Before I get to riding the Niner on Sunday, I had to post a photo of Christopher sledding on Friday. I had to go to Morton Grove in the afternoon & initially felt bad that Christopher wouldn't be able to go sledding 'cause we'd be running errands. The snow had all melted by us when I picked him up around 3 p.m. so we were very pleasantly surprised when we found there was still snow in Niles, where this photo was taken.
On Saturday, I rode at Palos in the morning and then we decided to stop by Goodspeed Cycles since they had finally built up the small Niner E.M.D. I rode it around the parking lot & thought the geometry was a little better for me than the Ferrous. Christopher really didn't want to leave because there were some other kids there. They swapped the handlebars and stem and rearranged the spacers while we were there. I kept telling them they should do a demo on the trails so I could have a better feel of how it rode. I was very, very excited when they said I could take it and ride it on Sunday. I'm not sure if it is their normal procedure or because I've been in there several times for LIB as well as doing a fix-a-flat workshop in their old location and manning a table for Active Trans there last year. I almost wanted to skip the PSIMET team party so I could ride. = )
On Sunday, I set my alarm for 6 a.m. so I could get some time on the trails before they thawed. I spent about 3.5 hours out there. I really enjoyed riding it -- obviously, since I didn't leave until the dirt had just started sticking on the tires.
The geometry was still slightly off but fit me pretty good and it was so fun to ride. The one thing I wanted to see was how it was on steep climbing -- That is my main issue on the Ferrous. If I have the stem/handlebars at a good riding position, then I can't keep the front wheel down on steep climbs. If I have it so I can handle steep climbs, I'm a little too upright when riding on flats. But, with ice and permafrost, it was really hard to tell as most of the steep inclines weren't rideable.
The bottom bracket is a little lower than on the Ferrous and it has a triple in the front as opposed to just one chain ring on the Ferrous. The chain ring hit one log pile that I usually don't have any issues with. Probably partly lower BB, partly extra chain rings and, possibly, also a change in the log pile since I last rode there in the fall.
We weighed the bike with my seat on it and a bottle cage and it was one pound heavier than the Ferrous. But, they had heavier wheels on the Niner and not as nice components so it would probably be slightly less than the Ferrous if I built up the frame.
Awesome, right? My dilemma --I have also been obsessing over the Specialized carbon hardtail women specific 29er since I read about it last year. Any time I was in a shop, I would ask about them and no one ever had any info. I was beginning to think it just never made it into production. At the team party, Karrie tells me they were produced, she had one and sold it and is not sure when they will be available again.
They should be available in April. Only complete bikes -- with SRAM 2x10 (which Tom & I are both totally lusting after) and 165 cranks (which are on my CX bike and which I like). I could get a team deal but still a heck of a lot more than the Niner frame. Niner also makes carbon frames but only offers a XS in the EMD model.
So, I've been torn and obsessing for at least the past 24 hours now. = ) Tom also suggested custom titanium but that is really out of the budget and I don't think I could wait that long.
One thing is for sure -- we will be selling quite a few of my bikes and frames to pay for a new 29er. If you know any short riders -- send them my way. We're selling my Schwinn SuperSport DBX frame (size XS), my Trek XO (size 47) either as a frame and/or wheels or how it is currently built up with the Shimano stuff that had been on the Schwinn, my Gary Fisher Hi Fi full suspension mountain bike, an old hybrid bike and a small Santa Cruz Juliana full suspension frame that has a stripped real derailler hanger but that a bike shop says can be fixed (we still have to bring it to get an estimate for that though). We'll be posting info. on CraigsList hopefully very soon but shoot me an email if you know anyone who may be interested. = )