The Canfield Nimble 9 is a boutique bike that is rare by any standards. Scott is my local 29er guru and he turned me onto this frame, but I didn’t expect to actually get to ride one. As it turns out Grant from the Fairfield Bicycle Shop had one in my size that he wants to sell and offered me a test ride. Sweet! Getting to try a unique bike like this very cool so I said I’d love to.
The Nimble 9 is a burly 4130 steel frame with sliding dropouts for a clean SS/IGH chainline. There is room for 2.4″+ 29er tires and can be run with 80mm-120mm suspension forks. The short 413mm-429mm chainstays are supposed to make it very maneuverable.
- Ultra short Chain Stays for the fastest turning 29” wheeled bike.
- Adjustable Chain Stay length so you can run single speed or geared.
- Radial Bent Seat Stays for an extra smooth, comfortable ride.
- 4130 Cromoly Steel construction: strong, compliant and lasts a life time.
- Disk Brake compatible only for the best stopping power possible.
- One water bottle boss for the epic long rides or night riding.
- Full length seat tube with a 35mm forward offset to give a 73 degree effective seat angle.
- Head Angle – 70 Deg. (480 fork w/ 16mm headset)
- BB Drop – 70mm
- Chain Stay Length – 16.25-16.9″ (412.75mm-429.26mm)
- Seat Tube Length – 20” (Lg), 18” (Med.), 16” (Sm)
- Top Tube Length (effective at full extension) – 24.5 (Lg), 23.75” (Med.), 23” (Sm)
- Wheel Base – 1093mm (Lg), 1074mm (Med.), 1055mm (Sm)
- 4130 Cromoly
- Recommend fork length(s) – 3,4,5″
- Front derailleur – Shimano direct mount
- Bottom bracket – 73mm x 41mm OD
- Seat post – 27.2mm OD
- Seat clamp – 29.8mm ID
- Rear dropout spacing – 135mm QR
- Rear Disc Mount – IS (51mm)
- Headtube – 1 1/8″ x 120 (LG) / 1 1/8″ x 115 (MD) / 1 1/8″ x 110 (SM)
So why would I be interested in this bike other than just straight up bike geekery? Well my riding in the Victoria area features lots of techy sections and twisty turns. I rarely get out of the low range of gears so the awesome bump eating prowess of my Nomad isn’t being well utilized. At the same time what slows me down is my inability to clean techy uphill sections. If I could ride more uphill bits folks would have to wait less for me and I’d feel less gimpy! So that’s my general motivation to try a hardtail and my last Pugsley ride showed definite improvement in that area. I could tweak my Pugsley to be a better mountain bike, but the lack of any suspension would be its limiting factor. Rather than mess with Pugsley success I’ll keep it sand/snow/bikepacking focused and look towards a dedicated MTB.
My Pugsley MTBing experience and riding with Scott has shown me that big wheels roll well over our local rooty/rocky terrain. So a hardtail 29er is going to be my first avenue of attack. The Canfield fits that bill and has sliding dropouts so I can repurpose my 2nd Rohloff to this project. I think the ability to shift instantly without pedalling will be key to conquering some hard uphills.
Normally if I wanted to try a frame like this I’d have to just order it up sight unseen hoping it fit and that I liked how it handles. With a demo option I can ensure it’s going to work for me and it will be way cheaper buying used than new. Best of all if it doesn’t end up being awesome I can just give it back and I haven’t spent a penny.
Update with ride review below:
- fast and efficient non-technical climber
- rolled well over our rooty/rocky terrain [I didn't miss my 26" FS rig]
- was indeed nimble [sliders set about middle of travel]
- confident descending
- easy to get front wheel up over obstacles
- slack head angle and long fork gave me a lot of wheel flop going up steep climbs
- hard to keep weight on front wheel [100mm travel fork]
- 70 seat tub angle meant when I dropped seatpost in techy terrain the effective TT shrank a ton
- lots of pedal strike on lumpy terrain [175mm cranks]
- my size 12 feet hit the chainstays a lot [BMX pedals & 5.10 Impact Low shoes]
I’m really glad Grant let me have a test ride. You just can’t tell what a bike will be like until you ride it a bunch. He had someone interested in it so I returned it to him. If it’s not sold I may grab it back for another ride and try a lower stem as well as pushing the dropouts all the way back and see what I think. I’d probably run it with an 80mmm fork to get the front end down a bit more.