Pro bike: Garth Weinberg’s Niner Air 9 Carbon

New Zealand’s homegrown singlespeed world champ

When a rider wins a world championship title, their sponsors’ bikes generally show up at the start of the next season with some rainbow stripes on the down tube or seat tube. Niner have just won their first world championship – the 2010 Singlespeed Worlds in Rotorua, New Zealand – and they’re working on something else to emblazon their bikes with: a tattoo.


“We’re tossing a few ideas back and forth, but nothing has been finalized,” said Carla Hukee, Niner’s brand manager. “We’re hoping to add a tattoo to the bike. I actually have the tattoo art and it’s pretty rad. It’s a cool tattoo and I think if we can make it work we will.”

With a home court advantage, New Zealander Garth Weinberg, who rides for the local Niner/Bike Vegas team, took the championship title and winner’s tattoo aboard a Niner Air 9 Carbon. He remained true to the event’s spirit by taking the course’s beer shortcut on the first and second laps.

The leaders chose to rely on their fitness instead, and this handed Weinberg the victory – although it came at a price. “I’m pretty good at maintaining pace while throwing up,” said Weinberg. “I’m okay at sculling a beer while exhausted, but holding it down while at full pace is a different story.”

Weinberg and his new body art: weinberg and his new body art
Graeme Murray

Weinberg with his new body art

The Rotorua world championships wasn’t Weinberg’s first attempt at the title – he was seventh in Avimore, Scotland in 2007 and 16th the following year in Napa, California. His bike and components were “pretty much set up for where I do the majority of my riding – the Whakarewarewa Forest [in Rotorua]”. The crux decision, as with any one-speed race, was gear selection.

Last year in Durango, Colorado, Ross Schnell won because he chose an easier gear than most of his competitors. The choice saw him dropped on the race’s beginning dirt roads and double track, but allowed him to ride past everyone on the steep sections, when most were blown out and walking. This year Weinberg chose a big gear for speed on the flats and to simply “man up on the climbs”, and hoped that his legs would hold up.

The 36/20 gear combo was larger than many chose to ride: the 36/20 gear combo was larger than many chose to ride
Graeme Murray

The most important equipment decision, gearing; Weinberg rode a 36/20 combo

Even though Weinberg isn’t a shop rat, his bike carries a spec expected of one. He’s added bolts to the bike’s eccentric bottom bracket for more anti-slip security and tricked out a pair of Shimano PD-M540 pedals with titanium spindles to make them lighter than the top-end XTR model. He even went so far as to source a set of Maxxis Aspen eXCeption tires specifically for the event, via eBay, since he feels they’re perfect for the terrain, but not imported to New Zealand.

Ti spindles and shimano pd-m540 pedal bodies make for a lighter than xtr package: ti spindles and shimano pd-m540 pedal bodies make for a lighter than xtr package
Graeme Murray

Custom Shimano PD-M540s, lighter than XTR

Weinberg is a plant operator at the Scion Research Institute, which allowed him access to the chemicals he used to strip and polish his ZTR Crest rims. “I wanted something personal and I knew they’d sparkle in the sun when the wheels were turning,” he said. “I built them myself [with Industry Nine hubs and spokes].”

Industry 9’s single speed rear hub : industry 9’s single speed rear hub
Graeme Murray

Weinberg polished the spokes and rims himself

Complete bike specifications:

  • Frame: Niner Air 9 Carbon, size medium
  • Fork: DT Swiss XMC, 100mm travel
  • Headset: FSA Carbon Integrated
  • Stem: Ritchey WCS 4-axis alloy, 120mm, -6°
  • Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Flat alloy, 580mm, 5°
  • Grips: Specialized Body Geometry Comfort, modified
  • Front brake: Formula Oro K24 w/ Ashima 180mm rotor
  • Rear brake: Formula Oro Bianco w/ Ashima 160mm rotor
  • Front derailleur: N/A
  • Rear derailleur: N/A
  • Shifter: N/A
  • Brake levers: Formula Oro
  • Cassette: Niner 20-tooth singlespeed cog
  • Chain: KMC Z 610HX
  • Crankset: White Industries w/ 36-tooth chainring, 175mm
  • Bottom bracket: Epic Research & Design titanium square-taper
  • Pedals: Shimano PD-M540 w/ titanium spindle
  • Wheelset: Industry Nine w/ stripped and polished spokes, ZTR Crest rims stripped and polished
  • Front tire: Maxxis Aspen eXCeption, 27psi
  • Rear tire: Maxxis Aspen eXCeption, 35psi
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado SLT
  • Seatpost: Ritchey WCS alloy, 31.6mm, single-bolt head
  • Bottle cages: N/A

Critical measurements:

  • Rider’s height: 177.8cm/5ft 10in
  • Rider’s weight: 77kg/169.8lb
  • Saddle height from BB, c-t: 73.5cm
  • Seat tube length, c-t: 41.9cm
  • Tip of saddle to center of bar: 58.6cm
  • Head tube length: 11cm
  • Top tube length (virtual): 60.3cm
  • Total bicycle weight: 9.25kg/20.4lb