BIKE TEST - NS BIKES SNABB 2
NS produce some seriously tasty bikes. From the Suburban DJ bike all the way up to the the new Fuzz 29er DH bike (something I'm looking forward to riding soon…).
The Snabb is the middle ground, this is the 160mm travel 27.5” version in aluminium. This Snabb 2 is the lower spec bike that NS offer and seems to be a bargain at £2,749. Having ridden the carbon version along with the 29” bike it will be great to see how this compares.
Suspension and Chassis
NS have specified a full RockShox setup to the Snabb. As this is a lower end model, there is a RockShox Yari RC fork delivering 170mm of travel. These have the Motion Control Damper fitted and also have the Debonair Spring too. This equates to similar tech that you would find on its bigger brother the Lyrik.
At the rear the classic four bar linkage is present, pushing out 160mm of travel through a RockShock Deluxe Debonair RL Damper.
Shape and Fit
The size large that was supplied fitted great, the 480mm reach is what we would be looking for in a bike of this calibre. For a 27.5 long travel bike, the 65 degree head angle works perfectly alongside the short 430mm rear chainstays. This should make for a snappy yet stable ride. On the other hand the 618mm stack height may be a tad on the low side. When comparing this to the RockyMountain Slayer that was tested earlier this year, the NS is 11mm lower. We will pass proper judgement on this after riding the bike.
NS Snabb 27.5 w/ 160mm travel, AL6061-T6 +AL6066-T6, custom formed and butted tubes
Rock Shox Deluxe Debonair RL Trunnion 205x65
Rock Shox Yari RC 170mm travel, 15x110mm Boost, 1.5 tapered steerer tube
Octane One Tone 35, 45mm
NS Bar 780mm, 20mm rise
NS Hold Fast
X-Fusion Manic internal 125, 150mm
Octane One Rocket2, CrMo hollow rails
Sram Level, 200mm front, 180mm rear
Octane One Solar 27.5”, 32h, tubeless ready
NS Rotary Boost 15x110 front, 148x12 cassette rear disc (sealed bearings)
Tyres front / rear
Maxxis DHF EXO/TR 27.5x2.5WT / Maxxis Aggressor EXO/TR 27.5x2.5WT
Truvativ Descendant DUB 170mm 34t
Sram NX Eagle™ 12 speed, long cage, 12spd 11-50t PG-1230 cassette
Weight (kg): 14.6
The Snabb really is a solid looking bike. Having burly welds and heavy duty linkages, it is clear that this is a bike designed to stand the test of time. The attention to detail on the Snabb is also something that is worth mentioning. All of the pivot bolts are etched with logos which is a really nice touch. NS have also taken pride in the way that the cables have been routed through the bike. The front triangle has been internally routed giving a clean look, whilst the rear stays have the cables running over the top of them being fixed to the frame by cable ties. This allows maintenance to be carried out easily with the ability to remove the rear end without having to un-route internal cables or hoses. We are all for smart thinking like this. Some may try to pick holes in this, saying that the chain will hit the cables and damage them. NS seem to have taken that into consideration too. There is a large distance between the chain and the rear stays. This not only stops the chain striking the cables but also keeps the Snabb super quiet. As I like to say ‘there really is no excuse for a noisy bike anymore’.
Getting onto the actual ride performance, the Snabb scores pretty high. The suspension works well even with lower end dampers but they did get a little overwhelmed when pushed hard. With a simple tune up I am sure they would feel better and have a bit more hold on the tough stuff. Ride wise, it was clear that the BB was not what I would call slammed to the floor. Measuring in at 343mm it was a smidge lower than the Radon Jab, so a plus point for sure.
The Snabb was a very playful bike and could be thrown around with very little effort. The balance when airborne was bang on too. Having found the stack height a little on the low side after the initial ride, an extra spacer was fitted. This did push the stem up a little higher than recommended but it allowed the extra 10mm of height. This changed the feel of the Snabb dramatically. With the extra height came a far more comfortable position and gave the bike the riding position we were looking for.
Taking into consideration the fatigue that the bike outlays on your body, when the bar height was adjusted it was relatively low. Having a good riding position and a forgiving yet fairly stiff aluminium chassis aided this. If the bar height was left low the fatigue hit the thigh area as the riding stance was slightly crouched to get into a comfortable position.
Looking at the components not a bad word could be said. Having the spotlight on the NX eagle 12 speed gearing, this may be the cheapest option that SRAM offer but it was flawless and never skipped a beat. The second item that impressed beyond what the expectations were, has to be the Level brakes. Once again like the NX this is the lower end SRAM equipment, but the power, lever feel and reliability punched way above its weight.
As stated above the stack height was one of the small and simple to remedy issues. The NS bar seemed a little flat and narrow for the style of bike. If it was a bike that I had purchased, a new bar would have been fitted with a more aggressive stance and rise to give the Snabb that hard hitting feel.
It also has to be said that the saddle was a little on the harsh side of things. After a day in it, my arse did feel a little sore.
The NS Snabb 160 is a solid bike. With clean lines and a silent ride, this is a bike that will not let you down. A few simple modifications and some time setting the bike up, there is little that will disappoint. The Snabb is what we would class as an ideal bike to enter into the sport. For the money outlayed this will be a reliable beast. We liked almost all of the components fitted to the bike. If you are after a race weapon then maybe look at the NS Define 150, but for a hard hitting bike park lapper or play bike, this a bang on the money.
Words - Ieuan Williams
Photos - Ieuan Williams/ Alex Hunter