]Entering the summer of 2012 I had 2 MTB's: A Niner SIR9 SS rigid and a Trek Top Fuel 69er FS 1x9. The Niner was my baby. I had built it from the frame up with Niner Carbon fork, 180 XT cranks, Saint brakes, Niner carbon bar, Flows with Hope hubs and other blingy bits. It was my first high end SS as I had started with my old '90 Rockhopper conversion and then a VooDoo Dambala.
The 69er was an impulse buy as I had wanted something different from a rigid SS for the rocky group ride days and for when I was feeling lazy and wanted to sit and spin on hills.
I discovered fatbikes when I demoed a Ti Carver O'Beast at NEMBAfest in June. Suddenly a whole new world had opened up and now I needed a fatbike. The family financial adviser (Wife) had firmly stated that I could not purchase a new fattie unless I financed it by selling one of my bikes.
Reluctantly I parted out and sold the Niner over the Trek. Since the fattie was going to be a rigid, I felt I still needed a FS. I had been unhappy with the Niner's handling and recurring fork shake when using the front brake which no amount of tweaking could resolve.
I got my Mukluk on sale and entered the fatbike realm. Of course I blinged it out with a carbon fork and bars and mounted Husker Du's. I drilled out the rims to reduce rotational weight. I converted it to 1x9 because that's all the gears I needed with a 32t up front. It became my everday bike and the Trek just sat forlorn and abandoned.
I soon found I missed the simpleness and fun of the SS experience. The Muk, while being an extremely fun and capable bike to ride, was no speed demon. I started riding the Trek again but never reconnected with it. It handled beautifully in the tight stuff, was relatively fast but I just didn't enjoy the full squish and resented the rear bob on climbs even when it was locked out.
Then on MTBR, I discovered the Canfield Nimble 9 build thread. Here was a steel 29er with sliding drops, 16.2 stays, and a raked out front end. I could have the handling of the 69er, a rigid rear for mashing up hills, ability to run a real fat rear tire and most importantly I would be able to run SS.
I kept the G2 Fox fork and crank from the Trek and parted the rest out. I also auctioned off a bunch of other stuff I had laying around unused and started having conversations with Sean from Canfield regarding sizing.
I ordered and received my frame in early December. In anticipation, I had also taken advantage of the Nashbar Thanksgiving sale and picked up a pair of Stan's Arch EX wheels with Stan's hubs and some other needed pieces. I was like a kid in a candy shop.
I finally got everything together last week after a flurry of late night caffeine fueled build sessions after the family had gone to bed. Since a combination of weather, kids activities, and holiday party obligations had prevented me from getting out for a shakedown ride, I decided the maiden voyage would be in the local Xmas Madness MTB race on 12/23 and I would enter the Sport class (10 miles).
Eagerly, I lined up as the only SS with the other 10 Sport participants. I started in the rear as I usually do and we were off. I entered the trails in about 7th and stayed there until the first series of climbs. Then the fun started. I cheerfully announced "On your left" a series of times and passed three riders on the first hill. This was riding! The bike, true to it's name, handled beautifully, I had instant acceleration out of the saddle and it was extremely stable in the descents. I had moved up to 2nd place about 4 miles in when I started feeling something loose in the front end. I initially though it was the headset but when I stopped, i immediately discovered my QR was loose. Cursing, I started fumbling to tighten it with my gloved hand while one rider passed me. I could hear others coming so I finished adjusting and leapt back on and started pedaling as furiously as 32x20 allowed.
I had the now 2nd place rider in sight and would get closer and closer over the next 5 miles. The rest of the pack was way behind. About a mile from the finish a branch snagged my bar end in a tight section and tossed me to the ground. I jumped back on and resumed the chase but it was not to be. As I crossed the finish line in 3rd, 2nd place was waiting for me and said "I had to ride so f*cking hard so you wouldn't catch me!".
I was happy. I was back on an SS and had done well in the race. My prize for 3rd was a pair of Boxer shorts with candy canes on them.
Just getting back on an SS made the day for me though. Never again will my quiver be without one.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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