Would love to see Niner build a Monstercross frame!
(Monstercross: a hardtail built to use drop bars)
They already built what appears to be the perfect carbon fork for it, and a modified version of a current Niner frame would be not much of a stretch. Obviously the Air9 in Scandium or carbon would be logical choices, but so would an MCR or SIR.
At the simple end, all it would essentially require is a taller seat tube with otherwise similar specs. Why? To be able to get it over your shoulder, for one thing. This would make it a very useful gnarly conditions cyclocross bike. This would also make it a great winter road bike and a light weight, great handling, truly off road capable drop bar all-purpose bike. Building it with a less dramatically sloping top tube would make it more suitable as a monstercross bike and also from a cosmetic standpoint, it would look more roadworthy.
To make it a more integrated design dedicated to the purpose, a more formulated approach would incorporate a slightly shorter carbon fork (around 420-440mm) which would make it a dedicated rigid bike. This would allow for a lower top tube junction at the front, compensating for a slightly higher juncture at the seat tube for a resulting reasonable standover. This fork would be otherwise identical to the current fork so there would not be a massive R&D requirement. That would be how I'd like to see it- with a dedicated total design and a purpose built fork.
I'd be first in line to by a Monster Scandium Air9 with a Niner fork. At the heart of it is the concept that it's a Bike with a capital B. One bike that goes where you point it; eminently rideable on the road and fully capable off road in the right hands. Disk brakes and clearance for tubeless 29er tires make a bike like this more compelling than a true cyclocross bike as the ultimate go-to bike, and Niner has what it takes to make an awesome monstercross bike if they perceive a market for it.
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