INSDE THE PROS’ BIKES: KIRT VOREIS AND HIS NINER WFO 9 RDO

Meet The Riders And Their Rides

Photos by Ian Hylands

Kirt Voreis has been one of the top mountain bike riders in the world since the mid-’90s. He raced downhill and dual slalom at the top levels of the sport, even traveling the World Cup circuit for almost 10 years.

In recent years, however, Kirt has stepped aside from racing to become a “content creator,” working with photographers and filmmakers who shoot Kirt doing incredible things on anything he’d like to ride—from mountain bikes to elliptical cycles.

Kirt Voreis, riding the Niner Bikes WFO 9 RDO in Southwest Utah. 

BACKGROUND

Voreis grew up in Fontana, California. His dad was a hard-working guy who liked to ride motorcycles when he wasn’t at work. Kirt remembers being only 4 or 5 years old, sitting in front of his dad on the saddle of his KZ1000 when his dad took the bike up to 100 miles per hour to show Kirt how exciting and fun it was to go that fast on a motorcycle.

Tragically, Kirt’s dad died in a motorcycle crash not long after taking Kirt on that ride. According to the police report from someone who saw the accident happen, Kirt’s dad was riding at around 100 mph with no helmet on and a six-pack of beer in his lap. The beer started to fall, and Kirt’s dad went to grab it with one hand. The bike got a bad case of headshake and then started flipping end over end. Kirt’s dad died of his head injuries.

Kirt’s mom remarried when Kirt was 12. Kirt’s stepdad raised him to be a more responsible person than his father had been. Kirt’s stepdad was also into motorcycles, and he helped Kirt develop his interest in learning about the mechanical aspects of bikes, as well as riding them.

Voreis loved riding bikes, but knowing how his father died and seeing how alcohol and drugs wrecked the lives of so many of the people he knew, Kirt had no interest in going down that path himself. When his friends in high school were experimenting with liquor and drugs, Kirt steered clear. He knew better.

Kirt was a competitive skateboarder, too, but that took a turn for the worse. He took a bad fall and got hurt in the California state championships before he turned 18. The injury turned him off to the risks of riding skateboard ramps over concrete.

When Kirt found an old BMX bike frame in a vacant lot, he got together the parts he needed to turn it into a dirt jumper.

Kirt got good at dirt jumping first, and then he got into mountain biking when he turned 19. He started out racing cross-country, and though he felt like he could be one of the top XC racers in the U.S. if he stuck with it, he liked downhill and dual-slalom racing even more, so he switched to that.

A friend’s dad took a video of Kirt doing backflips on his mountain bike and sent it to John Parker of Yeti, telling him that Kirt would be a good addition to the team. Missy Giove and Myles Rockwell had just left Yeti for Cannondale, so Parker met with Voreis and signed him to the team.

Kirt quickly rose to become one of the fastest gravity riders in America. Kirt started traveling the World Cup circuit in 1996 and soon proved to be one of the fastest downhill riders in the world and the top American rider on the World Cup circuit.

Kirt won the U.S. Dual Slalom National Championship in 2002 (beating Brian Lopes), and he also took second place at the Grouse Mountain World Cup Downhill in Canada in 2003.

Kirt raced the World Cup series for nine years. In his last two or three years on the circuit, when he wasn’t flying back and forth to Europe, Kirt worked in the U.S., driving demo bikes to different towns so riders could try them out.

After finishing 12th in the 2004 World Cup series, Kirt was tired of that whole scene and ready to move on. While still putting on demo tours, Kirt also started spending more time doing video and photo shoots for his sponsors. While racers’ efforts can go unnoticed if they’re not winning medals, one good video or photo session can be seen by millions of viewers. Sponsors love that kind of exposure, and Kirt enjoyed doing it. He could travel as much as he wanted, get in tons of riding, and make money doing it. That’s what he’s doing today.

Kirt says he can always go back to coaching riders, but right now he’s happy building his Instagram numbers (he’s getting close to having 100,000 followers) and showing off his sponsors’ products.

Kirt’s Niner WFO 9 RDO.

 

RIDER PROFILE

Name: Kirt Voreis

Nickname: AllRide, Uncle Kirt

Age: 48

Birthdate: May 31, 1974

Birthplace: San Bernardino, California

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 175

Shoe size: 9.5

Helmet size: M

Waist: 32

Marital status: Single

Current home: Bend, Oregon

House: Rad

Cars: 2018 Ford Transit van, 2002 Nissan XTerra

Started racing: 1993

Turned pro: 1994

Racing specialty: DH/DS

Favorite course (North America): Crystal Mountain, Washington

Favorite course (Europe): Maribor, Slovenia

Favorite food: Steak

Goals: Have a great time

Heroes: Chuck Yeager, Scott Crossfield

Favorite recording artists: Ice-T and Led Zeppelin

Favorite movie: Beetlejuice

Favorite hobbies: Art

Jobs held (other than racer): None

Most embarrassing moment: I don’t get embarrassed

Always takes on a trip: Van

What you would be if you were not a racer: Vet

Kirt says that the lateral stiffness of his Niner WFO 9 RDO frame lets him power out of corners faster.

 

INSDE THE PROS’ BIKES

Kirt Voreis’ Niner WFO 9 RDO

Frame: Niner Bikes WFO 9 RDO carbon, large, 170mm travel.

Fork: Fox 38, 180mm travel

Tires: Schwalbe, Magic Mary and Big Betty, 29×2.6″

Tubeless sealant: Stan’s, change about every four months    

Rims: Stan’s Flow MK3

Spokes: Stan’s

Front hub: Stan’s Neo

Rear hub: Stan’s

Rear axle width: 148mm

Brakes: Shimano XT, 180mm (f), 180 mm (r)

Handlebars: Deity

Grips: Deity Lock Jaw

Bottom bracket and bearings: Shimano

Pedals: Deity Deftrap

Cranks: Shimano XT 175mm

Chainring: Shimano XT 34t

Shifter: Shimano XT

Rear derailleur: Shimano XT

Rear cassette: Shimano XT 11-42

Chain: Shimano

Chain lube: Whatever

Saddle: SDG Bel-Air

Seatpost: SDG Tellis dropper

Headset: Cane Creek

Shock: Fox DHX2 475 spring

Stem: Deity 40mm Copperhead

Head angle: 64.7 degrees

Seat tube angle: 77.7 degrees

Bottom bracket height: 13.25″

Weight of complete bike: 31.5 pounds

Estimated value of bike: $10,000

A highly skilled jumper, Kirt has no problem handling technical trails with both skill and style. (Photo by Ian Hylands)

MBA Q&A

MBA: Where did you grow up?

Kirt: Fontana, California

MBA: What kind of work did your parents do?

Kirt: Construction and grocery-store stocker.

MBA: When did you first learn to ride a bike?

Kirt: In between my 1st and 2nd birthdays.

MBA: Who taught you?

Kirt: My dad.

MBA: When did you get your first mountain bike?

Kirt: Seventeen years old.

MBA: When did you start competing on mountain bikes?

Kirt: 1993.

MBA: How did you finish in your first competition?

Kirt: I think I flatted.

MBA: What titles did you win as an amateur?

Kirt: Amateur Cup Champ, Snow Summit, California.

MBA: What have been your best competitive results as a pro?

Kirt: First place at Mount Snow, Vermont, Pro Men’s Dual Slalom in 1999 [at the NORBA National Championships]; second place in Men’s Downhill at the Grouse Mountain World Cup [in Canada] in 2003.

MBA: Where did you go to school?

Kirt: Fontana High School

MBA: What other sports have you enjoyed?

Kirt: Skateboarding and motocross.

MBA: Can you tell us something unusual about yourself?

Kirt: I didn’t grow up racing bicycles when I was a kid. I just rode bikes around the streets, hitting wall rides and stuff like that. I grew up around lots of drugs and violence, but being creative has always motivated me to stay on the right path.

MBA: Is there some other interesting fact or trivia that people might like to know about you?

Kirt: I collected a lot of animals—rattlesnakes, birds, bats, frogs and anything I could buy at the pet shop. I spent a lot of time in the woods.

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