The Saturn 16 is the latest all-purpose weapon from the NICOLAI home. A lightweight enduro bike with excellent all-round characteristics, a maximum range of application, tuning and setup potential. The Saturn 16 crowns the traditional NICOLAI Saturn series, whose common layout is the classic Horst-Link, four-bar rear triangle, with the vertically mounted shock. The Saturn 16 differentiates itself from the manufacturer’s long and slack G-Series, as it’s not designed as a pure enduro racing machine, but can cover a much wider range of uses.
The Saturn 16 ranks similar to the G-Series in the 160mm rear suspension class suited to forks from 150 to 160mm. Instead of the radically slack Geolution geometry of the G-Series, the Saturn 16 is based on the more moderate, more universally applicable Geolution Trail concept. With a relatively long 519 mm reach and a steering angle of 64.5 ° (27.5” size L), the bike also has competition potential and suitable equipment for the toughest enduro trails. However, the geometry provides a tamer steering angle for more agile handling and greater maneuverability. Due to the 78.5° steep seat angle, you are placed in a central seating position offering good control and optimal load distribution between the front and rear wheel in all riding situations. The Geolution Trail formula can best be described in its application as follows: crisp climbs, high speed trails, technical challenges and hard-hitting downhill. The Saturn 16 meets all the requirements for the Enduro spectrum. However, it can just as easily be used as a long travel trail bike with all-day touring potential.
The Saturn 16 has so many options for setup and customization, perhaps more than any other NICOLAI model. It can be ridden with 27.5” or 29” wheels, or as a hybrid of the two (a ‘Mullet,’ business at the front and party in the back as the old adage goes!). NICOLAI equips the bike for this with an appropriate compression strut and seatstay Mutators: these form-fitted adapters of different lengths allow adjustment of the geometry of the rear triangle. However, the Mutators can also be used to change the geometry independently of frame and wheel sizes, for example, to fine-tune the bottom bracket height and steering angle.
The Saturn 16 offers freedom when it comes to choosing the damper and the suspension characteristics. Only the damper installation length of 230mm is fixed, after this, air or steel-coil sprung dampers with 60 or 65mm stroke can be used, with a resulting wheel travel of 148 or 158 mm respectively. To accommodate the different characteristics of these two types of shock in terms of progression curves, NICOLAI offers two different lower shock mounts for the Saturn 16. They are offset against the upper mount by either 14mm for a linear linkage for air shocks, or 21mm to create a slightly more progressive linkage for coil sprung shocks. However, these are only recommendations, the customers can always have the final say in tuning their perfect bike.
NICOLAI equips the Saturn 16 from the factory, as always, with an optimized and tested standard setting which is shown in the Mutator tuning table. This setup depends on wheel, frame and shock sizes. Further from the basic setup, the table shows the scope for tuning and geometry adjustments through all different Mutator dimensions and shock mounts.
The 7020 T6 aluminum frame of the Saturn 16 is built so strong and durable that there are no limits or restrictions on use, it has even received the coveted ‘Bike Park Approval.’ In order to not pay for this with additional weight, NICOLAI has used topology optimization in the design of all crucial components of the frame. A virtual simulation that makes it possible to optimally reinforce high-stress areas and save material in low-stress zones. Implemented on the factory’s own modern 5-axis CNC machines, this has not only resulted in a durable, weight-optimized work tool, but also an absolute eye-catcher and a masterpiece of milling art.
By the way, the Saturn 16’s customization options are by no means limited to setup and tuning. Like all NICOLAI models, the Saturn is available in a wide range of color, decor and finish variants. The “Extra Love” palette of anodized colors allows choice of all milled frame parts such as bearing caps, rocker links and cable guides to be color-matched so that they harmonize, for example, with the anodized tone of HOPE brakes or a TUNE stem.
The Saturn 16 is available in six frame sizes from S to XXXL, covering a particularly wide range in linear, small increments. Meaning all riders between 1.55m and 2.10m will be able to choose a perfectly fitting frame. To achieve a consistent character and identical handling in all sizes, the chainstay length grows with the increasing frame size through appropriate Mutators. However, it can also be ridden at the riders’ request to deviate from the basic setup: a large frame with a shorter chainstay, for example. The frame and wheel sizes always have an influence on the available options and tuning possibilities, the Tech Sheet in the appendix provides detailed information on this. However, there is room for a bottle cage on the down tube of any frame.
The Saturn 16 is available as a frameset or complete bike. Customers can use the online configurator on the NICOLAI homepage to piece together their dream bike or frame, individually choosing from a wide range of options, finish and equipment. For this purpose, NICOLAI offers only high-quality components from the brands FOX, EXT, INTEND, HOPE, MAGURA, TUNE, CONTINENTAL, SRAM and LEVELNINE that have been tested for each model. On the way to a personal custom bike, the NICOLAI sales team is available to all interested parties with comprehensive advice.
The roots of the Geolution concept lie in enduro racing, and even if trends in frame geometries are slowly approaching a similar concept, Geolution can still be seen as a radical design in which performance is top priority. But not all of our customers also put the emphasis here or strive for the top steps at enduro races.
They are more interested in a well-rounded bike that can climb well, master any trail and has strong downhill potential. Our Geolution Trail geometry appeals to exactly this clientele by taking the basic characteristics of the Geolution concept, such as the slack head angle and long reach, and transferring them to a more moderate, less race-oriented geometry. The seating position is more upright, the bike is more agile and responsive, but the Geolution DNA remains.
The mounted adapters on the bearing points of the rear triangle of our full-suspension frames we call mutators. Compression strut mutators allow the adaptation of the frame to the wheel sizes 27.5 or 29 inches by different lengths. They are also suitable for adjusting the steering angle and bottom bracket height in fine increments. Swingarm mutators, on the other hand, allow fine tuning of the chainstay length in terms of center of gravity , handling, maneuverability and smoothness.
A mutator consists of two half-shells, which are positively mounted and connected to the strut via a conical, rectangular fit, free from play and resistant to torsion. The mutators integrate the bearing seal and bearing axle. They thus reduce the number of components at the bearing points, minimizing wear and sources of error.
Ex works, we always install the mutators that correspond to the basic setup of the bike according to our geometry table. Modifications to the mutators should only be made after consultation with us and by a specialist. Compression strut mutators are available in lengths of 3.5, 6.5, 10, 12 and 15 mm, swingarm mutators in lengths of 33, 41 and 47 mm.
The Saturn 16 also offers a lot of freedom in the choice of the damper and the characteristics of the suspension. Only the damper installation length of 230 mm is fixed. Air or steel spring dampers with 60 or 65 mm stroke can be used, with resulting spring travels of 150 or 160 mm. To accommodate the different characteristics of these two types of shocks in terms of progression and characteristic curve, NICOLAI offers two different lower shock mounts for the Saturn 16. Their offset to the upper mount is either 21 mm with a moderately progressive linkage for air shocks – or 14 mm with a more progressive linkage for steel spring shocks. However, these are only recommendations. The customers always have the final say in tuning.
Most NICOLAI models are offered in 5 or even in 6 frame sizes, from XS to XXL. This provides customers between 1.55m and 2.10m with their perfect fit, a range that few other brands provide. A sizing chart for body and frame sizes can be found in our detailed Tech Sheets for each model. Building a perfectly fitting frame means much more than just extending it for each size. We take various factors into account here with regard to body proportions and rider weights, for example adapting tube cross-sections and thicknesses, modified geometry and particularly low standover heights for smaller sizes, or frame reinforcements that take into account higher weight and greater strength of XXL frame riders. Saddle position, stem height and shape, handlebar width and height serve to fine-tune geometry – albeit within a relatively limited range.
We weld all of our frames by hand using the TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) method. Our specially trained welders have many years of experience, our lead welder has worked in-house for over 20 years. For each model and frame size we build a precise welding structure called the frame jig. In this jig, the CNC-cut tube sets are precisely assembled and fixed in place with all turned and milled parts of the frame to be welded. The frame components are first tacked together with individual spot welds at precise points in a defined sequence, and then, to minimize distortion and stresses, welded in several passes.
Our distinctive, uniformly flat-scaled welds are created by welding at a very slow speed. This causes deep fusion of the material and large-area for dissipation of loads and forces applied to the frame on the trail.
Even though many riders now rely on hydration or hip packs, few want to do without the option of a bottle cage within the front triangle. For a clean look, we offer our customised magnetic FIDLOCK mount together with a NICOLAI 0.6L Twist bottle. The FIDLOCK mount allows intuitive release and engagement of the water bottle in both directions even while riding, plus it’s secured in the frame even on the wildest rides and hardest hits. For further mounting options, for example to attach small toolboxes, pumps or bags, the NICOLAI frame clamps from our accessories line are ideal.
Bottle cage mounting locations depend on the model and frame size, as we ensure ideal handling and function for each case. For the bottle cage threads in the frame, we use blind aluminum rivet nuts. Contrary to expectations, if a thread should ever tear out or be overtightened, it can be replaced with little effort.
Now also available in the Shop
When designing turned and CNC milled parts, we use FEM software (Finite Element Method), which can be used to simulate the loads that will occur on the trail in order to determine the optimum shape (topology) of these components. Critical areas of the design become visible in this way and can be strengthened by adding material, or weight can be saved by removing material from low stress areas.
In this way we can produce highly complex parts and assemblies for our frames that combine maximum durability with minimum weight.
We manufacture all NICOLAI frames from 7020-T6 aircraft aluminum and are convinced that this alloy is the superior material for mountain bike construction. Compared to the 6061-T6 (AlMg1SiCu) alloy normally used in bicycle construction, 7020-T6 (AlZn4.5Mg1) has about 30% higher tensile strength and about 20% higher elastic limit. Where carbon frames can spontaneously fail in the event of an overload, NICOLAI bikes are calculated and designed to deform in a safely defined area of the frame in the event of an overload, significantly reducing the risk of serious crashes and injuries. A NICOLAI aluminum frame is designed to withstand many years even under severe competition conditions.
Sustainability is a major concern for us, and our goal is a complete circular economy for our products. All milling and cutting scraps from our aluminum manufacturing process, as well as discarded frames (prototypes, test mules etc), are 100% recycled back to the starting material, which can then be used to create new, high-quality bikes again. The widespread use of 6061-T6 aluminum in frame construction is partly due to ease of processing at lower tooling costs, and the ease of straightening after welding with less technical effort.
The rear triangle of a full-suspension bike is subjected to very high dynamic loads during riding. The pivot points are the focal points where forces are transmitted between frame components. The full-ball, double-sealed ball bearings installed on our frames not only achieve top marks for power transmission, but also a particularly low breakaway torque, which ensures a sensitive and smooth chassis and suspension response. At the same time, they offer the best possible sealing against dirt and moisture for a long service life and extended maintenance intervals.
Full complement cartridge bearings are filled around their full circumference with ball bearings, instead of being spaced out and held in place with a cage. This increases the contact area within the bearing allowing a higher load capacity, lower weight and smaller volume. We use angular contact bearings at the main swing arm pivot, which support the high axial loads that occur there. Radial bearings are installed accordingly at the pivot points of the compression struts and rocker links. In addition to the integrated cartridge bearing seals, we add an extra o-ring on both sides of the bearing either in our frame, Mutators, or linkage.
Our suspension systems pursue the goal of combining competitive performance and maximum fun on the trail, as well as high pedaling efficiency by kinematically decoupling the rider’s movements from the work of the suspension. For this reason, we design our 4-bar link rear triangles according to the proven and timeless ‘Horst-Link’ principle. The Horst Link describes the pivot point that sits at the end of the chainstay and just in front of the rear axle which counteracts the shortening of the wheelbase during compression. Through years of racing experience and with the help of simulation software, we have succeeded in further optimizing and refining the Horst-Link technology on our bikes. In particular, this has allowed us to significantly improve the anti-squat (pedaling) characteristics of the suspension.
Correct anti-squat means that on low speed, steep climbs in small gears, the pulling force on the chain created when pedaling induces a movement of the rear wheel that counteracts the rider’s weight. The rear suspension doesn’t compress, the rider doesn’t lose power, and the tire claws into the ground. In longer gears, i.e. when riding fast on downhill sections, on the other hand, the anti-squat effect is minimized by the modified chain tension vector, and the suspension works sensitively and with a high degree of bump absorption.
Our RADO dropouts guarantee perfect alignment between the front and rear wheels of the bike. Finalising the toe and camber of the rear wheel and fixing the RADO in an exact position means that every NICOLAI is always one hundred percent straight. Despite precise preparatory work, construction methods and the utmost care, any aluminum frame is subject to a certain amount of heat distortion during the welding process. Of course, after welding, each frame is straightened, precisely measured and the final alignment ensured. Instead of forcing the frame into alignment, the RADO can be precisely fixed in place with guided grooves and the choice of 5 different camber heights.
After locating the correct toe position along the guided grooves, the frame is drilled and the RADO is pinned by a dowel. The chosen RADO for each frame has the correct camber dimension milled into the RADO. This means that the original alignment is retained when the dropout needs replacing.
Camber on a bicycle refers to the vertical position of the wheels in relation to the vertical axis of the frame. Toe, on the other hand, refers to the horizontal position of the wheels relative to the longitudinal axis of the frame. A bicycle is straight if these axes are in line with each other when the steering is centred, i.e. if toe and camber are exactly zero degrees.
A NICOLAI bike is instantly recognizable even if it is not branded. Its characteristic flat-scaled welds and machined aesthetics of the milled parts are unique. Nothing is sanded down or concealed. The industrial design language is not a goal in itself. It reflects the product’s development process, makes our design logic transparent and displays its properties and functions. This not only creates trust in the product, in its quality and durability, but also ensures a memorable brand within a constantly growing community. Handmade methods are not chosen for style and CNC machining is not used for mass production. We use each manufacturing technique in a specific manner so that the end result is always the best possible: a product into which we have poured all our resources, skills and passion and of which we are proud.
Thanks to our own powder coating facility, local anodisers, and our in-house production line, every NICOLAI frame can be customized to meet your individual needs. We process over 50 powder coat colors applied in high-gloss or semi-gloss finish, as well as fades and our classic ‘camo’ options. Customers can even choose a separate color for each welded frame component. Our frames can also be anodized with a glass-peened and durable black, bronze or titanium finish. For turned or milled components such as rocker linkages, bearing covers, or cable guides, we offer an extended ‘Extra Love’ range of anodized colors that allow color matching with your favorite branded components. We also offer an uncoated aluminum finish as “factory raw”. To finish, add your choice of decal style, location, size and color to guarantee a unique, personalized and truly custom bike.
Powder coating involves spraying a colored polyester powder onto the frame and then melting it in an oven. Electrostatically charging the powder and frame means a perfectly even application of color is achieved with minimal waste. This is followed by a specific heating and cooling protocol for a smooth and even finish. The resulting paint layer forms an impact-resistant, durable plastic coating that is firmly cross-linked with the aluminum. Anodizing, on the other hand, forms a colored oxide layer on the surface of the aluminum by an electrochemical process. Powder coating fills and smoothes out small details and machining patterns on the frame, whereas an anodizing process reproduces surface textures, milling patterns, welding-related heat zones and alloy variations in all clarity.
With our regular frame sizes, we cover a very wide range of body sizes and can offer the vast majority of bikers a perfectly fitting bike. However, there are also people who cannot find their optimal geometry within the range of standard sizes and adjustment options because, for example, they are particularly short, have exceptionally long legs or have a medical restriction. Our complete in-house production means we can offer frames specifically to measure and anything up to custom electric-assist tandems, for example.
Creating custom Tailor Made frames involves a significant amount of extra work and is therefore subject to an additional charge. Unlike production frames, whose components are manufactured in small batches according to set machine programs, a made-to-measure frame requires a lot of manual work and individual customization. The requirements, design and optimization of a custom frame are discussed and determined via close consultation with an experienced NICOLAI engineer.
All NICOLAI frame models come with a 5-year warranty against breakage and material failure, even when used in extreme conditions like racing or jumping. The prerequisites are that the respective models are used within the scope of their designated purpose and have only been equipped with approved components. In addition, we guarantee supply of spare parts for all models for at least 10 years. Since we manufacture all frame components ourselves on our own machines, it is even possible to reproduce sold-out spare parts beyond the 10-year period in certain cases.
We offer the SATURN 16 as a custom build, where you can choose from various equipment and detail options via an online configurator and assemble the bike individually according to your own wishes and requirements.
NICOLAI frame kits and complete bikes are offered in Germany through our direct sales channel. We offer off the shelf models, or completely customized dream builds with a wide choice of components via our online configurator. Personal discussions and direct contact with customers are our top priority. Abroad, selected partners are available for sales. With our large test bike fleet, we regularly visit bike parks and trail centers around central Europe. Here, potential NICOLAI riders can extensively test our bikes after prior registration and receive individual advice. At the NICOLAI factory we have set up a showroom where all current models are on display. Here, you can also make appointments for personal consultations, test rides, buy bikes directly or pick up pre-ordered bikes.
We have developed a refined and reusable bike box for our mail-order shipping. In this box, the new NICOLAI bike arrives fixed to, and protected by a wooden frame, guaranteeing safe delivery and is ready for use after a few simple steps. The same box is reused when the bike is returned to us for repair or service. All shipping protection inside the bike box such as pads, lashing straps, brackets and screw connections are also reusable, plus it can be flat packed for home storage.
The following boxing and unboxing videos show what we thought about shipping and how much engineering can go into a box alone:
The NICOLAI Bikebox is also available individually in the Store
150 | 160 mm
29" | 27.5“ | Hybrid (29" + 27.5")