Niner’s S.I.R. 9 frame is pretty well known. It’s a light weight steel do it all frame that’s just as easy to set up with gears as it is to set up as a single speed. My riding associate Luke has gone off on a 3 month adventure in Alaska (I bet you wish you were reading his blog) and while he was gone he left me his SIR 9 single speed to try out.
So this bike has got a few strikes against it, it’s medium and I typically like a large and it’s currently a single speed. I’ve tried single speeds in the past and never really been very happy never seeming to have the right gear. What it does have going for it is weight, it comes in around 23 pounds which is nearly ten pounds lighter then the Bandersnatch. With the seatpost set exactly at the max line I took it with the guys Sunday for a 15 mile ride on benchcut trails. It didn’t take long to decide if I liked it.
My Dos Niner and Bandersnatch are both mild mannered bikes, they have low bottom brackets and long chainstays and I have the bars pretty high on both. On the SIR 9 I was in lower and more aggressive position on quicker handling and much smaller bike. I’ve often heard the phrase, “point and shoot,” used to describe the ride characteristics of a bike, but the SIR 9 brought new meaning to that expression.
I don’t really understand it, but it seemed like it was always in the right gear. I failed to make one very tight and loose switchback but I’d most likely not have made it with gears either so I can’t complain. Downhill I was looking for more gear occasionally but most of the time I was in the attack position enjoying how the bike handled with precision as it carved trails.
Even though the bike was rigid at the end of the ride my hands felt good, my arms and shoulders were fresh, I had lots of miles left in me. Credit probably has to go to the Niner carbon fork which is easily the most impressive piece of hardware on the machine. This fork looks like it belongs on a muscle car. It looks so tough, and yet it weighs a bit more then a pound and has no rider weight limit. The steel fork on the Bandersnatch weighs about 3 pounds, has lots of flex and feels like a jackhammer in the rough stuff.
The only real problem was the saddle height. At the Max line of the seatpost I still needed a bit more height. I’ve ordered a 400mm post to correct this problem. Oddly enough even though I felt like my power was low because my saddle was low, I still managed to bust a Strava record on a climb and rode better then I have in months.
I look forward to more rides on the SIR it could become a permanent addition to the barn.