This is my weapon. I’m going to give you are description of my parts and WHY I chose them. Let me start off by saying, I’m a Brand Ambassador for Niner Bikes, but I pay for my bikes. I’m not influenced by sponsorship on this, I am a discerning rider who is rewarded with a slightly better price for loyalty to an amazing bike company. That said, lets move on.
Niner JET 9 RDO ( full carbon frameset, with 12mm Maxle lite Through axle and with carbon rocker link) 100mm. I chose this frame for it’s trail plush suspension, it’s an XC/Marathon bike that climbs with poise and grace, but downhills like a savage. Pure bliss. The geometry on this bike is flawless, and has been copied by many “big” brands. There’s something special about the way Niners all ride. It’s like chocolate cake, you can follow the same recipe your Granny uses, but it’s not the same if you made it.
Rock Shox SID XX World Cup 100mm, 15mm Through axle. I chose Rock Shox for their proven reliability in RSA conditions. Where other brands of forks have had premature stanchion wear and costly service and repair costs, Rock Shox have had the mix right. Hardy seals that keep the trail shit out, and are cheap to replace regularly. Services are simple enough, basic home mechanics can do them. Other brands are more fiddly and expensive to service. The SID XX WC 100m is a very light fork, and I chose this model for it’s weight and performance. Being a light rider, I can ride light equipment. Mine is 3 years old now, and it’s smoother than it’s ever been. No signs of wear.
Corse Components 29er Carbon Rims with E*Thirteen Hubs laced with Sapim CX Ray Bladed Spokes. I chose these Carbon Rims for their proven robust construction. There are lighter carbon rims out there, by a few grams only. But this rim is unrivaled in strength. In the time I’ve ridden them, they have been my everyday rims, I’ve landed badly squashed down on rocks, hit ruts super hard all with low tyre pressures and the rims are literally unscathed. If these were ally rims of the same weight, I would have tacoed the rims or dented them with flat spots. These are well worth the money! I chose E*Thirteen Hubs for there Large Hub Flanges (to lace the spokes through and use shorter spokes) and the Freebody Engagement system. The hubs anodizing is still pitch black and smooth, some other products out there fade over time in the sun and from solvents when washing them. The CX Ray spoke, being bladed is more aero, but also way stronger. This wheelset is the most important thing on my bike, it is the first thing in contact with the ground (with the tyre on) and strong, fast rolling, precise steering and stiff wheels are what any mountain shredder wants.
Specialized Purgatory 2.3, Specialized Fast Trak 2.2 Tyres. I chose these by accident, and I’m a convert. The new casings in these tyres are a vast improvement on the old ones which were paper thin and sliced to easily. Another upside to the newer casing is that the casing is more stable. This allows you to run a lower tyre pressure (1.1FR, 1.0RR) which gives incredible grip.
Groupset XX1 11speed, Trigger shifter (instead of Twist shift) because I have a dicky right wrist and triggers rule. I ride the 34 or 32T front blade (depending on the course) and the standard XO level cassette (it’s actually lighter than XX1, and lasts longer). The chain is a Sram PC 1171 Chain, it’s shifting on the SRAM gear is the best in my opinion. I love the feel of Sram, most of my riding mates run Shimano bikes, and they talk about the “light” action over Sram. I just laugh, because, even though my shifting can feel more industrial and solid, it works everytime without fail. Shimano riders often over shift. I also prefer SRAM parts, because they are rebuildable. Shimano let you service only a few pieces on a few groupsets and that is just crap.
Sram Guide Ultimates, 180mm/160mm. I chose these brakes because of the unparalleled level of braking performance, power/modulation and feel. The build quality is outstanding. The Carbon brake lever blades run on bearings (which rids it of the horrible brake flop all brakes get), the finish detail is amazing too. The Ti bolt kit is also light and rust free. Keeps things clean. The matchmaker simplicity and neatness it offers the cockpit from an aesthetics point of view is also a major feature. These brakes offer tool free Bite point adjustment and tool free lever reach. Both work even with a full finger glove on. You can only go as fast as you can slow down!
Niner RDO Flat top Carbon Handlebar, 9 degree sweep. Because 9 is a magic number. This truly is a magical bar, with oodles of flexy comfort, which makes the ride sublime. It is light as hell. The etchings at the stem and tips of the bar allow for precise setup too!
KCNC Arrow 2, 100mm negative 17 degree stem. I chose this for it’s angle and stiffness. It’s light and stiff. To setup my 29er (which are known for high headtubes) I used this negative rise stem to get me low enough over the bike.
Niner RDO Carbon Seatpost, I chose this for aesthetics reason, so it would match my bike and cockpit, and it was a good decision. It’s built with a huge amount of flex to it, which is very good at saving your ass on small stutter bumps. It’s been a faultless addition to my bike.
Specialized Carbon Power Saddle 153mm, I chose this saddle for it’s claimed comfort and posture improving stability. It works for me. I can say that with confidence and I have done a whole 24Hour MTB race without getting a rash, which is the first time I’ve had that. It’s a short saddle, and that hasn’t bothered me. You sit in this saddle, not on it.
Stages X9 BB30 Power meter. I chose a cranked based power meter because I like the simplicity they offer at a very low weight. Accuracy is also high. It’s affordable compared to other offerings and that really sold it to me. Being able to track my training accurately was the goal, doing so less expensively was a bonus.
Time ATAC XC 8 pedals. Because there is no equal. I love it’s big platform base and stability. It has a nice comforting “thunk” noise when you clip in. It offers more float than other pedals, which are healthier for your knees. The quality is perfect. I’ve always had TIME pedals. My oldest pedals (still in service) are on my road bike, and are in perfect order. 15 years old!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the insights, my parting comments are that I chose my bike and it’s components for their longevity and ride quality. Not because they were “light” or “strong” but because they offered me all of those in the right doses. My bike hasn’t let me down, the choices of equipment play a massive part in that. My bike must work, and work well. Let me say that, servicing my bike regularly is factor here. Without service things will not function to their fullest or last.
Happy trails, keep it rubber side down.