Our European contributor, “c_g”, has been lining up some rigid forks of late for testing. Here is one of those in his latest report:
Now on test –NINER Carbon fork: by “c_g”
It came as a real key moment for me when I first saw pictures of this fork late in 2008. This fork was so different by looks and design to everything existing back then. Now, late in 2010 the NINER fork is not the only all carbon monocoque rigid fork for 29er anymore but it still is one of the most advanced, a fact that is easily shown by the fork receiving the EUROBIKE Design Award this year. Here is what NINER said in their entry for the award:
”The Niner carbon rigid fork incorporates advances design features. It is a true monocoque construction requiring only one mold for production. Lay-up proceeds in order, from the top of the carbon steerer then to the crown section and to the legs and finally the dropouts, all as a single unit. With the exception of small metal protection plates bonded to the dropouts and the threaded inserts in the disc mount, the fork is 100% carbon fiber – unique in mountain bikes. Like all Niner carbon, this light fork exceeds CEN standards for strength and safety while supplying the superb ride quality required of a rigid fork.”
I have had a few occasions to ride a bike with the fork on it – the brand new NINER Air 9 Carbon being the most recent one (see the ride report here), but I never have had the chance to subject this fork to a long term test on my own bikes. Now I have been given the opportunity to really spend some serious ride time on the fork and will see how it behaves on different frames and in direct comparison to other “new generation rigid forks”.
Here are the relevant facts on the fork:
* 470 mm axle to crown length
* 47 mm offset
* Disc only (Post mount)
* Super light at ~ 565 grams
* No rider weight limit (initially there was a weight limit set, but has since been removed after extensive testing *).
* Fits rotors up to 185mm (again initially there had been a max rotor size of 160 mm – my fork still is labeled as such *)
* Available in many colors, which match the Niner paint perfectly but will complement many other frames as well. My fork´s color is called atomic blue. (NINER also offers it unfinished to qualified painters and custom builders to match their custom project.)
* Strongly forward facing dropouts (with laminated alloy plates)
* Available in 1 1/8th (all colors) and tapered (only white and tang orange)
The sample fork I have received is a standard 1 1/8th used demo fork, that has a cut steerer tube (not much need for spacers there on my bikes :)) and some cosmetic signs of use. Its atomic blue color is a real fashion statement. As is the strongly triangulated profile of the legs. that have a tire clearance of about 86 mm (~3.4”). Like every NINER Carbon fork it came with a really nice extender plug and Carbon end cap.
How does it ride? I have been riding the fork on and off (eg. on the GAS29 TITANICA, here) since EUROBIKE, therefore my first impression post on the NINER Carbon rigid fork is rather well defined and will be following soon.
* Note: The fork has not been changed at all, and if you currently own a Niner carbon fork that says max rotor size 160mm, you are ok to install a 185mm rotor if you wish. Your fork is just as strong as the forks that now list the larger limit.