Nicolai Nucleon 16
The Nicolai Nucleon 16 is a pioneering bike that will be offered for sale with the Supre Drive.
The Nicolai Nucleon 16 is highly likely to be the first production bike with the Supre Drive. It’s an enduro bike in the 160-180mm travel category with shredding capabilities to be expected from high pivot suspension with excellent kinematics. At the same time, it has drivetrain efficiency that’s better than other high pivot bikes, unsprung mass that’s lower than on other derailleur bikes, and the bombproof reliability of a derailleur tucked up, far from the ground. To top it off, the Nucleon 16 looks as good as it is well-engineered.
The frame is aluminum and made in Germany by Nicolai. The derailleur, chain tensioner, and idler pulley are made in Canada by us, Lal Bikes. There have been earlier models of the Nucleon which had a gearbox and high pivot suspension. These bikes lacked derailleur problems, but like all gearbox mountain bikes, the drivetrain was heavy and inefficient. The Nucleon 16 is a modern, Supre version of the Nucleon that shares the gearbox characteristic of toughness while having the advantages of derailleur drivetrains, such as low weight and high efficiency. This bike is proof like none other that Kalle Nicolai, who started Nicolai 27 years ago, is as visionary today as he was years ago.
Back in November 2021 when I revealed the Supre Drive, I said that I was already working with a bike company. I’m still working with them, but amazingly, Nicolai is not that bike company. I started working with Nicolai shortly after the reveal, and they pulled off this build incredibly fast when considering all that it takes to design and build a frame. The realization of this prototype frame speaks volumes to Nicolai’s in-house fabrication capabilities, their engineering skill, and their bold, innovative spirit.
If you haven’t visited the Nicolai factory in Germany yet, I highly recommend it. It is so cool to see all the CNC machining, welding, designing, and other things done by a great group of people under one roof. Only a few weeks ago, I was on a call with Jens Miller, who did a lot of the design work for this frame, and in the middle of the call, someone interrupted to hand him a CNC-machined linkage part. He told me then that this part is fresh off the CNC machine and is for the prototype frame that you are seeing here. When manufacturing is close to engineering, there’s a tight feedback loop. Ideas come from all directions and they are tested quickly. This is like jet fuel for innovating better bikes.
We are very excited to be showing you this bike. The Nicolai Nucleon 16 frame will undergo some refinements, as will the Supre Drive, and then they will be made available for purchase together. This is a big step toward a future where there will be many Supre bikes from many bike companies for you to choose from.
Pricing and availability info for the Nicolai Nucleon 16 can be found at this page on Nicolai’s website.