The Niner One 9 was the first 29er either of us had ever ridden to this point. Not only that, but it was also the first time either of us had ridden a single speed. Having said that, this was a good bike on which to start because of it's pure and simple design.
Before heading out we talked with Chris Sugai, Niners founder, about the growth in popularity of 29ers. Chris compared the debate on the efficacy of 29ers to previous points of change in the mountain bike industry. "It's a little like the days when guys argued about the need for suspension or disc brakes. The industry is slow to change. There's no argument anymore, just preferences. That's how it will be for 29ers," explained Chris.
We headed to the trail head and immediately noticed the efficiency of the bike. Two things were obvious from the start. First, we were not washing out in the thick sand on the long slow climb to the trail head, and second, we were going much faster up the hill then most others.
Once on the trail it didn't take long to notice the rolling benefits of the 29er. The One 9 cornered nicely and had excellent acceleration.
While mashing up a hill, my foot suddenly lurched forward as a loud clunk...chiiing... echoed through the canyon. The chain ring was completely taco'ed and had separated from the crank arms forcing me to hike the bike cyclo-cross style back to the start. We learned later that the aluminum bolts were sheered in half by the force of my pedaling. Niner replaced them with steel bolts for added strength. Not sure if this is how it's spec'ed normally, but you may want to check first before buying.