Niner R.I.P. 9

Pro Reviews

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Price: $1549
Frame 6.41 lbs
Bike weight (as tested): 29.38 lbs
BB height (measured): 13 inches
Wheelbase (measured): 43.44 inches
Rear shock: Fox Float RP23
Rear travel: 4.5″

Size
Seat Tube
Effective Top Tube
Stand Over
BB Height Head Tube Angle Seat Tube Angle Head Tube
Chainstay
S 16.3 23.1 27.1 13 71.0 73.5 3.94 17.9
M 17.4 23.75 28.6 13 71.5 73.5 4.13 17.9
L 19.4 24.5 30.1 13 71.5 74.0 4.33 17.9
XL 21.4 25.25 31.7 13 71.5 74.0 4.72 17.9

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Reviews of the Niner R.I.P 9:

Rider/Reviewer: Francis Cebedo

Strengths:

  • low to the ground and has good top tube clearance
  • great pedaling bike both seated and standing
  • very solid laterally
  • ample rear travel, seems ready for a bigger front fork
  • very nice construction, with attractive glow in the dark paint

Weaknesses:

  • the bike felt a tad heavy and slow

Overall Impressions:

The Niner RIP9 is a great descending bike. Obstacles are tackled with ease and steep descents are effortless. This bike is begging for a higher travel fork to unleash its true potential.

Our test bike had a couple of bugs that might have held it back in the big test day. First, it had a heavy 28” flat bar. This was the widest, heaviest bar in the lot and the test riders were not used to it. The other issue is the pivots seemed very tight and needed to be broken in. On my first five rides, the rebound on the rear travel seemed slow and I always found myself trying to speed up the damping of the RP23. Not an easy task when the shock was already on the fastest setting. Finally, I oiled all the pivots and the suspension moved a little more freely. The ride appeared a little more responsive and lively after that.

The RIP9 was very confident in swoopy singletrack. In the tightest singletrack, it felt a tad slow.

Climbing was excellent. In or out of saddle power was transferred to the ground very well. There was never really a need to switch the RP23 to stable mode. Doing that resulted in near hardtail performance.

Essentially the Niner RIP9 is a well-balanced bike with a slight lean towards descending at high speed on rough trails.

Rider/Reviewer: Ty Brookhart
Strengths

  • Stable
  • 4.5 inches of responsive and versatile suspension
  • Aggressive Geometry
  • Blue-tiful paint that glows in the dark!

Weaknesses:

  • Not the most nimble bike tested

Overall Impressions:

 

This bike needs bigger trail than what we rode. With the fairly aggressive geometry and 4.5 inches of travel, it just begged to be bombed downhill. I got the sense that this beautiful blue steed was a bit of a young stallion. The bike is not refined for racing, but has all the strength and endurance to handle the toughest trail all day long at the direction of an experienced rider.

The R.I.P. 9 didn’t accelerate out of the corners like the Leviathan or the Intense, but it soaked up the bumps better than any bike out there. The bike, like others of its Niner blood line, also seemed to have a lower center of gravity than most 29ers, which is a welcome trait for a bike with 4.5 inches of travel. It also has a longer wheel base than many of the bikes. These traits made the bike stable at high speeds and it cornered like a rented Porsche. The bike did not suffer from significant brake jack or pedal feedback either. However, the front end was a bit heavy and I wasn’t able to manual the small whoop-de-dos as easily as with some of the other bikes. It also wasn’t the nimble mountain goat that the Intense was when I was crossing logs and boulders.

Bottom line: of all the bikes tested, I would choose the RIP 9 if I was going to be riding in steep or rocky terrain, but in the smooth flowing and relatively flat trails in Santa Cruz it was just a bit more than I needed.

Rider/Reviewer: Joseph Cordova

Strengths:

  • Just sit in your lounge chair and spin; very smooth pedaling
  • Sitting in the cockpit you feel in total control over the bike
  • The rear end is so plush and smooth; very active

Weaknesses:

  • You feel a little like you are riding on top of the front wheel
  • Poor geometry while climbing out of the saddle
  • A real pain in the ass to clean

Overall Impressions:

So you are a little older and you have a lot more experience with your riding. You are looking for a nice smooth plush bike just to ride. Then look no further. The advantages of a big wheel bike and the geometry of the suspension makes the Niner the best candidate. If you like to sit down most of the time while you are riding, then this smooth Cadillac will make you feel right at home.

Rider/Reviewer: Dennis Baker

Strengths:

  • Fun, fun, fun when pointed downhill
  • This is a beautiful bike
  • Great handling and overall feel
  • Plush rear end soaks up most everything the trail throws at you
  • This bad boy just felt super stable on fast descents

Weaknesses:

  • It’s a bit slow when climbing or even on the flats

Overall Impressions:

When I first started riding this bike it was on a downhill section of the trail and I completely fell in love with it. The bike has 4 ½ ” of travel but it feels much more like a 5-6″ travel bike. The rear end of this bike is very active, but solid with no lateral play. When pointed downhill the bike gives you a feeling of command and stability. The bike begs to be jumped and you feel compelled to push your limits.

Unfortunately after scooting downhill on cloud nine we had a good sized fire road climb out which tarnished my excitement for the R.I.P 9 a bit. The Niner was a bit slow to get rolling and there is a definite penalty on the climbs for the plush downhill ride. Fortunately it has a suspension lockout that helped quite a bit. Additionally, while riding a rocky/ off camber trail on the Niner I had quite a few more pedal strikes than is common with my 26″ bike.

Aesthetically speaking this is a gorgeous bike. I wasn’t very fond of the baby blue color at first but it’s really grown on me. I would like to see a few more color choices on their website for this frame though. I took this bike out on a night ride and the glow in the dark paint is over the top. You will definitely have the favorite bike on any night ride. Welds and build quality are excellent and the curves are just plain sexy. Pure unadulterated bike porn.

Rider/Reviewer: Nick Thelen

It’s been a long day….I’m a little drained…and one more downhill to go. The Niner R.I.P. 9…with its Atomic Blue glow-in-the-dark paintjob and its Constantly Varying Arc suspension gave me a shot of adrenaline the minute I pedaled downhill. The balance felt perfect….tucked away in the cockpit I felt I had total control…the suspension firm, but active…grabs the corners and soaks up the hits. On steeper sections it craves to fly down, but shows restraint hooking into the dirt like Velcro. The R.I.P. 9 is an “all-day-in-the-saddle” and “race-if-ya-wana” ride.

If I could only have 1 bike – the R.I.P9 would be it.

Rider/Reviewer: Rafael Rius

Strengths:

  • PLUSH! This pretends to be a longer travel bike. Rear suspension is active on descents.
  • Steering was very impressive in tight turns and uphill switchbacks.
  • Climbs like a goat! Not the fastest goat, but tracks over rocky singletrack very well. Fox RP23 ProPedal worked well while in the saddle and substantially less pedal-bob than compared to my 26” VPP bike when hammering out of the saddle.
  • The bike felt comfortable and balanced similar to a 5+” travel 26” bike.
  • Beautiful aesthetics.

Weaknesses:

  • Complete bike is on the heavier end of the Shootout bikes.
  • I experienced slight pedal-bob when climbing out of the saddle
  • Slow acceleration
  • Needs more travel up front (Probably 120mm)
  • Needs more anodized color options

Overall Impressions:

Components: Brief details that may have affected the test rides – rear Chris King hub was slightly loose and caused the chain to occasionally skip on the cassette. The wide Niner handlebar was very nice around tight switchbacks, but also tried to take out several trees along the trail.

What I liked : On the trail: The ride started off with a climb and climb this bike did – very well. I finished uphill switchbacks and technical rocky climbs (Serpentine rock at Tamarancho) that I have never done before. The rear suspension was perfect while in the saddle and only produced a slight pedal-bob when I was trying to induce it. I am a bigger guy so I typically experience pedal-bob on bikes that most people don’t. Descents were amazingly cushy. Steering was really good and made it feel like an XC bike. I didn’t ride the Niner up to its potential since it was my first time on the bike. Basically, I think this bike may very well be the king of descents among the shootout bikes after a couple more rides.

What I didn’t like : Not many. Acceleration out of turns wasn’t as fast as the Van Dessel and felt more like the typical full suspension bike. Probably not a bike I would use to enter an XC race in, maybe Super D. In comparison to the Van Dessel the R.I.P. 9 was slower accelerating out of turns and on the climbs. However, the Niner was much more comfortable on the descents and rode over everything uphill and down.

In general: The R.I.P. 9 is a great all-around bike to use on any type of trail. My only hesitation is using the R.I.P. 9 as a race bike. With a minor change, such as a longer travel fork, it could be used for places like Downieville and Lake Tahoe. At the same time, it’s light enough and climbs well enough to use on the local trails.

Click here for MTBR Niner R.I.P.9 product review page

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A Few Words from the Manufacturer

What makes the bike great?

With the R.I.P. 9, we really spent a lot of time designing and refining the suspension design (over two years of development) to make sure it performed exactly how we wanted it to perform. It was important for Niner that our first suspension design, especially because we were not licensing existing technology, excelled at everything and met all of our design goals. Chris and I knew exactly how we wanted the bike to feel and there was no room for biased opinions. We had to be honest and clinical about every single prototype. Changing a degree here or there in any portion of the bike completely changes the characteristics of the suspension and geometry. Both the length and angle of both pivots are critical in making sure that the suspension functions correctly and we spent a lot of time working this out. The bike started life as a 26″ wheel, 6″ travel bike so we could compare the ride of the suspension back to back with other popular designs on the market. We then moved the platform over to a 29″ wheel, also with 6″ of travel, and worked on getting the bugs out of the longer travel version. It’s much easier to reduce suspension travel in a working suspension design than to increase travel in a design that might have inherent problems. If all of our design parameters could be met with a 6″ travel bike, we could easily reduce the travel to match the existing forks on the market. So we worked tirelessly to make sure that our 6″ travel 29″ wheel Niner met those parameters (no pedal bob or feedback, efficient pedaling, fully active suspension). Once that was done, we started work on reducing the travel and making the aesthetics of the bike exactly what we wanted. The final result is the R.I.P. 9 and we’re very proud of this bike.

How did you use the 29 inch platform to help the bike achieve its design goals?

Well, obviously, we’re a 29″ ONLY company. So the project from the beginning was to mesh full suspension with 29″ wheels. The difficulty comes with fitting the 29″ wheel, the wider and wider tire selection that is coming out in the market, the front derailleur, and our short chainstays into one package. There were countless hours spent in a virtual 3D world manipulating every tube to fit while still maintaining great tire clearance and no contact with the front derailleur. The 29″ wheels in themselves already act like 1-2″ of suspension travel, but we still felt like there was a void in the market for longer travel 29ers. We built the R.I.P. 9 to compete on the same playing field as the all mountain bikes that are so prevalent in the 26″ bike world. With 4.5″ of active travel AND 29″ wheels, the R.I.P. 9 really feels like it can tackle any obstacle. Mount a DUC 32 or White Bros. 130 on the front and really let this bike blast through the terrain. For a more cross country feel, the Reba 100 mates up perfectly.

Who is the ideal rider for the bike?

This bike is really an ALL MOUNTAIN bike, designed for back country excursions and ripping downhills. This bike excels at flattening out big hits and rough, rocky terrain. If you’re a weight conscious, cross country racer, this might not be the right bike for you, but we’re working on something for that rider that is really exciting.

The R.I.P. 9 is an awesome climbing machine and an equally excellent decender. If you’re a rider looking to go out and just have a perma-grin stuck to your face, this is the bike. It LOVES to be jumped and you’ll find yourself doing kickers off of even the smallest undulation in the terrain. We like to think of the R.I.P. 9 as pure, unadulterated fun.

Chris Sugai

Steve Domahidy

Niner Bikes

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