Finally, it was interesting that it could fit, but there was not enough clearance for it work. The wheel configuration I ended up with was:
Front: Knard on Velocity Blunt 35 (I measured this as a 68mm casing width)
Rear: Vee Rubber Mission 2.4 on Blunt 35 (57mm casing width)
Knard on IRD Clyde rim: 65mm (so the extra 11.5mm of the Velocity rim only netted me 3mm of tire width)
Mission on IRD Clyde: 54mm (-3mm for the 11.5mm narrower rim)
Overall, I was a little disappointed that the wider wheels had such little impact on the tire width. On the other hand, this justifies to me my savings not to go with the Rabbit Hole wheelset, which might have only gained me another 3mm or so of width, at a cost of over $250.
I assembled what I hope will be a simple, reliable, fun bike:
Friction shifted 11-34 eight speed drivetrain will always shift well:
I was impressed during my build to discover this detail:
The small cable guide on the right hand chainstay is slotted--this allows you to easily remove the shifter to the derailer assembly without cutting any cables, making it easy to switch from a geared drivetrain to single speed. Kudos to Niner for this simple but thoughtful detail!
There's still quite a bit of room up front with my 465mm long Fargo V2 fork:
which has me wondering if I should further deplete my bike fund and try a 455mm OS Blackbuck "mama bear" fork--that would sharpen up the front steering, while still clearing the Knard... in theory.
Unfortunately, the flip side of our warm weather has been to melt all the snow on the trail. With the rain over the weekend, there's probably not a rideable trail in the state. Instead of a real test ride, the kids and I got out in the 58 degree weather and rode around the paved trail at the park.
The creek behind our house was running high
This soaked the trails around the creek, but that didn't stop us (or even slow the kids down):
Since the kids were already dirty, there was no reason not to stop at the Avery Park playground:
Probably our last outdoor playground for the year, so it was nice to get out and enjoy this weather while we had it.