Those who stay true to their beliefs, those who aren’t swayed by their peers, and those who stand up for their ideals; they’re the ones implied by the Polish company NS Bikes’ motto of “Stay True!” This is not just emblazoned across their website, but also written multiple times on their products. Their new enduro bike, the Snabb, is the embodiment of this phrase, as it pitches itself as a simple, effective, and well-functioning bike. But is that really the case? Check out the original article in Issue #016 or read on below!
First off, NS definitely achieved their first objective of keeping the Snabb simple! The aluminum frame appears robust, coming complete with everything you’d expect from a decent enduro bike and using a classic Horst-link design. The Poles clearly haven’t gone in for any experimentation here, staying true to what works.
So far, so good. The bike is definitely eye-catching, thanks to its vibrant neon-green and white paint, which blends together just as well as the main frame does to the rear triangle. Together with the rocker and seat stay, the top tube forms an almost intact line, tidily housing the internal cables and making the Snabb look striking. Their second objective was to create a ‘nice’-looking bike – damn, we think they nailed it.
Now only the third and most important objective remains: functionality. At first glance it seems as though NS have understood exactly what’s needed to hammer out some decent trail riding. Along with keeping the geometry slack, long, and aggressive, the bike’s spec is more than cohesive. No frills, no contrivances: the Poles have exclusively built the Snabb with robust, reliable, and good-value parts. As we started the test, everything was working perfectly – but it just wasn’t getting us sweaty with excitement. For the admittedly rather steep price of € 3,799, we would have liked to have seen a few more high-quality components.
But, enough theory, let’s take this bike out! From the very first pedal stroke, we love it, feeling right at home as though it’s a bike we’ve ridden for years. Why’s that? Well, when it comes to the geometry, NS have again done little experimenting, sticking to what works, and have sized the frame along industry standards. Neither the head angle, top tube length, wheelbase, nor chainstay lengths could be considered in any way ‘extreme.’ If you were after the median of all the current geometry setups for enduro bikes, then the NS Snabb E1 would make the perfect choice – and we don’t mean that negatively at all!
While you’re unlikely to smash any KOMs or QOMs when climbing on the Snabb, for a 160mm-travel bike it’s not too shabby uphill. You sit low and centrally, and – despite having a somewhat tall front end – the front tyre claws its way up steep terrain with ease. Once you activate the RockShox Monarch shock’s platform damping, the rear is noticeably firmed, and generates – thanks to the low tread profile Schwalbe Rock Razor back tyre – masses of propulsion. We encountered tons of never-ending tarmac climbs heading up from Lake Garda, where we tested the bike, and we were more than thankful for its climbing abilities.
The Snabb E1 descends much it like climbs; everything seems familiar, so you’re inclined to give full gas from the get-go. When it comes to downhills, this bike is certainly a contender. The suspension works as efficiently as you’d expect from RockShox, pleasantly progressive and able to soak up all sorts of chatter, hard impacts, non-stop bangs, or one-off big hits. As a rider, you tend to steer the Snabb from the rear (perhaps due to the tall front), but this ensures masses of stability when it gets steep. We’ve got to admit, however, that the Snabb isn’t quite as at home with any slight loss of momentum and urge to accelerate – it is too sensible to be a little nipper.
NS have stayed true to their principles by not promising the world, and the Snabb E1 embodies an genuine enduro bike, perfectly suited and sized for that discipline. Technical trails are its calling, but with its slightly steep 3,799€ price, its spec does have some weaknesses.
- calm and stable handling
- comfortable geometry
- cool look
- stiff suspension
- value for money
- the more affordable components spoil the overall bike
Weight: 13,75 kg
You can find more information at nsbikes.com.
Words & Pictures: Christoph Bayer
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