Done and Riding!

I finished up the build early last week and have been out for 2 rides so far. The bike is awesome and I’m stoked to be back out riding trails.

I still have a few tweaks to go, but here’s how the Niner Air 9 is built right now.

Wheels: Brand spankin’ new Syncros FL DS25 29er Wheels (White Grunge). We took our existing FL DS25 26″ rim and designed it out to a 29″ rim. It maintains the same True Track Technology that has made Syncros rims so sought after. They are tubeless ready, 100% hand built and the hubs zing along with an Enduro double row angular bearing system. We’re looking at 1878 grams for the set.

Cranks: SRAM XO 2×10. As touched upon in my last post, I’m setting this bike up as a single speed rigid 29er.  This is temporary…I’m plan to have fun with it as a “mobile gym” over the winter and then probably around late spring start transforming it to a 2×10 geared machine with a front fork. Therefore crank choice had to be well thought out and I ended up with the SRAM XO 2×10 as that is the drivetrain I’ll kit this out with come spring.  Pulled off the inner chainring and have it up and running on the outer 42t ring.  (Here’s one of the tweaks coming up…I have a XX 39t ring on the way…the 42t is doable for now, but I hate to admit…it’s just a bit too big when paired with a 21t cog)

Rear Cog(s): I have several in my hands…Surly 21t and 22t (21t on the first ride, 22t on now).  Niner 19t and 20t…I’ll play around with all of these once I get the XX 39t ring…for now, I’m sticking to the 22t

Chain Tensioner: Necessary since the frame was not made to be SS (has vertical dropouts and a derailleur hanger).  I went with the Surly Singulator.  Cool looking and comes with 2 spring options – one to push the chain downward and the other to push upward.  I set it up so that the spring pushes it upward…better chain/cog connection and it is also better tucked away (out of the way of sticks/branches.)

Tires: Hand-me-down Bontrager’s from a fellow employee who’s been an advocate for 29ers for quite some time (early adopter)

Grips: Syncros Dual Locking.  Stable, comfy, low-profile and, well…Syncros.

Pedals: Syncros AM Traverse Pedals. All the bells and whistles you find on pedals within a simple design. Adjustable spring tension, mud-shedding design and a nylon+carbon fiber body.

Stem: Another area for a tweak.  Right now I’m running a Ritchey WCS 4-Axis 44 Stem (84D/120mm).  I had it laying around and an not sure what size I will need to order…working great for now.  I plan to change this to a Syncros FL Carbon Stem to complete my FL Carbon Cockpit – looks SICK!

Parts, Parts, Parts…

OK – so the idea of this blog was to post each time a new part arrived and got bolted onto the frame…I’ve slacked on the postings, so here’s a bunch of parts rolled into one post.  In true spirit of  the blog premise, I’m going to mention each and every part.  Here we go.

Seatpost Collar / Clamp: The frame did not come with a seatpost collar. Niner understands that consumers purchasing a frame only are likely building up a custom bike and will weigh out the options for each part. I scoured the internet and found this gem of a seat collar…the Woodman Death Grip SL Ti.

It wasn’t JUST the light weight aspect that drew me to it, although weighing in at a mere 9.5 grams definitely helped. It was the elegant look…very minimal and slick that made me decide to pull the trigger on it. Take a look, I think you’ll agree:

Bottle Cages: I wanted something classic and simple for the bottle cages…ended up finding these puppies, Topeak Shuttle Cage SL. Stainless steel tubes and just 42 grams each.

Headset: Syncros FL Hardcore.  Sealed Enduro custom cartridge bearings, alloy cups and a killer/classic Syncros look.

Here’s a shot so far:

Gotta Stop!  Brakes: I’m pimping this bike out with TRP’s Dash Carbon Disc brakes in pimpy white. I’ll be running 160mm rotors, carbon fiber (adjustable) levers and forged one-piece alloy calipers with these guys. The adjustable levers are pretty sick – “no tool” adjustments, that can be made on the fly…lever reach and brake power. Check these out:

Bars: I’ve put on our Syncros FL Carbon Flat Bar. 660mm wide, 5 degree sweep and just 145 grams it just feels like the perfect bar for this ride.

So, here it is at it’s current state (w/ placeholder stem) – more parts arriving this coming week, including the Surly Singleator…yep, that can only mean ONE thing…

Put a fork in me? I’m not nearly done.

Next up:  Syncros FL Carbon Rigid 29er Fork.

This bad boy is a carbon fiber masterpiece. The crown and steerer are 1-piece monocoque, fork blades, drop-outs and disc tabs are all carbon fiber, making this a 100% carbon fiber fork. With the uncut 300mm steerer this fork weighs in at a scant 580g. The Matte Black UD Carbon finish keeps it stealthy and just plain badass.

The Niner Air 9 has a very small head tube, so I’ll end up shaving even more weight off of this fork once I cut it down to size.  I’ll post the final weight once that process is complete.

The bike is currently chilling out in my cube as pictured above…looks like a jump bike in the making so far.

And We’re Off!

So the Niner Air 9 has proven to be a high-demand product. After what seemed to be forever, my Niner Air 9 arrived today. My project of building this bike one piece at a time is now a reality. My only fear is not building it one piece at a time due to the excitement and anticipation of hitting the trails.

Here goes my attempt and beginning of the build.

First up is one of my favorite Syncros products; The Syncros FL Carbon Saddle.

This beauty weighs in at just 180 grams, with carbon rails, a nylon/carbon shell and a very durable micro fiber cover.

What’s in store for the rest of this bike you might ask? Of course, I’m going to make this Niner scream Syncros, which will be very cool when complete. The drive train is still undecided, but likely one of the 2×10 systems out there right now. I’m running a Rotor 3D crankset and rings on my road bike and will definitely utilize Rotor rings on this build…likely their new 2×10 3D crankset also.

This is going to be a fun project – Stay tuned…

Is Bigger Better?

The question that might never be answered…

There are many pros and cons for each wheel size.  Mountain bikes with 26″ wheels are generally quicker and lighter, but in order to get similar ride qualities between the two, a 26″ bike will require more suspension than a similar 29er bike.

The Pros: A 29er’s larger wheels roll over rocks, ruts and roots easier than a 26″ wheel. Think of it this way, you are riding over most obstacles and not into.  The contact patch is larger due to the larger diameter wheel…more tire on the path at all times = more traction. Coming from my roadie background, the 29″ wheel (700c) will make me feel more at home (ride height). 29er bikes are showing up big time in the racing scene too — check out the latest 29er wins by clicking HERE.

The Cons: Larger wheels need larger frames…add the two together and you get more weight than a comparable 26″ bike. The larger front wheel needs more frame clearance when using a suspension fork, so therefore you end up with a high front end.  This often requires a negative degree stem and also makes the bike easier to fit for taller riders and not as easy for shorter riders (toe overlap, handle bar height, stand-over height can create issues). Due to the larger wheels and frame, the bike is less agile than a 26″ bike, so tight singletrack, switchbacks and large rocky sections will be a bit trickier to ride.

This isn’t exact, BUT…

Say you are driving down this fire road:

Would you rather drive this? (26″ XC Hardtail)

Or this? (29er XC Hardtail)

My Niner

What’s this blog about?  I’m about to begin building a Niner Air 9, but so far all I have on order is the frame itself. I plan on acquiring all the rest of the parts over time.  Why not blog about the progress…it will help me speed up the process of purchasing the parts and get me on the trails that much faster.

Here’s the beauty shot of the frame:

About me?  I began mountain biking back in 1995. Hopped on my first road bike in 1997.  Dabbled with both for a while until slowly migrating to just road biking, where I’ve worked my way up the ranks of road racing (I love crits). I work for Ritchey / Syncros, made a trip out to The Downieville Classic this year, borrowed a co-worker’s mountain bike and relived my days riding on dirt.  I fell back in love with the sport instantly…which is why I’m now building myself a 29er. Needless to say, I’ll be building this up with some killer new Syncros parts as we go.

I can’t wait for my first ride.

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