Every summer, I spend at least one week in Nelson. I fly up from Vancouver with my son, and stay with my
parents. The bonus to all this, on top
of being in an awesome town, drinking the local beer, seeing my family and
having all of my food cooked for me is that my brother-in-law Al also rides
bikes. Now, due to the costs that the
airlines charge, I haven’t bothered bringing my own bikes with me, and have
used each trip as an opportunity to try out different bikes that can be rented
Taking the entrance drop on Fat Chance at Mountain Station in Nelson on the Nelson.
Photo by: Al Danks
Before this years trip, I sent Al out to the local shops to
do some scouting. It didn’t sound to
good – Devinci “AM” fully’s, Rocky Mountain Slayer Slopetyles and some
hard tails. If you know Nelson at all, you will know it
is home to some pretty knarly trails, both accessible by riding and by
shuttles. Fortunately, when I went down
to the Sacred Ride to get a rental for our first pair of rides, I stumbled
across a brand spanking new Opus Nelson 2 with a bit of custom build. Salvation!
The Nelson – at rest at my sister’s place, in Nelson
So, what is the Opus Nelson?
Who are Opus? I had to do a bit
of research to find this out for myself.
Let’s start with Opus.
Opus is a Quebec
based company who started out mainly focussing on road bikes. Born and raised by Outdoor Gear Canada (OGC –
you’ve probably heard of them), Opus started up in the early 2000’s with road
bikes, then branched out to mountain bikes in 2005-06. Now sporting a line up of 13 mountain bike
models with various trim levels, Opus has 29’ers, women’s specific bikes, all
mountain rides, lots of hard tails and the Nelson – their free ride machine.
The Nelson is a 175 mm travel frame that comes in two trim
levels – the Nelson 1 and the Nelson 2.
While my rental said it was an Opus Nelson 2 Frame, the parts package
that the Sacred Ride threw at it was closer to that of the Nelson 1
Shox Totem Solo Air DH fork
RC 4 shock
Code 5 brakes
bashy and guide
Maxis DHF – rear high roller
– 40.4 lbs
The rear suspension linkage on the Nelson is essentially
another version of the “virtual pivot point” design with a solid rear triangle
and two linkage plates connected to two pivot points. The Opus version places the lower shock mount
on the lower pivot plate just behind the lower pivot.
A close up of the suspension linkage, with some Nelson Brewing Company “Lip Lock” summer ale in the background.
Photo by Al Danks
As I was only in Nelson for a week, and I was pretty excited
by how the Nelson looked as a bike, Al and I decided to maximize my rental
value by going out twice each time I rented.
For our first ride, the evening of the rental, we headed up to
Mountain Station and rode Eli Simm. This is a mostly natural, fast flowy trail
that goes from pretty much as high up as any trail on Mountain Station starts. The Nelson did not disappoint – it felt
stable and smooth. But then again, the
trail was pretty smooth, so I probably didn’t push the bike that hard.
For our second ride, the next morning, my sister dropped us
off at the top of Give Out Road
and we headed up to the start of High Baller.
After High Baller we hit Placenta Descenta to Illuminati to Wake and
Bake to Skiers Right. This is probably
one of the best runs you can do in Nelson and features a bit of everything –
speed, chunder, drops, stunts, rocks and jumps.
The Nelson did not disappoint and handled everything I threw at it with
For our next trip, a couple of days later we threw together
a similar mix of rides with some different trails. The Mountain Station evening ride featured
Fat Chance to Tiger Beef to Smiling Buddha to Atomic Speed Goat (no, I am not
making this up). This route offers up
ladder drops, steeps, skinnies – you name it!
The final ride of the trip was another Give Out drop. We started with High Baller again, then Low
Baller, Bed Frame and Pulmonary. Tech
You’ve already seen the first video of my Nelson Riding – now you can scroll to the bottom for the second film.
So – how did the bike feel?
Better than my lower back!! I was really impressed. There was little effect on the suspension
movement under braking, and I was able to go quite fast even on trails I wasn’t
totally familiar with. The effective, if
unspectacular, parts package didn’t let me down once. The brakes stopped me, the gears shifted and
the Totem fork? Well – I’m in love.
I’m hoping to get a longer term test bike from Opus, but
time will tell if they are interested.
From the four rides I did, the Nelson is a definite contender in the
free ride field.