We got our test bike at Sea Otter, so we’ve had ample time to play with it. The best part about this bike is how it turns and handles corners. This thing can turn and there’s no hint of oversteer or plowing through corners. This is one of the crutches of longer travel 29ers, as riders have to take wider lines through corners. We’ve been ready to use some body english or lift the rear wheel through the turn, but it hasn’t been necessary. On very rutted descents, we feel the front end wander a bit and we can’t quite narrow it down to a flexy wheel or fork.
The rear suspension action is very smooth when set up with proper sag. We have taken this bike on some good-sized drops and jumps and it takes the hits and does not seem to be bothered with the bigger hits that we’ve been dishing out.
Although carbon bikes are becoming more prevalent, they still hit the pocketbook pretty hard. Fortunately, as we found on our all too brief first ride, Niner’s revamped alloy Rip 9 is suitable to the task at hand. The airformed front triangle has reduced its frame weight to 6.85 pounds — just .65 pounds shy of the flagship Rip 9 RDO carbon frameset.
Plus, it has the same excellent ride qualities that make Niners popular. The least expensive Rip 9 Alloy model will run at $3,000 with Sram X7 componentry. The price for a frame, shock and Maxle rear-axle is $1849.
- Steers quickly with minimal understeer and plowing through corners
- 125mm rear travel and 120-140mm front gives the bike range and versatility
- Enduro bearings are free-moving and durable
- Laterally stiff
- 6.85 lb frame
- Lots of top tube clearance
- Awesome new carbon handlebars that are wide and can be cut down safely
- Dashing good lines and colors
- Simply awesome with 1x gearing
- Chainstay length at 17.9 could be shorter
- No water bottle cage inside front triangle
- Not stealth dropper post routing
- Carbon version should be lighter
Niner has a come a long way with this one, as they’ve learned a ton about the RIP 9 in the past few years. This is a solid bike and there are plenty of good build options, all the way to the blinged out RDO Carbon version with 1×11 Sram drivetrain.