Wednesday, May 8, 2013
N+1 ... SS version!
So I mentioned a week ago in my SSAP post that there was something worth noting in my pre-ride photos.
For the past two years, I've pretty much ridden SS exclusively. It's not that I don't have other bikes. I just prefer the SS now. But the whole reason I've had more than one bike for the past few years was for continuity - mountainbikes break from time to time. It's the nature of the sport. And that includes singelspeeds (which, truth be told, don't break as often but they do break.) And when they do, if that's your preferred ride, it sucks if you have no back-up.
So, even though I've bought two other bikes in the last six months, when I had the chance to pick up a second SS this spring, I jumped at it.
I had it built up at Evolution Pro Bike in Buckingham. Scott built my road bike and my cross bike and I couldn't be happier with those. I knew he was a Niner dealer, and I'd had my eye on a Air 9 Carbon SS for a long time as a possible backup for the Misfit. But when I talked to Scott, he asked if I was hard sold on that or not. The reason, he said, was that even with the new two bolt eccentric bottom bracket, there were still possible issues with creaking (a chronic problem with the old BBs) because of the carbon surrounding the housing. He suggested I consider the steel Sir 9 instead.
Now, I've never had any interest in steel bikes. I hear "steel" and I think "heavy". But Scott hadn't steered me wrong yet, and he convinced me that he could build it up lighter than my current aluminum Misfit. So I went with it.
It took a little while to get the frame (Niner was back-ordered on them until the beginning of April.) In the meantime, we worked out the details on the build. I left a lot of it to Scott's discretion. The one thing I did want was front squish on this one, so it got a Manitou Tower fork with a lockout (I'm too used to climbing without suspension feedback to go full squish all the time.) As far as the rest, here's the tale of the tape:
Wheels: ZTR Tubeless
Drivetrain: E-13 The Hive single crankset
Brakes: Avid XX HD
Bars: Niner Carbon
Seatpost: Niner Carbon
I went with wider handlebars and no bar ends this time which, coupled with the fork gives the ride a distinctly different feel than the Misfit. Otherwise, the geometry is not that different. One very important difference, though, has been that these wheels have a thru-axle. I never had that (or the tubeless tires, for that matter) before this bike.It really makes a difference you can notice. It's subtle, but it just feels like there's more stability. I would have never thought of asking for a thru-axle, but I'm really glad Scott decided to build it up this way.
So far, I really like the bike overall. It's a fast, snappy ride and the bike just wants to rip through singletrack (not to mention the fact that having the fork has been a blessing for my bad left hand.) I'm pretty much riding it exclusively on the trail for a little while my hand gets better.
So there it is -- my "backup" singlespeed. I'm sure it's the last bike I'll ever need!