Canfield improves its legendary Nimble 9

The Nimble 9 has always been a hard riding, gravity capable 29er hardtail
Nimble 9 combines the best of steel and clever geometry appeal. With siding drop-outs (Image credit: Canfield)

Canfield has realigned its frame-building business and that means a new version fo the acclaimed Nimble 9.

The American bike brand caters for a gravity riding downhill audience, but with its Nimble 9, all that daring design knowledge is transferred to the simplicity of a steel hardtail.

When the original Nimble 9 was first released, little under a decade ago, it featured geometry that was unlike any rival 29er hardtail.

Using the freedom of construction that a steel frame would allow, especially for a low-volume boutique Canfield, the Nimble 9 was a hardtail for technical trail riding.

In a market where most 29ers were struggling to find a compromise between packaging larger wheels in a frame with responsive geometry, Canfield struck upon a magic formula with the Nimble 9.

The 29er hardtail for big terrain riding 

The fifth-generation bike, which is being marketed as a 2020 model-year frame, features familiar design details, with some contemporary updates.

Crafted from 4130 chromoly, the Nimble 9s most pronounced feature are its curved stays. Canfield’s awareness of chainstay length being a crucial element in handling agility has always been the motivation for its Nimble 9’s unique rear triangle tube profile.

The Nimble 9’s geometry has always pandered to riders seeking the most responsive descending experience, on a hardtail. What makes the Canfield Nimble 9 so regarded, is how it merges the rolling benefits of 29er wheels with the handling agility of a traditional steel trail hardtail.

For those riders who prefer the purist single-speed experience, or who wish to have chainstay length adjustment even on a geared set-up, the Nimble 9 offers sliding dropouts which allow for 16mm of axle movement.  

Some of the industrial design updates for 2020 include even more rear tyre clearance, offering owners the opportunity to run all three wheel sizes (29, 29+ and 27.5+), with tyre widths up to 2.8-inches across.

Canfield’s designers have also grown the Nimble 9’s top tube, delivering greater end-to-end chassis stability at speed. The size large 2020 Nimble 9 now has a 475mm of reach, which is a significant 25mm increase of over the previous iteration.

Five bold new colourways distinguish the 2020 Nimble 9 and if you are seeking a contemporary geometry steel hardtail, for audacious trail riding, there are very few rivals to this Canfield.

The 2020 Canfield Nimble 9 is being marketed at $799.99.

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.