Whether you love or loathe social media, one thing that can't be denied is that it has revolutionized the way information is disseminated to the masses today. I, for one, have fully embraced social media and prefer to look at and use it for the positive aspects of it while trying to avoid the pitfalls that also come along with having so little accountability for the things we say or do on it. Anyway, this isn't a post about social media, it's a post about a guy with a goofy social media handle (Rydn9ers) riding a bunch of awesome, high quality bikes... which he found out about through social media. Dundee Cycles made arrangements to have Niner come to our great city and bring some of their latest and greatest two wheeled offerings for us to ride at Jewell Park. Had it not been for social media, well technically had it not been for Tyler finding it on social media and sharing it with me, I never would have known about the event and I would have been very sad and would have had no idea why, just that there was a great disturbance in the 29er force that I couldn't explain. This is not a technical review of any of the bikes, parts or pretty much anything... if you want a technical break down of spec'd gear Tyler has a write up for that but I've never geeked out about parts, gears, etc., if it has two wheels, two pedals and preferably two handlebar mounted clicky things that makes it easier or harder to pedal that's all I need.
Because bikes are fun and work is only a necessary evil, Tyler and I cut out a bit early to try to make it to Jewell Park as close to the starting time of the demo as possible and we were pleasantly rewarded by being one of the first people to arrive. Looking over their range of bicycles I noticed that they had three ROS9s but only one of them was the ROS9+ so I jumped on that one like a single chick catching the bouquet at a wedding... I was prepared to throw some bows at fools if necessary. Luckily there were no fellow mountain bikers harmed in the riding of the ROS9+ and I was able to take it for my first spin, this bike was awesome! My full time geared mountain bike currently is my Trek Farley running 3.8" of rubber, the ROS9+ was running the 3" Knards, the two bikes seemed to ride similar with the 29+ maybe having a slight edge in the climbing and sharp turn category. Traction on this bike was amazing and I honestly didn't realize initially that it was full rigid as the bigger tires ate up most of the trail chatter. It climbed well enough for me, descended like a dream and it wasn't until I got on the Jet9 that I noticed that the trail was a wee greasy in some spots, with those 3" tires I didn't slip at all, going up or coming down, it rode like it was on Velcro. I'd be interested to give a 27.5+ bike a try to see what if any noticeable differences there are between the two wheel sizes, if the 27.5+ comes in a little bit more flickable... if such a word can be implied to these type bikes... but still maintain the traction and trail chatter dampening I think it would be the best of both worlds for someone like me who is more apt to be found riding trails rather than racing them. The one hit I might have on this bike is that it's a 1X setup, I know it's all the rage right now but it's just never been my thing, I'll take a 2X setup all day long... give me gear overlap, give me a "heavier" bike because I have a front derailleur, I'd take the perceived disadvantages over what I perceive to be the limiting nature of a 1X setup. 1X has always made me think of the saying they use for single speeds, always the wrong gear, choose too small of a front ring and you're doing a lot of spinning, chose too big and the climbs suck way more than the need to... you anorexic XC racers need to grab a cheeseburger, a few beers, chillax an leave my shit alone and stop trying to save grams by eliminating gears. Those of us who indulge in a few too many beers and slices of pizza miss those gears dammit.
The second bike I took for a spin was the carbon Jet9, the flagship of the Niner lineup... this is the bike that is supposed to give me wood so hard I can barely ride it, drool so bad I leave a permanent stain on the top tube, this is what the industry tells me I NEED... problem is it doesn't and I don't. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice bike, it's a really nice bike in fact and it's spec'd with some nice parts or at least that's what I've been told and it's got squishy bits up front and out back. It and all it's counterparts just don't do it for me, I suppose in the right hands, make that legs, this bike probably screams around the little ribbons of dirt amoungst the trees but for me all of the double squish, ultra light carbon bikes just seem a bit too squirrely and not at all as confidence inspiring to me as a good ole hard tail. To be fair I probably haven't ridden full suspension enough to get used to the feel of them or to give them an adequate evaluation but I suppose that's because every time I get on one it feels so weird... and don't even get me started on climbing, my uncle Bob seems to make an appearance more often than I'd like. They all claim to eliminate pedaling movement but you get a wheezy, overweight dude on one in survival mode, out of the saddle climbing, just throwing the bike left and right to eek out any and all possible forward momentum and those squishy bits are going to squish. Totally not the fault of the engineer or the manufacturer as they didn't force feed me that extra slice or make me drink all that beer but the point is still valid, certain people these types of bikes make sense but for my type of people it's more akin to riding one of those stamped steel seahorses at the playground tethered to the earth via a big spring... shit just bounces every direction.
After a few spins around the roller coaster dirt track of Jewell I opted for a little road/gravel time on the full carbon BSD 9 RDO. I liked this one, would have been better had there been miles of gravel to ride it on but it seemed like a really nice riding bicycle for the little bit I did ride it on the road and the one small stretch of gravel. If I rode cross type bikes more I could see picking one of these up down the road maybe.
Last up for me wasn't even a Niner but the house brand from Dundee Cycles, this is more up my alley, light weight and rigid. I do like a little front squish from time to time but I don't seem to be as sensitive as some people when it comes to needing to have suspension up front and carbon for me does a nice job of dampening most of the trail chatter. This bike ended up being my second favorite ride of the night behind the ROS9+. This one was setup with grip shifters, a 1X setup and I9 hubs, the grip shifting took a bit to get used to again but after that it was smooth sailing. I was really impressed with the I9 hubs, first time I have ever rode a pair and they have as good as, if not better, engagement than Chris King hubs have, there was absolutely no lag when you applied the power to the pedal... and man did they sing on the descents, it was a beautiful sound... like a chorus of wood nymphs all singing in perfect harmony. At $1200 for frame and fork they aren't exactly giving them away but they are also at the lower end of the spectrum for a full carbon frame and fork and you can fully customize your paint scheme. When it's time to upgrade the single speed this bike is definitely going to be on my short list of possibilities, it was that much fun to ride.
Once the riding was done it was time to replenish some of those fluids lost to sweat, fortunately the NBC taproom is only a hop, skip and a jump (don't try this after having too many libations or you'll likely twist and ankle or worse) from my pad and they make delicious beer. Paired with one of their meatball Paninis it was the perfect ending to a perfect day of riding.