Personal setups » Emily’s Niner set up two ways


I have really appreciated some of the insight and problem solving people have posted here, so I thought I would post my own in case they are of interest. I’ve taken this steel Niner frame through a lot of good times (and some hell) over the past couple years. I thought it was neat to compare the photos of the bike set up for two completely different sorts of adventures.

First photo, on Lucky Segment 13, midway through the Colorado Trail Race in 2010.

Set up with derailleurs and front suspension for the rigors of racing up and down the Rockies. As well, a handlebar bag to carry some of the gear needed for the CT and still have well-balanced handling on singletrack.


Second photo, a couple weeks of gravel/road touring through rural Laos in 2011.

Carbon fork instead of suspension. Singlespeed because I was on vacation, dammit. Early in the year I had sent the frame to Bilenky to be retrofitted with S&S couplers so it can break down small for easy travel. Bilenky also repainted the frame black and turquoise! Sweet! They did incredible work.

(Above: in response to a query about the breakdown-setup with couplers, I edited the post to add this extra photo. Breaking down my gear into the S&S box and carry-on totebag at the Nong Khai, Thailand train station. It takes about half an hour to get it apart and packed well, about 45 minutes to get it built up. Notice all the bike parts sitting on the small table. Yes, this monk watched me do the breakdown from about that far away for the duration.  I was definitely the most entertaining thing in the train station that day.)

I absolutely love the Niner Sir9 frame for bikepacking as well as for all-around singletrack and gravel riding. Affordable, durable, pretty light, handles well– and riding a steel bike is so nice.

Packs: Epic/Revelate custom frame pack. Secondhand Carousel seat bag (purchased off the gear swap forum!) Two Mountain Feedbags, at least one of which usually has a water bottle in it. The black handlebar bag featured in the first image is from Carousel, but I now vastly prefer my Revelate handlebar system when I need that extra capacity up front. I also rode with a very light and small backpack on both trips.

Bike parts of possible interest: Niner carbon fork or Rock Shox Reba XX. Handbuilt Bike29 wheels (Stans rims/Industry9 hubs) with 2.3 WTB WeirWolf in Colorado, 30c Michelin Jet in Laos. Vintage pink Hope Mono Mini brakes… always!

Comments (5)

CheyouJanuary 4th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

How do you like the carbon fork ? How does it effect the ride , like less weight . Nice setup.

Happy new year Thom

OwenJanuary 6th, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Great to hear you did the Laos trip. Looks like you headed north(ish). Good choice to stick to Laos… I much preferred it to Vietnam as a cycling place. How did the S&S couplers go? How long for assembly/breakdown?

Did you camp in Laos?

aaron wJanuary 7th, 2012 at 7:35 am

Hey I think the last time I saw you we were standing in the middle of the flint hills coverd in mud! Dirty, dirty Kanza!

TimJanuary 19th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

how is your spot connected

EmilyApril 16th, 2012 at 11:26 am

Hey Hey! Sorry I forgot to check for responses here.
Hi Aaron! That was a great Kanza, at least it wasn’t hot! Really glad no one got struck by lightning! Hope to see you again this year.
Cheyou- I love the carbon fork, it is great on washboard gravel and not-too-technical trails. I am too much of a weakling to go rigid for something like the CTR, though.
Owen- Hi Owen! thanks for your advice on routes. Plenty of great riding in Laos and so I never made it to Vietnam. I had a completely fabulous time, met wonderful people and got my ass kicked by some great Laotian mountain roads. I really need to write up a trip report some time soon! The S&S couplers work pretty well, after a lot of rattling on gravel they come a bit loose so just re-tighten them every day. Flew with the bike on United no problem, and no $$ extra luggage fees, just don’t say it’s a bike and don’t have any bike stickers on the outside of the box. I took the rear triangle as carry-on luggage in a totebag and everything else went into the square box. Airport security in Tokyo was somewhat interested in the strange metal object in the totebag when it was on the xray machine but let me through once they gave it an extra look. Went through all security fine in Bangkok and Chicago. I left the empty box in a Thai train station left-luggage locker, which worked great and was nearly free. [also: I just edited the original post to include a photo of the breakdown process at the train station]
Tim- The Spot was connected poorly. I lost it the next day! I had no good place for it and moved it around a couple times. At that point it was connected with multiple zip ties and a small piece of cord.

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