Completed Air 9 Carbon RDO Build – Super Light Race Bike

So, we finally completed the uber light dream bike build, and have had time to take her out on the trails to see how she rides. So, first things first. When we started this build we were shooting for a hopefully 19 pound useable race bike for a 175 pound racer. We knew it was going to be a sub 20 pound bike and we figured anything beyond that would be icing on the cake.

So the completed build came in 18.5 pounds with pedals. here is the lowdown on the components used.


Frame: Niner Air 9 Carbon RDO Large frame in black licorice
Fork: Cannondale Carbon Lefty XLR 2013 Model with Project 321 Adapter
Wheels: Enve Carbon XC Rims on Project 321 hubs (i think they are I9s rebadged) w Sapim spokes.
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 1 by 11 with 32T Front and 10-42 Cassette.
Shifter: SRAM XX1
Derailleur: SRAM XX1
BB: Standard SRAM PF30
Brakes: Magura MT8 Carbons with Ashima rotors 160/160
Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralph, 29×2.25 front and 29×2.0 rear.
Bar: Ritchey Superlogic Carbon Flat with sweep
Stem: Ritchey WCS 4Axis 6 degree negative
Seatpost: Ritchey WCS Carbon
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite 140g
Pedals: Crank Bros Egg 4Ti
Grips: ESI Foam Race

Thats about it. Everything went together very nicely with a few exceptions. The first exception was the brakes.

Magura MT8 Carbon Disc Brakes
Let me preface by saying that am a big Magura Brakes fan. i have tried almost everything out there and i keep coming back to Magura as my all time favorite. I am a XC geek so brakes have to be very light and very linear in order for me to be interested in them. So even when I recently bought a $10,000 Carbon Full Suspension Uber Light Race Bike with full XTR and Enve Carbons. The first thing I removed was the XTR brakes. I like brakes that begin to engage with just a very small amount of lever motion and that come on very soft and increase braking power as you continue a very small pull of the lever towards the bar. I hate brakes that don’t even start to engage until the lever is half way to the bar in its stroke and then when they do finally engage they come on way to strong way too fast. The XTRs displayed both of these bad habits, so i chucked them on my last bike. So with this hardtail build, since it was going to be full custom, not a box bike like the full suspension, I knew I wanted Maguras. All my other bikes are outfitted with Magura Marta Mags and i love them. This was the first bike where I was going to install the new MT8s. So the brakes went on without issue, however even after repeated bleeding we could never get the lever to start the engagement before halfway through its stroke; exactly what i don’t like about all other brakes. The great linear modularity that Magura is famous for was there but the lever had to be pulled almost all the way to bar before reaching full braking force which meant one finger braking was not going to work.

I have been riding the bike with the brakes as they are and the lever stroke has improved a little over time, but it is still not up to speed with my other bikes that the old Magura Marta Mags.

We had some other issues that i will report on later, and I am going to contact Magura and see what can be done on the brakes. i will also be posting up a ride impression report once i get a few more miles on her.

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4 Responses to Completed Air 9 Carbon RDO Build – Super Light Race Bike

  1. matt says:

    `Why is the front wheel seen in front of the fork ..or not inside the front fork? You know what I mean..?

  2. Guy Smith says:

    Love the Lefty!

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