So I’ve had the Niner built up for a while now, but I haven’t really ridden it enough. It had a few rides over the Christmas break in Taupo, but as cool as the trails are up there, they’re pretty tame. I couldn’t wait to get it out on some of my favourite Wellington rides and I’ve ticked off a few of them. Spoonhill wasn’t the greatest as I still had the Gravity bars at 777mm and yes, that was a little wide, so after smashing my pinky finger into a solid tree I chopped them down to 747mm (I run 745mm on the Nomad), since the chop I haven’t clipped a tree and to be honest the steering is still pretty sweet. In addition to Spoonhill and Beeline in Wainui they have racked up a run down Deliverance and a couple of Makara Peak loops (down Ridgeline) and as of today a Vertigo as well.So it’s a new bike, I’m still not 100 per cent used to it, but I can say that I don’t think I’m going any slower down or up. In fact rolling through Sally Alley and Missing Link (two sweet traversing trails at Makara Peak) I definitely noticed that it was a smoother ride and required a lot less effort to get up the short little technical climbs on those trails. And although I have a tad too much air in the rear shock, I must say the Niner CVA suspension is a pleasant surprise. Even with the 24 tooth ring on the HammerSchmidt you can get out of the saddle and mash it without any really obvious negative feedback. Pointed down, the 140mm feels like… I was going to say more, but really it feels like 140mm, but a nice stiff solid predictable 140mm which I’m guessing is thanks in part to the Vivid Air. The Brakes have been ridiculously good so far, so good that I want a set on the Nomad too! The new WTB Strykers have taken a bit of a abuse; those trails are all pretty hard hitting on wheels, but they are still rolling relatively true, and most new factory built wheelsets need a little tweaking after a few weeks riding. Despite their XC nature they are stiff enough but I’m nervous about pushing them too hard, but I’m gonna have to, I guess. I’m still playing with the fork so I can’t really report back on that but after four years on 36s it feels weird to be riding a fork that looks like a noodle. It’s been performing fine but fellow 29’r convert Mr Bardsley just made some adjustments which he says should make it WAY better, but I’m yet to ride it since he fiddled with it. Oh I almost forgot the drive train. It’s a bit of a relearning curve getting back on the HammerSchmidt, it’s such a different way of shifting, but each ride I get more used to it. The 10 speed X9 however is simply amazing, it’s the first real amount of time I’ve spent on a 10 speed setup and combined with Hammer up front it’s all the gears I need although coming off a one ring setup on the Nomad I’ve become a bit of pussy using the 36th granny ring more often than I should.
So far though, it seems as though I’m a bit of a 29er convert. I’m not making any one bike commitments just yet (sorry Emma), I need a few more months on it to make that kind of call, but at the moment the Nomad isn’t seeing much of the trail at all.