Posts in the category Feature

Headquarters Tour: Niner Bikes’ Fort Collins design and sales center


The build room for demo bikes and media samples.

As a company, Niner’s somewhat spread out around the U.S. Some accounting is done offsite, assembly and shipping of complete bikes for resale is in California, and their president resides in Las Vegas. But the main office is in Fort Collins, CO, and that’s where the day to day magic happens.

Product development, testing, demo bike programs and marketing all come together there to keep the brand steadily humming along from scrappy startup with crazy big wheels to mid sized player in a global market.

We swung by Niner HQ on one of our summer trips and, after a delicious burrito at the neighboring Mexican restaurant, took a tour of the facility. Here’s your look inside…


Home Workshop Series Part 2: Lighting, Tool Storage and Work Stands


In Part One, we laid out a few ideas for creating a work space. Now it’s time to start filling that space up.

Once you get working on your bike, you will start to accumulate tools. A lot of tools. This is a good thing. But you will need a place to keep them. Everyone is different, so there are a lot of different ways to do this, and no specific right way, just whatever works for your preferences and your space.

I prefer tool boxes. There are a lot of nice ones out there that have sliding drawers, and are made of metal to last a long time. What you need completely depends on the amount of tools that you have. Many basic tool kits come with their own pretty nice plastic tool box that works very well for that quantity of tools. But once you start to outgrow that basic kit, you will need to look int other options. Even for metal drawer style toolboxes, you don’t need anything special, mine are just the basic house-branded items from the local home improvement store. I choose this style because I am not typically very organized with my tools, so this works as a good alternative to leaving them all over the surface of the workbench.

Check out the other methods, some lights and stands, and some pictures from readers after the jump…


Review: The mountain taming Fox 36 29er suspension fork

2015 Fox 36

For 2015, the Fox 36 became their flagship fork, imbued with all of their latest technology to deliver new levels of control, adjustability, smoothness and light weight.

Having ridden a number of Fox forks over the years and feeling the ups and downs of their internals from model to model, the new 36 had quite a bit resting on its shoulders. After all, not only did it need to live up to the hype, but its technology would be paving the way for Fox’s future forks, too.

Everything about the 36 is new. The outer casting and thru axle system, the seals, bushings and sliding parts, the oil, the air cartridge and even the Kashima coating. The goal was to create a world class fork for the burgeoning enduro market that led its category in stiffness, weight, adjustability and functionality. For a deep dive on all of its tech, we’ve covered the product launch here, ran through the seal and damping tech here, and took a look at the new FLOAT air system here. In this review, I’ll recap the highlights, put it on a scale and let you know how it handled itself on Western North Carolina’s mountains…


How To Build A NAHBS Bike – Part 3: Working With Your Builder And Agreeing To The Design


The next step in creating your custom bike, after you talk through your wants and needs with your builder, and are sure of your proper fit dimensions, is to agree with the builder what is to be done. This is typically done with a drawing, especially if you are of a more technically inclined person who wants the nitty gritty. A line drawing picture of your new bike is also kinda fun, bringing on the dreamy thoughts of where it will take you.

A drawing is also helpful for the builder, as they will typically consider it a contract. Since many custom bikes take time to make, there is a constant threat of a customer changing their mind on something, or wanting the bike to now be compatible with whatever new hub standard comes out next week. Part of working with a small custom builder is also being a good customer. Most of these guys are one-man-shows, and it takes a lot of time to talk through the process, and a lot more time to make changes. Every time you make a change, they have to put down the torch to answer the phone, boot up the computer to change the drawing, and possibly scrap materials and buy new ones. Some builders are even taking new approaches because of this amount of time, such as Steve Garro of Coconino Cycles, who only accepts orders from January 1st-15th of every year, for that entire following year.

So Collin and I have agreed to a drawing of the Benefat. More than just an assemblage of numbers, a good custom builder has a reason behind each choice they made, and those good reasons should align with what you want out of the bike. Jump past the break to see what the man behind Matter Cycles thinks in each area of geometry…


How To Build A NAHBS Bike – Part 2: Ensuring Proper Fit With A Specialized Body Geometry Fitting


Working into the process of building the custom Matter Cycles BeneFat, I wanted to make sure that all of this effort was not wasted, and that the bike fit me well. I owned about 30 different mountain bikes in the last 15 years, and I’ve always been able to dial in a comfortable position. However, even though they were comfortable, I never knew if they were actually right for the flexibility and geometry of my body, since most of my setup was guess-work.

Deciding to use the bike I spent the most time on recently, and was very comfortable on, I went to Erik’s Bike Shop for Certified Master BG Fit Technician Jason Wolf to insure I was on the Ibis Ripley properly. In addition to dialing in the Ibis, it would give me the fit geometry numbers I needed for the BeneFat.

What I found was really interesting. While I was comfortable, there were quite a few changes that could be made to fit the Ibis better, and make sure the custom bike was truly dialed in. Read on to see the results and why every cyclist should get a fit someday…


Long Term Review: The Juliana Furtado Primeiro Women’s Mountain Bike


Mountain Biking derailed my chance of a normal career. It is my obsession and sometimes it feels as if my life is really just ribbons of single track strung together by the ordinary moments known as daily life.

The majority of you reading this likely share that same obsession, but according to our web analytics, probably don’t have a second X chromosome. Yet according to recent studies, women are the largest potential growth area for the cycling market, and recently manufacturers have begun to take notice.

First amongst these brands is Juliana Bicycles, which is named after the legendary racer Juliana Furtado. These bikes share the same platform as Santa Cruz, but are differentiated by smaller bars, a ladies saddle, and a distinct paint job…Which is why this is the most difficult review I have ever written.


Just In: Bell’s Shape Shifting Super 2R Full Face Helmet

Bell Super 2r Enduro helmet full face two helmets in one (3)

In all actuality, a lot of the new “enduro” specific product is no different than what many have been using for simply mountain biking. That isn’t to say that truly Enduro specific products don’t really exist as the race genre does have some unique requirements. Specifically, the need to be comfortable in your gear while pedaling the transfer stages, but still protected on the near World Cup DH caliber descents on some of the races like the Enduro World Series.

For some, that need meant carrying two helmets for race day – a full face for the timed descents, and a normal lid for the climbing or more XC oriented segments. When Bell approached the idea of designing a helmet for Enduro racing, they noticed the obvious fact that carrying one helmet is better than two. Starting with their popular Bell Super, a functional and removable chin bar was added to create a true 2 in 1 helmet…


Home Workshop Series – Part 1: How To Build A Home Workshop To Match Your Skills


As a cycling enthusiast, once you venture into the realm of owning more than a few bikes, it usually becomes time to work on them yourself. In this series, we are going to cover the idea of building your own home workshop, matched to the mechanical skills or limits that you have. Most of us will have a limit to the work or maintenance that we want to perform ourselves, leaving the more difficult tasks to the professionals that have the right tools. As we move through the series, we will cover all the areas of bike assembly and maintenance, and the tools needed for each task.

Part 1 will be about the primary tool of a home shop, a space to do the work. Working on a dirty bike in the kitchen will probably not win you any favors from your housemates, so it is important first to establish a place to set up shop. Jump in to the story as we discuss space, work benches, and storage…


2016 Axle Standards, Part 1: Rear 148mm Thru Axle Coming Fast & It’s About More Than Just Better Wheels


Just when you thought things might be settling down for a bit, with 650B wheels all but taking over the mid/long travel segment, 29ers owning the XC field and 26″ bikes relegated to entry level, youth and gravity bikes. Alas, the 148mm thru axle that seemed to be a novelty when introduced on Trek’s 2015 Slash and Remedy bikes may soon be ubiquitous.

But why?

Surprisingly, there are a lot of reasons why this makes sense. Ones good enough to actually justify the annoyance of another axle standard that’ll require new hubs and new frames to take advantage of. Ones that will make mountain bikes better in quite a few ways. And while most companies we talked to wouldn’t provide details of their own forthcoming products on the record, some would speak in generalities. We have it on good authority from some of the biggest parts suppliers that the 148mm axle standard will become the major new feature of 2016 bikes from almost every major company. SRAM is on board since they’re providing the wheels for Trek’s new Remedy 29er, the first bike to use Boost 148. And Norco told us outright they’re “planning … a couple of new platforms to use this standard.”

Here’s what we learned…