Team "NASA Niner" Win Honors In Italy

News reaches us here at Twenty Nine Inches of a win by the “NASA Niner” Team in Italy at the 24 Hours of Finale in the Regione Leguria of Italy. The win is notable for several reasons. One: 29″ers are not seen as reasonable choices for competition amongst the general mountain biking populace in Europe. Two: the win was realized by six men in the eight person category, and all six riders were aboard single speed Niners. Three: Added to this was the Solo Women’s category which was won by NASA Niner rider Rebecca Tomaszewski, also riding a Niner, albeit a geared one.



Congratulations to NASA Team Niner, which included U.S. riders Dejay Birtch and John “Fuzzy” Milne, and Rebecca Tomaszewski on their achievements “across the pond”. It will be interesting to see if this will effect any changes in attitude amongst the mountain biking cognoscenti in Europe.


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No Responses to “Team "NASA Niner" Win Honors In Italy”

  1. jncarpenter Says:

    Congrats & a good win!

  2. chris_geotec Says:

    Keep spreading the News
    – it is good to see that here in Europe things are changing. From all I hear Italy in general is a bit more open to 29ers.
    Some other countries will be harder to establish it. IΒ΄ll do my part.

    Congrats, NASA Niner!

  3. JeroenK Says:


    It is mostly Germany where race rules still forbid the use of 29ers. They are opening up too, though. The German magazins seem to have picked up the US trend and the French have been interested for a while too.

    In the Netherlands, my own country, you see more and more 29ers, but not at a rapid pace. That said, even if it would grow rapidly over here, that would not mean much on a global scale :wink:. We’ve now come to a point where it is not very special anymore. My fellow racers do not stop, stare and question anymore, they are kind of used to it.

    The level of acceptance must have something to do with a certain Cloxxki who has stopped racing at the national level a few years ago. His ‘foam on mouth’ raving gave a lot of people the idea you need to posess a certain degree of madness to ride a 29er :wink:.

  4. Crested B Says:

    Yes, Italy is doing very well and probably is the #2 country for 29er technology.
    A win like this means A LOT. In Italy everything is racing, mainly because of the huge heritage of road racing that shaped very deeply the common perception of the sport.
    Now bikers are looking at 29er with much more respect and open mind.
    We have to say THANK YOU to all the team members that did an awesome job and to Chris of Niner that did so much to have this happening.
    chris_geotec, I’ve lost your email! Please write me to so we can be again in contact.

  5. Cloxxki Says:

    Too much credit Jeroen, thank you πŸ™‚
    Me performing significantly worse after switching to 29″ and THEN not showing up for years might have been a reason, if I was at all a factor.
    I like to think I steered the 29″ fate a bit sharper towards its end goal, but certainly in the national race scene the response to my ravings have been quite absent.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Great job Team Nasa Niner. Team of 6 winning the 8? Wow!
    We at Big Wheel Racing Europe keep the 29er flag high in races too, even if we two of the swiss team fraction are maybe the only 29er racers in all Switzerland…Tomorrow evening is the next CC race and I hope seeing a 29er winning it again (not me though πŸ˜‰ As far as I heard some of our team mates have made third at Finale. 29er rules!
    Watch out for Transvesubienne in France next weekend, you might spot one 29er there too.
    Anyway Italy is by far the most advanced in big wheelers.

  7. Hickerklicker Says:

    Sorry, forgot the name field, dont need to stay anonymous

  8. Crested B Says:

    Hi Hickerklicker!
    After all Switzerland is not very far from here.
    The great of 29er is that everyone riding them is a former 26 inches rider. This helps a lot in becaming an ‘evangelist’ of the movement since you know exactly what other people is thinking and what mistakes they do. What is important is just having test bikes and some riders able to really gain respect and credibility for the standard. There is NO NEED of a great racer to understand the 29er advantage, but great racers are important to help people in migrating to the new standard. An Event like the one and a win like this one just put 1500 passionate riders in a position where they can only respect the standard, remembering this race and how fast was these bikes when they see a big wheel on the trail.
    It will be great next year to hve more and more 29er at the event: already now this race have been the very first international race in Europe with a strong and complete supremacy for 29ers.

    Also Ausilia Vistarini, third Solo racer was riding a 29er.

    I really hope next year you’ll come to Finale. We’ll be there for sure and our technical support, pasta and beer will be at your disposal πŸ™‚

  9. ellen_muenchen Says:

    Another 29er on the podium: We also were lucky to win there – with me on my Niner Jet;-)

  10. Crested B Says:

    Ciao Ellen!! I missed your podium!! Sorry for this!!

    I was exausted by the two full days helping the team and managing the booth with fifteen 29ers for test! (we had more than 60 tests running)

    Sorry again for missing this and compliments again for your win! Next year FInale we’ll see more and more 29er!!

    I’m thinking to organise there the first European 29er Meeting, starting from Thursday where we can have two days with people testing bikes and the remaining two days to enjoy the race as spectators or as racers.

    What do you think?


  11. ellen_muenchen Says:

    No problem..;-)

    I know, you had many Niners there for testing – especially many EMD in black which unfortunately aren’t available anymore in that nice color…

    Anyway: having a fist European 29er meeting next year sounds like e good idea. Finale is a beautiful place to go ( I was even there the days before guiding a trailcamp). But: since they had even more racers there this year the place might be too packed with people next year.

  12. Crested B Says:

    Ciao Ellen!! Yes, in Italy everyone loved the black EMD: elegant and aggressive together.
    In Usa they decided to substitute this color with Root Beer (a very nice metallic brown) but we asked them to make a special production for us for 30 EMDs to have our demo bikes in Black.
    Since things are going well I really think we are going on having Black EMDs for Europe: a growing brand like NIner need to be flexible to adapt to european tastes and Chris, the Niner founder is a super super nice guy!
    About the event, I created that event in 1999 and managed it for six years, before moving on the other side of Italy.
    If we are going to have 200-300 29ers we still can manage this in that location. Finale is now limiting subscriptions ti 1500 racers, my hope is to see more and more international guys since that event is becaming really cool and really international!! We had people testing the bikes coming from Germany, Spain, England, Swiss and Austria too.
    Obviously if the Meeting will attract more than 500 bikers non racing we have to find another solution, but I’m not so optimistic: 300 29ers for the first European Big Wheel Meeting will be more than enough!

  13. Crested B Says:

    Here there is a link with an interesting video about the event.

    (Part One)

    Every color image has a 29er in. If you see the video B&W it menas the bike was a standard MTB πŸ˜‰

  14. Hickerklicker Says:

    Mauro, great idea to do a european wide 29er meeting. We had two such events last year and this year in Switzerland, just very small but with 29er riders from Switzerland, Germany, UK (Sam from Singular Cycles) and France. It was only few riders but a lot fun (and thats all about it, isnt it?).
    Luckily we have some few bike shops in Switzerland supporting 29ers, one also offering Niner bikes. (One shop owner from Zuerich has done the 24h Finale solo too, you know him). If you need contact infos, let me know.
    See you at Finale, one day or other I will be there.

  15. Crested B Says:

    Great! I’ll start immediately finding a way to make it real… we do not have a lot of time… just 360 days! πŸ˜‰
    Did this shop owner raced with a Niner? My problem in Finale is that I know almost everyone.. being the organiser for the first six years put me in a condition where I have to say ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao every meter I do.
    What’s the name of this guy? Very probably I know him!!
    Anyway, the idea is to make an event on four days.
    Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
    Arriving in Finale Wed night and having a first night rinding for the first people there, then the day after we can go for a 25 KM ride in the morning, not using the race course, then making a HUGE barbeque and in the afternoon do several short technical rides in the area, with films and photos. Saturday and Sunday Race time, eating as much 26 inches bikes we can, and closing the event with a special price on the stage, dedicated to the prettiest 29er or to the stronger hamburger eater of the Big Wheel group.
    If the Nasa Team will be with us again the performance side of the technology will be supported by them: we just have to defend ourself on the FUN side!

  16. Crested B Says:

    HIckerklicker, write me on I’ve to ask you a couple of things about Switwerland big wheels! πŸ˜‰

  17. chris_geotec Says:

    Hi guys,
    funny such an event gets launched by postings on a US site – welcome to a cosmopolitan world.
    But apart from that curiousity: Great idea!! Count me in! This sounds like a lot a fun and a major boos for 29ers in Europe – therfore letΒ΄s do it. I am sure I can contribute a thing or two.


  18. Crested B Says:

    Ciao Chris! The world is small! πŸ˜‰
    With Internet no more barriers! It’s happening here probably because tis is the best place in the world for having this happening and what is grouping people is attitude and interests.
    That’s a great thing of modern age, able of partially compensate for the presence of industrial hamburgers and trading of CO2 emission quotes.
    Thanks for your help my friend!! I hope of having a lot of people joining us in this event. Back with more news soon.

  19. jimmythefly Says:

    I’m curious as to why 29ers are slow to catch on in Europe? Is it the momentum of tradition? I’d think that the transition to 29ers would be natural, considering the popularity of cyclocross.

  20. Crested B Says:

    There are several interesting points.
    Take Italy for example, that probably is the european country for now where 29ers are doing better, also if I think other countries will catch soon.
    1-Cyclocross here is not so big. I know is surprising, but in Italy Road Racing is the king. Triathlon, Ciclocross, Track are just tiny compared to road racing.
    CX is seen mainly as the winter way to stay fit for roadies, also if there is a group of CX professionals. Very poor people if compared to road racing pros.
    29er are taking up quite well anyway. It needs time, as in USA. The point is that as usual 29er started earlier in USA and now the american wave is reaching other contries, with different speeds.
    Resistence is created by difference, everything that is not standard is seen as ‘odd’, and a lot of bikers are not very technical. They simply see the big wheels as ‘strange’, so they prefer to buy something that is ‘accepted’. Another big implication is commercial. Dealers prefer not to stock them to avoid the risk of ‘not predictable sales’ and to avoid stock of special 29er parts.
    A big win like this one at 24 Hours of Finale is doing a lot since it’s giving credibility to the standard and is moving 29er technology on the front end of MTB development.
    It is good.
    I think that the 29er movement needs other two years to became really accepted and to speed up diffusion as it is happening in USA now. Maybe less with the involvement of big names like Santa Cruz (very powerful for image) and Giant (very powerful for distribution).
    The addition of these names to the 29er bandwagon, already pulled by great horses, is probably speeding up the acceptation of the movement worldwide.
    What is really going to change the scenario will be Sauser and Absalon racing 29ers. If this is going to happen in Europe the 29er movement will explode: racing exposure is very important here.

  21. Cloxxki Says:

    How are people in Italy responding to the singlespeed bikes going fast? Do they just prepare to mount even more gears, in hope it will help?

  22. Crested B Says:

    No, they are just scratching their heads!!!
    Last year we had 4 Niner riders having a first look at the event. They won the category by far, arriving on the third step of the absolute podium.
    For italian it have been a SHOCK to see SS going soooo fast. They was not even considering ss as serious MTBs, just because the culture about singlespeed was almost zero. Only a pair of groups was riding ss and normal bikers was considering them as ‘eccentrics’, you know, like bikers riding with a kilt.
    I had a ONE9 for test at the booth. Maybe one guy asked for a test.
    This year the NASA Niner team won the absolute, taking the lead immediately and not giving a single hope to other teams, including 12 people multigear teams! Well the One9 for test have been the MOST requested bike by far. Everyone was asking to test it!
    They was just surprised and they know now that 29er can be fast, VERY fast! πŸ˜‰ even SS.
    I had people really shocked by the speed they have been passed by Tim Allen, Fuzzy, Dejay, Jake and the other team members! without speaking about Rebecca, an amazing rider everyone now is respecting so deeply here for her courage and determination.
    This is just helping them thinking and understanding that there are other ways to go FAST!
    At the end of the race no one of the 1500 racers and the 12.000 presences attending the event in three days was still thinking that 29er technology is a ‘joke’!

  23. jimmythefly Says:

    Ha! See SRAM XX as exhibit A? Ok, probably not, I know XX has more to it than just the 10th cog.

    Thanks for the perspective CrestedB

  24. Tim Allen Says:

    Ciao from Canzo Italy,
    What a pleasure to read all the comments on this blog! Thanks to all, for the compliments!
    After the race in Finale, I continued my holiday throughout Italy. I brought only my single speed One9 and my girlfriend. Every town that we visit, I meet mountain bikers that are shocked when they see the bike I am riding. The ask me if I like it and I smile and nod my head! 29 Molto Bene!!! Then I explain that I’m from Arizona, USA and that Niner sent me to Finale to compete in the 24 hour race. I enjoy trying to translate my love for the big wheels. It is interesting to me, the different reactions to the Niner. The most common response from bike shop owners and fellow Italian racers was that in Italy, weight is very IMPORTANT because the level of racing is very high. They explained that adding bigger wheels simply meant a heavier bike. Then I would tell them to pick up my bike;) They couldn’t believe how light it was! I am stoked that Niner is bringing the Big revolution to Europe, and I am honored to be a part of it! I hope to return to Finale next year! Grazie mille to Chris, Mauro and all of my teammates!
    Niner Bikes are the FUTURE!

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