Friday, April 27, 2012

Niner Sir 9: First Ride Review

The Green Machine after the inaugural ride.
It is clean, it is green, and it is a machine.  I recently built up this Niner Sir 9 as my back up bike for my wife to ride, but it has only seen double-track as well as the pavement around our neighborhood (o.k., and one short .3 mile test ride on my backyard single-track by Nate's girlfriend).  I've been itching to ride this beauty, so when the wife had some cancellations and came home early, I was off!   
Due to a small amount of recent rain, I knew most ‘official’ trails would be closed, so I decided to go to my favorite ‘unofficial‘ trail off Old Reedy Creek Rd.   The plan: ~12 miles of single-track and maybe more.  Unfortunately, I found out the airport area had received much more rain than the southern part of the county as the trails were soaking wet & muuudy.  I rode less than 4 miles of single-track before I was back out onto Umstead.  :(
Fortunately the bike performed well in spite of the wet, slick conditions.  My biggest reason for wanting to get this beast on the trails was NOT to compare my scandium One9 ride to the ride of steel (the steel was noticeably better, but more on that some other time) but to test the new 1x9 drive-train setup.  I am using a sweet looking bash w/ an N-Gear Jump Stop to keep the chain steady.  Even though I know others using this set-up successfully, I have read (on forums) of people losing their chain as well (install error?), so I wanted to bounce down some trail to test it out.  Now I did not bomb down any trails with the wet conditions, but I aimed for every rock and root to get my bounce on.  I was happy not only with the chain staying in place, but also that there was no discernible chain-slap on the lower chain-stay (I guess Dillon @ Dillon Bikes took out the correct amount of chain-links for me).  Being that I have not ridden gears on trails in a long time, I was amazed at how much better traction was when I geared down.  Sure, I went slower than normal, but there was no spinning out on slippery rocks or roots and the aerobic workout was stellar and necessary for my tired legs.  When I hit Umstead afterward, I was also amazed at how much slower I climbed with the gears, but also how much faster I could descend and ride on flats.  On the slightly downhill section from the cemetery to my car I was consistently hitting 23+ mph by gearing down.  On my normal 32:20, I am lucky to hit 15mph on semi-flat Umstead areas (with some downhill momentum).  So in summary: I think I will need to ride this bike more to be able to give a fair and honest review *wink*.    
Bashguard w/N-Gear Jump Stop

The 1x9 setup had no issues

I will say that my decision to build up this green machine (for my wife, of course) is looking better and better.

Wheelset close up --Stans Arch's w/Hope ProII Hubs.

Almost done!


  1. Oh man... you are so coming over to the dark side of gears!! And you will need them when you get to all the 8000 foot climbs of Cali...just sayin'.
    Glad you like the bike. I am jealous. I am definitely going for a Niner hardtail for my next bike. But, mine will have ALL the gears.

  2. You are correct Ma'am. I had my 26" SS in Cali last summer and did hit a trail in Tahoe that really required gears due to the thick sandy granite build up on the trail. The SS could get no traction with the torque I was applying. I had come across a group of riders, one who told me, "I ride a SS all the time, just not on this trail...". Still, it was fine ~75% of the way, but that other 25% sucked. It will be nice to have some options in Cali.
    See you at the Burn (if you indeed make it there). ;)