Category Archives: Mountain Biking

2016 Niner Jet 9 RDO

BUILT 5/19/2016: the orange Niner Jet 9 Carbon got a hairline crack in the rear triangle, and Niner stood behind their product and gave me a new 2016 Jet 9 RDO Large frame as a replacement.

Weighs in at 5lbs 8oz.

With a 120mm Fox Factory 32 CTD fork on the Large frame, Head tube angle is 70.5 degrees.

More info is at:

UPGRADE 3/19/2017: From Easton EA90 (21mm width,1680g) to Easton ARC 30 Custom made by, (30mm width, 1805g) with Maxxis Minion DHF 29×2.5 WT on front, and Maxxis Ardent LUST 29×2.25 on the rear.

Weighs in at  28lbs 4oz.


UPGRADE 8/20/2017: Replaced Fox 32 Fork with 2015 RockShox Pike 29 RC 120mm  with 35mm stantions for $299 off of ebay and added 2017 stealth decals. The new Pike Fork weighs 1950g, an increase of 176g.




2013 Niner EMD 9

Ordered the 2013 EMD 9 Large Tamale frame and Fox Float 29 fork from, combo deal of $689 (MSRP $1148).IMG_3723

Had to install a headset, so I got a Crane Creek 40 for about $70, and Niner Alloy Stem for $40 at the Path Bike Shop.


Ordered a full Shimano XT groupset for $690 (MSRP $1000+) on ebay, and Performance had clearance on Sun Ringle Black Flag Comp Wheels for $240 (MSRP $450) which included Stans tubeless kit. Put on some 29×2.35 Nobby Nic Evo SnakeSkins for $115 (MSRP $180).


Took about 3-4 hours to assemble.


Weighed in at 26lbs 11 oz. = 26.69 lbs, calculated was 26.11 lbs.

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 1.13.14 PM


  • Handlebar was 28.5″, which is too wide, trimmed down to 27″ (same as my Camber)
  • 29×2.35 Nobby Nic on rear was rubbing frame in turns, moved to 29×2.25 Racing Ralph instead
  • Added LizardSkin chainstay protector
  • Added 3m Scotchguard scratch protection to the right of the headtube due to cable scratching

Edit 01/14/2014 (odo 571 mi.): New 2013 Fox Factory Float 100 CTD FIT Kashima Tapered QR15 fork



I found the CTD works pretty well, though I usually just leave it in “Descend”






The QR15 through-axle stiffened up the steering in the downhill area.



I couldnt tell if the Tapered tube made a difference, since I changed both the QR15 and tapered at the same time.



Upgrades 3/22/2017: Easton EA90XC Wheels, gets bike weight down to 25lbs 15oz.

Upgrades July 25, 2017: Converted to GX 1×11 with Absolute Black Oval 32t Chainring. Bike weighs 24lbs 11oz.

Aiden’s 2013 Specialized Hotrock 20 6-speed


Found the bike on craigslist for $160 obo, and got it for $150.


Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 2.37.49 PM

IMG_7561 IMG_7562 IMG_7563

Comparing size of 16″ to 20″ bikesIMG_7566 IMG_7598 IMG_7599

Upgrading Aiden’s handlebar since it is scratched and heavy steel. Original Bar, stem and brake levers weighed 1020g. The bar was also 24″ wide.


New Raceface Ride Stem, Bar and Avid Fr-5 brake levers weigh 541g. I cut the bar down to 21″, which seemed like a better width for Aiden.IMG_7600 IMG_7602 IMG_7603 IMG_7605   IMG_7608  IMG_7610 IMG_7611 IMG_7612 IMG_7613

2014 Niner Jet 9 Carbon – Orange

I decided to upgrade my Full Suspension bike to Carbon.  Found a good deal on for a 2014 Niner Jet 9 Carbon large frame in orange, about $1450 after discounts.

The plan initially was to just move everything I upgraded on the Camber to the Jet 9, which I did when I first got the frame.



2014 Niner Jet 9 Carbon – Large weighs in at 5lbs 6oz. (with PF30 to BSA adapter installed in BB)

IMG_7079 IMG_7080 IMG_7081 IMG_7082 IMG_7083 IMG_7084 IMG_7085

Took me about 5 hours to move over everything to the Jet 9.      IMG_7091 IMG_7092 IMG_7093 IMG_7094 IMG_7095 IMG_7096 IMG_7097 IMG_7098

So with Shimano XT 2×10 groupset and Easton Haven wheels, it weighed in at 26 lbs 10oz.IMG_7100

Road the bike in Hurricane, Utah at Gooseberry Mesa and it performed well.  But once I got back to LA, I ended up ordering a XX1/XO1 groupset.


First issue was removing the PF30 to BSA adapter.  I read that it is permanent when installed in a carbon frame.  However, I found the original manual from he bracket I ordered (GXP30 Bottom Bracket Adapter), and it said the adapter can be removed with a Park Tool BBT-90. I ended up using a half-round punch and tapped it in a circle, and it looks like it was installed with grease (not loctite), so it came out easy.



Used a BB30 press to push in the SRAM PF30 BB in with ease.


Once the BB was in, assembly of the XX1/XO1 groupset took about 2 hours.

IMG_7508 IMG_7509 IMG_7510 IMG_7511

Final weigh in, with a mix of XX1/XO1 groupset is 25lbs 7 oz.IMG_7513 IMG_7514

UPDATE May 2016: Hairline crack in rear triangle.  Niner warranty covered it, and replaced it with a JET 9 RDO frame.


2011 Specialized Camber Elite 29er – upgrades

Here is a photo the day I bought it (Jan, 20, 2012)

Here are the upgrade up to this point:

  1. Wheel World in Culver City (where I orginally bought the bike) was kind enough to upgrade the wheels for me at no extra charge, when the specialized wheels were making a grinding noise in the freewheel (probably from sand), so they gave me Azonics Outlaw 29inch Wheels, more of a down-hiller wheel, heavy but stronger then the stock ones.
  2. The Specialized Rocca grips wore out, so I first tried the Ergon GP2, which were ok, but my hands felt trapped, so I moved to ODI Rogue grips instead. Here are some pictures with the new ODI grips and the original Avid Elixir 3 RL brakes.  I liked the Elixir’s until I tried the Shimano XT brakes.  The XT brakes are very sensitive, and very easy to do one finger braking.
  3. Upgraded the tires from The Captain Control 29×2.25 front and Captain Sport 29×2.1 rear to Swalbe Nobby Nic Evo SnakeSkin’s, 29×2.35 on front, and 29×2.25 on rear.

The next upgrade is the seatpost, I got a 2012 RockShox Reverb 30.9mmx420mm dropper post.

And now for the big upgrade, converting the 3×9 drivetrain to 2×10. Here is what I upgraded:

  • Shimano XT brakes (BL-M785-B)
  • XT Shifters (SL-M780B-I)
  • XT Cassette (CS-M771-10)
  • XT Chain (CN-HG94)
  • XT Rear Derailleur (RD-M786-SGS Silver) with shadow plus, which prevents chain slap.


I got the I-Spec XT Shifters (SL-M780B-I) to mount on the XT Brake Levers (BR-M785-B).  I have now learned that there are 2 types of I-Spec “Conventional” and “New” (aka Type B), I got the new Type B, which is a bit strange, and doesnt secure tightly.  Not sure if there is an issue, or if it was designed to be that way.

I called Shimano and was told I’d need to send it in for them to fix the I-Spec loose issue, but if I wanted to put a washer in there instead, it’d be fine and not void the warranty. So I did the washer approach, maybe I’ll send it in later.

EDIT 8/13/2012: After playing around with the washers, and wiggling the I-Spec mount alot, the mount now tightens up without adding the washer – so it seem you just have to work it a while to get rid of the looseness.


I got them all installed on Aug 8,2013. So now The Camber is mostly XT, (except for the Deore Crankset, and SLX Front Derailleur). I’ll wait on the Crankset and Front Derailleur for if/when I get a new frame.


EDIT 08/13/2013:  Took out the bike for the first time on the Fullerton loop and had a bad shift on a steep climb, and broke the chain.  I dont like how Shimano chains doesnt use quicklinks, my next 10 speed chain will be a SRAM. Otherwise, the shifting was really clean 90% of the time. The XT Brake were noticeably easier on the hand then the Elixir 3’s. I look forward to some long decents to really try them out.

EDIT 08/20/2013: Finished upgrade to Full XT M785 Groupset. The remaining pieces that needed upgrade include:

  • XT FC-M785 24/38t Silver Crankset
  • SM-BB70 bottom bracket
  • XT FD-M785-E2 (E-Type)  double front derailleur.


If you wonder if there is a difference between the 38 chainring on the 24/38t vs. 26/38t, the answer is YES. Here is a photo showing the difference (24/38t – AM on left, 26/38t – AK on right):

FC-M785 24/38t and 26/38t chainring comparisonThe shimano pdf shows different part numbers for them too, Y1ML98040 (Chainring 38T-AM) and Y1MK98020 (Chainring 38T-AK)



Here it is, with the Full XT groupset installed:


Edit 12/07/2013: New Rear Shock

Upgraded the rear shock due to leakage issues.  I tried replacing the seals on the RockShox Ario, but it continued to leak.  Found a 2013 Fox Float CTD 7.785″ x 2.0″ new take-off from the local LBS.  The rear suspension feels much tighter now, I’m really impressed with the new shock.



Edit 01/10/2014: New Enduro FSR Bushing and Fox Evolution Float RL Front Fork

Ordered a new set of bearings from for $52, and getting them installed at LBS, since a bearing puller and press are needed.




Turns out that the 2011 Camber 29 kit comes with 4x 6900, and I needed the 4x 6800 instead.  I called, and they said that the 2012 Camber kit would have had 6800 instead of 6900. They are sending the 4x 6800’s for free.  Camber-Enduro-6900 Bearings-too-big

I got the new bushings in and they work fine.  It turns out that the documentation is incorrect on and should be the same as the 2012 Camber…so it wasnt Enduro’s fault, they just sent me what Specialized put in the document.

Other new upgrades:

  • 2013 Fox Float 100 RL 29 Front Fork

Camber with New Fork

And a few more upgrades:

  • 2013 Specialized Henge Expert 143mm
  • 2013 Easton EC70 XC Riser Bar 685mm
  • 2014 Race Face Ride Mountain Bike Stem 31.8mm, 6-degreex70mm
  • NewStemandHandleBar

Edited 8/26/2014: upgrade wheels to 2012 Easton Haven’s for $375 (bought off

2012 Easton Haven wheels Easton Havens on Camber Easton Haven on Camber 2


Installing the Haven’s and going tubeless got the weight of my bike down to 29lbs 14oz. This is the lightest that this bike has ever been.  The bike weighed 31.5lbs with the Azonics wheels and tubed tires.IMG_6050