"I’m a bit of a tart when it comes to my Niner Air9 Carbon. I try to keep it for ‘special occasions’ only so as a consequence it’s only really ever seen action in 24 hour and other endurance races plus one or two local, hour-long XC events. On one hand you could say that a bike like this deserves to be ridden almost to death but on the other hand the fact that it’s so much faster and lighter than anything else I’ve got for training and ‘just going for a ride’ on, means that merely wheeling this out of the cellar puts me in a certain purposeful frame of mind…
So it’s done a lot of miles in short bursts, this bike. If you could call 4 or 5 endurance races a year “short bursts”, that is.
I’ve raced on loads of different bikes over the years, this one’s the best one in a number of ways. It looks brilliant, it’s very light, it fits me like a glove (low-slung and long in the top tube, just as I like it) and I’ve enjoyed a great deal of success on it, as in four 24 hour solo wins since it arrived plus an number of other top-three finishes and wins in shorter events.
I built it up with a collection of equally-good components that while lightweight, aren’t silly-light and likely to break at the first sign of a pointy rock.
The big bits are a Rockshox SID 29er fork (lovingly fettled by Loco Tuning) a pair of Stans Race Gold wheels with Racing Ralph front and a don’t-be-put-off-by-appearances Stans Raven rear tyre (they’re sealed with some new Squirt Lubes sealant). A Rotor double Q-Ring chainset and Sram X.0 10 speed gripshift drivetrain make it go and a pair of Hope X2 Race with Alligator rotors make it stop.
The whole thing is finished off with KCNC seatpost and stem and so that you don’t notice the weight of the handlebars, they’re a carbon Mount Zoom number with matching Mount Zoom bar ends. There’s a Mount Zoom side-entry bottle cage too – it’s so much easier to get a bottle out from the side than pulling it forwards, especially with a dramatically-sloping top tube like the one you see here.
Perched on the bars is a 2014 Exposure Reflex, a pair of these helps me to ride at daylight speeds throughout the night – the weight, usability, burn time and sheer performance of these lights is staggering.
Thanks to Jungle Products for the frame, Loco Tuning for making my fork work better than new, Exposure Lights for their ace support with lights and trackside cheering, Mount Zoom for the lightest of the light parts, Squirt Lubes for keeping thing slippery and to my local bike shop, Cooksons Cycles for sorting out my various panics and emergencies."