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 artGraeme 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 rideGraeme 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 packageGraeme 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 NoTubes.com 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 hubGraeme 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
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