So I've been thinking a lot about my Leadville race, and what I'd like to do differently for next year. One big consideration I've been toying with is the idea of building up a super lightweight hard tail, something sub 20lbs. I could go with another Specialized, but I love custom builds. My heart is slowly leaning towards the Niner Air 9 Carbon RDO.
Why? I've already got a great set up for general trail riding and cross-country racing, but I've learned that my strong suit is climbing, not descending. If anything my Epic is too fast for me to handle going downhill. Don't get me wrong, it's an amazing climbing machine, especially with the Brain platform, but dropping another 3-4lbs would be a huge advantage, especially for a race like Leadville where it's not entirely too technical.
The Niner Air 9 Carbon RDO frame is in the 2.5lb range, coupled with a Rock Shox Sid XX and some super light wheels I could easily get it under 20lbs. The company itself specializes in 29er geometry so I'm confident it handles like a dream. I'm going to wait and see what they release in the next month or so after the trade shows have passed. In the meantime I'll be posting regular build specs as I continue to research parts.