For the past 2 seasons, Niner has abandoned the typical trade show presence and dedicated their time and energy to releasing new bikes with a handful of their trusted dealers throughout the country. Last year we got a sneak peak at their new cross-country bike the RKT9. This year was focused a bit more on their introduction of their new Trail-Bike lineup: The new JET9 RDO, and RIP9 RDO.
Before I dig into how rad my few days out in CO was, let me tell you a bit about the new bikes:
- JET9 RDO: Since the day it was introduced, the JET9 has been positioned and designed as their cross-country, endurance, marathon full suspension racer. It had a really plush 100mm of travel in the rear, and one was able to pair it with either a 100mm or 120mm fork. In recent years, more and more riders (including myself) have been setting up their JET9s with shorter stems, wider bars, 120mm (even some 130/140mm forks…shhh), dropper posts, and a bit more aggressive tires. Once Niner introduced the new RKT9 last season, it was clear that there were some changes coming for the JET9. And welcome changes they were! The new JET9 RDO can certainly handle the rigors of some endurance cross country and marathon racing, but its true purpose is FUN. Niner has updated their geometry with longer top-tubes, shorter stems, shorter chain stays, and slightly slacker angles that make the bikes more responsive, predictable, and wicked fun. The travel has changed from a 100mm rear travel to 120mm, and the front will vary from 130mm (29er), and 140 (650B+). B+!?!?!? Yup, you rear that correct. The introduction of 148mm boost rear spacing has given us more than just headaches, its allowed 29er companies to adapt their frames to the very trendy 650B+ setup. The minor adjustment in bottom bracket drop is offset by the increase in fork travel, which also slacks out the head tube and seat tube ever so slightly. 29er=That same fast, peppy, efficient feel you’ve come to love. 650B+= A new confidence and traction that you’ve never felt on a normal trail bike before.
- RIP9 RDO: While the changes on the JET9 were significant, its what those updates on the new RIP9 do that are absolutely astonishing. The RIP9 jumps from the 130mm x 140mm travel bike it once was to trail mashing 150mm x 160/170mm travel. 150mm x 170mm!?!?! YUP, and the best part…it pedals super well. The WFO9, which sat in the position of Niner’s 150mm travel bike was a superb riding bike…but didn’t pedal all too well. The audition of boost spacing, modern geometry, and efficient suspension has turned the RIP9 into one of my favorite all-around bikes. Who knew a bike this big could climb so well. And when you turn it around and point it downhill…get out of the way…it truly allows you to ride well above your pay grade. To me, this bike made the biggest impression. It was only a couple pounds heavier than the JET9 I rode, and yet I climbed nearly as well, and descended more confidently than all of the other 150mm/160mm bikes I’ve been on. Oh, and did I mention you can toss B+ wheels on here with a 170mm fork? Yeah, thats how I rode it all week, and it was silly how confident you could blast into trails you’d never been on before.
All in all, the changes to the new platforms are welcomed and transform the ride of both of these bikes from the previous generations. Looking for that new race bike for the midwest? Stick with the RKT9 and the AIR9 RDO. But if you’re looking for bike to transform the way you ride, have you aiming for roots, rocks, drops and berms…look no further than the new JET9 or RIP9! And if the $4500-$9500 range doesn’t have something that fits the budget, worry not, Niner has a couple lower price point frames and specs coming this winter that will bring those bikes into a more attainable level.
The other big notable change for Niner this season doesn’t necessarily come from the bikes their designing and manufacturing, but the re-vamp and new direction the company seems to be headed internally. They’ve cleaned up their inventory issues which means we won’t have to battle with online discount sites, they’ve hired some awesome new reps to support the shops and riders all around the country, they’ve consolidated their warehouse and headquarters office into one building in Ft. Collins, and they’ve worked tirelessly to test their frames and products to a greater standard than ever before. A lot of this happened after a stint of manufacturing issues overseas plagued them with warranties galore. They spent a lot of time with their suppliers and factory in Vietnam to fix these issues, and the new frames coming out of their lineup have been seeing the lowest warranty rate in company history. They’ve always supported their riders in an incredible capacity, but this attention to detail really leaves us with a lot of confidence that they’re headed in the right direction, and that Niner can be ranked up among the best frame companies in the world.
My time out in CO with Niner bikes was filled with amazing riding, great views and scenery, and an abundance of new knowledge about the brand. We’re really excited to continue on with Niner in 2017, and can’t wait to see them reveal some of their other new projects.
Interested in getting on a Niner? Feel free to call, email, or simply swing by the shop. We’ve got a demo coming up on the 11th of August, and we’ll update our FB page with details on that as soon as we have them locked down.
And now, some obligatory shredding photos:
:: Beaver Meadows resort hosted all of us hooligans for the week ::
:: At about 8500ft, the air was thin, and the climbs were long and often very technical ::
:: What goes up, must come down. I forgot what it was like to descend for 2000+ ft at once ::
:: Happy to welcome Scott Sherman back as our rep for the Midwest. HI SCOTT! ::
:: Rebecca Rusch: Super Athlete, Ambassador, Promotor, and all around ripper ::
:: Meet Linda, your new Rider’s Services Representative @ Niner…shes faster than you ::
:: Nate here is in charge of making sure all the bikes look DOPE, and he absolutely crushed the paint jobs this season ::
Last but not least is the man behind the lens. Ian Hylands is a globally recognized action sports photographer that made us all look real good. His work spans from Niner’s stock photos, to action shots from all around the world. Check him out! Thanks for all of the wonderful photos, Ian!
If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org – 612.722.1538