NS SNABB 150 PLUS 1 - EXPERT 29 - DIRTY DOZEN
The 29" Polish speed machine
The N/S Snabb Plus 150 is a bike that caught my eye. With this Dirty Dozen test in full flow adding a few extra bikes in like this one seemed the thing to do. Especially when it looks as sweet as this one.
Word and Images: Ieuan Williams
Polish brand NS bikes has been around for some time now, starting in 2003 with a selection of components and initially trading under the name NorthShore Extreme. Bars, stems and pedals were the brand’s humble beginnings, this soon moved into the line of frames in 2004 with a dirt jump team and settling on NS bikes.
NS grew from strength to strength and now has turned into one of the companies to keep a close eye on.
The 27.5" wheeled Snabb trail/enduro bike has always found favour with us here at Dirt HQ and, now with a 29" wheel option, we were keen to see how this compared to the benchmark bikes in this category. The new Snabb 150 Plus 1 is the 29" big hitting trail bike from NS.
The Snabb 150 Plus 1 shares the same look and basic design as the 27.5" stablemate.
NS has designed this frame for a fork ranging from 150mm to 170mm of travel and 150mm at the rear, this really gives you options for some serious firepower upfront. With Boost 148mm rear hub spacing and Max bearings in all pivots, the bike isboth up to date and reliable.
Rear suspension is handled by a Fox damper that is driven by a tried and tested four bar linkage. This is used in many bikes that are on the market today and is simply a design that works well in most situations.
NS has marketed this 29" trail beast as the answer to a bike that keeps up with a downhill rig and can pedal up the hills. This is always a big statement. only time will tell. The aluminium construction and double pass welds in places makes for a reliable strong chassis so the build quality should not be any issue.
What about the components used?
Frame: NS Snabb Plus w/ 150mm travel, AL6061-T6, MAX bearings in all pivots
Shock:Fox Performance DPX2 3pos-Adj, Trunnion Evol LV 205x60
Fork: Fox Performance 36 Float Grip, 160mm travel, 3pos-Adj w/ Open Mode Adj, 1.5" T steerer, 15QRx110, 51 offset
Hubs: NS Rotary 15 Boost disc (sealed bearing), NS Rotary Cassette 148x12 Boost(sealed bearings)
Rims: NS Enigma Roll 29", 32h (PLUS compatible) tubeless ready
Brakes: SRAM Guide R, 200mm front & 180mm rear centerline rotors
Shifter: Shimano SLX, 11spd
Derailleur: Shimano Deore XT M8000 GS, 11spd
Stem:NS Quantum Lite 31.8, 45mm
Handlebar:NS Evidence Lite (780mm / 30.7" wide)
OPINION - IEUAN WILLIAMS
NS has some cracking bikes in their line up. We liked the Snabb E Carbon that was tested last year as they nailed that bike with silence and a great look. This seems to be the case with the 29" version too. The Snabb 150 Plus 1 has a super clean look straight out of the box. The gold and green paint work really seems to compliment the frame shape and style with almost a slight pearlessence emphasising the bike's details.
At first glance NS has done a great job keeping the bike clean. With slick internal cable routing allowing for a bare down tube, so no mess. This is a subject that is a sticking point for me. Internal routing done well is great but so many companies seem to get this wrong with cables rattling on the inside of the tubing. NS has totally nailed it with the Snabb though. Silent bikes are a must!
This leads on nicely to the chain orientation. The Snabb 150 Plus 1 has more than enough room between the chain and rear stays. This matched up with some simple chain protection makes for zero chain slap.
The full alloy frame construction is bang on. There are so many carbon bikes about these days it’s nice to ride some alloy.
As for components on show here the Snabb does slightly come up wanting in some areas. This model comes in at £3,599 so very close to the Nuke Proof Mega 290. With the killer build on that bike I do feel there needs to be some better stoppers bolted to the Snabb. The Guide R brakes seem to be hit or miss. Sometimes they have great power but then the lever position changes depending on the usage.
Other than this there is not a great deal to change. Possibly an SRAM Eagle setup? After using 1x12 on most of the recent test bikes having it with the Shimano setup seems a little out gunned. The SRAM v Shimano argument will always come down to a matter of personal taste though.
Onto the ride. How does the NS compared to the other machines that we have in the list? To be straight. Very well. The nice low bottom bracket (35mm drop) measures the same as the Orange Stage 6 that was recently tested.
The low BB is matched up with genuine large sizing - a 480mm reach and 1256mm wheel base makes it a very stable and comfortable place to be when giving it the beans.
Stable on the straights and nimble in the turns. This bike really is so much fun. NS has helped with an inviting cockpit by fitting in-house parts in the way of the 780mm bar and 45mm stem to give room and width.
The Snabb has a great feel in the chassis with more than enough give in the construction of the frame. You can really tell that it is an aluminium build. So when the fatigue is measured there really is very little to take in.
The flex and damper setup gives more than enough forgiveness over the high frequency bumps with little feedback. This said even when sending the bike into the abyss, over shooting a jump, the suspension took it like a champ. There’s no harsh bottom out and stiff enough not to lose the composure.
In no uncertain terms this really is a cracker of a bike. The build spec may have some small issues but the price allows for some wiggle room for upgrades. The Snabb has up to date sizing and a clean smooth look. This really is up in the top end of the ranks. Having a large number of 29" bikes it is hard to take one lead bike but with four bikes left there will be the round up soon.
Would I buy this bike? It is most definitely on the short list with a select few that i would.