-Stiff front end
-Huge rear tire mud clearance
-Cable stays for seatpost control cable
-Attention to detail in the right places; welded rockers, high end bearings, multi-axle option
-Cable routing around the rear triangle could use more attention
-More color options?
Reviewer: Thomas Tran
The guys at Niner Bikes have evolved their first FS frame, the RIP9, into a worthy successor. When the Rip9 first came out, it was an instant hit at Interbike Outdoor Demo . The Constantly Varying Arc (CVA) rear suspension allows the bike to pedal very well while seated, and the angles of the frame were spot on for a 4.5” FS 29er. Fast forward 3 years and Niner has released the version 2.0 of the frame. They addressed many key areas of version 1.0 that drew comments or criticisms. The advent of tapered steerer was adopted to increase front end stiffness and the welded box section rockers increase rear end stiffness. Add to that, the ability to use a multitude of rear axle sizes and types, and Niner was able to stiffen the frame considerably without adding weight. Niner didn’t just use the typical ‘bolt on enhancements’ to stiffen the frame, all this was achieved through extensive use of hydroforming and custom casting for key tube junctions. This wasn’t a cheap redesign, but then again, Niner has always lead R&D in the 29er field.
Nice touches by Niner:
Tapered head tube
Super strong box sections in key areas
Cable stays for bar mounted adjustable seatpost cables
Tucked in brake cable stays
Multiple axle options for rear wheels, including Maxle
The very best bearings on a production frame
Super sloping top tube to accommodate shorter riders on a long travel 29’er
Water bottle mount for shorter rides without a pack, or those super epics with 100oz+
I normally don’t comment on anything but the frame, in a frame review, as all other parts are typically a personal preference. In this case, I strongly feel the bike is more than the sum of its parts. You’re riding a system here, and not just the frame.
I have never been one to buy off the shelf. All my parts are specially picked for their performance/weight/function. The package Niner sent me is off the shelf for them. On the surface, it is a mid-high level build, XT/X0/Thomson/Stans/Elixir. Most MFGs just throw together the most price efficient parts and call it done. In this case, once you stand back and see how the parts work together, the appreciation for the perfect blending of parts comes through. What you get with a Niner parts package is years of knowledge of what works and is needed for a 29’er setup; short stem, tire selection, fork selection, etc…