Shifter: SRAM GX DH
Cranks: Truvativ Descendant
Wheelset: NS Enigma Rock rims on NS Rotary hubs
Tyres: Schwalbe Magic Mary DH ADDIX Ultra Soft 27.5×2.35in
Brakes: SRAM Code R, 200mm rotors
Bar: NS Evidence Plus, 800mm
Stem: NS direct mount, 40-48mm
Seatpost: Kalloy rigid
Saddle: Octane One Crit
Weight: 16.89kg (37.2lb), medium size without pedals
NS Fuzz 1 frame
A flip chip at the rear axle lets you adjust the chainstay length between 427mm and 442mm (which is still slightly shorter than on the 2017 frame). NS also offers the ability to adjust the reach, using offset headset cups, available in +8mm, 0mm and -8mm options.
With the stays and reach at their longest, my medium test bike had a 1,270mm wheelbase. The head angle has also been slackened by a degree for 2018. Once I’d set our preferred bar height and pushed the fork stanchions through the crowns a little, mine sat at a super-slack 62 degrees.
The Fox DHX2 rear shock pierces the seat tube and is compressed between an upper rocker link and the chainstays. In the longest setting, the four-bar Horst link back end dishes out 206mm of travel.
While my sample came with its gear cable and rear brake hose routed internally, through the down tube, NS gives you the option of keeping them external, via bolted fixtures on top of the tube.
NS Fuzz 1 kit
Our test bike had a ‘Factory’ shock but production models come with less adjustable ‘Performance Elite’ units Steve Behr
Although our Fox shock was of the top-end ‘Factory’ variety, it should have been a second-tier ‘Performance Elite’ unit, just as the 40 fork up front is. While that shouldn’t hinder the shock’s performance, it does mean you don’t get quite as much external adjustment.
The Fuzz’s finishing kit is mostly from NS and does the job nicely, though some might want some flashier bits for the price.
NS Fuzz 1 ride impressions
The Fuzz’s shape and sizing feels natural from the get-go. Even in the longest setting, it felt a lot more agile and playful than I’d expected.
Although the back end slips easily into the early part of its travel, NS has designed plenty of support into the system, which lets you load, pump and pop the Fuzz without it feeling like you’re battling a bike that’s glued to the dirt.
The light (16.9kg) build makes things that bit easier when you’re trying to manhandle the bike through tricky sections, too. There’s still plenty of grip on offer, though, thanks in part to the well-centred riding position and the seriously capable Schwalbe Magic Mary tyres, which work incredibly well in a wide variety of trail conditions.
At high speeds, the Fuzz feels planted and stable Steve Behr
In terms of suspension balance, the front and rear feel like they work in sync with one another well. Despite the front end being so slack, I had no issues keeping the wheel weighted on flatter turns. In rougher stuff, chain slap became irritating, but NS says it supplies a neoprene chainstay protector and additional tape with production bikes.
At high speeds, the Fuzz feels planted and stable. The back end is nicely progressive when tackling the big hits too, although on a couple of occasions, in really rocky sections, it hung up on repetitive hits and we got that distinctive rock on rim sound.
This never seemed to really slow things down, though, and even after some seriously sloppy line choices, the Fuzz always felt confidence-inspiring and controlled.
NS Fuzz 1 early verdict
Great geometry, suspension balance and overall feel — just be sure to pad that chainstay!