Spoke Magazine

Long term test: Niner gets Easton and Maxle love

Posted by Caleb Smith on Wednesday November 23 2011

So ever since I got the Tallboy, the 140mm travel Niner WFO has been relegated to the back of the workshop. The WTB Strykers I’d been running on it had been outstanding, but as a few people pointed out, they were a bit under-gunned for the tasks at hand for the WFO9. The Easton Havens on the Tallboy have been nothing short of amazing and I knew if I was rocking them on the WFO9 things would be similar. Well, coupled with Niners 12mm dropouts, a rear Maxle and a shorter stem, the WFO9 has come alive. I took it out yesterday for its maiden voyage and with the Fox 34s, the Havens, the Maxle and the shorter Chromag stem, the thing is a different bike. And the best bit is this: I loved it before, but now that it’s stiffer and goes almost exactly where it’s told to with little argument, I’ve fallen in love all over again. The track it tackled (which may or may not be illegal) was ‘hairy as’ yesterday and is littered with large steps, tonnes of roots and slippery rocks; the wheels just ate it all up.

The Carbon Easton Havens are a pricey wheelset, but if you figure that it could be the last wheelset you ever own (there’s a two year no questions warranty) and they don’t fatigue or bend like metal, well, it makes them a little more attractive. Honestly once you go carbon you won’t go back.

I’d been running a 65mm stem since I built the WFO9 but the change to a 50mm stem has been like night and day. The bike isn’t confused now about its intended use. It’s for going down…mostly.

Image Gallery (3 Photos)

  • Trailrider01

    omg at last. good to get you back from all your spandex xc mates. lets go for a real man’s ride soon. how about koro koro stream in fullface and armour.

    • http://www.spokemagazine.com Caleb Smith

      So I look like you rod? I’m pretty sure that my full face will stay in the garage… And I don’t own any body armour, just gloves. I may as well put that helmet on Trademe…

      • Mark

        Don’t sell it. You’ll need it when you finally become EXTREME!

      • Guest

        If you’d had a full face on and some body armour you might have ridden all of that track, rather than wussing out and walking down that steep rocky bit.

        • http://www.spokemagazine.com Caleb Smith

          Well actually that rocky bit was ridden yesterday, I even had a witness in the Ginger Ninja, Adian. So there…

          • Aidan Forrest

            True story

  • Pete

    So Caleb, you’d recommend the Wtb Strykers?

    • http://www.spokemagazine.com Caleb Smith

      I was running the XC Strykers in 29″ as they don’t make the AM version as a 29″ wheelset. As a super light-weight tubeless ready wheelset they are amazing, they took a lot of abuse. But were ultimately not really designed to go on a 140mm trail bike under a 100kg dude. If the application is XC racing then the WTB Strykers would be one of the best wheelsets i’ve seen. If your a 26″ wheeled rider then the AM would be an option if your riding is a bit more aggressive.

  • DMC

    Man you have either not spent much time on the Bronsons or have had some serious mileage out of them!

  • Paul Jennings

    I know this is a really old thread but I’m currently obsessing over a ‘trail’ 29er and it sounds like you’d be a person who’s opinion was actually worth listening to. If you’ve got 5 minutes, and can be arsed, can you let me know your pref of the Tallboy, Niner and any others you’ve ridden. I’m 189cm, not skinny and live in Nelson so need something I can haul up all these bloody hills OK but have a blast coming back down on – some cheeky super d action also thrown in now and again. I’m thinking LT (aluminium), Ripley or Covert? Or maybe WFO, or Bandit – god knows! But its gotta take 34s or Pikes. Thanks.