My Bike

Bicycling (South Africa) - - INSIDE -

Nev Cragg’s Niner BSB 9 RDO with Lauf Grit shock.

Co-owner of Cape Town-based bike shop Bike Mob, in Tokai, Neville Cragg rides at 4am four times a week – even in the depths of win­ter. When he’s not on the road, he rips it up on his unique Niner BSB with Lauf fork. IN­STA­GRAM @ NINER_ SA

Frame and fork Heavy (But Light) Met­tle

‘ My Bike’ is usu­ally all about the frame; but this month, it cen­tres on Nev Cragg’s rather ec­cen­tric gravel-spe­cific Lauf Grit sus­pen­sion fork. This su­per- light­weight, main­te­nance­free, sci-fi- look­ing con­trap­tion uses leaf-spring tech­nol­ogy, of­fer­ing 30mm of pro­gres­sive travel to iron out the bumps. The springs on the Grit are con­structed from S2 glass fi­bre, which is im­pact- re­sis­tant and of­fers uni­di­rec­tional flex – mean­ing it only moves in the di­rec­tion of travel.

The Grit is fit­ted to Niner’s gravel speed­ster, the BSB 9 RDO – ‘ BSB RDO’ stand­ing for ‘ Blood, Sweat and Beers’ and ‘ Race Day Op­ti­mised’. Cragg finds the Grit im­proves his front-wheel grip off- road, and helps to keep his arms and up­per body fresh af­ter hours of pound­ing the BSB on Cape Town’s gravel roads and through the Con­stan­tia green belt.

Wheels and Tyres Wheels of Fortitude

Given the Cape’s sharp rocks and rough roads, Cragg rides a set of Stan’s NoTubes Crest moun­tain- bike rims laced to a pair of the com­pany’s 3.30 hubs. Up front the Lauf Grit ac­cepts a larger tyre than a stan­dard rigid fork would, al­low­ing a 29x1.9 Bon­trager XR Team Is­sue moun­tain- bike tyre to take care of busi­ness. A 700x40C Maxxis Ram­bler with SilkShield side­wall pro­tec­tion en­dures the abuse at the rear.

Cragg’s Niner is the per­fect ex­am­ple of adapt­ing your gravel bike to lo­cal con­di­tions – though he does add that run­ning tube­less is non- ne­go­tiable. For smoother ter­rain, his tyre of choice is the Sch­walbe G- One 38c tube­less.

Groupset Force & De­ter­mi­na­tion

Cragg runs a pair of SRAM Red Hy­dro levers built for the road and in­tended for 2x11. With a 1x set- up, the left- hand shifter is es­sen­tially a ghost; but Cragg says it would be a se­ri­ous mis­sion to re­move the dis­con­nected shift pad­dle.

His gear­ing sees a 40T Wolftooth front ring bolted to a 130BCD Quarq power me­ter; while at the rear, a SRAM Force CX1 rear mech with medium cage (and crit­i­cally, a clutch) shifts the length of a 10- 42 XO1 cas­sette.

A pair of SRAM Red Hy­dro R brake cal­lipers pro­vide Cragg’s stop­ping power, bit­ing on 160mm front and 140mm rear For­mula ro­tors.

Parts Dutch Courage

Cel­e­brat­ing his favourite beer, Cragg runs a Niner YAWYD (You Are What You Drink) head­set top- cap, with a proud Stel­len­brau bot­tle cap fit­ted to it. A com­plete Zipp cock­pit and fin­ish­ing kit suits the BSB’s racy pedi­gree, with its han­dle­bar, stem, seat post and bot­tle cages all hail­ing from the Amer­i­can brand’s sta­ble.

Cragg sits atop a Spe­cial­ized Romin sad­dle, with a spare tube and tyre lever taped to the sad­dle’s rails in the event of punc­ture. Se­cured to the han­dle­bar is a light clamp, for dawn pa­trols, as well as a self- en­gi­neered race num­ber­board holder that keeps it ‘out front’, so that Cragg can hold onto the tops of his drop bars.

Look S-Track MTB ped­als make portag­ing sec­tions eas­ier, as Cragg wears MTB shoes.

BY OLI MUNNIK PHOTO BY JAMES GARAGHTY

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