NS Bikes has been making some serious inroads into the full-sus market. For 2015 the brand has given the Fuzz DH bike its first major overhaul since its inception in 2013, delivering riders an updated geometry package designed around larger 650b wheels.
Frame and equipment: updated geometry and strong value-oriented kit
Beneath the matt paint, a collection of custom formed and butted alloy tubes gives the 2015 Fuzz a stout look and feel similar to its 26in Fuzz 1 predecessor, but that’s where the similarities end. The switch to 650b wheels has been accompanied by changes to the geometry, with the effective top tube increased by 5mm to 625mm (medium frame), the reach extended by 10mm to 440mm and the wheelbase lengthened by 18mm.
A tried and trusted four-bar Horst Link suspension system delivers either 202mm or 206mm of travel depending on which of the two positions you set the adjustable chainstays in. Adjusting the stay length also alters the wheelbase by 14mm, from 1,216 to 1,230mm on the medium frame.
The horst link design and rockshox kage shock give a playful feel to the rear end:
The Horst Link design and RockShox Kage shock give a playful feel to the rear end
The 83mm threaded BB and ISCG-05 tabs remain, as does the 63.5-degree head angle, but the rear axle spacing has changed to the new 157x12mm standard. The option to route cables internally or externally is a nice touch, as is the integrated seatpost clamp.
The spec reflects the Fuzz 2’s entry-level (for a DH bike) pricing, but still makes it more than capable of tackling the toughest of downhill tracks. The Marzocchi 888 CR fork and RockShox Kage R shock are both relatively basic but deliver the goods whenever called upon. The NS wheels sport Super Tacky compound Maxxis High Roller II treads, which make a big difference on the trail thanks to their impressively predictable traction, while the own-brand 800mm bar and direct-mount stem finish things off nicely.
Ride and handling: hefty but fun – an ideal first downhill rig
The Fuzz 2 feels natural from the get-go. Get the wheels rolling and the decent length wheelbase and roomy cockpit ensure that no matter what track you point it down, it feels confident and comfortable. The Horst Link rear end delivers a poppy, playful feel and swallows the hits happily. The Kage shock is easy to set up and offered good, predictable control in every situation we threw the bike into. Similar can be said for the smooth, well composed 888 fork up front.
Get the force of gravity behind you and any slight gripes about the fuzz 2’s weight are soon forgotten:
Get the force of gravity behind you and any slight gripes about the Fuzz 2’s weight are soon forgotten
The Fuzz 2’s relatively playful nature helps offset its high weight and keeps it fairly flickable, but that extra mass saps energy on really long, physical tracks. That said, when gravity is on your side, the weight is soon forgotten and the Fuzz is happy to be pummelled into just about anything. Despite the low price NS hasn’t scrimped on the tyres. Along with the sorted geometry and suspension this makes for a solid, dependable downhill bike that’ll kickstart your gravity addiction.