Niner JET 9 RDO
The Jet 9 was another bike that was high on my list as a possible Chilcotin complement so I was keen to give it a whirl. The RDO is the all carbon version of the XC/race Jet 9 recently updated to incorporate all the latest design features including 100mm of travel, 142mm rear spacing, and carbon upper rocker arm. Niner really prides itself in designing beautiful bikes whose form follows function derived from combining data for strength, weight, stiffness, and damping characteristics into an aesthetically appealing final shape. I liked the looks of the Jet 9 alright but wasn’t totally won over by the curvy lines. The front triangle and rear seem a little disjointed to my eye.
Despite what it looks like, it works. They definitely got the function part right. It is amazing how light they are building bikes these days and the Jet is no exception. This one felt a bit heavier than the Anthem but I’ll bet it was still under 25 lbs. The sizing felt good and component selection was top shelf. I think they went a bit too XC (for me) on the bars, tires, and post so it lost a couple points for narrow barrows and no dropper. Other than that, the spec was good.
Once on the swoopy, sometimes rocky Lakes loops it seemed to fly. It railed berms well, flew down through the steep g-outs and up the other side effortlessly, and floated over rocky sections and the occasional booter with pizazz and little drama. It felt like it could pop and play well. Seated climbing and standing sprints yielded the same efficient power transfer I’ve come to expect from the excellent CVA rear suspension linkage while soaking up edges and bumps with a firm yet controlled short travel plushness. For a short travel race bike, this bike seemed to exceed its expected trail cred as opposed to the Rip 9 which fell a bit short of what I expected. With “proper” 120mm fork, wider bars, and fatter rubber I think it could give the Czar and Solo a run for their money in what I want for a bike of this sort.
Points off for sporting a front derailleur. That is so last year. Arched stays and top tube…. ummm, the jury is still out for me on the aesthetics.
“Pedal Dammit”….. then go “Drink Beer”? I know it’s very unhip of me to say, but I can’t get behind either one of those directives.
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