Neuhaus Metalworks Ti Hummingbird
For the past 5 years, Nick Neuhaus has been building award-winning trail bikes from his shop in Marin County, California. It was his Hummingbird that first caught our eye and got us interested in his work. In the coming months, Neuhaus will be releasing an all-new titanium Hummingbird. We were lucky to get a peek and ask some questions. Photos by Colby Larson.
We keep no secrets on how we feel about Marin Country-based Neuhaus Metalworks. Nick Neuhaus builds beautiful and modern hardtail trail bikes that are easy on the eyes and make us want to roam the hills. It seems we have not been the only ones to notice. A few weeks ago, the Neuhaus Hummingbird was awarded the 2022 Bike of the Year by Hardtail Party and we couldn't be happier for Nick and the team. Steve from Hardtail Party describes the Hummingbird as “the hardtail that everyone needs but doesn't know it”. Looking at the Hummingbird it's hard to disagree with this sentiment.
When we heard Nick was working on a Ti version of the Hummingbird, we got excited and wanted to know all about it. So, here's our spotlight on the new Ti Hummingbird that will be ready for pre-order soon. Feast your eyes. The details on this rig are endless including a stunning black-on-black head badge, lovely 5 Dev components, and all those mind-bending additive yokes you expect from Neuhaus. Swoon.
Let's back up. When was the Hummingbird designed and what was it intended for?
The Hummingbird project started early in 2021, and was approached with the mindset: create the mountain bike that everyone needs, forget trends and marketing, and just build what we know works based on our experiences with real-world riders. The Hummingbird went through countless iterations and changes before we were happy with it. It has been tested as a gravel bike, and XC race bike, and as an everyday trail bike. All of this in an effort to make the Hummingbird the best bike it could be for a broad range of riding conditions and locations. Today the Hummingbird is a versatile and incredibly capable hardtail trail bike. The design prioritizes rider comfort and ergonomic efficiency to create a package that works just about anywhere you want to ride and anyway you want to ride. As it stands Hummingbirds have been used for everything from 8-hour race podiums to smashing the local double-black downhill trails.
|Headtube:||Titanium frames use a straight headtube for 44mm ZS/EC headsets, the angle is the same as the steel Hummingbird at 66.5 degrees.|
|Bottom Bracket:||T47x73 for external bearing bb|
|Chainstay:||430 on this one but all production Ti Hummingbirds will come with sliding dropouts, the chainstay length will be 420-442.|
|Tire Clearance:||Max 2.6 but I run 2.35's, call me weird, but I like narrow tires.|
We began to find some clarity with the project early in 2022. It was clear what the Hummingbird didn't need to be. After a few iterations, the canvas was wiped clean and the project approached with a new mindset: create the mountain bike that everyone needs, forget trends and marketing, and just build what we know works for real-world riders. Today the Hummingbird is a versatile and incredibly capable hardtail trail bike. The design prioritizes rider comfort and ergonomic efficiency to create a package that works just about anywhere you want to ride and anyway you want to ride. As it stands Hummingbirds have been used for everything from 8-hour race podiums to smashing the local double black downhill trails.
So a full Ti Hummingbird? Why now?
Titanium was always a logical evolution for the Hummingbird, even in its earliest form. The material fits the bike well, especially for the rider that is looking to save some weight and gain a little extra pedaling efficiency. This project had been in the works for a good part of 2022, but with the change in material came a slight change in printed part supply and workflow. Before we could make the Ti Hummingbird available to the world we needed to make sure that we could build it in a manner that would suit riders of every shape and size, and we needed to be sure that our material supply was scalable to meet demand. We're very proud of the expansive size range we offer and one requirement that we have for every new model is that it does not lose that inclusivity.
Who is getting this 'bird and what will it be used for?
This one is all mine! I built this bike as my 2023 race bike though it will also be my primary ride as well.
Tell us about that Lefty shock.
The Lefty Ocho 120 is a unique fork and conversation starter. If you can get past the look of the Lefty (which is much easier on the single-crown Ocho than it was on earlier dual-crown models) you find a fork that is absolutely packed with engineering ingenuity. For its size and travel the Ocho 120 is incredibly lightweight, tipping the scales at 1550g. Don't let the light weight fool you, the Ocho 120 is incredibly stiff in all the right ways and provides razor-sharp and precise steering inputs. The damper is a closed cartridge unit that uses a spring to preload the piston and eliminates cavitation. This setup provides better service life over bladder-type designs. The self-balancing air spring has a nice smooth, slightly progressive feel right out of the box. I personally find the stock volume settings to be on point but as expected volume spacers are available to fine-tune the air spring to your liking.
What else can you tell us about the build kit?
A few of the standout parts on this build besides the fork are the 5 Dev cranks, chainring, and titanium stem, all of which are made right here in California. The 5 Dev parts are functional jewelry for your bike, and while the team there specifically told me “scratch those cranks up, make them tell a story!” it will hurt a little to put the first scratches on them. Keeping with the made in California theme, this bike is built with a stealth black White Industries headset. The wheels are Stan's Arch MK4 featuring hubs with P321's magnetic pawls. This is the lowest drag freehub configuration I have ever seen, it still shocks me how little resistance there is. The brakes are a set of fairly basic Magura MT Trail, I've never really been one to be picky about brakes, they just slow you down after all. The drivetrain is GX Eagle AXS with an ultra-light Garbaruk 10-52 cassette and a gold KMC Ti-N 12-speed chain.
What can you tell us about the printed bottle bracket?
The bottle bracket comes on every one of our mountain bikes and the titanium frames are no different. It allows for standard M5x.8 bosses to be used in the seat tube without interfering with dropper post insertion. On smaller frames, the angle also makes fitting a small second bottle possible.
What does the bike weigh ready to rock?
Ready to roll it is 24 lbs 5 oz. with a cushcore XC in the rear tire.
What is the price difference between the Ti and steel Hummingbird?
For 2023 the steel Hummingbird starts at $2200 for a frame only while a Titanium Hummingbird will start at $4200 for a frame. Adding sliding dropouts to the steel Hummingbird is an upcharge, the Titanium Hummingbird will only be offered with sliding dropouts.