Van Nicholas Tuareg 650b – 27.5″

IMG_20180719_155336703_HDRUpdated : Version 2018

Following my last posts concerning the Van Nicholas Tuareg frame build, this is my latest post with all modifications as there have been quite a few

2018 : My retirement year and so I have a little more time on my hands, also I’m going to do the Roc d’Azur again in Fréjus , south of France in October so I need to get some serious training in.

Basically the modifications from my older posts are going to a one * eleven setup, changing my Magura fork to a 2018 RockShox, and also adding a dropper seat post (Ok so I’m a ‘scaredy’ cat when riding down hill)

–For complete build details :

Frame : Van Nicholas Tuareg Ti, weight 1.76 kilos
Fork : Rockshox RL SID 100mm, weight 1, 57 kilos
Wheels : Handbuilt NoTubes Crest, Duke King Kong Hubs, with CxRay sapin spokes & DT prolock hexa nipples, weight 1.38 kilos the pair
Seat post : Dropper ROCKSHOX REVERB Remote Matchmaker left
Brakes : Hope Tech X2, 160cm front, 160cm back with Hope matchmakers. Sadly no more matchmakers from Hope as they don’t make them for the tech X2 and the XTR shifter version 2018
Gears : Cassette XT M800 11 speed. Shimano XTR M9000 Shadow Plus Rear Derailleur and Shimano XTR SL-M9000-I Rapidfire back shifter
Drive train : SRAM XO with a X-Sync Direct Mount 6mm Offset 11V 32 chainring. Chain XTR
Components : Race Face stem and handlebars, Chris King headset, XTR pedals
Tyres : Front : Maxxis Icon (changed from a Hutchison Cobra) . Back : Maxxis Crossmark
Saddle : Italia SLR flow

Total weight with pedals 11.20 kilos

2018 : So have done a couple of hundred kilometres so far on this new setup. Riding 1 * 11 is fun, going kill my legs when I do the Roc, but here where I live its just fine.

RockShow RL SID version 2018

RockShox RL SID version 2018




Van Nicholas Tuareg 650b – 27.5″

It’s finished – 26/05/2013

Following my last post concerning the Van Nicholas Tuareg frame build, this is just is a quick post with just the finished bike and list of components without going into all the details

For complete build details :


Build finally finished 26/05/2013

Frame : Van Nicholas Tuareg Ti, weight 1.76 kilos

Fork : Magura TS8 R100, weight 1, 57 kilos (update June 2014 : fitted with new stanchions that give  more clearance for the tyres and the new 15mm axle)

Wheels : Handbuilt NoTubes Crest, Duke King Kong Hubs, with CxRay sapin spokes & DT prolock hexa nipples, weight  1.38 kilos the pair

Brakes : Hope Tech X2, 180cm front, 160cm back with Hope matchmakers

Gears : 10 speed, XTR : derailleur and shifters

Drive train : Sram XO 26/39 and Sram cassette XG1099, chain XTR

Components : Race Face seat post, stem and handlebars, Chris King headset, XTR pedals

Tyres : Front : Rocket Ron, Back : Rubena Scylla

Saddle : Italia SLR flow 160 gms

Total  weight with pedals 10,44 kilos

March / April : Have been operated on for a hernia inguinal I’m unable to do any sport for some weeks, so tests and observations to come later and some slight modifs will be made once I can ride again.

First ride : Photo – only 13km just to test if all OK and am not up to a real ride yet. (handlbars, rear dérailleur & saddle changed since)

Update : Have now managed to get a couple of rides on the bike, can I really notice anything different from the 26″ version, I’m not really sure, I feel its faster on the flats, (but then the wheels are so so smooth) I’ve managed to do some technical downs, that I normally do on foot (the bike or in my mind / head ? that is the question)

August 2014 : Have sadly ridden very little this year, as got knocked of my road bike in January, as this took some time to heal, then with the bad weather, and other lousy excuses, biking has sadly taken a back seat, all being well will be riding again in the 2014 edition of the Roc d’Azur, for some serious MTBing

DSCN1624 DSCN1615 DSCN1612 DSCN1613

Rocky Mountain Element 70 version ‘Tribal’ – SOLD

2008 : At last after weeks of waiting all the pieces have been received and added


This is for me at least the best bike around, I have built it up from scratch putting about the best parts available on it, it rides like a dream, XC is just great , it handles really well, even downhill is just great.

Frame : Rocky Mountain Element 70 version ‘Tribal’ 18″
Forks : Fox 32 RLC 100mm
Front Derailleur : Shimano XTR, Rear Derailleur : Shimano XTR
Shifters & Levers : Shimano XTR Dual control
Bottom Bracket & Chainset : Shimano XTR
Headset : Chris King
Stem : Race Face Deus 90mm XC, Handlebars : Race Face Next 630mm XC carbon
Seatpost : Race Face Next SL XC carbon
Front Brake : Shimano XTR 180mm Disc, Rear Brake : Shimano XTR 160mm Disc
Wheels : Shimano XTR Wheelset 2008
Saddle : Fizik Gobi, Pedals : Time Atac carbon
Weight : 12 Kilos

Update 2009, nothing changed as this is really the “bee’s knees”, it’s a brilliant ride, perfect for XC riding which I prefer, everything is just right with the bike 🙂

I have tried many other bikes, none handle and feel like this one

For the moment I’m running Maxxis Ignitor USB 2.10 Ignitor UST for the front tyre and Maxxis Larsen TT USB  2.10 at the back, am testing the Maxxis Crosmark Crossmark UST on the Lapierre as the front tyre and will see which I shall use this summer season

Update, after 18 months riding I decided to change the bearings on the pivots, there are 6 bearings to be changed, I basically did this for fun but realised that it had  to be done as one was dead and others were damaged, note that I never use a power washer to wash the bike just a garden hose.

2 *  Rockey’s reference 6901RS

4 * Rocky’s reference 6001LB

I ordered the replacements from



To change the bearings its quite easy but you need the tools to take of the pedal set to get to the bottom bearings

To take out the bearings you need to dismantle all of the back section so that you can lay flat the pieces (very important, other wise bye bye frame ….), firstly to ‘wallop” out the old bearings and secondly to place the new ones, I used a flat piece of iron with a heavy rubber mallet to get them in, attention they must be laying flat again , and finally to sink them in complety I used a socket set that was that same diameter as the bearings so that I didn’t damage them, you most not hit the rubber part

At the back of the frame where the carbon bars join the bottom bars are IGUS bushings these I have not replaced but I cleaned them up, do not oil/ grease them

When you take the bolts out to dismantle the bike be careful that you don’t lose the conical washers and be careful when you put them back later that they go back on the right way (smaller side to the bearing)


All in all this was not to difficult, it took me an afternoon, about 4 of the bearings out of 6 were used with one completely dead, so it had to be done, the bearings cost me about 100 dollars so not to expensive, and while I had the pedal set of I changed it for a new one as it was becoming worn and of course changed the chain, cassette, dérailleur and all cables as well

Have changed the saddle to a Selle Italia SLR the same as on the Lapierre, I find it as comfortable but a little easier to slide of the saddle when I need to my bottom right back over the rear wheel 🙂 as it now winter the front tyre is now a Maxxis Medusa and the back is Maxxis Larsen (winter or summer this is a fine tyre)

Update :

Have just changed the Igus bearings which I had a hard time getting, they are easy to change and though I found them in France eventually the easiest place to get them would have been from it’s a Germain site but they speak English and have load of info photos for Rocky bikes and spare parts.

Now I have to take the bike back to the shop as I have a creaking sound coming from the bike when applying the brakes and it seems to come from the carbon back stay, update : the creaking sound was caused by the back XTR brake, I changed brakes and no sound, I then placed the brake on my second bike, it started creaking as well, strange, how a brake can make a frame creak and why I do not know, the brake is now lying around in the garage I replaced it with a new one, all is well again.

Update December 2010 : Its been snowing here a lot, actually managed to get out for a couple of hours in 15 – 25cm of snow, hard work but super fun :

Update February 2011 : Except for the saddle, I’m now using a  Selle Italia SLR, nothing has been changed on this bike, most of my MTB rides are done on it, though I have a feeling that I might be using more the Van Nicholas this year, but this has to be seen. The bike is still as good as when I first set it up, almost three years now, I’ve never kept a bike so long, but it rides just the way I want it to. It weighs in at 12.15kgs, with a Maxxis Avantage front tyre and a Maxxis Ignitor back tyre because of the mud and bad winter we have had here. Once the winter finally goes away, it will be back to a Larsen at the back.

Update Juin 2011 : I sent back my back Fox Float RP23 for a service as I haven’t touched it since 2008, it came back with new seals and fresh oil, the difference was unbelievable, far smoother, more responsive, which was just perfect as I went away for a 3 day MTB ride with over 185km and 4000m dénivilé, and a rather tough going ground, so having a better rear suspension was just fine. The service cost me 110€.

I’ve also changed tires lately, I’m now running Schwalbes tires (as I use them on my Van Nicholas with its ZTR Crest rims) a Rocket Run 2.10 up front and a Racing Ralph 2.10 on the back, although I feel that The Rocket is rather fragile, as it doesn’t have a DD version, its been doing well.

Handling is fine and I took them out for 4 days in the Drome, mostly rocks, and stones all the time, no pinches, no flats 🙂 The racing Ralph is the DD version is tougher, the only problem with this tyre is if you brake to hard, it can break loose, but normally will grip again as the sides treads  are quite high, also the Racing Ralph does not like mud, it slips all over the place , so in winter it will be changed

Update September 2011 : Have just sold my XTR dual controls, its a shame as they were the best shifters I have ever had, but as my other bike is now running a 2 * 10 set up I sometimes mix up when changing gears, up / down rather than push / pull. So I’ve ordered the same set up as the Van Nicholas, XTR shifters and Hope Tech X2 brakes, and will have them fitted in time for the Roc d’Azur 2011 early october

Update November 2011 : I’ve been lazy and not updated this post for a while, XTR  shifters added, Hope Tech X2 brakes added (these are just brill.) am still running a 3 * 9 setup 22/32/42 – 11/32 which is just fine, I’ll not go 2*10 on the Rocky as I tend to use this bike where its hilly and I need the extra gears. I miss the dual controls, but am getting used to shifters again.

I used the Rocky on this year’s Roc d’Azur in October ( as in the previous years, clocked over 300km in 5 trips and over 6500m ascent / descent and as usual it was just fine : )

Update September 2012 : After many years of good service, have just sold the Rocky to a friend, now riding only the Van Nicholas