This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
Suffice it to say our test crew was pumped to see the redesigned-for-2014 Niner WFO 29er among the new rides in our Enduro Compare-O lineup. Despite all the 27.5 hoopla, the boys from Fort Collins, Colo. continue to strengthen their big-wheels-for-big-travel argument by refining the magic formula on their proven gnar-eating beast—and for a relatively affordable sum to boot.
Rear travel’s been bumped-up 10mm from last year to 150mm, while the head angle mellows to a slacker 66.5 degrees with a 160mm fork—in this case, the astonishing RockShox Pike RCT3. With the entire bike sitting lower, a drop in bottom bracket height—now 13.1-inches—and a shortened top tube the WFO looks like an amazingly compact and playful bike, wheel size be damned.
And the real geometric kicker? The chainstays measure only 17.4 inches—amazingly short for a dual-sus 29er. Making it work required some guts on Niner’s part, however, as the WFO is only compatible with 1x chainring setups. A 2x crankset doesn’t clear the swingarm, and you won’t even find a mounting point for a front derailleur. You either ride SRAM XX1, XO1 or a custom 1x setup. The bike does include ISCG-05 tabs—with one of the mounting points cleverly integrated into pivot hardware—should you want to add a chainguide.
Niner is among the first companies to go with a dedicated 1x model—Specialized has done the same with its Epic World Cup Editions. We think the quicker, more nimble handling of a 29er with short stays is worth it. And with SRAM’s ultra wide 1×11 systems, you still get acceptably low-gearing—which could be made lower on this bike by switching to a 30-tooth chainring. The only downside now is the relatively high cost of XX1 and XO1, the only 1×11 systems currently available.
Niner has the perfect cockpit to complement this long travel 29er, with a short, stubby stem and flat bars up to 800mm wide.
How can Niner offer a bike with a 1×11 drivetrain and a Pike RCT3 fork for under $5,000? Well it is aluminum, but even so it’s an incredible value as these game-changer components normally cost a small fortune by themselves.
2014 Niner WFO Key Specs
- Weight: 28.85 lbs.(size medium)
- Wheel size: 29 inches
- Frame Material: Aluminum
- Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3,160mm
- Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus RC3
- Drivetrain: SRAM XO1 1x 11spd, 10-42t
- Brakes: SRAM Elixir 9 trail, 180/160mm
- Seatpost: Niner carbon
- Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes 3.30/ZTR Flow EX
- Tires: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Snakeskin TL, 2.35-inch
- Bars/Stem: Niner Flat Top alloy 780mm, Niner Alloy stem
- Bottom bracket type: SRAM GXP Threaded
- Head tube angle: 66.5 degrees (with 160mm fork)
- Seat tube angle: 74.5 degrees
- Chainstay length: 17.4 inches
- Bottom bracket height: 13.1 inches
- Bike MRSP: $4999
- Frame MSRP: $2099 with RockShox Monarch Plus RC3
For more information visit www.ninerbikes.com.
Read our Bottom Line Evaluation of the Niner WFO here.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.