Compare-O First Look: Niner WFO

29er Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014

This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–

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

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.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • pfs says:

    While the lunchbox is pretty neat and shorter in the CS I think the WFO is better performing. I had the opportunity to ride one recently and it blew me away in terms of handling and pedaling and suspension performance. Shorter is not always best if that is all it has going for it. Not saying that the luchbox is bad, just that shorter is not always better.

  • Greg says:

    The new WFO looks great and represents one hell of a value compared to many other bikes in its class. Kudos to Niner for making so many design changes to the WFO – looking forward to trying one out.

  • Joules says:

    That’s a pretty impressive weight for a 6″ travel aluminum 29er with a dropper post. Especially at that price.

    I wish… since they are specing brakes that will go straight to the trash where they belong anyway, I wish they’d spec Elixer 1s or tektros or something that saves a couple bucks.
    Or, you know, spec Shimano’s that I’d actually keep.

    Also, no internal post routing…

  • phil says:

    I have ridden this wfo and own one. All though didn’t need to I had some i-9 wheels already and carbon bars and made mine 27.4 lbs. The bike climbs like a trail bike and gives you a lot of confidence on the downhills. Although there are a couple (very few) 29ers out there with shorter chainstays the bike turns well and is surprisingly nimble. Just shortening the stays from 17.9 ish and even longer on some bikes a big deal. I have a devinci atlas 29er with 16.9 stays and that is a crazy fun bike but the wfo is a different kind of beast. its ready to haul ass and will save you a few times doing it.

  • Shawn says:

    It needs to drop three pounds.

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