Feb 5 2019

The evolution of Fuzz - from a bike park ripper to a pure blood racer


The Fuzz has a special place in NS Bikes history. It was our first real downhill bike, and we worked very hard to make sure our debut was a success, so the effort behind this project was massive. We not only wanted performance, but also day-to-day reliability.


It has been to Rampage and has a pretty good record in major international downhill races. The platform has been around since 2013 and during that time evolved from 26” wheels to bigger 27.5” ones, with some geometry updates in the meantime.  


Sam Pillgrim on the Fuzz prototype during Red Bull Rampage 2013. 26" wheels, obviously.  


Szymon Godziek 5 years later, Fuzz 27.5" - different (custom) geo, but still 26" wheels as a riders' choice.

Photo: Bartek Wolinski / Red Bull Content Pool


However around 2 years ago we started working hard on developing a completely new version of this bike in a close cooperation with our Factory DH Team. One of the obvious changes that we had to make was to put the bike on big 29” wheels. The team riders were really enthusiastic about the concept of racing a 29-er on the oh-so-demanding courses of UCI DH World Cup, so we found a common language, and the work kicked-off immediately.  


First ideas about the geo changes


Basically everyone involved wanted more than just the same Fuzz with bigger wheels. There were much more work to be done, to make the bike even faster. Hardcore bike trashing, being very deep in our DNA, influenced the suspension design of Fuzz 27.5" - it's very progressive and almost impossible to bottom out. Good stuff if you’re after super long jumps and unreal drops.

The new Fuzz is meant for all our racing, so this had to change. The team’s feedback on the 27.5 version (which they have raced in 2017) stated that the bike needs to use the whole suspension travel more, and give more support in the mid stroke.  So our main goal was to change the leverage ratio to less progressive than the former 27.5” version. Originally we designed quite a lot of progression into the suspension, keeping in mind that our bike would be used primarily for hucking and bike parks.



Fuzz 27.5 vs Fuzz 29 - leverage ratio comparison 


Secondly, the riders opted for more anti-squat to keep the rear suspension from bobbing, while pedaling hard on the flatter sections of the course.



Fuzz 27.5 vs Fuzz 29 - anti-squat comparison 


The new kinematics resulted in a more compliant and predictable feel in the mid stroke and promotes the use of more travel. There is a significant amount of rearward axle movement that helps smooth out square faced bumps. We achieved that mostly by redesigning the main rocker from a previous 2-pcs to a much stiffer single piece monolink (we were also able to drop the seat stay bridge - making more space for big wheels) and revising the dropouts.


We continued to use the custom offset headset, known from the 27.5" version, which allows the rider to adjust the reach of the bike, choosing from 3 positions: -8mm, zero, +8mm. 



The initial rides on the first bike samples confirmed just about everything that the theory assumed. The 29-er rides faster on virtually any type of courses (maybe except very narrow and twisty tacks), however its cornering abilities were also improved by lowering the BB by 11 mm. 


The first R&D sample of the Fuzz 29" bike.


All the team riders automatically fell in love with the “F29” and there were no doubts about which bike to choose for the 2018 season.


 Photo:  Sebastian Sternemann


 Photo:  Sebastian Sternemann 


 Photo:  Sebastian Sternemann


The Fuzz 29” was one of the first big wheel racing machines in the World Cup pits and tracks (which makes us very proud). This year it’s also hitting the shop floors in bit a controversial, not-so-racy (that’s how we like it) graphic design. The bike is equipped with Fox Factory 49 Float Grip 2 fork and Fox Performance Elite DHX2 rear shock. It rolls on our new Enigma Rock 29” rims, designed specially for heavy-duty downhill applications.





Bike specification:


frame: NS Fuzz 29 w/ 190mm travel, 1.5'' head tube with custom reach adjustable offset cups (+/- 16mm), AL6061-T6 +AL6066-T6, custom formed and butted tubes

sizes: M, L

rear shock: Fox Performance Elite DHX2 LSC LSR Trunnion 225x75 spring: M-450, L-500 lbs/in

forks: Fox Factory 49 Float Grip 2, 203mm travel, HSC, LSC, HSR, LSR, 20x110mm Boost, 1&1/8” steerer, 58mm offset

headset: NS custom 1.5" EX56/56, sealed bearings, reach adjustable offset cups (+/- 16mm)

stem:  NS Direct Mount 31.8 (40-48mm / 2 positions)

handlebar:  NS Licence 31.8, 820mm

grips:  NS Hold Fast

seatpost: Kalloy, 30.9mm

saddle:  Octane One Crit, CrMo hollow rails

front brake: Sram CODE R, 200mm

rear brake: Sram CODE R, 200mm

levers: Sram CODE R

rims:  NS Enigma Rock 29", 32h, tubeless ready

spokes: Spokes w/14mm nipples

front hub:  NS Rotary 20 Boost 20x110 disc (sealed bearings)

rear hub:  NS Rotary Cassette 157x12mm (sealed bearings)

tires front / rear: Schwalbe Magic Mary 29x2.35 Super Gravity, folding, TL Easy

crankset: Truvativ Descendant 165mm 36t

bottom bracket: Truvativ GXP 83mm

pedals: /

chain: Sram, 12 spd

chainguide: Mozartt Presto Alu with bashguard

derailleurs: Sram GX DH X-HORIZON™ 7spd

shifters: Sram GX DH, 7spd

cassette: Sram PG-720 DH, 7 speed 11-25t

weight (kg): 16.9





    M L
Wheel size 29"
Fork travel 200 200
Reach mm 448+-8 472+-8
in 17.6+-0.3 18.6+-0.3
FC mm 820.0 849
in 32.3 33.4
Standover mm 718.5 720.3
in 28.3 28.4
Stack mm 628 637
in 24.7 25.1
Effective TT mm 649 678
in 25.6 26.7
Actual TT mm 577 603
in 22.7 23.7
Seat tube mm 402 402
in 15.8 15.8
Chain stays mm 455 455
in 17.9 17.9
BB rise mm -16 -16
in -0.63 -0.63
Headtube angle 63 63
ST angle effective 72 72
Wheelbase mm 1275 1304
in 50.2 51.3