NS Metropolis 1 first ride review£1,150.00

Top-shelf, competition-ready jump bike

The top-specced steel jump bike from NS has a classic silhouette and almost identical geometry to the brand's original Suburban (which borrowed heavily from the iconic Black Market Mob), making this off-the-peg dirt jumper an instant favourite with BikeRadar

NS Metropolis 1 frame

As on off-the-peg build, the Metropolis 1 is hard to beat
As on off-the-peg build, the Metropolis 1 is hard to beat

To keep the price down, the Metropolis 1 is made from NS’s own custom-butted 4130 chromoly, not the Tange tubeset of the frame-only Suburban, and uses a straight 1-1/8in head tube. (To get a steel NS that’s compatible with a tapered fork, you’d have to look at the pricey Majesty Dirt frame). 

Despite this lack of future proofing, the frame is brilliant. The skinny tubing makes it easier on the eye than any aluminium alternative, and its good looks are matched by its ride quality. Also, the way the decals are placed on top of the clear coat makes them easier to remove if you favour a clean look.

NS Metropolis 1 kit

The Metropolis is dripping in own-brand finishing kit. NS’s Lick bar has a high rise (77mm), which is bang on trend at the moment. 

It took me a few rides to get used to, but works well once you’re settled in. The Octane One (NS’s sister brand) hubs run on sealed bearings and are laced to NS Fundamental rims. 

These stayed true despite my best (worst!) efforts over the jumps and at the street spots near BikeRadar HQ. The engagement of the rear hub is nice and quick too.

The fashionably high bar takes a while to get used to, coming from a trail bike
The fashionably high bar takes a while to get used to, coming from a trail bike

While the big gearing (10x28t) works well on the flat, it can make it tough to get to your jumps if you have to ride uphill. 

The Race Face crankset and bottom bracket are solid, though BMX-style three-piece cranks (as you get on the Metropolis 2 and 3) would be more in-keeping with the classic dirt jump look. Manitou is one of the few brands still producing straight-steerer forks, so it's no surprise to see the very competent Circus Expert specced here.

The SRAM Level rear brake provides all the stopping power you’ll need and is fitted with a long-enough hose that you can get away with a couple of barspins or tailwhips if that’s your thing. 

NS supplies a front brake too, but has sensibly specced a more basic, mechanical (rather than hydraulic) model, in the expectation that most dirt jumpers will ditch it (although it’s a legal requirement to keep it on, should you plan to ride on the road at all).

NS Metropolis 1 ride experience

If you’re after an agile, fun and easy-to-throw-around 26in-wheeled jump bike, then you won’t find much better than the Metropolis 1. 

The only downside to having such jump-specific geometry is that you’re not going to have a great time on anything bumpy or on general off-road trails on the NS, so if you’re thinking about buying one of the lower-priced versions as a do-it-all bike, then stop. But if it’s jumps you love, then, just like its aluminium stablemate the Movement, the Metropolis is one of the best frames on the market.

It excels on super-tight pump tracks, steep dirt jumps and big street banks
It excels on super-tight pump tracks, steep dirt jumps and big street banks

It excels on super-tight pump tracks, steep dirt jumps and big street banks, wedges and ledges. With its low-slung top tube and high bottom bracket, the frame is really compact, letting you lay tweaked-out tables or suck the bike up to boost that high-jump comp among your mates. You’ll want to hit things faster and aim to go higher or more sideways than ever before.

NS Metropolis 1 specifications

  • Frame: Custom-butted 4130 chromoly
  • Fork: Manitou Circus Expert, 100mm (3.9in) travel
  • Drivetrain: Race Face Effect cranks with 28t chainring and 10t rear sprocket (1x1)
  • Wheelset: Octane One sealed-bearing hubs on NS Fundamental rims
  • Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8 26x2.1in tyres
  • Brakes: Tektro Novela front, SRAM Level rear
  • Bar: NS Lick, 740mm
  • Stem: NS Chemical, 40mm
  • Seatpost/saddle: Octane One combo
  • Weight: 12.1kg, without pedals

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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