Bikes & Kit

I have three main bikes:

Carbonal Gaea 29er:

- Chinese 29er xc race frame, 19", 1200grams

- Most parts from my Niner

- Usually ridden rigid, raced with suspension

- 20.2lbs rigid, 21.8lbs geared

Singular Swift:
- Brilliant frame, handles great, looks great,versatile with the EBB and gear hanger, but not the lightest frame.
- Always ran rigid, the fork which is supplied is great, confidence inspiring and rides lovely.

- Jeff Jones Ti Loop bar, quirky & odd looking, but performs amazingly, they work so well when riding single speed, I use ESI Chunky Grips, they are more hard wearing than people think.

- Wheels, I use a mixture of Hope and Chris King hubs on NoTubes Crest rims back wheels, single speed specific hubs mean a stronger wheel and a better look. Hope front hubs on the same rims, light and easy to service.

- Hope X2 Brakes, usually very good, but often require servicing.

- Thomson finishing kit, look great and always used them, Selle Italia saddle, rock hard but comfortable for hours.
Singular Swift
Niner Sir 9 (currently retired):
I bought the frame after graduating from uni and getting a proper job. it really is amazing, it handles well and its very comfortable. I used it fully rigid for over a year and competed in several 12hour and 100mile races. 

- Rock Shox Sid XX forks with remote lock-out, great forks but they only worked properly after having them tuned by TF Tuned, its amazing how a brand new fork from the factory has almost dry seals and sticky stanchions. 

- At the end of the 2012 season I started racing with gears, 1 x 9 suits me fine but I will move to 1 x 10 or 1 x 11 but I like to keep cost to a minimum and 9 speed is cheap

- Hope X2 race brakes, i've found these better than the normal X2, they have a better bite point, look smart and are very light.

- Again Thomson finishing kit, partly due to the length of post I need. Enve bars are a luxury but I bought them when wide carbon bars were in short supply 

- Fizik Gobi saddle, slightly more padding for longer races 

Planet X Team Alu road bike, my first road bike, seemed great value for money, since changed to Hope Pro 3/Mavic Open Pro Wheels


  1. Hi Chris
    Funny I also run a carbonal 29er China frame self build, and have a Singular Swift as my second bike (this was my intro to 29ers). I have just bust the mech hanger on the carbonal and wonder if you had managed to source replacement hangers in UK? The postage on the carbonal site from China seems a bit excessive ($5 for hanger + $32 postage).

    On another subject, my wife has a small business selling bike components on ebay + an evolving website ( I saw you bust your seatpost recently and wonder if you'd be interested to try one of ours? We could let you have one as a freebie in return for an impartial review on your blog. They are inline posts, 7 series AL with Ti bolts, sub 200g for 350mm or just 200g in 400mm. Please get in touch if you're interested!
    Glynn Gore

  2. very sorry for the late reply Glynn, i don't get the email reminders on comments. I did find replacements, they are sold by madison and other places made by wheels manufacturing hanger 96, although this answer might come to late!

    I would be interested in trying the seat post, they look very similar to the KCNC post, its also good that you sell headsets which i presume are compatible with the carbonyl. I will try and drop you an email.

    Again apologies for my late reply

  3. Hi Chris
    I have been looking at the Gaea frame but (for me anyway) the manufacturers are an unknown quantity. How did you find things such as build quality, geometry etc? What is the ride like?

    As we seem to have had a similar choice in 29ers (Swift, Sir9) it seems logical to assume that we get on with similar bikes.

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