Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Topic of discussion: Is steel really real?

I walked into the shop after school yesterday and sitting on the counter was a brand new, gold Niner SIR 9 frame.  A bit of disclosure before we continue: I have been lusting over this 29" wheeled bit of Reynolds 853 steel goodness since before we became a Niner dealer.   Those slim tubes, that huge, oversized eccentric bottom bracket shell that allows the SIR 9 to be converted from a geared bike to a singlespeed....  Sorry, I'll pull myself together.

Its funny after owning a lot of bikes, riding a lot of bikes and seeing thousands of brand new bikes at countless industry tradeshows, I still get excited and to be honest, fall in love with particular bikes.  Its like being attracted to another person.  There are no hard and fast rules about what will be attractive, but when you feel it, you know.  Well, needless to say, this particular frame caught my eye when looking through a bike magazine and I happened to catch a glimpse of it in an advertisement.  Now the object of desire was in my hands.

I don't know what it is about steel, but it just looks right as a bike frame material.  It has the right blend of strength and fragility to my eye, I guess.  The other frame materials like aluminum and carbon with the large, oversized tubes look like they are trying to hard.  While titanium with its dull gray color looks cold and uninviting.  But steel in the raw with its rainbow of heat marks around the welds looks fascinating.  Then when a lustrous paint job is applied on top of that it becomes this warm, inviting to the touch frame that just begs to be ridden.
But everyone has their different tastes.  This I know and understand.  And while I would love to sell a lot more steel framed bikes, I am not such a hopeless romantic to think that steel is right for everyone or even attractive to everyone.  Enter the Jet 9 full suspension frame from Niner.  To most reviewers, the 29" wheeled full suspension bike is the sweet spot of bike set ups; the "if you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one bike" bike.  This I cannot speak to with authority, since I have not ridden one.  The beauty of it all is that both of these bikes are being built up as Demo bikes for anyone to take out for a day of riding on the local trails so they can see exactly what they are like where it counts.

I might just have to take that SIR 9 out and make sure its okay before anyone else tries it out. Kind of a quality control check...
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