I first started out riding a Mongoose Ritual hardtail jump bike at the age of 11 and at the time (although it weighed the same as a full grown elephant) I thought it was the best bike out there and was over the moon with it! After riding dirt jumps weekend after weekend at Dalby Forest – Dixons Hollow, my dad decided it would was time to take on the trails .. On a single speed elephant, and it was tough!!
After struggling on the red graded trails, I was upgraded from the Mongoose to a Trek Jack 1 Mountain Bike, with gears and a good front suspension fork. But after a long time puffing and panting and throwing tantrums because I couldn’t keep up with my dad I decided it was enough and I was just going to cruise round skateparks on a BMX bike, chill for an hour at the top of a ramp looking cool and do a couple of runs every half an hour. But with Mountain Biking you soon forget the negative things and all the pain and start to miss it (I still do to this very day, If a race hurts me that much and it feels like the hardest course ever .. I still forget, go back and race the course!) So Back to the Mountain Bikes it was.
This time, it worked.. My fitness was increasing at a good rate, I could keep up with my dad (success) .. Then it was ‘bye dad’, and he was the one throwing tantrums! I decided to give some races a go – Brownbacks Racing Series at Lee Quary .. Where it all began! I was racing in the ‘Lads’ category and it was going well finishing on the podium until I took my first win, then another one and eventually it came to the end of the series and I had won my first Championship. This gave me the confidence to then go on and compete in the British Nationals as a Junior Racer. It all got serious, I upgraded to a carbon 26″ Specialized Stumpjumper bike, then a better 29″ Carbon Merida Big Nine, got myself a coach and then managed to get sponsored by Nutcracker racing. Which included Altura Kit, Edge Piccolo Bikes, Hope Technology as a main sponsor, Giro Shoes and Helmets, Torq Nutrition .. All the best sponsors out there!! And I started working my way up in the sport.
So that’s a little bit on my background in Mountain Biking. Now at Age 21 I am still loving the sport and run my own business – No Limits Cycling, Professional Mountain Bike Coaching and Service Centre. And have achieved my dream of owning my very own spectacular full suspension Mountain Bike! My ride – My Niner Big 9 RDO, The absolute weapon ofchoice! It was just after Christmas, when I received a message from Guy Kestevan – (check his channel out) who invited me on a ride as they were coming over to my local – Dalby Forest. It was a great ride, with a great selection of guys and riders! During the ride I got chatting to Dickon, the Owner of who was a great guy and a was also riding a stunning bike, the Niner Jet 9 RDO.. It was the first time I had seen it in the flesh and I fancied it straight away! After chatting about the bike and what I did for a living and seeing my riding some of the trail we had ridden on my Aluminium 29er winter hardtail, and the only one without a dropper he very kindly said if I wanted a Santa Cruz, Niner he would supply one for coaching if I was to promote it, which it’s hard not to after riding one!!
After looking through all the Santa Cruz Range and specs, also the full Niner range I couldn’t stop thinking about the Niner Jet 9 RDO in the beautiful Sunshine Colour (it was love at first sight). So I was sold, I had it in my mind that it was going to be the Jet 9, I decided that I would demo one before I went for it, just to be sure! And I have never been so sure about anything after riding this machine! We headed to Jungle on to see the guys and also had a look round Stiff Cycles Whilst we were there, what a shop! It’s like MTB heaven in there! At the time they had Steve Peats custom V10 in there with the special cow edition so that was pretty cool to see in the flesh! Enough drooling, it was time to ride the Niner, we headed to their local test route and play park, Stainburn Forest.
It was mine and my dads first time riding at Stainburn so didn’t know what to expect .. But it didn’t fail to please, we first hit the man made trails and I was off .. Or was it just the bike? One or the other! The handling was superb, planted into every corner, rolled every drop and rock effortlessly. That was just on the descents. After riding a few full suspension bikes in my time I always found that when it came to climbs you seemed to lose energy as the rear shock would sag a little bit and the pedal efficiency was as efficient as it is on hardtails and you seem to waste power. Not on this Bike, It was super stiff, the power was instant and it would climb up anything, no matter how steep the Jet 9 RDO would monster it, this surprised me a lot. The bike was a dream! After getting a feel for the bike we took it across the road from the man made trails to the more natural trails.. And guess what? It still climbed as well on the open fire roads and steep climbs, descending like an F1 car on a home straight and at the same time I felt in control and having so much fun!
SOLD! I’ll take it! The guys wanted to make sure the bike was all ready to go and wanted to check it over before it went so we left it in their capable hands and with less that a week it had arrived at my house. Straight out of the box, straight up to Dalby.. I had to check that I still loved it!! .. The smile said it all.. !! My jaws were hurting that night from the massive grin I had on my face all day! I think it was that night I went onto the web and started looking at Enduro Races. And booked onto my first race which was at Hamsterley in a few weeks time. So of course, the hardtail was hung up and the next few weeks were spent on the Niner, along with all my clients drooling over the bike on courses.
So to this date do I still love the bike .. Did I make the right decision, of course I did. It’s been nearly 5 months and I haven’t even changed the brake pads.. The bike is durable and everything just works. Its 120mm of absolute perfection! With a rockshox Pike at the front and a Fox Float X Evol is equipped with the best suspension that works perfectly with their own patented CVA suspension design. It also has a Boost 148x12mm rear spacing for optimum power transfer and stiffness. The bike also features a KS LEV Integra with Southpath meaning you can sit low into corners and work with the suspension, also making it easier to get over the saddle when travelling at 100mph! The spec I went for comes with full 11speed XT M8000 Groupset, brakes included. The chassis is rolling on Hope Pro 4 hubs on a WTB Frequency team i23 with a Maxxis Ardent 2.35 TR on the front and a Maxxis Minion DHR 2 TR 2.35. Niner Finishes and a KS 50mm stem.
So there you go, that is my ultimate choice for coaching, Enduro Racing and Trail Riding! I’m Also super excited as I’m racing my second Enduro this weekend .. wrote up to follow! 🙂
Thanks for reading guys!