IN HIS OWN WORDS: “WHY I DID IT”
FORWARD BY MBA
The top five 2007 Norba Series Super D results are as follows:
1. Carl Decker…Giant…847 points
2. Bryan Fawley…Kenda/X-Fusion/Titus…800
3. Waylon Smith…Specialized-Block…710
4. Dana Weber…Jax Bicycle Center…667
5. Eric Bierman…Steven K Sports…598
While Subaru-Gary Fisher rider Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and other pro’s have raced occasional cross-country and short track events aboard 29-inch bikes, no one has committed themselves to riding one in every event throughout a series. After Eric planned to make an assault on the Norba Super D Nationals, he specifically used a 29’er as his only bike of choice. He did it because he discovered it to be the winning ticket.
Here is Eric’s story:
TOP 5 PRIVATEER NINER 29’er
By Eric Bierman
First off I would like to thank my sponsors: Steven K Sports (stevenksd.com), The Path Bike Shop, Magura, Pro-Gold Chain Lube, Rudy Project, Bellwether, Titec, Blackbottoms, KMC chains, Amino Vital, Bear Valley Bikes, Odi, King Cage, Mathis Bros. Furniture, Lundberg Family Farms and of course I would be nothing without my love Mary and our daughter Seydi.
Riding with the Share MTB club one Tuesday evening last summer I noticed that all the guys I used to blow away on the descents were all of sudden staying on my tail. The only explanation was that they had all switched to 29-inch hardtails. So one evening I threw a leg over a steel Niner and no joke, rode it approximately 100 yards down a rock garden descent and was sold. I was floating over stuff that would swallow the wheels of my 26-inch bike while I fought to stay up.
Knowing that I was going to concentrate on Super-D for the 2007 Norba Series I felt that the 29-inch Sacandium Air 9 Niner would be my bike of choice. The courses as of late have not merited a 4- to 5-inch travel full suspension bike, especially if the rider has good technical skills as I have gained over the years of BMX and MX.
I have found the advantages and disadvantages of a 29-inch hardtail are not unlike those old beer guzzling arguments, “2-strokes will always be better than 4-strokes.” (Remember when Yamaha first introduced its awesome 4-stroke for Doug Henry to race?) Those past arguments over 2- and 4-stroke motocross bikes are oddly similar to today’s arguments over 26- and 29-inch mountain bikes.
I have discovered that the 29-inch ride is like a 4-stroke MX bike. Forgiving! It may not accelerate as fast, but man does it grab traction when you sprint up steep climbs. You may not be able to flick it around on a downhill as easy but it sure is far more stable of a platform. And on a fire road downhill forget about it, just lay it over and hold on, because a 29’er will easily out corner a 26-inch bike hardtail or full suspension bike. I discovered this firsthand at the Snowmass Norba when I knifed under Pro DH’er Jared Rando….see ya!! He was obviously struggling to hold a line aboard 26-inch wheels while I was hooked up and railing aboard the Niner.
As I improve on my own riding technique I have noticed that when you get those big wheels up to speed you can hold an incredibly fast pace with less effort.
Weight wise my Niner Air-9 comes in at 24.3 pounds. That’s a great figure.
Honestly, I could go on and on. Personally, I have not yet discovered a situation where a 26-inch bike would be better. Recently I took out a four-inch full suspension “standard” bike for a ride and felt so sketchy that I hung it up for good. I will never ride that bike again!
ERIC BIERMAN’S TOP 5 NATIONAL NINER
FRAME: Medium Scandium Niner Air-9
FORK: RockShox Reba Race w/remote lockout.
FORK SETTINGS: Positive air chamber–125psi. Negative air chamber–135psi. Rebound and compression adjusted as needed per course.
WHEELS: Bontrager Race Lite TLR.
TIRES: Bontrager Jones XR–2.25″ front and 2.20″ rear–both tubeless converted
TIRE SETUP: 23psi front and 25psi rear with Steven K’s Slime/Stan’s sealant mix along
with “Slimed” bead prior to inflation.
BRAKES: Magura Marta SL Discs.
SHIFTERS: SRAM X9 triggers.
REAR DERAILLEUR: SRAM X9
FRONT DERAILLERUR: Shimano XT
CRANKS: Shimano XTR–granny gear removed
cassette: Shimano XTR
Chain: KMC Z9900
Pedals: Shimano 959’s
STEM: Titec Pluto Carbon
BARS: Titec Pluto Carbon–27.5″ wide by 1.5″ rise
GRIPS: Odi Ruffian
HEADSET: Chris King
SEATPOST: Profile Design Elite Strada Carbon
SEAT: Titec Pluto Ti rails.
BOTTLE CAGE: King Cage
In October up at Weaverville I plan on defending the California State Super D Championship aboard the Niner Air 9. Then on November 18, I’m looking into bringing back the Bierman Bounty at the Southridge Challenge. Stay tuned fo