Short story Long….Always had an affinity for steel hardtails and in the back of my mind always dreamed about having a custom frame built, but felt I didn’t know enough about different geometries to really know what I wanted. So when HuckN’Roll started blowing out their Vassagos a few years back I grabbed a Bandersnatch. Rode it geared for a year and it was actually pretty nice. Long, low and stable as advertised, and not totally unplayful. After the first few rides though, you pretty much knew what you had. Around this time Canfield started dumping their last few remaining XL Gen 1 or “Classic” Nimble 9’s before their relocation from Utah to Washington, so I sold the Black Bandy and transferred the parts to the White N9, figuring besides the color, the Geo was about as opposite as could be. Version 1
First few rides and I was doubting my switch. Besides struggling to keep the front down, the rear wheel kept trying to pass me. I had to relearn to ride and adjust my weight, the whole steer with your hips thing started to make sense. Anyway it wasn’t long before I started realizing that this type of geo had much more potential in all riding conditions. A couple of seasons of geared N9 riding went by and guess who relocates from Boulder to Salt Lake City? My custom Waltworks is now a reality, and it is definitely more N9 than Vassago, with all the modern features of a tapered ST, 142mm rear, and a dropper friendly ST diameter. Now the perfect bike. So before I sold the N9 I decided to give this single speed thing a try. What can I say, as other N9 owners can attest, this thing was made for single speeding, I as was hooked as a fun switch-up from geared riding and a quick workout when riding time is tight. Version 2
Then I figured why stop there so N9G1 version 3 got a fattish Knard front. The amount of compliance with that tire is surprising, and front traction goes without saying. I haven’t rode fully rigid since my ’87 stumpjumper! At first I would slow down and pick my way through rocky sections, now I just sit back and blast through. My forearms and wrists don’t feel much more worked then after riding with the front suspension. Version 3
I think other N9 owners have Knarded up the front, just haven’t heard much back. The versatility of this bike has been really fun to play with.
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