Canfield Nimble 9…

8 12 2011

Grant's Canfield Nimble 9 - 29er MTB...

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.

Nimble, but deadly!

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.

She's got big wheels...


  • 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.

Tight rear end...


  • 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)

Sliding dropouts...

Build Specs:

  • 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)

Squishy Manitou Minute fork...

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.

What is this obsolete technology?...=-)

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.

This saddle is following me around!

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.

The juicy details...

Update with ride review below:

The Good:

  • 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

The Bad:

  • 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]

Feeling Nimble on a 29er at Partridge Hills...

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.



6 responses

8 12 2011

cool. looking forward to hearing how you like it compared to the FS Nomad. i would like to get an FS eventually, but that won’t be for a while.
the Brooks is looking nice on it!

8 12 2011

That bike is far too nice to go and get all dirty! It should be a show piece.

10 12 2011
Just Another Night Ride… « The Lazy Rando Blog…

[…] batteries to power my Dinotte 200L lights [~200 lumens each]. I check my bike over during the day [this time the borrowed Canfield Nimble 9] and install a Dinotte 200L on its bars. Then around mid-day I gather my gear, pack my hydration […]

1 01 2012

I might be interested in the frame – do you have e-mail for the store? Thanks.

2 01 2012

@Clink – Google Fairfield Bicycle Shop Victoria BC – call and ask for Grant.

1 03 2013
New Canfield Brothes Nimble 9… | The Lazy Rando Blog...

[…] I test rode Grant’s N9 in 2011 and liked it a lot. In retrospect the geo was probably better suited to my riding needs [HA of 68/69 depending on fork] than the Scandal I bought [HA ~71]. One issue I had was the heel to chainstay clearance for my big feet and it looks like they have fixed that. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: