Niner Carbon Fork: Matt’s Impressions

Note: Niner was gracious enough to send us two of their new carbon forks to test. Eric McKeegan got one, and his review is in issue #148. Matt Kasprzyk put the other on his Niner bike – here is his take on the fork.

Niner Carbon Fork in Solid Gold

This is the first rigid fork I’ve used and it’s also the first carbon fork I’ve used. It’s a fairly new concept for me to think of a rigid fork as an upgrade. But after installing the two-toned gold and naked carbon fork onto my Niner SIR 9 singlespeed and seeing the XL bike tip the scale at 21.23lbs.—I was impressed. Dumbing down your bike might not be for everyone, but dropping 2lbs. off the weight of your ride is something you often can’t argue with.

I’ve found that with the lack of suspension, there’s nothing to forgive bad technique on the trail. A rigid fork forces you to be a better rider. The value of having a lightweight rigid front end becomes quickly apparent when you are forced to dance through obstacles instead of plowing through them. I also found that the Niner fork allowed me to get a better impression of the trail, certainly valuable information when riding in bad or unusual conditions. The input from the trail seemed more accurate without 100mm of moving oil and air in between my arms and tires. For winter riding in snow, the rigid front end seemed to be more of an advantage than a disadvantage. However, there were still times on rough terrain, even with big wheels, where I wished for suspension. I wouldn’t want my only bike to be rigid. No matter the benefits to my skill, I just don’t feel fast riding a rigid bike. –Matt Kasprzyk