Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Bike #67 Intro: Niner SIR9... YASH!

Yet Another Steel Hardtail... someday I'll either get it right, or just give up and go try something else. Anyway, I was browsing through one of my secret shopping areas (the pacelineforums classifieds... mostly this is a roadie forum, so the mountain bikes seem to go a little cheaper) and came across a good deal on a Niner SIR9 that had been lingering on there. The seller was pretty slow in shipping it, but almost three weeks later, it finally arrived here on Monday. I was planning to ride on Tuesday after work, so I put together a quick single speed build:

I threw this together in less than an hour, not bad considering the kids were also outside with their regular needs for attention. Though I have to admit I had a head start, in that I already had the bar/stem setup loosely arranged, and the brake cables were already run from a previous build.

The only issue that took any time was getting the bottom bracket set up:

The eccentric bottom bracket itself was very easy to set up--I am very impressed with Niner's 2nd gen bio-centric design. One bolt tightens everything, which proved easy to use. The issue was trying to optimize my chain length to get the EBB set in my preferred position, low and rearwards. I got there with no half links, which was a nice bonus.

My drivetrain has a 32/36 up front, with a 16/20 in the back:

Theoretically, I can change gears without adjusting my chain length, giving me a roadish gear and a mountain bike gear. I'm not sure I'll ever use this, but it's fun to set it up for the potential.

Tuesday after work I hit the trails. Two laps of P2 in unseasonably warm 93F heat (in September!) gave me an overview of the SIR9. Steel Is Real in a high end 853 variety:

Honestly, the ride feels like a pretty ordinary steel bike. Not as smooth as my Juice, not as springy as my green Gunnar, but certainly not stiff and harsh like aluminum, or stiff and dead like carbon. It's nice, but nothing special. Handling was also pretty typical 29er, not as sharp as my Blackbuck, but certainly not slow and lazy like the Nimble 9. All in all, the riding experience was pretty typical of my many steel 29ers. The frame was not noticeable lightened by the 853 tubing, clocking in right at 5.5 pounds with the EBB and a seat collar.

But... but... but... I like this bike.  From the metallic bronze paint to the well proportioned lines, it all comes together in an attractive package of what I think a mountain bike should be. Will this be enough to let it stick around for a while? I've already stripped down the Blackbuck for sale, so the Niner has won one battle right off.


  1. Hey bro, I am getting my old school steel 1993 mongoose rockadile up and going waiting on the new rigid fork to replace the junk one that has died. Look forward to the ride of sweet steel. I have old bits like Paul Love levers to slap on and if the fork is 26/29 compatible I will try the big front wheel as a goof.

    1. I've tried a few 69ers in the past. Until I finish up my bike history posts, you can see them here:

      Generally, they've ended up too slack for me, but I've been looking at that short, quick Blackbuck fork and thinking about it...


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