Niner Sir9 – first ride

Posted: September 16, 2011 in 2011, General, Product Reviews
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The first ride kicked off with a comedy of errors. I left home and found the saddle was the wrong height (only to be expected) so I changed it. While adjusting the height I spotted that the rear light was missing so I returned home to get it. I set off again only to find the saddle was still wrong, I moved it again and then managed to over tighten the seat clamp bolt and stripped the thread so I dashed back home to scavenge the clamp from the Swift. Changeover complete, saddle the correct height and I was off only to find I had left my bag of essentials (tube, trail tool etc) in the shed. You know the drill, back home…yadda yadda yadda. Anyway, setting off to meet Rich once more I met him within half a mile of my house. Luckily, we had planned to ride a route starting at the back of my house so off we went.

The 29er ride was no surprise to me, I have come to expect the easy rolling characteristic and the bike was soon up to speed. Regular readers will know that my Swift is set up as a fairly basic machine, rigid forks, no frills, a workmanlike bike. I was curious to see how the Sir9 would differ. The major difference between the bikes are the forks, the Reba RLTs took a lot of the buzz out of the trail, the spongier grips further reduced unwanted trail feedback but, notwithstanding these issues, there was something else, something extra that gave the ride a completely different characteristic. It was not until well into the session that I worked out what it was…the wheels. The Swift is running on Superstar Superleggera hubs which are fine, but the DT240s are so much better, and imparted a completely different feel to the machine. Combined with the fork, the impression was one of riding a well sorted, short travel, XC susser. Larger lumps and bumps were eaten up and disposed of with aplomb, roots were laughed at and stutter bumps just disappeared. Combine this with the reduced weight and stiff rear end of a hard tail and you can tell this is going to be fun!

The first climb was up a stony, loose ‘road’ complete with water breaks and ruts. Rich gave up trying to stay with me about a third of the way up and I continued to spin, ever upwards, in a mini cloud of euphoria. As I spend so much time on 29ers just spinning along, I am fresher at the top of climbs than I have any right to be and this time was no exception. A brief wait for Rich and we were off for the first trip into singletrack through a wooded section winding between closely set trees, with slow and fast corners. I was a bit wary here as the bars are wide, really wide and I was apprehensive at the thought of clipping a tree and flying off. I needn’t have worried, the bike flew through the trail. It was manoeuvrable, it accelerated like a rocket and it just urged me on at every stage. The trail flew by in a bit of a blur and towards the end, as it opened out into a wide, hardpacked path I decided to open the throttle. Big gear selected, I stamped on the pedals and was rewarded with an instant burst of speed, then some more as I got into the rhythm. All too soon the gate loomed up ahead and I had to scrub off the speed.

The next section is a lot of road so, forks locked out I sat on the front and tapped out a steady tempo until we hit one of the longer climbs. This time I let Richard sit on the front and I sucked his rear wheel. It was almost too easy and I had to moderate my pedalling to keep behind him. He is not a slow climber, my new found abilities are directly linked to the bike. I sprinted for the prime at the top and left him for dead. The next climb I rode at my own pace and the bike’s abilities shone through once more as I breezed up with little or no effort.

Fire road is bread and butter to this bike and I could not resist the temptation to put the hammer down. The bike is so well behaved that unseen holes wide enough to eat a wheel just disappear and you just seem to float through it all.

We were getting towards the end and Rich got the jump on me at the last prime, I tried my hardest and began to catch up but it was all too late; I had not had the ride all my own way! The ride was 31 miles at an average of 14.8.

Thus far then, this bike seems far more refined than the Swift but I put that down to better wheels and the squish up front. It is fast, handles well and climbs like a mountain goat. Descending is equally good and I can’t fault the ride at all….yet. The next test is extended singletrack…probably later this weekend. Meanwhile, I need to get hold of a decent seatclamp!

  1. Ady says:

    You cannot beat the new bike feel to uplift the spirits glad its living up to your expectations ,but it does look huge infact bigger than the fence .
    Orange have a big wheeler out and am trying to arrange a test ride for a weekend so i can have a good ride on it and might have to sell the R8 .
    are you intending to single speed it or is 1 x 9 right for the suffolk badlands .

  2. slowjo61 says:

    1×9 is fine, very spinny but even with a 34 up front Rich E has a hard time keeping uyp – when I’m not even trying! The Swift will probably get the ss treatment.

    BTW it was £40 to finish the bike off at Revel’s.

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