Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Am Hard! First Ride With Niner Carbon Fork/Review

TMI? Maybe, but I am pretty excited after my first ride with the new Niner carbon fork.  Hit a night ride led by Travis of 'Bicycle Emporium' here in Auburn.  Forgot my phone, so no Strava, but the ride was ~14 wet, muddy miles with many sections of trail where one moment of lost concentration means tumbling down, down, down...and likely being helicoptered out (if you survive, that is). I set my front tire at 20psi and realized that with my riding style (slow, methodical) I could go even lower.  I also learned that I cannot just grip tight and 'hit' obstacles like I could with suspension.  The front wheel is more likely to jettison left or right.  More focus on the trail is needed and using the arms more as suspension is a must.  I can tell with a few more rides, this will become natural.  I also realized my stem needs to drop ~10mm.  I figured this might be the case when I set it up, but I would rather start out with the steer tube too long than too short. With Niners short headtube (~80mm) the short steer tube may make it hard to resell the fork, but I don't think that is going to happen. I may switch the REBA back on for certain occasions or just use it as a backup for the SIR 9, but I am keeping the Niner fork.

The bike was noticeably lighter when I lifted it onto the rack and toward the end of the ride, it raced up the 2 mile Stagecoach climb with much more ease than before. When back at the shop, after a beer or two we weighed this bad boy and it came in at 19.9lbs. The only item on the bike not normally there was the spare tube (usually carried in a pack or pocket), so we figure under 19.5 lbs at normal riding weight, but whatever, it is light and I am not.  Looking forward to more rides on this bad boy to lighten myself a bit.
Good Times.


  1. So glad to see that you already hardening up for that California terrain. Now paint your bike pink and no one will ever mess with you cuz then you will be a real bad ass. :-)
    Oh by the way, you really need to update the race schedule here on the page.....;-)

  2. You should keep a little bit of fork tube above the stem even after you lower your bars.

    Gerry Pflug explains his thinking on this and many other bits. The part about the fork is mid way down the article when he explains his cockpit.

  3. @ Laura, No pink bike for me...I am not man enough. And I am going to get to that race schedule ASAP!

    @ Mark, Unfortunately Niner says that the carbon steer tube must be cut 5mm below the stem, and they say no spacers above the stem as they are afraid the stem clamp may crush the carbon steer tube. 'Properly' set up, the stem clamps around the expansion plug. If I really wanted to, I could insert another expansion plug beneath...but that seems like to, by following the directions, it keeps my warranty intact. :) But I agree, I have always had 10mm above my stem, maybe for the same reasons as Pflug, after all, great minds think alike. :)