Sunday, August 28, 2011
Canfield Brothers Nimble Nine
I have been waiting a long time for this frame to become available and it has finally arrived! Canfield Brothers have been one of the first companies to offer production 29er hardtails that have short chainstays and slack headtube angles, far from the norm of most companies. These hardtails have a huge following and only seem to be growing in popularity.
First off, I am testing this bike as an all mountain hardtail built with a fairly burly build, fat tires, and 120mm fork. It would be cool to try it as a super light single speed as well though. Right now it is built as a single speed, but it will soon have gears. Build is as follows, 2011 Rockshox Reba RLT Ti 120mm, Stans Arch rims, Hope single speed hubs, sunline bars, sunline 65mm stem, King headset, Maxxis Ardent 2.4 EXO tires(AWESOME!). HTA is 67.5 with the reba 120. I hope to have it as a 1x9 sometime in the near future. First thing I did before building it is treat the frame with Weigle's frame saver to keep the NW muck from rusting the frame from the inside out. I swear by this stuff. The build went very smooth, nothing worth noting except if you want to run a 34 tooth ring you may have to either add a spacer to the BB or run the ring on the outside of your crank. Clearance is very tight to eliminate chain suck between the frame and ring.
First impressions of this bike are very similar to the Yelli Screamy. It has a very quick feeling to it and just feels like it wants to be ridden aggressively and jump everything. I do have to say though that I really like the look of this bike more than the Yelli. There is just something about a burly looking steel frame that does it for me. There is also a little bit more of a supple feeling about the bike, probably due to the steel and the curved seat stays. It is definitely not as supple as the last few steel frames I have owned. I think the short chain stays might add a little bit of stiffness to the rear end, as well as the super burly BB area. I welcome the burly feeling of this bike though as I want it to handle some serious all mountain riding, so a stiff BB works for me. Also, the standard 1 1/8 headtube feels plenty stiff although doesn't accept all forks. The short chainstays on this thing help it manual like a 26 inch dirt jump bike. You have to be careful when you first try as you might loop out.
I took it out to Capitol Forest for the first ride and took it down some very familiar trails to see how it handled. First I took it down the new little larch mountain trail to see how it liked berms, rollers, and jumps. No surprise that it felt right at home and probably faster than my six inch travel 26inch bike. This thing is VERY quick. Second run was down the infamous Green Line #6 super d course. First thing I noticed was the lack of a dropper post. That is the first thing on my list as upgrades go. It handled better than I thought it would on fast rough sections of trail. One would think that with the short chainstays that it would not be stable on high speed trails but it is actually very stable, probably due to the big wheels and slack HA. It handled loose flat corners like a champ. This bike will make you want to hit every jump in the trail. It is so easy to jump and just pops off of everything. Sometimes you forget it's a hardtail until you hit a drop to flat.
I can't wait to get some more time in on it. So far it has far exceeded my expectations. It will definitely be my go to ride for a while!