A tweak or two away from perfection
Need to know
- Carbon version of the NS Snabb enduro bike
- 165mm of rear travel and a 160mm RockShox Pike fork
- Carbon monocoque front end and carbon seatstays save 500g over the Snabb E1 aluminium
- Limited to only two sizes — medium and large
- Features an E13 chain device, internal cable routing and has room for a bottle cage
NS Snabb E Carbon
As the name suggests, the E carbon is the composite version of the 165mm-travel Snabb E1. It costs £760 more, but the frame is 500g lighter than the alloy version and brings the complete bike in at a competitive 13kg.
The frame has a quality finish and great standover clearance, but there are a couple of details I think could be better executed. To protect the carbon against rock strikes, NS fits a composite shield under the down tube, but it tends to collect mud. I’d actually prefer the rubberised material you see on big-brand bikes instead. This could also be used to protect the chainstay, rather than the tatty looking neoprene sleeve that comes with the bike.
The 142x12mm rear end gets a plain bolt-thru rear axle, which is neat and lightweight, but given that I have to put the bike in the back of my car I’d rather have the convenience of a quick-release.
Build kit-wise, NS has a mix-and-match SRAM drivetrain and runs the excellent Guide RS brakes. The bar has a good shape and NS has finally ditched the old Magneto stem for one that you can lower without having to chop the fork steerer down.
Like most current all-mountain bikes, the E Carbon is long and low, but I think it’s too steep for a 165mm bike. The Giant Reign 27.5 1 we tested a few months ago has a similar focus, but the head angle is over two degrees slacker, and this makes a big difference when bombing down steep, technical trails.
Sure, the E Carbon comes alive on flatter singletrack, but even here it still gets a little wayward in the turns. There are a couple of reasons for this — the rocker link is two separate parts, rather than a one-piece design, and flex is noticeable as a result. The bike also has Schwalbe’s Hans Dampf tyres, which are not the most surefooted.
The good news is that NS is fitting a more aggressive Magic Mary tyre up front for 2017, and it is also upgrading the link to a one-piece design.
The geometry won’t change, and there won’t be any additional sizes, but the large will come with a 170mm Reverb to improve the fit for taller riders.
NS is also adding a second model called the Snabb E1 Carbon, which will get a better spec, including a Pike RCT3 fork and a 1×12 SRAM Eagle drivetrain.